Search for economic developer down to five

CONYERS -- The field is narrowing in the search for an executive director of the Conyers-Rockdale Economic Development Council.

Conyers Mayor Randy Mills, who also serves as chairman of the CREDC, said five candidates out of 16 applicants have been selected for interviews, which will take place toward the end of the month.

"It is our goal to have the new director selected by the end of July with hopes that person can start by mid-August or the first part of September," Mills said.

Mills said the position had been advertised for 45 days in economic development magazines and websites. The top five candidates are from across the region with one or two from out of state.

"All of them have very deep government and economic development experience and background," he said. "I think we have five real good candidates."

The CREDC has been searching for a new executive director since Glenn Sears retired from the position at the end of 2012. Sears served as director of the CREDC since 2007 and is credited with putting the organization on a strong competitive footing.

"Glenn did an incredible job," Mills said, pointing out that Sears spearheaded the formation of the CREDC when he served as a member of the Rockdale County Board of Commissioners. "The mission was to bring the city and the county together to push the ball of economic development up the hill. It bodes so much better when you have a central authority that can do that. Glenn brought the knowledge of government and 40 years in economic development and industry to the table."

Those skills are just as important today, Mills said.

"We have to have somebody who understands the city and county governments and the very complicated arena of economic development," he said. "This is a person who can be a spokesperson for our community and will put Conyers and Rockdale County on the map."

The mission of the CREDC is to retain and expand existing industry and to recruit new businesses. Mills said that retail sales are very important to Conyers and Rockdale County right now and it's critical to expand the commercial base of the community.

"I'm sure that vision will be tweaked some as the new person takes on this role," Mills said.