City officials, friends and family members gathered Friday afternoon to say goodbye to the Sherman Economic Development Corp.’s longtime Executive Vice President Frank Gadek.

Gadek officially retired June 15 after 23 years with the city’s economic development corporation and SEDCO staff presented him with an award recognizing his time with the organization, a resolution from the Texas Economic Development Council for his contributions to economic development and a new set of luggage, as well as a set of Tile Bluetooth trackers for personal items like wallets and phones.

“Frank’s been a great asset to the city,” Sherman Mayor David Plyler said. “He’s one of the founding members of SEDCO and has just done an outstanding job over the years. He’s been instrumental and such a big part of helping Sherman grow.”

Gadek was hired as Sherman’s first economic development employee in June 1995 and has served as vice president under four SEDCO presidents. In the news release announcing his retirement, Gadek said he is looking forward to spending more time with his three children, five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

“It’s a decision I’ve been leading up to for about three or four years,” Gadek said. “And I felt the 15th of June being my 23rd work anniversary and I felt it was as good a time as any. Everything’s in an upbeat mode — the projects are fast and furious, so it was good to leave when the market is good.”

During his time with SEDCO, Gadek worked on projects that attracted new industry and jobs to Sherman with companies such as ActiTech, CertainTeed, Eaton B-Line, Finisar, GlobiTech, J.P. Hart Lumber Company, Panda Sherman Power, Presco, Progress Rail Services, MEMC, Royal Case, Starr Aircraft, Sunny Delight and Tyson.

“He is the go-to person for all things Progress Park and there’s a lot of knowledge leaving with him,” Vice President of Business Retention & Expansion Stacey Jones said. “I’m just excited for him to have all of his adventures after retirement.”

Before helping start SEDCO, Gadek spent 24 years working for ConTel/GTE/Verizon. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Northern Illinois University, a Texas real estate sales license and a certified economic developer designation from the International Economic Development Council. He serves on the Center for Workplace Learning Advisory Committee, Child & Family Guidance Center of Texoma board and the Texoma Workforce Development board.

City Manager Robby Hefton said he had just started at the city when SEDCO was formed, so he has always associated Gadek with SEDCO.

“There have been so many industrial changes within the city since Frank began at SEDCO — Tyson, GlobiTech, MEMC, Folgers/Sunny D, Finisar/Apple, Panda and the list goes on,” Hefton said. “Frank will be taking a lot of institutional knowledge with him about these and all the other projects, but SEDCO is well positioned to continue serving our community with excellence with a good board in place and dedicated staff members. I’m thankful to have worked with him.”