06/09/05 — Development commission hires existing business specialist

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Development commission hires existing business specialist

By Barbara Arntsen
Published in News on June 9, 2005 1:45 PM

A local businessman has been hired by the Economic Development Commission to work with existing businesses in Wayne County.

Mike Haney, of Goldsboro, will be the new existing business and industry coordinator. He is the previous owner and operator of Athlete's Choice and will begin his new position on July 1.

Wayne County Commissioners approved Tuesday a salary of $45,000 for the position.

State and local industry hunters agreed at the EDC retreat in February that Wayne County was not doing enough for industries that already operate in the county.

Existing businesses had emerged as a top priority last year too, and money was budgeted for a new person in the EDC office to do the job.

But when the EDC prepared to hire someone, a member of the board of county commissioners balked and nothing was ever done. That member, Arnold Flowers, has since retired from the board.

According to the EDC, existing industries in Wayne County provided more than 200 manufacturing jobs and $17 million in investments in 2004.

In March, the commissioners approved adding the position and a search began for the position.

EDC President Joanna Thompson said over 50 applications were received and that the interview process was very thorough and methodical.

"We wanted to make sure we found the right person for this very important job," she said. "Mike brings a wealth of business knowledge and experience to the EDC. In addition, he has lived in the area for 25 years, is active in community affairs, and is really dedicated to making a difference in Wayne County."

Jimmie Ford, EDC chairman, said that Haney was well qualified for the job.

"He is also very likeable, which will help him build relationships with our business and industry leaders," Ford said. "We are anxious to get him started."