Newly selected ERDA director Lisa Powell lays out her plans for Enid

Lisa Powell has been named executive director of Enid Regional Development Alliance. (Bonnie Vculek / Enid News & Eagle)

Enid Regional Development Alliance unanimously voted to name Lisa Powell officially as executive director Thursday.

Powell served as ERDA's interim executive director since January, when former director Brent Kisling left to serve as Oklahoma Department of Commerce director. Powell previously had filled the role of associate director since 2009.

“I am humbled that the ERDA Board has chosen me to continue to lead the economic development efforts for Enid,” Powell said. “This is a role that I love, and I look forward to continuing our work to expand employment opportunities and quality of life amenities for our citizens.”

In a news release, ERDA board president Martie Oyler said the alliance's search committee "was impressed with Powell’s leadership as interim director and believe her experience, background and training in economic development will continue the vision of the Enid Regional Development Alliance," the release said.

As director, Powell will be focusing on bettering quality of life amenities in Enid, developing a "top-notch work force pipeline" and creating more "middle income jobs."

Responding to the News & Eagle, Powell provided more detail about her plans to bring more middle income jobs to Enid.

"Instead of focusing on specific jobs, we focus on industries that we know we can support in Enid. Key industries for our area include health care, aviation, manufacturing, energy, financial and insurance services, and value-added agriculture. These are industries in which Enid has a proven track record and where we think we can continue to grow," Powell said, adding that "middle-income" jobs in this instance are those earning $30,000-$60,000, and come with medical benefits.

There are three key strategies to accomplish her goal, she said: "Provide an excellent quality of life so that people are moving to Enid"; "provide top-notch training to develop the best employees"; and "market the community so that businesses are aware of the outstanding opportunities in Enid."

Powell said nearly all the work beng done under Kisling's term as executive director will be continued during her own, she said, "our financial programs, recruitment efforts, marketing, and community outreach will all continue."

"That being said, we are always looking for ways to enhance and expand our offerings and hope to roll out some new ideas this year."

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Willetts is education reporter for the Enid News & Eagle. He can be reached at mwilletts@enidnews.com.

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