The Merced County Economic Development Corporation has selected David Spaur as its new chief executive officer. Spaur most recently served as the city of Sacramento's economic development director.
He also served as president and CEO of Fresno County's economic development corporation and has worked in economic development programs in San Luis Obispo and Mesa, Ariz.
Merced City Manager John Bramble, who served on MCEDCO's CEO search committee, said he was impressed with Spaur's credentials.
“He was definitely my number one candidate, and I believe he’ll be a tremendous asset to our community,” Bramble said in a press release.
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Spaur has been helped form more than 10 general plan updates, seven redevelopment districts and five economic development strategies, the press release noted.
While serving in Sacramento, Spaur managed a 24-person economic development staff with an operating budget of $5.2 million. MCEDCO, a 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 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 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.