RREDC undergoing management change
A personnel change at the Rifle Regional Economic Development Corp. is not slowing efforts by the nonprofit, its board president said.
At several recent public meetings, Michael Langhorne, president of the RREDC board, delivered news that Mel Kent is no longer the manager of the organization. In stating the matter was a personnel issue, Langhorne declined to comment specifically on the departure, but said that it happened about a month ago.
Kent did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday.
Langhorne, who has been with the RREDC since it was established in 2007, is fulfilling the manager responsibilities in the interim. During an economic round-table meeting in Rifle Tuesday morning, he noted that Kent was the third manager since it was founded. Kent had worked in some capacity for the RREDC since at least early 2014.
RREDC will hire a new person but the board, which consists of local business leaders and government officials from western Garfield County, must first decide what direction it wants to go in with a new hire, said Langhorne, who also is president of Bookcliff Survey Services, Inc. The issue is expected to be up for discussion at the board’s June meeting.
In the meantime, work continues.
That includes efforts to land a large manufacturer in the Rifle area. Since those talks are ongoing, Langhorne said he could not comment on the project beyond what was originally announced in February.
Langhorne and the RREDC, along with the city of Rifle, also are serving as local leads on continued exploration of the economic potential stemming from the Colorado Center of Excellence for Advanced Technology Aerial Firefighting.
Earlier this year the city and Garfield County contributed funds for an economic development strategy aimed at attracting additional business and industry to the Rifle Garfield County Airport and surrounding area.
In the past year, RREDC has been credited with aiding a number of new developments and businesses, including the Colorado Mountain College Downtown Rifle Academic Center, which opened last fall, and Caring Kids Preschool in Rifle.
Natalie Wilson, owner of Olive Ridley’s Coffee & Tea Company, credited the RREDC as being instrumental when she was launching her business.
“They were super easy to work with and very helpful when I was trying to start my business,” she said.
Regarding the management turnover since the RREDC’s establishment, Langhorne did not attribute the changes to one particular reason, but said the nature of the position does make it difficult.
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A Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins mashup will host its grand opening at 700 Taugenbaugh Blvd. in Rifle on Friday morning. The opening will begin at around 11 a.m.