MORGAN -- After beating out 22 other applicants, Blaine Gehring officially got his start as Morgan County's new planning and development services department director on March 12.
"We interviewed several great candidates for this position, and we are pleased to welcome Blaine on board," said Morgan County Council Chairwoman Tina Kelley.
Gehring's resume includes planning and economic development duties for the cities of North Salt Lake, Bluffdale, Bountiful, Murray and West Jordan.
He is currently a partner with the Economic Development Planning Group and an adjunct faculty member at the University of Phoenix, where he teaches evening business classes.
"Neither of these positions would take time away from my Morgan County duties," he said. "They will come first."
After working for more than three decades in various planning capacities along the Wasatch Front, Gehring said Morgan County presents "a whole different perspective" because it is a rural part of the "Wasatch Back."
"Planning for growth while preserving the agricultural setting and lands is important to Morgan County residents and officials," Gehring said in an email.
"I hope to play an important role in that planning effort. I have contacts and experience in economic development that can help the county."
Gehring is not entirely unfamiliar with the Morgan area, as his wife's great-great-grandparents, Samuel and Esther Francis, were among the early settlers in the area. Also, his in-laws were raised in Morgan.
"We have come to love this valley as a result of those ancestral ties," said Gehring, a Riverton resident.
Gehring is a past city planner at Bluffdale, where Morgan County's former planning director Grant Crowell is now employed. He said he and Crowell know each other through their involvement with professional organizations.
Gehring has a master's degree in regional and community planning from Kansas State University and a master's of business administration from University of Phoenix.