Corvallis Hires New Economic Development Director

New post will help city implement development strategy

By JAMES DAY, Corvallis Gazette-Times

The city of Corvallis has hired Tom Nelson for the new position of economic development manager.

Nelson, 59, comes to the city from a similar post in Sherwood, where he worked with Corvallis City Manager Jim Patterson.

“Tom is ready to hit the ground running,” said Patterson. “I know him and respect him and trust him. He will be a great part of our efforts here in Corvallis.

“We’ve got some catching up to do, and he will help us do that. He has a real desire to become part of the community and help us retain business and expand it.”

Patterson announced the Nelson hire at Monday’s meeting of the city’s Economic Development Commission. Nelson will work closely with the commission as it strives to improve the business climate in Corvallis and Benton County.

“I’m excited and eager to get started implementing the city’s economic development strategy,” said Nelson, who starts Monday and will be paid $91,388 annually.

“Corvallis has so much untapped potential. This Economic Development Commission … seeing that energy really appealed to me. It’s a bigger stage and a little bit more money.”

“I’m looking forward to having you here and being part of our conversation and our plan moving forward,” said Economic Development Commission Chair Elizabeth French of CH2M Hill.

Nelson said his previous working relationship with Patterson was a factor in taking the job, but he also has strong mid-valley ties and wore an Oregon State University polo shirt for his introduction.

Nelson received AA and AS degrees from Linn-Benton Community College, his bachelor’s and MBA from OSU and worked at LBCC for 12 years in the school’s Small Business Development Center.

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