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RDC hires director

By Staff | Sep 29, 2008

The Faribault County Regional Development Corporation (FCRDC) has hired the person it hopes will take them into the future economically.

David Piggott of Stillwater will start his duties as executive director on Wednesday.

“It seemed like the perfect storm. There is a lot of momentum. City, county and business leaders all are on the same page. There’s a lot to be done and I’m going to have fun doing it,” explains Piggott on why he accepted the job.

For the past two years he was executive director of Anoka County Partners, a private company promoting economic development.

His first task, says Piggot, will be to meet with FCRDC boardmembers to determine priorities.

“We’ll establish marketing tools and a strategic plan that will be our footprint for the next three years of work,” he says.

Chosen from a list of six finalists interviewed Sept. 8 and 9, FCRDC president Bill Eckles says Piggott brings more than 20 years of economic development experience to the job.

“He was clearly our No. 1 choice. I’m really excited. He brings a level of experience in economic development Faribault County has never had,” says Eckles.

The non-profit development group plans to rely on the private sector and less government involvement to attract new businesses and create expansion.

FCRDC boardmember Jeff Lang calls Piggott an “amazing candidate” who is ready to step right in.

“It’s what we have beentalking about all along. By bringing the public and private sectors together we’d be able to recruit a star player, and that’s what we’ve got here,” adds Lang.

In a press release, Eckles lists Piggott’s past duties ranging from vice-president of marketing to executive director for various organizations. He also has worked with public-private partnerships, regional EDAs and venture start-up funds.

Piggott will work out of the former county EDA director’s office at the Ag Center and operate a “floating office” making visits to Winnebago, Wells and other communities in the county.

With the hiring, Blue Earth and Faribault County likely will not fill their economic director vacancies. However, that does not mean money will have to be spent on economic development.

The city’s EDA chairman Dennis Zitnak says, “It’s my understanding the city will not have a full-time director,” now that Piggott has been hired.

Recently, the EDA board unanimously approved committing $50,000 to contract for services with FCRDC.

City Administrator Kathy Bailey says the agreement with the development corporation is for one year.

The city, she says, will still have EDA functions that will be handled by herself and other staff.

“We’ll still work on different projects, whether it’s current business expansion or something smaller. It will be in coordination with the countywide director,” she says.

County officials also have agreed to chip in $50,000 for one year beginning in January.

In a report to EDA boardmembers last month, Eckles says membership dues collected totaled around $70,000.

The operating budget for FCRDC in the first year has been set at $200,000.

Zitnak says EDAs of the city and county, along with City Administrator Kathy Bailey, will have to work out details of economic services that will be provided.

Zitnak says EDAs of the city and county, along with Bailey, will have to work out details of economic services that will be provided.

When Gayle Jones left the county director’s post in June, $104,000 was budgeted for her salary, office space and expenses.

Rick Juba was earning more than $40,000 when he resigned as the city’s community development director to take a similar position in Oak Grove.