By Christina Calloway
PNT senior writer
Doug Redmond, the new director for the Roosevelt County Community Development Corp., is excited to come to Portales to use his skills and area of expertise. Redmond has worked in related positions, such as city and county manager in the state of Georgia. He answered questions about his experience and his plans for his new job.
What is your background in Georgia?
I started my career in public service as the city manager of Grantville, Ga., in 1998. As a full-service city, Grantville sold electricity and natural gas. Being in the utility business made the need to retain existing businesses, as well as attracting new industry, crucial to the future growth and well-being of the city. The more I became involved in economic development; I found it more rewarding and quite honestly more fun than government administration. I spent nine and a half years as a city and county manager.
I had the opportunity to go work for the state of Georgia in 2007, working with 16 counties on economic and community development projects. One of the most important things we did was to assist the communities to prepare economic development strategies and prepare them to be ready for future development opportunities.
In 2009, I returned to the local level to work as the executive director of the Development Authority of Jones County and the Jones County-Gray Chamber of Commerce. At the time I was hired, the county was beginning to develop a 970-acre industrial park. During my time in Jones County, we worked to complete the installation of the necessary infrastructure. In 2010, we began marketing the industrial park and landed our first industry in early 2011.
How did you find out about this position and what drew you here?
I found the position advertised on the International Economic Development Council's website. During college, I spent a few weeks each summer visiting friends in north-central New Mexico and enjoyed the time I spent there, so when I saw the position advertised and did preliminary research on Portales, I decided to apply for the position.
What are the population comparisons between where you are now and Portales? What strengths will you bring from working in that area?
Jones County has a population of about 30,000, so it's a little larger than Roosevelt County. Having completed the development of an industrial park and successfully marketing the park and recruiting industries provides me with the hands-on experience I'll need to have. I'm also a certified economic developer and bring over a decade's worth of relationships with international contacts in industrial development.
What are your plans to boost the local economy?
My first goal is to work with the RCCDC Board and other stakeholders to create a strategic economic development plan looking out over the next 10 years. A part of the plan will to be to identify which industries are a good fit for Portales and begin marketing those. Also, a part of the plan is working to identify what retail and commercial needs exist.
In your opinion, what is Portales missing that is needed?
I think one of the biggest things is the lack of housing. This is something I heard several times while researching the community and during my interview visit.
What do you look forward to seeing, eating and doing that is authentic to Portales when you arrive?
I'm looking forward to meeting and getting to know people in Portales. I was told several times that the community's greatest strength was its people. I also was impressed by the undercurrent of positive energy during my interview visit. I'm excited to become an active member of the community. I'm looking forward to eating some authentic New Mexican cuisine. I didn't get the opportunity during the trip for my interview but I'm going to mark that off my to-do list next week.