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Scott Randall is no stranger to success, but some of his wins have been hard-fought and fraught with political pitfalls.
Randall’s career is about to take a different tack when he steps in to replace Kevin Holsapple as the executive director of the Los Alamos Commerce and Development Corporation April 1.
“What we liked was his record of success in economic development in several communities, and the fact that those communities were often about the size of Los Alamos or had some of the similar issues that we’ve had from the standpoint of economic development,” said LACDC board member Bill Wadt, who led the search team.
Randall himself gave the economic development aspect of the position as his top reason for wanting the job.
“I was attracted to the whole mission and the whole function of the organization. Economic development has been a cornerstone of my career,” Randall said.”While I’ve been in city management and public administration for 38 years, economic development has been my passion.”
Wadt highlighted some of Randall’s accomplishments that particularly attracted the board.
As city manager for Clayton, Mo., Randall was instrumental in revitalizing the downtown area, especially with activities in the evenings. He oversaw more than two million square feet of new commercial development and large-scale, multi-family dwellings in the central business district.
“Those are some of the similar activities we’re trying to do in the Creative District to improve the quality of life in town by providing more activities for people from restaurants to art to other activities that people want in the community,” Wadt said.
Randall also has a history of attracting businesses that complement and diversify an area’s major industry.
“He helped diversify the economy in Auburn Hills, Mich., which also happens to be the headquarters for Chrysler,” Wadt said. “They needed to bring in some other businesses and they did that. They were businesses that were associated with the auto industry, but it diversified it beyond Chrysler.”
One of Randall’s most significant accomplishments was attracting Diamond Star Motors (now Mitsubishi Motors of America) to Normal, Ill.
“It was a big deal, big auto plant coming in. they beat out 20 states and got it to Normal, Ill., which was a real coup,” Wadt said. “And the plant’s still operating; it’s still successful under the Mitsubishi name.
Randall’s long history in municipal administration was a strong selling point for the board
“When he was in the public sector he was a major proponent in driving economic development. So we thought in talking to him that he would be a good person to build a strong partnership with the county, because he would understand the issues that they face in supporting economic development and be able to work with them to come up with synergistic approaches that would leverage both public and private sectors,” Wadt said.
“We view that as a plus because the county is a key player in economic development for this community.”
The board overall was impressed by Randall’s references, even from those they contacted in Superior, Colo., where Randall was terminated as town manager in what has been described as a “personality conflict.”
“When Kevin Holsapple was talking to members of the chamber up in Superior, Colo., he got very positive feedback about Scott,” Wadt said. “When he was the city manager up there, he worked very closely with the chamber. And he was the type of person who, when they had events, he’d be out there flipping burgers, and was someone who was very engaged in the community.”
Randall and his wife Sandi researched Los Alamos well before Randall applied for the position.
“I did a fair amount of research about both the community and the organization, because I wanted to make sure that it was the kind of place that needed my skill set and would be interested in what I have to offer,” Randall said.
“And the more I learned about the community and the organization, the more excited my wife and I got about the process.”
Randall spent an entire day interviewing a week ago, following several phone interviews. He was impressed by the town and board and he praised the LACDC staff.
“They are highly qualified, very competent, but, most importantly, very dedicated to their missions,” Randall said.
Randall is looking forward to starting his new position.
“It’s exactly what I was looking for,” Randall said. “It’s the fact that they are primed for great things. And this isn’t like first step, second step, metamorphosis. It’s something I can really jump into, sink my teeth in and do what they need and what I like to do. So it just seemed to be a natural fit.”