SEDCO TO HIRE ABILENE’S SHARP AS NEXT PRESIDENT
SHERMAN – The Sherman Economic Development Corporation will vote on its lone finalist for the position of president next Tuesday, December 4. The SEDCO Board of Directors is expected to finalize a contract with Kent Sharp, who currently serves as chief executive officer for the Development Corporation of Abilene.
“We view this as a homerun hire,” said SEDCO Board Chairman Brad Douglass. “Not only does Kent bring a quarter-century of experience in economic development to the table, he also has spent extensive time in North Texas and he knows this area very well. Kent is fully equipped to hit the ground running in 2019.”
Prior to taking Abilene’s lead economic development job in September of 2014, Sharp spent eight years at the helm of the Gainesville Economic Development Corporation, where he was responsible for major deals with Select Energy Headquarters, Orteq Technologies, GAF, and Trident Process Systems. His career also included stops in Big Spring, where he served as lead economic developer from 1998 to 2006, as well as Stamford (1993-1998) and Shamrock (1991-1993). His teams have twice been awarded the Texas Community Economic Development Award, once in 2000 and once in 2016.
“When I left Gainesville to take the position in Abilene, I remember thinking that the thing I would miss most about the Texoma area was the team spirit that’s infused into the culture here,” Sharp said. “Grayson County has so many fantastic leaders who are focused on economic development – from Dr. Jeremy McMillan at Grayson College, to Janie Bates and her team at Workforce Solutions Texoma, to the ED teams in Whitesboro, Denison, and Pottsboro. I’m just thrilled to be moving back among those people to focus on bringing quality, high-paying jobs to Sherman.”
While in Abilene, Sharp managed an annual budget of more than $12 million, which he parlayed into numerous, high-impact projects. Chief among his accomplishments were expansion projects at Coca Cola and AbiMar Foods totaling 800 new jobs and $77 million in investment, luring Prairie Dog Pet Products to the tune of 215 new jobs and $30 million in investment, and assisting Texas State Technical College with a $4 million matching grant and $12 million in revenue bonds to leverage a $20 million capital expenditure. DCOA also manages more than 1.5 million square feet of employment space, which houses more than 2,200 jobs.
“I appreciate Kent’s track record and aptitude for creating and maintaining relationships within the community,” said Sherman City Manager Robby Hefton. “This relationship building is such a vital part of economic development because existing and prospective employers want to feel a personal connection to local leaders. I believe Kent will excel in this area.”
Sharp holds a bachelor’s degree in economics and finance from TCU. He has been a member of the Texas Economic Development Council since 1994, and a board member since 2015. Sharp and his wife Angela currently reside in Tuscola, but plan to relocate to Sherman in the coming months. The couple has two children, Bailey and Austin, both of whom are grown.