After wrestling with the question of "should I stay or should I go," Jason White sided with the familiar territory of the Warren County Economic Development Corp.
White had announced in late April that he would leave the nonprofit group to explore his "entrepreneurial nature" as director of business development for engineering consultants Kirkham, Michael & Associates Inc. in Urbandale.
However, White said today that he realized he was leaving behind a record of achievement, unfinished business and team that he had put together to promote opportunities in the county just south of Des Moines.
"We're not lacking for things to do, and I've never had a more talented team to work with," he said.
After meeting with leaders of the development group, "We decided the best thing for Warren County is to let our team function as it is," White said. "This is an organization that everybody wanted to be a part of, including myself."
White said he was approached by several people who encouraged him to stay in economic development.
"I had a lot of people who were coming up to me and saying you're an economic developer, we need good economic developers, stay in the profession," he said. "The opportunity (at Kirkham Michael) was a good one, at the same time I'm doing what I love and seem to have success at. I worked hard to put this team together and I'd like to keep them together."
Denis Frischmeyer, president of Downing Construction Inc. in Indianola and head of the committee that was to find a replacement, said the development group wanted White to stay.
"We told him we wanted him to stay," Frischmeyer said. "They really have a lot of momentum going on and it was important for us to convince him to stay. We hated to interrupt the flow of the good work they had done."
It was easy to let White, who was scheduled to leave the post this week, stay on board.
"It really was a matter that the board hadn't accepted his resignation," Frischmeyer said.
At present, the development group is exploring ways to use rail service to encourage industrial development in Carlisle and the eastern part of the county, expand retail and other commercial development with a possible strip shopping center in Norwalk, find uses for a large warehousing facility in Indianola and complete the expansion of wastewater treatment infrastructure to foster planned development in Cumming.
White also said that he had benefited from an occasional bruising that results from promoting projects that later prove unpopular, such as a proposed casino in Norwalk.
"We're the kind of organization that builds on positive relationships," he said. "When one battle is done you make up and you go on to the next one."