Local grad hired as economic development manager
- Jason Chaney
- Central Oregonian - Features
After a month-long search, Economic Development of Central Oregon (EDCO) has hired Prineville native Russ Deboodt as its new economic development manager for Crook County.
>Prineville native Russ Deboodt will take over the position on Oct. 1
He will assume the role on Oct. 1, and will work to help local traded-sector companies grow in the Prineville area while helping with business recruiting projects including those in the data center industry.
Prineville City Manager Steve Forrester said the search drew some highly-qualified candidates, and Deboodt was the standout. He has earned an undergraduate degree in horticulture business as well as an MBA from Oregon State University, and has volunteered for a variety of local organizations including the Crooked River Roundup.
“He is vested in the community with a history of service and understands our economic and culture from first-hand experience,” he stated. “These qualities – combined with his education, passion, and enthusiasm – gave Russ the edge.”
Deboodt has worked in Portland with the nonprofit Catalyst Partnership, an organization that assists people with physical or financial limitations with home repairs.
Mid Oregon Personnel conducted the search on behalf of EDCO, and a panel of top local leaders helped interview for the position. Like Forrester, Mid Oregon President Greg Lambert was impressed with the candidate field.
“We were very pleased with the caliber of people and their sincere interest in the work of economic development,” he said.
Deboodt takes over for Jason Carr, who resigned from the position last month after five years to take over as executive director for the Partnership to End Poverty.
Carr took the EDCO job shortly before a national recession decimated the local economy. Crook County faced higher than 20 percent unemployment as well as a significant drop-off in the construction industry. During that time, Carr helped local leaders recruit several companies to help weather the recession, including high-tech giants Apple and Facebook.
Going forward, EDCO Executive Director Roger Lee hopes to see Deboodt build on that success. With new hires, he looks for somebody who is intelligent and personable, and demonstrates a strong work ethic.
“I think Russ delivers on all of those,” Lee said. “We are eager to have him take the economic development program in Crook County to the next level.”