EDO searches for executive director

By on March 21, 2018

The newly formed Ephrata Development Organization (EDO) is on the hunt for an executive director.

The not-for-profit EDO will be the only public/private partnership recognized by the Ephrata Borough for economic development focus, and was formed from the merger of three former economic groups: Ephrata Economic Development Corporation (EEDC); Ephrata Alliance; and Downtown Ephrata Inc. or DEI.

“This is a historic shift (for economic development),” said Penn Ketchum, vice-chairman of the EDO.

The EDO will help streamline economic development projects, while at the same time avoiding duplication of services by organizations working on similar projects.

The not-for-profit group hopes to increase prosperity for the borough.

“We need someone to guide us, to show what we can do to get there,” Ketchum said.

Ketchum, with his wife, Aimee, is the owner of the New Main Theater in Ephrata, and the Penn Cinema in Lititz.

Bob Harter, owner of the Black Forest Brewery, is the chairman of the new organization.

Ephrata Borough Council recently authorized leasing offices to the group with no rent and no electric utility fees to be charged in the railroad station on East Main Street. Those offices will serve as a meeting place of the EDO, and house the offices of the executive director of the organization, and an administrative assistant.

The new organization is in its earliest stages and might even have a name change before everything is settled, Ketchum said.

But the main focus right now is to find a capable leader to pilot the group that plans to enhance Ephrata’s prosperity.

“We want to promote the job search in the hopes of getting a good local candidate,” Ketchum said. “We’re really just in the gestational stage, but we want to hire someone who can help tell Ephrata’s story.”

The position is available now, as is a position for an administrative assistant for the EDO.

Interviews will be ongoing for several weeks, and the EDO would like to have their executive director in place by late spring, if possible.

“We’re looking for help, and while we would like to find someone familiar with the community, if we have to hire outside the community, we’ll do that; it all depends on capability of the candidate,” Ketchum said. “We want someone who has had economic development experience and someone who is excited about working locally.”

Slackers need not apply. The EDO is looking for high ideals in its executive director, including someone who is dynamic, self-motivated, and organized.

The job listing includes looking for someone with experience in local, state, and federal economic development programs, knowledge of community business attraction and growth, not-for-profit budget and finance experience, understanding of municipal financial regulatory and reporting requirements, skills in guiding a volunteer board and committees, and experience in implementing a strategic communications plan.

The position is full-time with a limited budget, according to the job listing draft.

The job will also require evening meetings, occasional weekend activities, and regional travel.

“We’re interested in someone who can work with the community,” Ketchum said. “Another main focus is having an understanding of economic development and the ability to work successfully in a community.”

The EDO is looking for someone who can guide the organization to its main goal of promoting and expanding economic development within the borough, Ketchum said.

Other members of the EDO board include Penny Talbert, executive director of the Ephrata Area Public Library; Rebecca Gallagher, owner of the Smithton Inn; Linda Martin, member of Ephrata’s Borough Council; and attorney Tony Kilkuskie.

The group has been meeting for the past year and is in the process of taking care of logistical and legal matters related to the formation of the entity, Ketchum said.

Regarding the position for administrative assistant, the job description states the assistant will be the support help to the executive director and will fill in when the director is unavailable.

Included in the requirements are a working knowledge of Microsoft Suite, including Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, experience with database management tools, bookkeeping skills and experience with QuickBooks, website management experience, and social media experience.

This part-time, hourly position may lead to a full-time salaried position.

For more information, contact Bob Harter at 610-698-1546.

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