GLASGOW – The search committee looking to find the next executive director for the Barren County Economic Authority concluded its first meeting Wednesday with unanimous agreement on recommendations to be taken to the BCEA board of directors for the path forward.
The search was necessitated by the resignation of Dan Iacconi, which was tendered in January and effective June 30, but in the interim, a subcommittee was tasked with determining whether a new executive director-type position was even the desired outcome. That group did end up recommending that, along with some other items, but because changes in the board of directors were afoot, and all of its members were part of the larger search committee of which the subcommittee was part, a new, smaller search committee was named last month.
Larry D. Glass, who is chairing the group, composed also of Pat Vann, Don Baker, Ben Quinn, Magistrate Carl Dickerson and Scott Young, brought the group back from a closed session of approximately 35 minutes and options were discussed a little further before the votes were taken.
Quinn had spoken with former state Sen. Richie Sanders, who works with a group called Capital Link Consultants, which has been engaged before by Quinn's company, American Engineers Inc. as well as the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce and local governments, he said.
He had asked Sanders whether he would entertain helping the BCEA with its search, and he was onboard with that, Quinn said.
“What I also suggest is, it seems like we're starting from almost zero, moving forward, and I think anything we can do moving forward in terms of finding that person – a headhunter or whatever else – that's what we need to do,” he added.
Owen Lambert, BCEA chair, said he'd been in touch with The Pace Group, a firm out of Tupelo, Mississippi that did some work for the economic authority in 2004 since learning of Iacconi's resignation.
“It's a professional executive search firm that, they say that about 90 percent of their work is in developing partnerships or placing executive directors for economic development authorities, and they do almost exclusive economic development work. They've got a nationwide reach, but their primary location is here in the South,” Lambert said. “Their typical compensation is one-third of the initial salary for that person, but they've told us that they will put some limitations on that. … We've been successful with them.”
He said Ron Bunch, president and CEO of the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce, was one of the references listed on The Pace Group's prospectus. Economic development efforts for Warren County are handled through that chamber.
Bunch had also been at the meeting for the first 75 minutes of it, before the closed session, to discuss services he and his team could provide for the authority in the interim until a director is hired, which are also part of the committee's recommendations.
“I think it's vital that we come up with a plan of action so that we can make some type of recommendation to the [board] Friday,” said Young, vice chair of the BCEA board. As with Lambert's, his normal term ended June 30 and he has asked not to be reappointed, but pending changes in the interlocal agreement that establishes the organization have held up a decision on who will replace them. The agreement allows their terms to continue until their successors are in place. “To me, time is of the essence, and I don't think we need to let this linger. … I think we have the opportunity to leverage both of these entities.”
He put that, essentially, in the form of a motion for a recommendation for the full board, which was then approved unanimously.
Glass then steered them back to the question of whether to recommend “entering a contractual arrangement with Ron Bunch, and specifically, as referenced today, No. 1, the regional marketing partnership services, which is roughly a cost of $8,000 [to] 8,500, based on the [2010 census] population of Barren County, … and then No. 2, the extended economic development services, more specifically, an assessment – he made it very clear that he wanted to personally put his hands on things and look at the data, possibly organize the data. It was referenced today that we need some organization in that area.”
Glass continued to describe a little more the potential work, which would primarily focus on existing companies and/or clients, that had been discussed earlier in the meeting with Bunch, and he invited a motion, which was provided and approved unanimously.
Bunch had said that, other than the regional marketing partnership, which includes Allen and Logan counties and Morgantown in addition to Bowling Green-Warren County and the contribution for which is based on population, he could not quote them a dollar amount for the work until he had a clearer understanding of exactly what all would be desired or needed. For example, he would need to know how often personnel would need to physically be in the county, how much reporting and to whom would be necessary and how much of the work would focus on retention and expansion of existing businesses in relation to attracting new ones, he said, but after further discussion of some of the expectations, he expected he could get them some preliminary figures before the board's regular meeting Friday.
Also present at the meeting at the Glasgow Water Co., where Young is general manager, were Jackie Brown, also a voting member of the authority, Barren County Judge-Executive Micheal Hale, a nonvoting authority member, and Ernie Myers, executive vice president and chief operations officer of the Glasgow-Barren County Chamber of Commerce.