LIMA — In an effort to focus their core missions, the Allen Economic Development Group and Greater Lima Region Inc. have shaken up their leadership roles.
Dave Stratton has been promoted to replace Jeff Sprague as the president/CEO of AEDG, and Sprague will be overseeing the duties of president/CEO of Greater Lima Region full-time.
Prior to the transition, Sprague held both positions. Stratton has served as director of business development for AEDG since 2015.
“(The move) will allow Jeff to focus on GLR and strengthening that organization,” AEDG Board Chair Carol Russell said. “And it will allow Stratton to build on the development with AEDG that Sprague has already accomplished.”
The two entities and their roles are closely related. Both list creating a good business environment and facilitating job growth in their mission statements, but while AEDG focuses on Allen County, Greater Lima Region looks at an eight-county region with Lima at its center. Boards of the two groups also share a number of members, including Russell, who represents AEDG on the Greater Lima Region board.
The differences between the two rely mostly on how the groups are funded. AEDG is currently funded by both private and public dollars. The more-regionally focused Greater Lima Region is entirely privately funded.
Due to Greater Lima Region’s private funding of AEDG, the economic development group is often organized underneath the umbrella of Greater Lima Region activities.
Stratton will take on his new role as AEDG president/CEO on Jan. 1.
“Our goals for the upcoming year will be to focus on the business community by connecting and attempting to hear and meet the needs that they have before them,” Stratton stated in a press release. “We see ourselves as maximizers, helping these companies and organization to reach a fuller and more robust potential.”
“There’s tremendous opportunity before us. If you look at the amount of positive job creation that has taken place in Allen County in the last two years, it’s been hugely positive. In the last two years now, we’ve had many new attraction projects — four alone that have created more than 300 jobs,” Stratton said.
Sprague declined to comment.
Mayor David Berger, who sits on the AEDG board due to the city’s roughly $30,000 annual contract with the group, said he was opposed to the move.
“AEDG has been the lead economic development group for our community. It has been intended and set up as a public-private partnership with the private sector and public sector having a role in the part of funding,” Berger said. “Mr. Sprague needs to be accountable to that board.”
Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.