The RGP searchWritten by Tom Pounds | President / Publisher | firstname.lastname@example.org
The Savannah Morning News reported Sept. 28 that Steve Weathers, president and CEO of Toledo’s Regional Growth Partnership (RGP), has been named the new president and CEO of the Savannah Economic Development Authority.
The RGP defines itself as “a private-sector-driven and funded economic development company, focused to meet the needs of clients in a confidential, innovative and time-sensitive fashion.” RGP has offered such strong programs as Rocket ventures, a technology venture fund, has helped guide companies such as Xunlight through growth stages and works to promote the region internationally.
RGP officials say the group will form a search committee to hire a replacement.
“This is an opportunity for us to look where the organization needs to go and to hire a leader that is best prepared to lead us in that direction,” said Jim Hoffman, president of KeyBank and vice chairman of the RGP board.
The temptation in these searches is sometimes to automatically look on the national stage for someone with a bigger-city resume and bigger-city experience. But RGP is in a unique position to start its search right here at home, and I hope the search committee gives as much weight to local candidates as it does to national ones.
While it is always impressive to announce an organization has recruited a new player from a bigger market, RGP needs a leader who knows the local business scene, its key players and the cumulative strengths and weaknesses that give this area its unique flavor. This is not about parochialism; it is about RGP having someone who doesn’t have to learn about the region to begin selling it.
There is public buzz that Dean Monske, a former RGP vice president who now serves the Bell administration as deputy mayor of external relations, could be a candidate for the job. Monske, a Bowling Green State University graduate who also served as executive director of the Economic Development Foundation in the city of Oregon, would be a strong choice for the position. Monske would have to decide whether such a move would help or hurt the city’s specific efforts, but his contributions to the region as a whole would continue to be important.
The RGP will undoubtedly have a strong choice of candidates, and while it does have a duty to consider all applicants in its search, it will be well-served to consider homegrown talent; who better to sell our region than someone who can say he or she believes in it enough to have lived and worked here?
Thomas F. Pounds is president and publisher of Toledo Free Press and Toledo Free Press Star. Contact him via e-mail at email@example.com.