Prince William County has hired Dyan L. Lingle, formerly with the Florida Department of Commerce, as its new economic development director who will be responsible for overseeing county efforts to attract more businesses and help those businesses already located there.
"That's my greatest challenge here," said Lingle, 31, of her responsibility to represent local businesses within the county government. "And it is one of my priorities, along with attracting new industry and encouraging current businesses to expand."
All three efforts will test Lingle's skill in communicating, an ability which officials said weighed heavily in County Executive Robert S. Noe's decision to hire her. Noe said he was looking for someone with experience in economic development who could articulate the needs and benefits of the county.
"A number of candidates had excellent experience," he said, "but no one we interviewed was as qualified as she in communications skills."
Lingle, who has a master's degree in speech communications from Florida State University, fills the position vacated six months ago when David Dodd left for personal reasons. She has worked since 1977 with the Florida Department of Commerce.
While her efforts in Florida were directed toward bringing new industry into the state, much of her experience is related to her new position, she said, because here, too, she will be seeking new industry to provide jobs and create an industrial base that will help keep taxes down.
"Prince William County has a product to sell," said Lingle, whose undergraduate degree is in marketing. "We are an undiscovered industrial area. We are affordable as a place to live or start a business. But I am not going to encourage just any business to locate here."
The county has for the past five years sought to lure "clean" high-tech light industry and corporate sales enterprises, a practice Lingle wants to continue.
"But we are going to have a more aggressive approach than in the past," she said, "using stronger follow-up and stronger media presentations."