By Scott Halasz
XENIA — Paul Newman Jr. has been named the county’s new economic development director.
Approved by the board of commissioners Thursday, Newman replaces Pete Williams, who stepped down as director in February to take a job at Wright State University. The 49-year-old has spent the last 15 months as the executive director of the Fairborn Area Chamber of Commerce.
“I’m really excited and looking forward to this opportunity working with the team in Greene County,” Newman said. “I’m very appreciative of being here. If I can provide just a fraction of my background and bring it to Greene County as a whole, it’s my pleasure to do so.”
Prior to joining the chamber, Newman was the activities coordinator for the Fairborn Senior Center. Before that he held a variety of positions with the Estee Lauder Company in New York City from 1995 through 2010. Despite great success with the cosmetics giant, Newman felt no sense of community like he experienced in Greene County.
“I was missing that,” he said. “I made the decision that that was most important to me.”
Upon moving back to the area, Newman immediately began to build relationships and leverage those into positive outcomes for the senior center and the chamber. That made Newman the clear choice from a field of 41 applicants that was whittled down to six finalists.
“I talked to a lot of good people,” County Administrator Brandon Huddleson said of his search for a good fit for the county. “I really believe we found that in Paul. The contacts that he already has established within the county will benefit us. He’ll represent the commissioners and the county in a positive manner.”
Newman official begins Aug. 20, according to county documents, and will make $67,000 annually. But he has already begun to do his homework concerning the county’s port authority, city inventive programs and the county’s Economic Development Incentive Program (EDIP).
“I want to put Greene County’s best foot forward,” Newman said. “It’s important for us to get out there and be seen … to be recognized for the contributions that we can offer. I kind of adopted this as my mantra. We’re second in size, but first in spirit.”
Newman had that same attitude in Fairborn, where he replaced his father, Paul Sr., as the executive director of the chamber. The elder Newman praised his son to the commissioners Thursday.
“(Our family) could not be more proud of what Paul’s accomplished in the short time since he’s returned to Greene County,” Newman Sr., said.