Gov. Chafee nominates RWU grad Parsons for EDC director post

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PROVIDENCE — Governor Lincoln D. Chafee announced today that he will nominate William J. Parsons to serve as Executive Director of the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation (RIEDC). Parsons currently serves as Managing Director of Community and Business Development for the RIEDC.

“In any organization, institutional knowledge is incredibly important, and Bill Parsons, who has more than three decades of economic development experience in Rhode Island, is a tremendous source of such knowledge at the EDC,” Governor Chafee said. “He has been a big part of the turnaround that has taken place at the EDC recently. Working with Paul McGreevy, Bill has steadied the ship and fixed a number of lingering issues. Bill’s extensive knowledge, experience, and relationships, combined with the EDC’s new focus on serving existing Rhode Island businesses, will help the agency enter a new era without having to start from square one.”

“I want to thank Governor Chafee for the trust he has placed in me and for recognizing the value of experience and institutional knowledge,” Parsons said. “I am eager to continue our assessment of what works well at the EDC and what, quite frankly, has not been working. Governor Chafee is committed to devoting our precious resources to assisting Rhode Island businesses and helping them grow.

"This is a recipe for long-term, sustained economic growth, and I look forward to working with the Chafee Administration to continue to transform the EDC, making it more strategic, more efficient, and more effective for the benefit all Rhode Islanders.”

Parsons has 37 years of experience in helping companies grow or expand in Rhode Island. He has developed a distinct reputation as a collaborative partner between business and government by helping to understand and meet a company’s strategic goals to grow or relocate jobs in the state. Parsons has played a critical role in creating economic development financing programs, applying targeted incentives, marketing land assets, and the administration of capital and operating budgets.

The North Providence native has served a variety of roles during his 37-year tenure. Parsons first began his career as an economic analyst in 1975 for the Rhode Island Department of Economic Development. He was subsequently promoted into positions of increasing responsibility as Business Retention Manager (1981), Associate Director of Special Projects (1985), and Marketing Director (1988). When the RIEDC was created, Parsons became Deputy Director (1990). He also served as Acting Director in 1997 and 2002.

His accomplishments include playing a pivotal role in bringing major employers to Rhode Island including Toray Plastics, Amgen, Fidelity, FM Global, Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Yardney, and, most recently, Tunstall.

Parsons currently serves as Managing Director of Community and Business Development for the RIEDC. He is also a board member of the Small Business Loan Fund and Rhode Island Industrial Facilities Corporation. Parsons also serves as a member of the Enterprise Zone Council.

Parsons is a graduate of Roger Williams University. He resides in North Providence with his wife, Paula. His nomination is subject to the advice and consent of the Rhode Island Senate. Until his nomination is considered, he will remain in his current role at the EDC and the Executive Director position will remain vacant.

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