The Merced County Economic Development Corp. said it hired David Spaur, who most recently served the city of Sacramento as its economic development director, as its new CEO.
MCEDCO said Spaur was an economic developer with more than 20 years experience in the public and private sectors.
The appointment was announced by J. Christopher Winek, chairman of the MCEDCO board.
"Mr. Spaur is well established in the economic development field and is a known commodity among many of MCEDCO's existing partners at the local, state, and federal levels," said Winek, vice president of Business Banking for F&M Bank of Central California.
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Spaur holds degrees and certificates from the American Graduate School of International Management, the American Economic Development Council, and the National Development Council. Before becoming Sacramento's chief economic development officer, he served as the president and CEO of Fresno County's Economic Development Corp. from 2001 to 2007. He has also worked in economic development programs in San Luis Obispo County and Mesa, Ariz.
Merced City Manager John Bramble, who served on MCEDCO's CEO search committee, said in a news release that he was impressed with Spaur's credentials.
"He was definitely my No. 1 candidate, and I believe he'll be a tremendous asset to our community," Bramble said.
Los Banos City Manager Steve Rath, who also served on the search committee, echoed Bramble's remarks in the news release.
"I'm pleased with his background and the number of successful projects he's completed," Rath said. "MCEDCO has been a good partner with the city of Los Banos and I know David's going to continue to build on that good relationship."
Spaur said: "Throughout my career, I have been involved in over 10 general plan updates, seven redevelopment districts, and five economic development strategies," Spaur said. "Prior to my Sacramento experience, I served as the CEO for three different nonprofit corporations representing over 20 diverse communities, 60 boards of directors and over 200 elected officials."
While serving in Sacramento, Spaur managed a 24-person economic development staff with an operating budget of $5.2 million. MCEDCO, a much smaller operation, has two staff members and an operating budget of less than $500,000.
"I'm leaving a city position and going back to a position with countywide responsibilities," Spaur said in the news release. "Many of our larger cities are imploding under budget deficits and the taking of redevelopment funds by the state. Strong development programs are being weakened by this; however, Merced is well-positioned for economic growth with a rapidly developing university and a very strong community college district. Merced also has an excellent freeway and highway infrastructure and is in a good position to attract high-speed rail projects."
Spaur said Merced County has "great potential" to attract business entrepreneurs and start-up companies, especially in alternative energy and agriculture.
"The immediate challenge for MCEDCO will be fundraising through membership donations," Spaur said. "Membership support really dictates the program. How many jobs we create depends on how much funding we have."
Spaur and his wife have been married for 26 years. The couple has three adult children attending Folsom Lake Community College in the Los Rios Community College District.
MCEDCO was established in 1994 as a 501(c) 4 private/public nonprofit organization serving cities and unincorporated communities within Merced County. MCEDCO said its mission is to facilitate regional wealth generation and community prosperity through new employment, increased investment and diversification of the Merced County economy. Its main focus is to encourage economic activity through retention and expansion of existing businesses, recruitment of new enterprises and encouraging entrepreneurs and small business startups.
For more information on MCEDCO, visit http://www.mcedco.com.