Gilroy Today 2010 06 Summer - Page 32

G I L R O Y’ S G O T P R OS Meet Richard Spitler, new EDC President/CEO The Gilroy Economic Development Corporation, funded by the City of Gilroy, the Chamber of Commerce, and a variety of business partners recently hired Richard Spitler as their President/CEO. His mission is to foster economic development in Gilroy. By Larry Mickartz Richard is no stranger to contrasts or challenges. He graduated from UCSC with a degree in Biology and Environmental Science. He quickly got a real world education as a community planner in Alaska. It did not take him long to learn some serious life lessons on the delicate balance between the environment, employment, culture, planning and economics. A total commitment to any one probably spells disaster for many. Early in his career Richard vividly remembers presenting a planning issue to the elders of a remote Native American community. They quietly and respectfully listen to his presentation. He was then asked to leave the room. From outside the room he could hear people shouting, fists pounding on tables, extreme agitation. He figured his proposal was dead. A while later he was invited back in. Calmly one of the elders explained how they would comply with the planning issue. Lesson learned? Outsiders do not always get to be part of the process. Lessons learned in Alaska have stayed with Richard as he worked various jobs and raised a family. Richard’s wife is a teacher in the Healdsburg area and will be joining him after school gets out. His kids learned the diversity lesson well. He has a daughter in Portland; a son in Australia; and another son in South Korea! Richard has been on both sides of the planning counter. He has represented a city as a planning director but he has also represented a redevelopment agency that had to secure planning and permits from the city. With both perspectives in his repertoire Richard is well prepared to bring development to the City of Gilroy. Richard Zahner, the interim EDC Director and the EDC Board spent the better part of last year studying and preparing for a new EDC plan. Richard Spitler has been very impressed with the existing cooperation between the Chamber, EDC, the Visitors Bureau and the City. This spirit eliminates one major hurdle to accomplishing an effective and focused economic development plan. Richard believes that, at this point, we need less introspection and more outreach and more investment in the community. 32 G I L R O Y T O D A Y S P R I N G 2 0 1 0