Workforce Alliance hires economic development leader from Colorado as its new CEO

jnsbranti@modbee.comOctober 29, 2013 

David White

David White, 49, will take the reins in January at Workforce Alliance.

COURTESY DAVID WHITE

— A business development officer from Colorado will take over as the Stanislaus Economic Development and Workforce Alliance’s new chief executive officer.

David L. White, 49, was named to the post Tuesday after a nationwide search. He replaces Bill Bassitt, who retired this summer.

White has a broad base of economic development experience that should benefit the region, said Jeff Grover, chairman of the Alliance’s board of directors.

“He has a tremendous amount of energy and seems to be very systematic in what he does,” Grover said. “He doesn’t let things slip through the cracks.”

Grover said White’s current employer, the Colorado Springs Regional Business Alliance, “has a really good track record in the industry,” and there’s optimism that his leadership can foster similar success in Stanislaus.

White said he’s convinced Stanislaus is “really committed to economic development,” and he’s anxious to build on the community’s “wonderful qualities” – including its proximity to Silicon Valley and Yosemite.

“There is a sense of an all-American, down-to-earth feel here,” White said about Stanislaus. He visited the county twice to interview for the Alliance job.

The Alliance is a tax-exempt, private-public organization that provides economic development services for businesses and job training for workers. It represents the county in efforts to attract companies, retain existing employers and launch businesses.

That’s been tough to do since the recession began.

“The last five years, our economy has pretty much been in shambles,” acknowledged Grover. But he said things are starting to improve. “There’s an increased amount of activity of people looking (to open businesses).”

One of White’s jobs will be to convince those companies to locate in Stanislaus, but he said he also will focus on responding to the needs of the county’s existing businesses. In addition, he wants the region to “develop a culture of innovation” that nurtures entrepreneurs and startup ventures.

Grover said White impressed the search committee with his communication and collaboration efforts as Colorado Springs’ chief business development officer. “Seeing how the business alliance (in Colorado) has created a cluster industry strategy and engaged volunteers from those industries into the day-to-day business of economic development was one of the main reasons we wanted to hire Dave,” Grover explained.

White began working for economic development agencies in 1995. Before joining the Colorado Springs business alliance in 2006, he was the business attraction manager for Riverside.

White earned a bachelor’s degree in international relations from Brigham Young University, and a master’s in urban and regional planning from the University of Pittsburgh.

He and his wife have five adult children, and he is active in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

White plans to moved to Stanislaus in December and begin work at the Alliance on Jan. 2.

His starting salary has been set at $160,000, plus performance-based bonuses. That’s less than Bassitt had been receiving. For the 2011-12 year, Bassitt’s salary and bonuses totaled $226,449, and for the 2012-13 year, they were $193,632.

The Alliance’s revenue last year, contributed by both private businesses and government agencies, was nearly $2.4 million. The organization is based in downtown Modesto.

Bee staff writer J.N. Sbranti can be reached at jnsbranti@modbee.com or (209)578-2196.

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