Though the Sherman Economic Development Corp. is still finalizing a search committee to find a new president, more than 10 people have already sent in applications for the position that’s been vacant since John Plotnik retired two weeks ago.
SEDCO board Vice Chairman Brad Douglass and board member Janie Bates are putting together a committee that Douglass said will include representatives from local industries and the city of Sherman.
“We are out canvassing seeing if we can get people to agree to join our committee so we can get that search kicked off,” Douglass said. “Last time we did this, there was seven (members), but I think five is probably a little easier to manage in terms of coordinating everybody’s schedule. We’ve got actually a surprising number of applications already.”
Douglass didn’t specify how many that “surprising number” was but said it was in double digits.
Plotnik’s retirement was announced during a special meeting of the board near the end of February following a vacation of several weeks from the organization. Plotnik previously announced his intent to retire from SEDCO in November 2016, but rescinded his resignation following the death of a family member whose health he was planning to help oversee.
Douglass was part of the committee formed to find a new president when Plotnik previously announced his retirement and was a board member when Plotnik was hired in September 2015.
“First thing we’re going to do is take a look at what our volunteer candidates are (like) and then from there decide whether we need to go out and do another national search or not,” Douglass said in reference to the monthslong search that found Plotnik following the June 2015 resignation of previous President Scott Connell.
Douglass called the applicants a really “interesting group” and said they are from “all over” the country.
“I think Finisar really put us on the map and now when they hear about Sherman, Texas, and they’re like, ‘Oh yeah,’” Douglass said of the electronic components manufacturer that announced plans last year to begin producing vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers for Apple and its iPhone line of products at its new Sherman facility in the former MEMC building. “I’m very surprised, in contrast to last time when we had to go out versus having all the inbound (applicants).”
Before Plotnik rescinded his retirement in late 2016, Douglass said the committee had already met with some applicants and expected it would select a candidate for the job within the following month. On Monday, Douglass said some of the previous candidates the committee spoke with will be considered anew.
“I know of at least two of those we’re going to talk to again,” he said, adding there’s no definite timeline for the search. “In all fairness, we’re going to absolutely go for the best person. If we find somebody from the ones that have sent applications to us, obviously that’ll be a shorter (search) period. If we have to do another national search, like we did for John, then that’s going to take some time.”
In a news release issued the day after Plotnik’s retirement was announced, board President John Sild said Executive Vice President Frank Gadek would serve as SEDCO’s interim president until a new president was found.
“Right now, Frank is doing a great job for us,” Douglass said of Gadek, who has been with SEDCO for over 20 years. “And he’s got a great team with (Vice President of Business Retention & Expansion) Stacey (Jones) and (Director of Research & Marketing) Ashton (Ghaemi). It doesn’t feel like we’re missing anything at this point by being down the president.”