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Head of Nevada economic development office leaving post

After more than a year at the helm of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, executive director Paul Anderson is stepping down.

Anderson was appointed to the position in January 2018 by former Gov. Brian Sandoval. Anderson said he is resigning to pursue new opportunities.

“I always say it’s a good time to be in Nevada, and I think that’s true for a lot of different reasons,” Anderson said. “There are other opportunities to pursue. I want to make sure I’m looking to take advantage of those.”

Administration change

The resignation — effective April 1 — is not unexpected, according to Fred Lokken, a political science professor at Truckee Meadows Community College.

Lokken said Anderson did an “outstanding job” in the role, but newly-appointed Governor Steve Sisolak “obviously has someone else in mind for the leadership role at GOED.”

Eric Herzik, chairman of the political science department at the University of Nevada, Reno, said it’s possible Sisolak is looking to appoint someone of his own choosing.

“These things happen, especially when governors change,” Herzik said. “Agency heads will often leave.”

Sisolak’s communications director Helen Kalla declined to comment when asked if Sisolak wants to see changes in the direction of GOED or if he has anyone else in mind for the position.

Anderson said the timing of his departure did “not necessarily” relate to the administration change.

“With any transition, there’s going to be changes,” he said. “It’s just other opportunities came up I feel like I need to pursue.”

The GOED was originally launched under Sandoval’s administration in 2011 to promote economic development and diversification.

“It has been a successful strategy,” Lokken said through email. “Continuity will be in the best interest of the state’s economy.”

Next steps

Anderson said he’s still working to figure out the next step in his career.

“Hopefully, in the new few weeks, I’ll have a different announcement to make,” he said.

Anderson first joined the GOED in September 2017 as deputy director, following his tenure in the Nevada Legislature representing Assembly District 13.

“I think it’s pretty unique that I got to spend five, six years passing legislation and policy before getting to be on the execution side of things,” he said. “It’s been a great opportunity.”

Jonas Peterson, president and CEO of the Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance, said Anderson’s background gave him the ability to look at an issue from all sides and come up with creative solutions.

“Paul has been a thoughtful, effective partner and a tireless advocate for economic development in Nevada,” Peterson said.

The LVGEA works alongside the GOED to help grow and bring businesses to Nevada. Peterson said the team looks forward to continuing the partnership and implementing Sisolak’s vision for economic development.

Future for GOED

Anderson will still be acting as executive director at the next GOED board meeting March 21.

“We’ve got another month to get through,” he said. “Hopefully, an interim (director) will be selected soon. But there’s still lots to get done.”

Sisolak is set to announce the appointment of a GOED acting director in coming weeks.

Anderson said he hopes his replacement continues the GOED’s momentum in diversifying Nevada’s economy.

“Now’s the time to keep your foot on the gas,” he said. “It’s harder in the good times. It’s easy to lose focus.”

Sisolak thanked Anderson for his years of public service in a statement released Friday.

“I know that he will continue to champion economic development in his future endeavors,” Sisolak said.

Contact Bailey Schulz at bschulz@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0233. Follow @bailey_schulz on Twitter.

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