Yarmouth seeks director of economic development

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YARMOUTH — The town plans to hire its first economic development director to lead an effort to attract more businesses.

According to the town website, the director will be expected to work with different town departments and services to “support and enhance the features and programs of Yarmouth that make it an attractive place and market for business investment and community life.”

The was created after the Town Council appointed a group to come up with ideas for economic development. The group looked at surrounding towns and realized Yarmouth was the only one without an economic development director.

“We know who we are, but we haven’t really put it together to go out into the marketplace,” Councilor Tamson Bickford-Hamrock said.

The position will have an initial three-year tenure. At that point the council will evaluate it to see if the job and advisory board should continue. The director’s salary will be $60,000-$75,000 a year, depending on experience.

Bickford-Hamrock was part of the group behind creating the new position, along with Councilors Jim MacLeod and Pat Thompson, Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Carolyn Schuster, Chamber of Commerce board member Ed Libby, and resident Peter Small.

Bickford-Hamrock said the economic development director will be expected to “know the players” in Augusta and throughout the state, as well as in Yarmouth. She said the person will be expected to make good contacts the town can use to build business relationships.

The director will work with an economic development advisory board and the council, and will report to Town Manager Nat Tupper. The group is currently looking at people in town who would be a good fit for the advisory board, and the council will have to approve each member. Tupper said the board will have five to nine members.

Tupper is recruiting candidates for the director position and said he will be accepting resumes through Oct. 27. He said he is searching throughout New England and New York. As of Tuesday, he said he had about a dozen resumes.

Tupper said that while he and the group know what they want for the town’s economic development, they want the director to be someone who will guide them.

“There is a shared sense of what we’d like to accomplish, but it’ll be a two-way learning process,” he said. “There’s an openness for changing course a little bit.”

Tupper said the director and the board will have to look at maintaining current businesses in the village, as well as bringing new businesses into town. He said they have not yet decided which will be given “more weight.”

Bickford-Hamrock said new developments will have to respect existing town values.

Tupper agreed, and said he wants to have the director start by January. He said he hopes the person can be useful for Yarmouth and create growth for the town.

“We’re looking for new businesses and taxable developments that fit into the community and create a positive outcome for the town,” he said.

Kate Gardner can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or kgardner@theforecaster.net. Follow her on Twitter: @katevgardner.

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I'm a reporter for The Forecaster covering Freeport, Yarmouth, Chebeague Island, and Cape Elizabeth. I'm from a small town in NH no one's ever heard of. When not reporting, I can be found eating pasta and reading books, often at the same time.