The Pasco Economic Development Council officially hired its top finalist, John Hagen, as its new president and chief executive officer Friday.
Hagen, 59, is director of the economic development for Surprise, Ariz., a city of about 110,000 that is 45 minutes from downtown Phoenix.
"Pasco County is squarely in the path of progress," Hagen said in a statement after accepting the offer of employment. "There are only a handful of communities in the United States that have this kind of growth potential. Frankly, it will take a lot of hard work on everyone's part, but I couldn't pass up the chance to make a difference here."
Hagen will transition into his role during December and will begin leading the EDC full time Jan. 2. He replaces Mary Jane Stanley, who resigned under pressure this summer after a decade at the helm.
EDC board members were still finalizing Hagen's compensation package Friday.
"We are very excited to bring John Hagen to this position, which we believe is critical to the future of Pasco County, our competitiveness and our future quality growth," search committee member Trey Starkey said in the statement.
Hagen is a 30-year veteran of the economic development profession. According to his biography on the city's Web site, he has been in Surprise since 2005. Before that he was the executive director of the Anderson Corporation for Economic Development in Madison County, Ind., a leadership position he held from 1986 to 2004, the Pasco EDC said. Hagen's list of accomplishments includes:
• Facilitating the creation of five new business parks and six major retail centers, and the organization of a small business program that created more than 100 new businesses in Surprise.
• Assisting more than 100 company relocations and expansions, helping to develop office and industrial buildings, and developing a 230-acre business park, including its marketing, sales and financing in Anderson, Ind.
"We know Pasco County is very important relative to the rest of Tampa," said Wilton Simpson, Pasco EDC board chairman and a member of the search committee. "As we look out over the next 10 to 20 years, we believe John Hagen has the experience, leadership and professional skills to lead the PEDC at the heightened proactive levels of sales, marketing and policy that we have crafted in our new strategic plan."
Hagen brings leadership experience in collaborative regional structures like the Tampa Bay Partnership.
In Arizona, he was an active partner in the Greater Phoenix Economic Council. Previously, in the Indianapolis region, he was a founding member of the Indy Partnership.