RowanWorks retains consulting firm for new executive director search

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 2, 2017

By Amanda Raymond

SALISBURY — Though still early in the process, RowanWorks, the Salisbury-Rowan County Economic Development Commission, is making progress on finding a new permanent executive director.

Robert Van Geons, who had been executive director since 2008, left RowanWorks at the end of December to become president and CEO of the Fayetteville Cumberland County Economic Development Corp.

Scott Shelton, former project manager at RowanWorks, took over as interim executive director but has said he is not interested in taking the job permanently.

RowanWorks’ board of directors has retained Jorgenson Consulting, a search firm in Greensboro, to lead the search. The search committee had its first meeting with the firm on Jan. 30 and talked about the qualifications, managerial style and experience they want from the next director.

Shelton said the board is looking for an experienced administrator who could be a good salesperson for the county.

“It’s just trying to find somebody that knows what it takes to be a successful director,” he said.

Stephen Kidd, chairman of the board of directors, said Todd Jorgenson, managing director and principal of Jorgenson Consulting, gave everyone a chance to talk about what the Economic Development Commission does well and what the agency is looking for in a new executive director.

Kidd said everyone thinks the commission is going in the right direction. One important qualification for a new executive director being discussed is experience.

“We want to make sure that they can absolutely, 100 percent stand behind Rowan County and push Rowan County to potential companies that are looking at Rowan,” he said.

Kidd said the group wants someone who understands economic development and will work to attract quality companies that will help Rowan County residents and add value to the community.

Jorgenson Consulting is a national executive search firm with more than 20 years of experience, according to its website. Kidd said the firm was used to find Elaine Spalding, president of the Rowan County Chamber of Commerce.

The firm is putting a job description together based on input from the search committee, which will be presented to the board of directors today. The board will review the description and make suggestions and changes if needed.

Once Jorgenson Consulting has developed the final draft, the description will be made public. The firm will go through the applications and present the best candidates to the search committee, and the search committee will conduct interviews after that.

Kidd said the agency wants to find a new executive director as quickly as possible, but the board does not want to rush the process either.

He said there is no “sense of panic” since Scott Shelton is running things in the meantime.

“Fortunately, we have a very qualified interim in Scott Shelton,” he said.

Contact reporter Amanda Raymond at 704-797-4222.