Garner’s economic development director Tony Beasley won’t be trolling for business prospects any more.
In a surprise move announced Wednesday, Garner Town Manager Hardin Watkins said he was moving Beasley to a position as the town’s chief building inspector. The move is consensual. Beasley applied for the position when a retirement created the vacancy. And Beasley has experience in the field. He came to Garner as an employee in the inspections department.
Still the move is a blow for Garner’s economic development efforts, which have become particularly aggressive in recent months. With a prime marketable site where the former ConAgra plant once stood, the town has been pushing to lure cutting-edge biomedical concerns to the site. And land around the White Oak is also aggressively being developed.
Though Beasley is not a one-man show – he worked with a private non profit agency that could move independent of town approval – he was clearly a key cog in that operation.
Beasley’s not going so far that he can’t be available to assist with economic development duties until a new director is appointed. And Garner has secured a pledge from the Wake County economic development office to provide additional support during the transition.
Beasley’s move can’t help but to be a challenge the town will now have to overcome. Beasley had developed relationships in the field with recruiters and prospects and those folks will now have to build a new relationship with someone else.
Since the move seems to be one Beasley wanted, we have to be glad for him, but it’s hard to imagine the town’s economic development efforts will go unaffected by the move.
We hope Watkins, the town manager, has already started down the road to naming a successor. Beasley’s transfer is going to stymie the town’s progress, even if momentarily. The town can ill afford to drop any balls now and rebuilding stability in the economic development field is critical to the entire town.