County hires Allison to lead economic development initiatives

bbashioum@demo-mo.comApril 18, 2014 

Cass County has hired a new economic development director.

Commissioners approved a professional services agreement with Sandra Allison, of Rolla, to lead the county’s economic development initiatives at a regular meeting April 10.

In addition to her role at the county, Allison will also serve as the executive director of the Cass County Corporation for Economic Development.

“I think the screening committee saw this as a good fit for both agencies based on the qualifications and the experience - and what we were looking for to fill this position,” Presiding Commissioner Jeff Cox said. “I’m looking forward to getting this filled and excited about having somebody out there fighting to get more economic development in Cass County.”

Allison succeeds Melissa Freeman, who resigned in October 2013 to take a position with Cerner Corporation after two years in the position.

The county received 24 applications and conducted eight interviews for the job.

“We had a lot of qualified applications,” Cox said.

Candidates were screened and interviewed by a three-person joint committee, consisting of Cox, Raymore Mayor Pete Kerckhoff and Mark Dawson, the southeast/east district community affairs manager for KCP&L, who is a board member of the CCCED.

“We unanimously are putting forward the name of Sandra Allison,” Cox said at the the April 10 meeting before commissioners voted in favor of the recommendation.

Allison will begin working in Cass County on May 1 after working in the public assistance division of the Department of Homeland Security and FEMA since 2007.

She also has nearly 20 years of experience serving in economic development director roles in various cities and counties within Missouri and Kansas.

Allison’s work experience includes serving the executive director of the Washington County Industrial Development Authority; economic development director/assistant city administrator for the city of Sullivan; and the executive director for Miami County, Kansas Economic Development. She also worked as a business development specialist for the St. Louis County Economic Council and with the Missouri REAP program.

She graduated cum laude from Columbia College in Missouri in 1996, earning degrees in history and government, management, business administration and psychology.

Cox said the county and the CCCED will maintain the partnership they have had in the past, in which Allison will work out of the courthouse, but will fulfill the roles of both the county's economic development director and the director of the CCCED in a full-time capacity.

Each contract will be for a period ending Dec. 31, 2014, with an optional 12-month renewal each year thereafter. At the end of each contract period, the CCCED and the county will evaluate the results and make a determination as to renewal.

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