New EDC director comes on board
Russ Brien, an Oskaloosa attorney, is the new executive director of the Jefferson County Economic Development Commission.
Outgoing executive director Jim McGrath, who announced his resignation a couple of months ago, was introducing Brien around the county last week. They attended the Valley Falls Chamber of Commerce dinner meeting Thursday and were scheduled to meet with the other chambers in the coming weeks.
Brien, 44, has resided in the county for seven years and opened his own law practice on the square in Oskaloosa last March.
He is a North Topeka native and Seaman High School graduate. He did his undergraduate degree work at the University of Kansas and obtained his law degree from the University of Michigan.
His legal practice has centered on business law for 17 years and has focused on tribal economic development issues and gaming.
His wife, Kimberly, manages the law office. They have two children, Olivia, a freshman at Oklahoma City University, and Adam, a junior at Oskaloosa High School.
The director’s job is a part-time position averaging about 15 hours a week. Brien will oversee a budget of about $40,000 and will draw about $22,000 in salary.
The EDC board consists of Art Johnson, Oskaloosa, Troy Mitchell, Perry, June Huston, Valley Falls, Terry Taylor, Oskaloosa, Mike Carmona, Meriden, and Shirley Walbridge, McLouth.
They meet the second Tuesday and move around the county to various restaurants.
McGrath, a retired postal official, has held the director’s position since March 2003 and was an EDC board member for 15 months prior to that. He has agreed to fill a 2-year unexpired term on the Meriden City Council where he has been a member of the city planning and zoning committee.
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