It’s time to pass the baton, says Gainesville Economic Development Corp. Executive Director Arleene Loyd.
Loyd’s last day with the city will be Valentine’s Day, Friday, Feb. 14.
Members of the Gainesville City Council approved the hiring of incoming GEDC executive director Audrey Schroyer on Tuesday, Feb. 4.
“We’ve got a lot of momentum going,” Loyd said. “I don’t want to slow that down … I am passing the baton and we are still moving upward, moving forward, growing like an oak tree and committing ourselves to businesses that are here.”
She said she believed new skills and perspectives are coming to the table and, if need be, she is only a text message away.
“This is nothing but adding better staff,” Loyd said of the GEDC change.
Loyd said she hopes the public comes out to a GEDC reception scheduled from 4 to 6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 12, which will bid her farewell and introduce Schroyer. The reception will take place at the Gainesville Civic Center, 311 S. Weaver St.
Loyd’s retirement had been in the planning stages for quite some time. She said she decided to leave her post in October 2019 after serving in the role for five years.
Loyd, who considers herself a newlywed, is moving to Callisburg. She said she will spend time with her husband, Allen Fomby, whom she married in October 2018.
“Life is short,” Loyd said of her being eligible to retire. “[I] was not tired with this position at all. Love Gainesville. Have fallen in love with Gainesville.”
She also said she would like to move her nearly 89-year-old mom from West Texas to the area.
Loyd was the first female director for the GEDC, she said.
When asked of her biggest accomplishment, she prided herself on the relationships she has built with “all the manufacturers” during her tenure, as well as spreading the word about Gainesville.
“I think we’ve put Gainesville on the map,” Loyd said.
She said 20% of all the work activity in Gainesville is in manufacturing. Being able to share that knowledge has been “a lot of fun,” Loyd said.
Loyd also helped put together the Cooke County Manufacturing Consortium, a partnership between area manufacturers, North Central Texas College and school districts within the county.
She said it helps children become aware of jobs available to them after graduation.
“There’s probably close to 100 kids taking dual-credit technical classes,” Loyd said.
She said there’s nothing more important than workforce.
“You could give a company everything for free, but if there’s not a good workforce here there’s no point in coming,” Loyd said of developing the consortium.
Loyd said she is thankful Mayor Jim Goldsworthy reached out to her about the job in Gainesville.
Loyd previously served as the director of business retention and expansion at the chamber of commerce in Odessa.
“It was certainly not on my radar and it’s been nothing but a pleasure working for and learning about this community,” Loyd said.