Thursday, July 16, 2009

Baker Hired to Lead Hancock Economic Development effort in Partnership with the Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corp.

Mike Baker, a former plant manager in the Hancock County aluminum industry, was hired by the Hancock County Industrial Foundation to serve as an interim leader of economic development efforts in Hancock County. He will also forge a new regional economic partnership with the Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corporation as part of a new agreement between the two agencies.

Baker, who retired this year as the General Manager of the Aleris aluminum rolling mill in Lewistport after a 20 year career in the aluminum and manufacturing industries, will serve as an interim until the end of this year.

“Mike brings a wealth of industry experience to the position in Hancock County,” said David Hamilton, the chair of the Hancock County Industrial Foundation. “His insight and expertise in the aluminum industry will be especially valuable in working with many of the existing industries in the region.”

Part of his role as interim, Baker will join the economic development team at the Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corporation to advance a regional approach to economic development. The two agencies have agreed to terms of a partnership that would foster communication regarding economic development “joint” prospects and working in tandem with those prospects and the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development to match the strengths of each community to the needs of the prospect. The EDC would include sites in Hancock County as part of its marketing and recruitment efforts.

“We are far stronger working together as a region,” said Hamilton.“This level of collaboration will benefit both communities and the region overall.”

Hancock County has some of the best property in the eastern United States with river, rail, and highway access,” said EDC President/CEONick Brake. “Owensboro-Daviess County does not have the same abundance of land available out of the flood plain, but we do have amenities that are attractive to industry that we can work together to recruit.”

Baker will officially be employed by the Hancock County Industrial Foundation and the position, based in Hawesville, will be funded by the Hancock County Fiscal Court.

The position will work on a day-to-day basis with the Hancock County government and Brake, as EDC President. The organizations will also collaborate through shared board appointments, workforce development activities, and existing industry efforts.