Governor launches interagency rapid response team to support job growth

In an effort to "Accelerate Idaho" and expand career opportunities for Idaho citizens, Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter recently named an interagency rapid response team responsible for collaborating quickly and efficiently when businesses are interested in launching, growing or relocating in Idaho.

Led by the Idaho Department of Commerce, the rapid response team includes representatives from the Department of Agriculture, Department of Environmental Quality, Department of Labor, Department of Water Resources, Division of Building Safety and Idaho Transportation Department.

"Idaho has a lot to offer companies looking to expand or relocate, but one of our best assets is the ability to 'move at the speed of business' and ensure that government is not an impediment to growth," Gov. Otter said. "This interagency rapid response team formalizes the great partnerships already working in our agencies to ensure that we're rolling out the red carpet to employers by providing them with a one-stop resource to move projects forward at a speed that other states can't match."

Designees to the rapid response team include:

  • Department of Agriculture – Laura Johnson (primary); Amanda Gibson (alternate)
  • Department of Environmental Quality – Orville Green (primary); Kari Kostka (alternate)
  • Department of Labor – Ken Edmunds (primary); Jay Engstrom (alternate)
  • Department of Water Resources – Mat Weaver (primary); Helen Harrington (alternate)
  • Division of Building Safety – Kelly Pearce (primary); Ron Whitney (alternate)
  • Idaho Transportation Department – Jim Carpenter (primary); Char McArthur (alternate)

With a growing pipeline of projects – both the expansion of existing Idaho companies and new businesses looking at the state – the interagency rapid response team will engage with companies to clearly communicate regulatory requirements and speed up the timeline to secure permits, discuss infrastructure needs and outline opportunities for grants or other forms of assistance.

"ITD's participation in the response team aligns the department's strategic focus of economic opportunity with the governor's directive," explained McArthur, ITD chief administrative officer.

"Transportation is critical to expanding existing businesses and attracting new businesses," she said. "On a personal level, it is exciting to be part of a team that is focused on improving Idaho's economic outlook."

In coordination with local government and economic development partners, the rapid response team will replicate the recent success of projects such as Chobani in Twin Falls that resulted in the world's largest yogurt processing facility to be constructed in just 326 days.

"In business, time is money – and the governor's leadership in establishing this interagency rapid response team is yet another asset we can share with site selectors and company representatives, showing our commitment to not only meet but exceed their expectations for how long it will take to open their doors," Commerce Director Jeffery Sayer said. "My counterparts in other state agencies have consistently made economic development a priority, understanding that being a partner to business enables us to proclaim to the nation – and to the world – that we will be the leader in supporting the needs of our employers and our communities."

Published 2-7-14