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Former journalist heads up WCED

Hicks’ top goal is maintaining, growing local businesses

September 16, 2012
By EMILIE NELSON, , Messenger News

CLARION - Wright County Economic Development has a new face at the helm.

Bradley Hicks started his job with the organization Sept. 4, He succeeds Dennis Bowman, who will retire in October after 11 years on the job.

At present, Hicks is working his way into his new leadership role while getting to know the people and businesses of Wright County.

Hicks, who has a background in the newspaper and publishing business, has several years of economic development and Chamber of Commerce experience, having served on various boards and committees for more than 20 years.

"I served six years on the Franklin County Economic Development Board, and spent 20 years on various chamber committees, so I am familiar with development," he said.

As director, Hicks said there will be "several jobs within the job" that he will be undertaking.

"The chief responsibility is that the people in business in Wright County continue to stay in business," said Hicks. "And if there are ways the Development Office can help them grow we will work hard to do that. The is our No. 1 goal."

Hicks said he is impressed with the number of skilled labor jobs available within Wright County, but there is always room for expansion and new business.

"A second goal would be to work hard to find and attract new business that fits well in the area," he said. It's very much a communications, marketing, business and research job; that's what drew me to it, it involves all things I enjoy."

Hicks said he looks forward to getting to know the businesses and people of Wright County in the coming weeks.

"Denny Bowman has done an outstanding job as director," Hicks said. "I've got some big shoes to fill. My first priority is to get out and meet the people and learn as much as I can as fast as I can."

Hicks said he would like to continue to attract potential employees for the skilled labor positions that are available in Wright County.

There are a couple of companies that have expanded or are working on expansions," he said. "We need to further the skilled labor force in our county; it can be hard to find, and these companies pay good wages to recruit."

He said that with bringing jobs to the region there is also a need for more housing.

"There is a tight housing market here," he said. "That is indicative a strong economy; people are living and working here and they have jobs they want to stay with."

As director, Hicks will report to a five-member board of directors that is appointed by the Wright County Board of Supervisors.

"Wright County is different than some counties because Economic Development is a government job," he said.

Bowman said he is confident he has left the development position in good hands.

"I'm really comfortable with the selection," said Bowman. "We've been planning for my retirement for almost two years, but it was time."

"Everyone has been great in helping me get started," Hicks said. "And I appreciate that."



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