By Jackie Stone

Killeen Daily Herald

The Copperas Cove Economic Development Corp. is expected to start a new era under a new executive director starting two weeks from today.

On Saturday, the CCEDC board of directors voted to hire Polo Enriquez, formerly an economic development director in the city of Centralia, Wash., to the position that has been open for more than two months.

Jerry Conner, the former executive director, submitted his resignation in October and officially left at the end of January.

The board conducted a special meeting early Saturday morning to interview the three finalists and potentially make a decision.

The three candidates - including one from Cedar Park and another from Florida in addition to Enriquez - were all qualified for the job, but the board decided on Enriquez in part because of his enthusiasm, said Dan Yancey, CCEDC board chairman.

"We interviewed three excellent candidates, which made the decision very difficult. Mr. Enriquez brought an unparalleled enthusiasm for the Central Texas area and Copperas Cove in particular," Yancey said.

Enriquez and his wife, Peggy, toured Copperas Cove and the surrounding areas Friday afternoon along with the other candidates to get a feel for the area.

The executive director oversees day-to-day operations of the CCEDC, which is tasked with, among other duties, recruiting new industry to the community and retaining and growing business. The board of directors sets policy.

"Basically if you wanted to compare it to city council, the executive director would be the city manager and the board would be city council," said CCEDC Marketing Director Monica Hull.

Since Conner left in January, Hull and CCEDC staff have taken on the executive director's duties and shared the burden with members of the board of directors, Hull said.

"We're very fortunate that our board is very hands on and is a working board. These guys have been very valuable in bridging the gap between executive directors," she said.

The CCEDC is currently in the midst of several development projects including an expansion of Constitution Drive for further growth on the east end of the city, as well as a land swap agreement with Fort Hood expected to be finalized soon. The land swap is hoped to pave the way for new growth and the U.S. Highway 190 bypass.

Contact Jackie Stone at or (254) 501-7474. Follow her on Twitter at @KDHcoveeditor.

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