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EDA hires Heckman

By Staff | May 4, 2009

Zoa Heckman

Faribault County Econo-mic Development Authority boardmembers have chosen a local person for their new director.

Zoa Heckman of Wells has accepted their offer and is scheduled to start her new duties on May 11.

“I’m going to be out and about in the county and will be in all the communities, visiting with the people. I’m going to try and do what’s in their best interest,” Heckman says.

The director’s position has been vacant since June 2008, when Gayle Jones resigned to take a job with AgStar Financial services in Mankato.

On Monday, Heckman submitted her resignation as Wells community development director effective May 8.

She says leaving Wells was difficult, but it was time to move on.

“Everyone gets to a point when they need a change to try and do something different,” Heckman says.

Early last month, a hiring committee of the county EDA board interviewed six people that included candidates from Arizona, Wis-consin and New York.

Before she was hired, the county EDA board considered whether to hire someone or wait and see what services Go Minnesota was willing to provide.

The county’s contract with the private, non-profit development group ended when its director died in March. The EDA agreed to pay Go Minnesota an annual fee of $50,000 for services.Rob Nelson, EDA boardmember and on the committee that interviewed Heckman, says she was highly recommended by both public and private interests, including the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.

He says local business representatives, public employees and community leaders also had high praise for Heckman.

“I am confident that Zoa’s skill, professionalism and exceptional knowledge of the rhythm of business in our region will serve the Faribault County Economic Development Authority and citizens of Faribault County extraordinarily well,” Nelson adds.

Although Heckman will not be a county employee, the EDA board compared her job duties with other supervisory positions and used pay equity standards to put together a compensation package.

Heckman will earn an annual salary of $40,000 and will also receive additional payment to purchase benefits such as health insurance.

“We made every effort to mirror what other county employees are earning, as far as pay and benefits,” Nelson says.

Heckman will follow the same vacation and holiday guidelines for county employees and is subject to the furlough plan that has been adopted.

She will work out of the EDA office located at the Ag Center in Blue Earth.