With an eye toward the revitalization of the greater-Rutland County economy, Rutland Economic Development Corp. has adopted a new mission and vision and signed a partnership agreement with the Castleton University Center for Entrepreneurial Programs.
“REDC will retain a focus on supporting and retaining our largest employers while broadening efforts to recruit smaller businesses and talent to the region, in partnership with Castleton University and others,” REDC Board President Mark Foley Jr. said. “Since it was founded, REDC has evolved in steps, from a focus strictly on industrial development to our new mission, which takes a broader view of socioeconomic development and the continuing revitalization of the region.”
Under the agreement, Lyle Jepson, dean of entrepreneurial programs at Castleton, will lead REDC’s operations under a three-year contract between REDC and the University. Foley said REDC was indebted to Executive Director Jamie Stewart, who led positive economic progress during his tenure.
“Jamie has guided REDC through some difficult economic times, and the board appreciates his leadership and efforts over the past several years,” Foley said. “He leaves the organization in a much stronger financial position, with a robust balance sheet, a growing membership, and a bright future.”
Foley said REDC’s new vision, mission and structure were the result of a board retreat and aspirational discussions about the Rutland region and its ongoing revitalization. “As the board has done repeatedly over the decades, we revisited our focus and determined that to continue to deliver strong benefits for the community, we need to broaden our horizons,” Foley said. “We believe our new vision and mission, along with the partnership with Castleton, will help REDC make major new contributions to the region’s economic and social climate over time. When seeking out a collaborative partner for this opportunity, Castleton became an obvious choice with its infrastructure and ability to be an economic and intellectual driver in our community.”
REDC’s new vision is an aspiring description of the region in the future. “The greater Rutland region is recognized as the most collaborative, innovative and friendly place in Vermont to live, work, play and grow a business,” the vision states.
The new REDC mission reads: “REDC’s mission is to use collaboration, creativity and ingenuity to recruit talent and businesses of all kinds, grow and retain employers, and promote a healthy and vibrant commercial and residential real estate market. We believe economic development is a team sport, capitalizing on fun, fresh ideas, passionate people, and open, inventive partnerships.”
Foley and Jepson said implicit in the new mission is a focus on recruiting people to live and work in Rutland County, as an aging workforce is among the region’s greatest challenges.
“There have been some tremendous successes in the region in recent years, and our focus will be on expanding those successes through collaboration with other organizations,” Jepson said. “The region boasts enormous spirit and talent, tremendous quality of life, and a growing sense of optimism.”
“Job one will be to harness those attributes and build on the work REDC and others have done and make Rutland a beacon for new businesses and residents – including students graduating from Castleton University, other regional colleges, high schools, and Stafford Technical Center.”