The River Region's Wave of the Future!
( ) WETUMPKA The Elmore County Economic Development Authority (ECEDA) has chosen Barry Mask, one of its architects, as the new Executive Director.
Mask was one of the founders of ECEDA. He was a member of the first class of Leadership Elmore County in 2001which chose the formation of ECEDA as its class project. He was Vice-Chairman of the ECEDA Board from 2002-2005 and served on the committee that hired former ECEDA Director Eric Basinger in 2003. Basinger left ECEDA in May of this year to work for the Manatee County Economic Development Council just outside of Tampa, Florida.
Elected to the Alabama House of Representatives in a special election in 2006, Mask feels this position will compliment his elected position. “So many of the meetings and time I spend as a state representative are spent on behalf of ECEDA, so I think this will be a natural fit. Before I applied for the position, I consulted with two other of my House colleagues- Rep. Allen Harper of Tuscaloosa and Rep. Cam Ward of Shelby County, who also serve as economic developers and legislators.’’
Mask brings to the position over ten years experience in the economic development arena, and is a past committee member of the Economic Development Association of Alabama. (EDAA). EDAA Executive Director Ron Scott said “I have known and worked with Barry for over 20 years. He is well–liked and highly respected in our circle of contacts and I think the board made an excellent choice.’’
As Executive Vice-President of the Alabama Industry & Manufactures Association in 1997, Mask created “Workforce 21” an effort to bring attention, coordination and planning to the workforce needs of Alabama industry. The effort won a national award from the American Society of Association Executives in 1998. The effort eventually led to the state creating the “Office of Workforce Development’’ in 2003. Dr. Matthew Hughes, director of that office who also worked with Mask on “Workforce 21” says Mask is an excellent choice. “He has a lot of energy and a lot of contacts throughout the state in the industrial and retail sectors. He is a strategic thinker. Having worked with him I assure you he will get it done. I know I stand ready to assist him in any manner.’’
Former Alabama Development Office (ADO) Director Todd Strange hired Mask and his firm, to perform and lead the Montgomery Downtown & Riverfront Master Plan in 2000. Strange is now Mayor of Montgomery. “I commend the Board’s selection of Barry Mask and I know his selection will strengthen the River Region team by strengthening Elmore County. I look forward to working with him. It is smart to hire someone who can hit the ground running immediately, especially since there is so much about to happen here in the River Region the next year.”
Mask also was the first Chairman of ECEDA’s Tourism Council which sought to promote tourism and venue development in the county. Most recently he has been very involved with the council’s efforts to develop the Wetumpka Impact Crater into a statewide destination point which would steer visitors to all the sites in Elmore County.
Outgoing ECEDA Board Chairman Butch Ruttan said over 70 resumes were received for the position. The Board was methodical and diligent in its research, selection and interview process for the finalists. “Obviously, with Barry being so well-known in the community, he had to face a double standard in the questions we asked as opposed to the other finalists. But, he more than satisfied those questions and made a heck of a presentation of a vision which is shared by the Board on what we need to be doing. I am very excited.”
Incoming ECEDA Board Chairman Lee Greer of Tallassee echoed those sentiments.’’ I think Barry brings so much to the table for us. His work ethic, knowledge of the area and our diverse resources, and his countless contacts can help take us to the next level. Additionally, I think he has a knack for working with people to get things done – the project track record is there.”
Former ECEDA Chairman Frank Keith of Eclectic heralded the selection of Mask. “I know Barry guided me and Eric(Basinger) through some sensitive negotiations on several projects a few years ago. I am just thrilled to have him working for us now in an official capacity.”
Mask will be a contract employee with ECEDA and is expected to begin the last week of July. He earned a B.S. in Public Administration from Auburn University. He holds a CAE designation from the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) and has received three national awards from ASAE. He will leave his current position as the Director of Marketing of the ASE Credit Union, where he recently received three national “Best in Industry” awards on behalf of his marketing efforts there.
“Now, I get to officially market and promote Elmore County, and I could not be more excited and thankful to God for blessing me with this humbling opportunity. I ask for our citizen’s prayers and an unafraid spirit of cooperation as we boldly move forward. There’s a lot to do. I’m going to throw all my energies and creativity into this,” said Mask.
Mask served as Vice-Chairman of the Central Elmore Water & Sewer Authority from 2003-2006. He is a co-founder and past chairman of the Joe Sewell Memorial Award, a member of the Elmore County Community Foundation Board, and Britton YMCA Board.
Mask said one of his first acts would be to travel to Tampa for a detailed de-briefing on pending projects from former director Eric Basinger. He will then be meeting with the staff and all the elected officials and stakeholders in the county and at ADO.
© 2013 Elmore County Economic Development Authority. All Rights Reserved.