Wickenburg’s new economic development director is in place and is familiarizing himself with local businesses as well as the Town of Wickenburg’s strategic plan. The position was created by Town Council during the recent budget process. Prior to that, economic development functions had been carried out by the town manager.
Aaron White has been in place at Town Hall for about four weeks. He came to Wickenburg from Nogales where he served as management analyst and economic development director. He is originally from Indiana, but has also worked for the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development and as a legislative aid in the Washington State Senate.
White was interested in moving to Wickenburg so he, along with his wife and two young daughters, could enjoy small-town living. In addition, he said he was motivated to be a part of the crew in Wickenburg, “I really wanted to join the team here. They are really impressive,” he said.
Looking forward, White said he intends to work hand-in-hand with the town manager, staff, mayor and council to map out his priorities in relation to the strategic plan. “From a global point of view, I will be looking to balance the tradition of the town with the inevitable growth. I’d like to help mesh what seem to be two different view points into something that is successful for both.”
White said in order to do that, he will work with existing organizations and become familiar with people who have already been working for economic development in Wickenburg, their projects and their goals. “I am not pretending to come in with all the answers. There are great community organizations in place. I want to work with them to move forward,” he said.
White said he has made a point of walking into businesses and visiting with owners, and he intends to do more of that. He is also working to glean current, detailed data from different sources – such as the state, county, school district, etc. – and compile statistics into a flyer or booklet to be used as a tool for businesses looking to relocate or start up in Wickenburg. He will also populate and maintain an internet data base of available commercial properties and land in the area. The website already exists, he said, but is not currently up-to-date.
White will work with the town’s Economic Development Advisory Commission on projects such as a town hall forum. He also plans to work in a complementary fashion with the Wickenburg Chamber of Commerce, and regional partners such as the Greater Phoenix Economic Council, he said.
“I’m excited about the opportunity to work with partners in the community, become a part of the community and help move it forward,” White said.