Written by The Business Journal Staff
Director of Economic and Workforce Development | Kings County
Education: B.A. in History, CSU Chico; J.D. from Thomas M. Cooley School of Law, Western Michigan University
Family: Wife Elizabeth Lippincott
What we do:
The Kings County Economic Development Corporation is primarily focused on business attraction, retention and expansion. Working with the Kings County Job Training Office and other partners, Kings County EDC provides incentives and other assistance to new and current Kings County businesses.
Tell us about where you grew up and what brought you to the Central Valley?
I was born in Merced, and lived there with my family until I was seven years old. We moved every two years after that until I was about 18, living in Florida, Kansas, Texas, and Washington before moving back to California and locating outside of Escalon.
How did you end up at the EDC and move up the ranks?
Originally, the plan when I graduated law school was to begin work in a corporate law firm to gain experience before opening up my own firm. Interestingly, when I graduated my first job was with a boutique law firm in Merced. I worked there for about five years before getting married and accepting an opportunity with Merced County in Workforce Development. I worked my way up through the ranks from Staff Services Analyst to Deputy Director in about two years before getting the opportunity with the County of Kings.
How did the Covid-19 pandemic affect the business and economy in the area?
Locally we are observing a strange dichotomy between large and small retailers specifically. Large retailers that have been able to remain open for the majority of the time since March appear to be doing very well, while small businesses are either struggling or closing permanently. At the same time, we have received a large amount of leads from site selectors that are interested in locating businesses in Kings County.
What did you and the team at the EDC do to help maintain the local business fabric and economy of Kings County?
The mission of the EDC has changed somewhat with the complications brought about with the onset of COVID-19. We have shifted gears to help businesses to access funding to remain in operation. Most recently, Kings EDC collaborated with the County of Kings to help issue $6 million in funding obligated by the Kings County Board of Supervisors for small business assistance.
What is the EDC looking forward to for Kings County in 2021?
We continue to hope that 2021 brings about a return to normalcy for all the businesses that are currently struggling. We also hope that the high level of interest we have received from businesses looking to locate in Kings County continues.
What do you like to do on your free time?
I love to be outdoors, either hunting, fishing, camping, motorcycle riding or working at my parents’ ranch, the Circle L5. When my wife and I were still dating, it was not abnormal for us to have a date vaccinating or processing cattle.
What is one thing you don’t have patience for in the workplace?
The one thing I have no patience for is a lack of trust between team members. Luckily, the Kings County EDC team operates more as a family, and I could not be more proud to work with them.
What was your very first job and what was the most important thing that you learned from it?
My first job was building a fence for a dairy in Oakdale. My younger brother and I worked as a crew together operating out of a ranch truck. We built what felt like miles of fence, but the one thing I learned is that no matter how big the job is, the sooner you get started the sooner it will be finished.