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Published February 10 2012

New EDC president hired

FARGO – For the second time in 18 months, the Greater Fargo Moorhead Economic Development Corp. has a new president.

James Gartin, an economic development executive from southern Michigan, will start here in early March.

He replaces outgoing president Kevin McKinnon, who held the job for a little less than a year before announcing his resignation for personal reasons in October. McKinnon left in December to return to a previous job in the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.

Gartin, an Ohio native, was most recently the president of the Lenawee Economic Development Corp. in Adrian, Mich. He also worked at an Ann Arbor, Mich., development organization, and has a background in commercial real estate.

He was first approached about the job by a search firm employed by the EDC. The more he learned about Fargo-Moorhead, he said, the more he liked it.

“It all started to paint a pretty incredible picture of a growing, very dynamic community,” he said. “There seems to be a real strong sense of community collaboration.”

He said attracting and developing workforce talent and fostering entrepreneurial opportunities out of local higher education research are among his immediate priorities.

In his previous work, Gartin had success helping University of Michigan researchers translate their academic work into commercially viable projects. Brad Schlossman, chairman of the GFMEDC board and head of West Acres Development, said that work made Gartin an attractive candidate.

“It’s exactly what we are doing here in the Cass-Clay area,” Schlossman said. The organization has focused particularly on developing a Center for Biopharmaceutical Research and Production at North Dakota State University, which the EDC believes had significant commercial potential. The EDC had committed up to $2 million toward a new home for the center.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Marino Eccher at (701) 241-5502