Changes for PEP with Hosick Arrival

Tara Hosick and Aaron Leiker



Tara Hosick, Consulting Executive Director for Prowers Economic Prosperity (PEP), conducted her first board meeting this past Thursday, July 11th at Lamar Community College.  Hosick, a former Lamar native, was hired by the organization last month following the departure of former executive director, Eric Depperschmidt earlier this year.

Aaron Leiker tended his letter of resignation as PEP President to the board of directors, effective with their vote yesterday. Citing personal and professional obligations, Leiker said he’s enjoyed working with the board since its transition from PCDI to PEP several years ago, but his time needed to manage his radio operations in Lamar and La Junta has to take priority.  He praised the board for their efforts, especially to Rick Robbins, to help improve and increase the economic vitality of Prowers County.  Anne Marie Crampton, PEP Vice President, declined the move into the vacant seat, and with the board’s approval remained as VP and in an advisory position for the president duties.  An election can be held for a new president in eight months, during the annual board meeting.  When time allows, Leiker explained that he should be able to share meeting duties with his selected delegate, Jimmy Bencomo.

The introduction of personal delegates who will work alongside current board members is also a new development for PEP. The delegates will work alongside with or substitute for, board members in their absence.  PEP membership will also be augmented with each director now being asked by Hosick to develop a one-on-one mentor relationship with a volunteer from the community.  “We’re looking for people who will be somewhat younger than our current board line-up,” Hosick explained, adding that there is a significant need for a more youthful group of economic activists to become involved in PEP who will assist to help improve the economic growth of the community.  She asked board members to give some thought to who they will invite as a mentor, having the potential to step up to help serve economic development in future years.  “I’ll work on a document for our next meeting to describe the role of the mentor which should include proxy voting as allowed by the by-laws,” she explained.

Hosick said she’s been holding confidential meetings with all the board members and potential investors and will offer a report detailing a compilation of her findings in August. She also outlined a course of action that will include various forms of business growth.  “Almost everyone who heads an economic development group is asked, ‘What are you doing about job and business growth?’ that needs to be tied, in our case, to developing a work force in the county so we just aren’t shuffling employees from one existing job to another.”  Hosick said Prowers County June statistics show that if you’re under 5% unemployment, you’re considered at full employment and we’re at 3.8% for June in the county.  She reiterated that new hires has to be tied to adequate housing in the county and PEP remains in touch with housing developers on this major scope of work.

Each future PEP board meeting will present educational opportunities for economic related events and subjects to include reports from the Economic Development Council of Colorado Special Development, a group tasked with developing training sessions. Another will focus on bringing investment groups into rural communities, the board held one on ethics relating to economic development groups on Thursday and another will be on best practices to run a board meeting.  “These and other topics will give us an opportunity to introduce our delegates to our meetings and begin to tweak the outline of PEP objectives and goals leading to 2020.”

Hosick is working out of a temporary office on East Olive Street Thursdays through Monday mornings, three weeks a month until she begins her full time position as PEP Executive Director in January.  At this time, PEP board meetings are being scheduled for the first Thursday of each month from 4pm to 6pm.

By Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: City of GranadaCity of HollyCity of LamarCity of WileyConsumer IssuesCountyEconomyEducationFeaturedHot Topics


About the Author: