Hiring of EDC Executive Director announced
By LYNETTE SOWELL
The more than one-year quest for an executive director for the Copperas Cove Economic Development Corporation has come to an end.
At Tuesday evening’s meeting of the Copperas Cove city council, City Manager Andrea Gardner announced that the city’s human resources department made an offer of employment for the EDC executive director position.
“I am happy to report to you that I have offered the position of economic development director to a gentleman named Marc Farmer. He is set to join the city in June. We are very excited to have him come on board. He will be introduced to the community through a typical meet-and-greet for new directors in the city, and I hope that the city will come out and support him, and welcome him to our community, as you have all the other directors. We look forward to many great things from him, as we have from Mr. Joe Brown and Mr. Michael Cleghorn recently.”
From 2015 until now, Farmer has been the president of the Jacksonville Economic Development Corporation. Prior to that, he was the director of business recruitment for Fast Facility/Fast GIS, a Lubbock area company, from 2012-2015.
The largest chunk of Farmer's EDC experience has taken place in Lubbock from 2004-2012, where he was the director of business recruitment for the Lubbock Economic Development Alliance.
Farmer has a B.S. in business administration from Wayland Baptist University and studied at the University of Oklahoma’s Economic Development Institute from 2004-2006.
Farmer’s LinkedIn profile touts his track record for the city of Lubbock. During the eight years at the LEDA, he assisted in the development of two business parks, including the 586-acre Lubbock Business Park and the 300-acre Lubbock Rail Port, with a potential impact of $894 million.
He also independently secured over 40 deals since 2004, including foreign direct investments, with businesses established in Lubbock generated over 1,600 new employees, over $120 million in annual salaries, and over $200 million in capital investments.
In 2010, Farmer was appointed to then-Governor Rick Perry to the Texas Economic Development Corporation Board of Directors.
The EDC has had an interim executive director since the departure of Polo Enriquez in August 2015. In December 2015, the EDC board wanted to appoint MacKay to the executive director position, but the council instead directed the board to search for a director and in January 2016, gave its nod for MacKay to be interim executive director, retroactive to August 2015. Following MacKay’s resignation in November 2016 after the EDC became a city department under the city manager, the council approved city manager Andrea Gardner as the interim executive director.
At one point, Gardner had expressed to the council her idea for an exit strategy after her retirement at the close of her contract with the city—Jan. 31, 2022—after which she wanted to become the EDC’s executive director. However, the council gave no direction and took no action on that idea, instead directing her to continue the search for a director.
The EDC had hired an executive search firm in February 2016, paying Austin-based Johnson & Associates $15,000 plus expenses for them to search for and hire a director. However, during a subsequent time of contention between the council and the EDC board, those prospects either withdrew their names from consideration or accepted positions elsewhere, leaving MacKay the sole applicant at that time.
The city took up the EDC executive director search in October 2016 after the Copperas Cove city council voted to bring the EDC along with its employees under the city manager’s purview and to become a department of the city.