When Molly Spangler saw the opening for economic development director for the city of Sedona, she said the decision to apply was a simple one.
“I had traveled here many times over the years so when I saw the position was available, I was so excited,” she said. “I told my husband and he said to go for it. I had a great job but an opportunity like this checked all the boxes on my list of what I was looking for.”
Spangler, who most recently served as director of investment-ready communities at the Wyoming Business Council in Cheyenne, Wyo., started her new job on July 18. And according to her, so far, so good.
“It’s been great,” she said. “I’ve been really impressed with the staff. Everyone seems to be very friendly, professional and talented.”
In her previous job, Spangler managed over $350 million of publicly-funded projects. Additionally, she worked on a variety of projects and development efforts including downtown development, industrial rail business parks, small-community enhancement and large-to-small business recruitment and expansion.
For some in her position, the fact the city has never truly had an economic development director may be a bit daunting. But Spangler said she sees the positive side of it.
“This way I get to start with a fairly clean slate,” she said. “I think it allows more creativity as I work closely with the city manager, City Council and staff in developing this program. What impresses me most is the dedication of the city to both help sustain the quality of life for its citizens and increase year-round business opportunities.”
As the economic development director, Spangler will focus on addressing one of the six major vision themes in the Community Plan to diversify Sedona’s economy. The job description includes serving as a liaison to the business community and connecting business owners to the resources they need to succeed and grow. She looks to build relationships with not only existing businesses but business prospects, advocating for new or expanding businesses, and developing programs to improve business viability.
“I’m very excited to have Molly join our team,” City Manager Justin Clifton said. “Her experience in assisting communities across Wyoming address economic development has exposed her to a wide breadth of challenges and solutions. She was well received by fellow team members and I think she will fit in great in our community.”
Being that she is starting with a clean slate, Spangler said the first step is gathering data to show the strengths and weaknesses of Sedona in relation to drawing alternative forms of revenue to the city. She said the idea is not to find ways to replace tourism but instead to complement it. She said establishing a comprehensive look at the economy will allow the city to find what direction it wants to take.
“I’m really looking forward to this challenge,” she said. “I feel like there’s a lot of positive energy here and that people will have a lot of great ideas and opinions. Everyone wants this community to be successful and for it to thrive. That’s exciting to me.”