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EDP hires economic development specialist, two contractors

The Danville-Boyle County Economic Development Partnership has hired two local people as contractors and a Centre College graduate as a full-time “economic development specialist.”

Mary Beth Touchstone and Jean Crowley have been hired to fundraise and study the area workforce’s “skills gap,” respectively. Both will work for up to 150 hours through the end of June.

Joshua Gooch has been hired as the EDP’s first ever full-time “economic development specialist.” When he starts May 1, Gooch will be responsible for:

  • maintaining and enhancing databases of available industrial and commercial sites;
  • coordinating responses to requests for information from prospective businesses;
  • researching economic health indicators and regional economic conditions; and
  • maintaining websites and managing digital promotional content.

“We are so pleased that this first-time position attracted someone of Josh’s talent, experience and capability,” said Jody Lassiter, president and CEO of the EDP. “As a Lincoln County native and a recent Centre College grad, he is very familiar with our community and micropolitan area. His quality education is a strong foundation for this new role that will be critical to our economic development work.

“His unique experience, which has already exposed him to site selection, business development and even the growing hemp industry here in Kentucky, prepares him to hit the ground running as part of our team.”

Gooch graduated from Centre College in 2018 with a bachelor’s in economics and finance, according to his résumé. He has worked as an independent contractor for Marcum Consulting in Stanford since 2013 and is the owner of Josh Gooch Photography in Danville.

Touchstone has been hired to support the EDP’s Executive Committee in obtaining recommitments of funding from the public-private partnership’s private partners. She is a former director of the Community Arts Center and currently serves on the Danville-Boyle County Planning and Zoning Commission.

“Through strong fiscal stewardship and relentless community outreach, she left the nonprofit (CAC) well-positioned to serve the community for decades to come,” according to a bio provided by the EDP. “Prior to her term with the arts center, Mary Beth’s 27-year career in banking included assignments in accounting, operations, programming, consulting and project management with SunTrust and JP Morgan Chase. She retired from Chase as vice president of Global Infrastructure Program Management for Treasury and Security Services.”

Touchstone told EDP board members Wednesday she will be working with them to contact all the current Chairman’s Circle donors and ask for them to renew their commitments to fund the EDP next fiscal year.

“I’ll be the one who can do the ask, but I do need to have a board member in the room as a partner for this process,” she said.

“The Chairman’s Circle investment renewals have now reached a critical stage; this responsibility is not included in the job description of the economic development specialist,” Lassiter wrote in a memo to EDP board members last week.

Crowley is a native of Danville who spent 30 years working as a medical technologist and 11 years working for the Kentucky School Boards Association. She served for 15 years as a school board member for the Danville Schools.

“Throughout the past 35 years, Jean has volunteered with many local and regional organizations, including the Danville Schools, Chamber of Commerce Workforce Development Committee and the Heart of Danville Preservation Committee,” according to a bio from the EDP.

Lassiter said Crowley will work to complete a “skills gap analysis survey,” which is necessary work to inform recommendations from the EDP’s workforce development committee.