Economic partnership to look for new leader; Driggers to step down
The Grand Junction Economic Partnership is looking for a new executive to lead its efforts to attract business to the Grand Valley.
CEO Ann Driggers said Tuesday she is stepping down to pursue other opportunities. Her departure leaves the organization to search for a new leader as it girds to deal with a tight supply of companies looking to relocate.
Driggers’ end to a decade-long tenure at the partnership comes at a time in which economic-development efforts are running up against a national market that is paralyzed by economic uncertainty, said Steve Gunderson, chairman of the GJEP board.
Driggers will remain on for 90 days to assist with the transition to new leadership.
“It was a very difficult decision for me to make,” Driggers said of her departure, noting that 10 years was a long tenure, and it was time to “seek out new challenges and opportunities.”
The partnership board has made no immediate plan to replace Driggers, Gunderson said. She, likewise, has made no plans for a new position, preferring to concentrate on economic development in Grand Junction.
“I can’t half-move on to the next step,” Driggers said in an interview in Gunderson’s office in US Bank, 422 White Ave., where he is regional president.
Among recent successes, Driggers pointed to the expansion of Leitner-Poma, which specializes in cable-driven transportation systems, and the attraction of Maverick Companies LLC, which offers oil and gas stimulation services. The partnership has focused on attracting primary businesses that produce goods and provide services.
Not only does the partnership have to find a replacement for Driggers, it has to confront the difficult reality of the national economy, Gunderson said.
The savings rate for individuals and companies is the “highest we’ve ever seen,” Gunderson said, suggesting economic activity has slowed to a standstill.
“So, people and companies are nervous” and fearful of making any kind of move, Gunderson said. “This is an economy the likes of which this country has never seen.”
At some point, though, that will change, Driggers said, and the partnership is positioned to take advantage of opportunities when they arise.
The partnership is prepared to react to any loosening in the market, Gunderson said, pointing to its website, http://www.gjep.org, which was recognized as the best general-purpose website for communities of 25,000 to 250,000 people by the International Economic Development Council.