Copperas Cove EDC hosts reception for executive director finalists
By BRITTANY FHOLER
The Copperas Cove Economic Development Corporation presented its four finalists in its search for a new Executive Director with a reception held Wednesday evening at the Holy Family Catholic Church Social Hall.
EDC board chairman J.C. Stubbs said that the board began the process of looking for a new director last fall by selecting Johnson & Associates as the consulting firm for the search for a new director. With Johnson & Associates, the CCEDC board reviewed cover letters and two-minute videos from interested applicants in December and then conducted Zoom meetings on December 15, after which they narrowed down the candidates to four finalists. These four finalists were then invited to visit Copperas Cove for breakfast, lunch, a tour and then a reception and dinner on Wednesday evening ahead of the in-person interviews scheduled for Thursday.
As of press time, the board’s decision on a new executive director had not been announced.
The EDC’s Assistant Director Diane Drussell is one of the four finalists who made it through the initial Zoom interview process, along with Guy Andrews, Scott Jones and Fred Welch.
Drussell has also been serving as the EDC’s interim executive director after Jonas Titas stepped down to take the same position in Victoria. She has also served as the EDC’s Business Retention Specialist for the past nine years, and became the Assistant Director in March 2018. Prior to joining the Copperas Cove EDC, she worked as the Programs Manager for the Greater Killeen Chamber of Commerce up from 2007 to early 2013.
Guy Andrews has been the Director of Economic Development for the San Angelo Economic Development Corporation since June 2018. Prior to that he served as the Executive Director of Economic Development in Brownwood from 2015 to 2018. He also served as the director of economic development for the Odessa Chamber of Commerce and worked in the private sector in Odessa as well.
Scott Jones has 40 years of experience in real estate, 18 years of experience in site selection on the private sector side and seven years on the economic development/public side. He served as a city councilmember for the city of Frisco before the age of 30 and has also worked in project management, serving as that company’s in-house real estate department. From 2014 to 2016, he served as the Executive Director of Economic Development for the Greater Odessa Chamber of Commerce. He left Odessa to serve as the Director of Economic Development for Navarro County and its county seat, the city of Corsicana from 2016 to 2018. He then served as the interim director at the City of Ferris Type A and Type B Economic Development Corporation from December 2018 to June 2019. From September 2019 to October 2021, Jones had served as the CEO/Executive Director of the Dickinson Economic Development Corporation.
Fred Welch is a veteran who exited the military after Operation Desert Storm. He served as the Executive Director of the Brazoria County Partnership from July 1997 to July 2002 before moving into his role as Executive Director of Pearland Economic Development Corporation in Pearland, Texas, from 2002 to 2007. From 2010 to 2014, he served as the Vice President of Regional Economic Development for the Greater Houston Partnership and then became the Executive Director of the Greater Conroe Economic Development Council from October 2014 to present. He has also served as the Vice President of the Economic Alliance Houston Port Region since October 2017 and as a self-employed contractor acting as an economic development consultant since October 2019. For the past eight months, he has been the Senior Director of the Greater Houston Partnership, working with the Regional Economic Development team.
Also present at the reception were Mayor Dan Yancey, three city council members to include Joann Courtland, Shawn Alzona and Jack Smith; Copperas Cove Police Chief Eddie Wilson, City Secretary Lisa Wilson, Development Services Director Bobby Lewis and Parks and Recreation Director Jeff Stoddard.
Yancey said that having the finalists at this reception is an important first step for what he wants to see happen in Copperas Cove.
“I think we’re in a huge, huge opportunity zone that we can actually maximize the things that we are good at, workout the things that we’re not as good at, it get a lot better at it, and be a shining star in Central Texas region,” Yancey said.
Courtland said that she was glad to be able to come out and talk with the different finalists and added that she agreed with Yancey about the city being poised to dig in and make a difference.
Smith said that he is familiar with the EDC, having served on the board of directors in the past and growing up in Copperas Cove. He echoed that Copperas Cove is ready for businesses.
“We have land available. We have the people available, and we’re positioned here in Central Texas. We finally have an interstate that comes right to our front door, so Copperas Cove is on the edge of this exploding growth, and that’s what we need is somebody here to hit a home run and bring it home for us.”
City Secretary Lisa Wilson called herself a “homegrown” Covite, who grew up in Copperas Cove, went to school here, graduated here, married here and raised her family here.
“This is my hometown. I want to see my hometown be successful,” Wilson said. “I want to see it grow but grow in a in a positive manner. I want to see more jobs coming to this area. I want to see just success for Copperas Cove because I’ve been here, I’ve seen the past. I’m looking forward to the future, not just for me, for my family, for my children and my grandchild.”
Development Services Director Bobby Lewis said he felt encouraged about the strong group of finalists.
“I’ve seen firsthand all the tremendous growth we’ve had in the last three years,” Lewis said. He mentioned the city’s effort to track rooftops and new residential developments, available via the city’s planning website.
“We have done, I think, a pretty good job of trying to promote the city, but this position is going to be key to that promotion, and so we’re poised to have some really good, exciting things happening in our city and I’m excited to be a part of it,” Lewis said. “Welcome.”