Thompson to lead Oregon development effortsWritten by Justin R. Kalmes | | firstname.lastname@example.org
After leaving his previous employer, Gillette Associates of Farmington Hills, Mich., April 14, Gary Thompson started work as the new executive director of the Oregon Economic Development Foundation just four days later.
”I’m very excited about this position and I’m anxious to get started,” Thompson said April 20 from his barren office, evidence it was only his third day on the job.
Though he hadn’t tended to the dècor in his workspace, that didn’t mean Thompson wasn’t already knee-deep in tasks related to his new role. He said he had started meeting and talking with some of the foundation’s some 110 members to gather their input.
”To digest all that,” he said with a smile, ”is going to be an interesting task.”
A Toledo native, Thompson lives in Oregon, which he said plays in his favor because he’s already familiar with the business climate there. He said his predecessor, Dean Monske, who left to take a position with the Regional Growth Partnership, and the city’s government officials set a ”nice tone and direction” for him to take over and continue to make economic progress.
Because Oregon is such a large city geographically speaking, Thompson said, there are still large plots of available land for industrial and commercial development.
”That puts us in a pretty good position compared to the rest of the state,” he said.
Tracy Sallah, the foundation board’s president, said picking Thompson from a field of about 40 applicants was a natural choice because of his existing business contacts within the community. She said because he lives in Oregon, his transition into the new role would be seamless.
”We’re actually very happy to have Gary on board,” Sallah said. ”He has a business development background that is going to complement efforts made in Oregon toward industrial and business growth.”
Thompson said some of his goals are to work with area educational institutions to create new opportunities in and around Oregon for graduates, and to renew the foundation’s partnerships with entities that help it in its work such as the city, RGP and the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority.
When asked how he would sell Oregon to new developers, Thompson said he would offer them his honest opinion of the community.
”I can wholeheartedly say, ‘You need to be here because this is where I put my family interests as well,’” he said.