WICHITA FALLS - The Wichita Falls Chamber of Commerce and Industry announced Thursday that Tim Chase, president and CEO, will step down to become President of the Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition (GWEDC) and Senior Vice President of Economic Development for the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce which manages the GWEDC.
Founded in 2003, the GWEDC is a public-private partnership dedicated to promoting recruitment, retention and expansion of targeted economic driver industries in Wichita and Sedgwick County, Kansas. Chase was recruited to Wichita Falls in 1998 from Dixon, Illinois, with the express purpose of making the best use of the Economic Development Sales Tax (4A monies) incentives approved by the citizens of Wichita Falls in 1997.
Wichita Falls Chamber of Commerce and Industry's Chairman Jim Johnson said "It is with mixed emotions that I accepted Tim's resignation. On the one hand I am thrilled for Tim and the opportunity that this career move offers him. On the other hand I am saddened we are losing such a highly regarded, well-connected, and truly professional leader of our own economic development efforts. I've now worked with Tim for ten years, closely for the past two years. I've watched him labor over the small details in an effort to ensure whatever he was working on was the best it could be and that it reflected well on the Wichita Falls Chamber. I've also witnessed the access he's had on the state and national level, and have likely underestimated the resulting goodwill that has come our way as a result."
During his 24 years in economic development, Chase has worked with hundreds of companies to keep them strong, helping them add net-new employment and attracting companies to backfill jobs lost through attrition from normal business cycles.
Chase believes economic development is a way of thinking long-term and of deploying community resources in such a way as to bring about positive change faster than if things are left to more natural forces.
During his time in Wichita Falls Chase has worked with local and national businesses in an effort to build wealth for all the City's citizens. Since the citizens approved the 4A Board incentives, the City and Chamber have completed 55 economic development retention, expansion, and attraction projects.
The most recent employment statistics show that the City's employment numbers are improving from a low during the recent recession of 66,747 in October 2009 to 69,403 in November of 2012.
"One of the primary reasons my wife Susan and I moved to Wichita Falls was because I was impressed with how well the City, County, Chamber, education, workforce and businesses worked together. Even though we have made great strides in rebuilding the local economy from recessionary lows, there are still plenty of people who want to work and for whom the Chamber and City will continue to strive to find more jobs," said Chase.