Monday, April 6, 2015

Economic development agencies merge to form REDI

There was a shift Monday in eastern Idaho’s economic development landscape as two agencies — Grow Idaho Falls and Bingham Economic Development — joined to form the Regional Economic Development Corporation for Eastern Idaho, REDI for short.

The merger was announced at Golden Valley Natural Foods in Shelley. “(REDI) is a vital partnership that allows us to offer prospective and existing companies the best locations, business and talent options to meet their needs,” said Bank of Idaho CEO Park Price, a member of REDI’s executive board.

Both organizations have been on the scene for years. Grow Idaho Falls started in the 1990s as Initiative 2000, then became the Eastern Idaho Economic Development Council. The name change to Grow Idaho Falls happened around 2003.

According to a news release, merger talks began in September 2013. “(There) was a compelling reason to change our strategy and combine forces for the benefit of business expansion, retention and job growth,” Price said. “Together, we represent the second largest workforce in the state of Idaho. … REDI builds on what we’re already doing and takes it to the next level with a unified voice and focus on putting business needs first.”
Darlene Gerry

Darlene Gerry has been named to serve as REDI’s interim executive director as a search committee looks for someone to fill the position. Gerry retired in 2014 from her job as Idaho State University’s executive director of research innovation. Her partners on the REDI executive search committee are Scott Hinschberger, Sylvia Medina, Roger Plothow and Mark Baker.

“REDI is about more than Bingham and Bonneville counties,” Gerry said. “It’s about the region in the broadest sense. When we work collaboratively to attract companies looking to relocate and to help our existing industries grow, we all win.”

On a separate but related note, the city of Idaho Falls is advertising for its own economic development coordinator. The job description reads: “This position assists in the recruitment, retention, expansion, and promotion of business to further economic and business developments in the city; participates in administrative and operational activities associated with economic business development; researches and formulates long-range goals for the city; develops policies and procedures, position papers and negotiates with administrative and/or elected officials regarding incentives for various types of projects that will further benefit the community’s economic development efforts. Interfaces and coordinates with the development community, local businesses and various city divisions, and staff.”

Salary range is advertised at $59,612 to $83,616 annually. Applications are being taken through 5 p.m. Thursday.