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Sarah Wildman was hired by the Village as economic sustainability coordinator.

New economic position filled

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At the Nov. 16 Village Council meeting, Village Manager Mark Cundiff announced that the Village has hired Sarah Wildman as its new economic sustainability coordinator.

“She has a great deal of experience in economic development in a small community as well as a background in the arts,” Cundiff said in an interview on Tuesday. “She’ll bring a lot of energy to the job.”

Wildman, currently a resident of South Charleston, brings to the job 18 years experience as village manager of South Charleston. She also has two masters degrees, one in museum studies and one in business, along with a history of working in museums.

“I think the mix of my interests and experiences is a positive background for this job,” Wildman said in an interview Tuesday. “I think the breadth of my work experiences is the right fit for this village. I’m excited to begin.”

Her years in South Charleston have provided her with a wide range of personal relationships at the local, regional and state level that will strengthen her economic development work, since that work depends on relationships and organizations working together, Wildman said.

“A lot of economic development is about building relationships, and about partnering with other organizations,” she said. With collaboration, Wildman said, everyone benefits.

“If a small entity does well, everyone does well. It’s very synergistic,” she said.

Wildman will begin her position on Monday, Nov. 23, and will work 24 hours a week at $24.51 an hour. The position is a new one that is being funded by the money set aside for economic development in the 2006 property tax levy. Village Council engaged in several discussions this summer regarding how the Village should best address economic development, and ultimately decided on a part-time position. Council is also considering instituting an economic sustainability advisory board.

Wildman received a bachelors degree in art, then a masters in museum studies from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. She later received an M.B.A. from the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Texas. Before moving to South Charleston, she worked in San Antonio as director of visitor services for a consortium of museums, including an art museum, a historical museum and a science and technology museum. She has also worked as director of visitor services at the State Historical Society in Topeka, Kan.

Wildman has two sons, a 19-year-old freshman at Miami University and a 16-year-old sophomore at Southeastern High School.

During her years in South Charleston, she has enjoyed visiting the village, Wildman said.

“When my boys were little I brought them over to ride on the bike path and rollerblade,” she said. “I always enjoyed being here.”

She grew up in Andover, a small rural Illinois town that Wildman describes as a “Swedish settlement on the plains.”

Along with the arts, Wildman has an interest in environmental sustainability, she said.

“I believe many of my interests are in the kinds of things that Yellow Springs represents,” Wildman said, stating that she looks forward to working more with Cundiff, and with Village Council.

According to Cundiff, 18 people applied for the job, of whom seven were interviewed. Of those, two finalists were brought to the village for a second interview.

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