Coming home for economic development

WINTERSVILLE – Evan Scurti, a 35-year-old native of Steubenville was officially appointed Wednesday afternoon as the first director of economic development by the Jefferson County Port Authority board of directors.

The announcement came during a special port authority meeting.

“I am very excited for myself and my wife Carol. My dream was to return to Jefferson County and to invest our lives in our hometown. I am very excited to be back and to be home again,” Scurti said.

“I was really interested when I first learned about the job opportunity with the port authority. This is an exciting county with the key pieces and parts for economic development. My immediate job will be to put the pieces and parts together and to tell our story,” Scurti continued.

Scurti will start his new job on Dec. 9.

“I left the area after I graduated from Franciscan University of Steubenville in 2003. I went to Ohio State University where I obtained my master’s degree and then started working in Ashland County. I was the assistant economic director for three years and then the economic director for six years. I worked the past 16 months as the regional manager of the Ohio Department of Transportation Office of Jobs and Commerce and was responsible for 11 counties in northeast Ohio.

“I believe Jefferson County has a great atmosphere for economic development. Every county is unique in its own way but I feel I can develop goals for development in Jefferson County. My immediate plans will involve sitting down with the board of directors to discuss plans for the future. We can then start to roll the ideas and strategies out to share with our stakeholders,” Scurti said.

“Obviously this is a very important issue for all of you on the Port Authority board of directors. And I realize you are placing your trust in me. I won’t let you down,” declared Scurti.

Scurti said he and his wife Carol are very excited to return home.

“I am very pleased to welcome Evan Scurti back to Jefferson County. Evan has an excellent track record and background in economic development and it is certainly nice to see a former native of the area coming back to his community,” said Port Authority Chairman of the Board Jay Zatta.

Board member Debbie Venci led the Authority search committee and helped narrow the list of 20 applicants to the final candidate.

“We were impressed with his economic development background and his 10 years of experience in economic development work. In his cover letter Evan noted how Ashland County is similar in many ways to Jefferson County. Everyone tells us we have rail, river and roads in Jefferson County and Evan comes to us from his job with ODOT. Everything was pointing us to Evan,” explained Venci.

“We have a lot of high hopes for you and the future of economic development in Jefferson County. This is going to be a good situation for Jefferson County,” cited Jefferson County Commissioner Thomas Graham.

The port authority has been working toward hiring an executive director since it was officially formed by Steubenville and Jefferson County officials in 2012.

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