Weber County hires Stuart Reid to $90,000 consultant position

Wednesday , January 14, 2015 - 1:13 PM

OGDEN — Weber County Commissioners approved a two-year economic development consulting contract Tuesday with former state Senator Stuart Reid.

Reid formerly served as Salt Lake City’s community and economic development director in the 1990s before being tapped for the same job in Ogden by former Mayor Matthew Godfrey in 2000. For several years, Reid and Godfrey agressively pursued redevelopment in downtown Ogden in an effort to regain ground that had cycled into blight.

Reid represented state Senate District 18 from 2011 to 2014.

“My hope and understanding is that he would work directly with our economic development department that is already up and functioning very well, and will add his expertise, knowledge, contacts and direction,” Commission Chairman Kerry Gibson said, “so that we might take economic development in this county to a new step and a new future.”

The county agreed to pay Reid $90,000 per year or $7,500 per month to “initiate and assess the economic status, perceptions and expectations of Weber County now and into the future,” the contract said.

That work will involve conducting a series of interviews and surveys with local government officials, and business development leaders countywide and beyond. Reid will also take stock of the county’s assets and liabilities to establish branding and strategy to help drive the county’s economic vitality forward.

Commissioner James Ebert expressed excitement to have Reid on board to augment the regional economic development work that Douglas Larsen, Weber County’s executive director over economic development, already has underway.

“We understand that there are so many different aspects of economic development,” Ebert said, “whether it’s our economic development plan or transportation, education or the arts, we‘re excited about bringing together all these aspects of our community to really strengthen what we can bring to our economic development expansion.”

Commissioner Matt Bell projected that the new effort will benefit residents by bringing jobs and expanding the tax base in areas of the county that have the capacity to grow.

Reid said that he hopes to offer an objective perspective on the county’s current economic status and how people feel about it.

“We’ll be doing a series of interviews with local government leaders, business leaders, developers and others both in and out of the county,” Reid said. “From that, we’ll try to develop a direction where they’d like to go and think they should go in the future.”

According to the contract, such strategies will be used to recruit business partners that will support anchor development projects in Weber County.

Contact reporter Cathy McKitrick at 801-625-4214 or cmckitrick@standard.net. Follow her on Twitter at @catmck.

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