After 20 years as the executive director, Rawnda Pierce is stepping down to work in a new position for Twin Cities Development. She will officially take over as TCD’s housing director once someone else is hired to fill her shoes.
“This is kind of my step down to retirement,” Pierce said.
The new position will include four-day work weeks, something she’d previously tried to get but for one reason or another had never been able to work out. The new schedule will allow her to travel more and spend more time with her grandchildren.
She said she would remain as TCD’s housing director for potentially five to seven more years before retiring. She said she eventually hopes to lower her future schedule to a three-day work week.
Founded in 1985, Twin Cities Development is an association with the goal of expanding workforce development within the Platte Valley area. Its services include workforce recruitment, entrepreneur assistance, and business retention and expansion.
TCD began advertising to fill Pierce’s position last week.
“The TCD board is looking for a dynamic leader that will help the area with economic development, workforce development, housing, and grant writing,” TCD president Jerry Darnell said in an email to the Star-Herald. “The board hopes to have someone hired by the first of the year.”
The new executive director would need to be someone who could be deeply involved in the community, he said.
Pierce said she’d like the TCD board to hire someone who would be able to forge their own way with new projects and new ideas. She said she’d be a resource for them to use while acclimating to their position.
She will still be involved in plenty of work for TCD over the next few years. It just won’t be any budgeting, or policy, or human resources work.
“It was time to let other people ... be the face of TCD,” Pierce said.
Instead, her job will have her focused on overseeing programs that result in the building homes in the area and managing a down payment assistance program, among other projects.
One such endeavor is the Northfield Haven project in Gering. It will be an independent housing wing for adults with mental disabilities. Some parents of future residents first approached Pierce about constructing the site.
“I promised the parents I would get that project finished, and I don’t want to let the parents or their children down,” she said.
With just a handful of people currently working in the TCD offices, a new executive director would be a big boost to the team.
“Four people can only do so much, and having another person to help us would be amazing,” Pierce said.
She said she’d like for the new hire to bring the various communities TCD assists together. This includes focusing more on the smaller towns surrounding Scottsbluff and Gering. She’d like for them to create new partnerships with companies and organizations, as well.
TCD has 13 government members, in addition members from industries and businesses of all types.
Two decades ago, when she was first interviewed for the job, Pierce said she was armed with an accounting degree facing off against two experienced economic directors and that her commitment got her the job. At that time, she said she’d be able to work at TCD for at least four years, based on her previous job lengths.
“It’s one of those things I didn’t expect, to be here as long as I have,” she said.
With a new position and new hours, she’ll continue to serve the community for quite a bit longer.