Economic development efforts here now have a new leader.
Joe Stallings, a former economic development and media coordinator in Benson, will succeed Tony Beasley as Garner’s economic development director. His hiring was announced Wednesday. Beasley was hired as the new Inspections director in September.
Stallings, 27, spent 3 1/2 years as economic development and media coordinator in Benson. He was responsible for all town economic development activities and media efforts and oversaw the town’s Main Street program, grant programs and revolving loan fund.
He has experience working with both large industrial clients and experience with small and medium business,” said John Hodges, assistant town manager for development services. “That was a good fit for the Garner community because we have large opportunities like Garner Greenfield but also local businesses that have roots here in Garner and they need our attention to help grow their businesses.”
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Stallings will be responsible for recruiting businesses to Garner, and making sure existing businesses have what they need to succeed. He will also be a liaison to the Garner Development Corporation and help them market the Garner Technology site, which was once the former home to ConAgra.
“The ultimate goal with economic development is to encourage business development, encourage investment in our community, and to grow tax base,” Hodges said.
“I am excited to have Joe join Garner’s development services team,” Hodges said. “Joe brings a broad range of experience and an unbridled enthusiasm for economic development that will help us attract new business and investment to Garner while nurturing and growing our existing base.”
Stallings said he applied to be the economic development director in Garner because he thought it would be a great fit for him.
“Garner has a lot of opportunities for great economic development projects,” he said. It’s a growing vibrant community in a great location.”
Stallings earned his master’s degree in public administration from Appalachian State University where he also received his bachelor’s degree in political science with a concentration in town, city and county management and a minor in planning. He said one of his biggest accomplishments in Benson was helping to build stronger relationships with the business community and local government through economic development.
“I look forward to joining the Garner team and continuing with the great work that has already been done – especially working on the Garner Technology Center site,” Stallings said.
He is a graduate of the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Government’s Municipal and County Administration Program and Essentials of Economic Development course as well as the North Carolina Rural Economic Development Institute. He has served on the Benson Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors as well as the Johnston County Visitors Bureau Board.
Stallings will begin work in Garner on Jan. 26. His salary is set at $67,000.