Downtown Salisbury begins search for new director

  • Posted: Friday, May 3, 2013 12:54 a.m.

SALISBURY — The search started in earnest this week for someone to replace Randy Hemann as leader of Downtown Salisbury Inc.

Similar to an exercise the Rowan County Chamber of Commerce completed recently, Downtown Salisbury will hold a brainstorming session to help shape the organization’s future and come up with search criteria for a new executive director, President Mark Lewis said.

Hemann left this week after 16 years to become the city manager in Oxford.

“We feel strongly that one of the big advantages that DSI has as an independent organization is our board of directors and the ability to harness all that brain power,” Lewis said.

A board of 19 volunteers leads Downtown Salisbury, a group Lewis called “big, diverse and not political.”

“These are professionals who can provide good direction,” he said. “Now the question is, how do we staff our office.”

The brainstorming session will include top staff and board leaders from Downtown Salisbury’s community partners — the chamber, the Tourism Development Authority and RowanWorks Economic Development Commission, Lewis said.

The four groups have renewed a commitment to work together on economic development. Downtown Salisbury plans to move its office to the Gateway Building on East Innes Street to join the other three.

Lewis said he hopes to bring in a professional consultant to facilitate the brainstorming session and help answer “what do we want DSI to look like, and the attributes we want in an executive director.”

After the chamber’s recent exercise, the board hired a new president, Elaine Spalding of Paducah, Ky. Spalding started work Wednesday and Lewis said he would like her to participate in the Downtown Salisbury brainstorming session.

For a nominal fee, the N.C. Downtown Development Association will spread the word about Salisbury’s vacancy in publications and online, Lewis said. He said he hopes to have an executive director in place in 90 days.

In the meantime, the Tourism Development Authority, which took over marketing and promotions for Downtown Salisbury last year, will answer phone calls and email.

Downtown Salisbury’s proposed budget for the upcoming year includes funds to share a full-time administrative position with tourism.

Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.

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