News From Terre Haute, Indiana

November 27, 2012

WCIEDD director oversees last meeting

Arthur Foulkes
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — After more than 30 years at the helm, Merv Nolot presided Monday over his final meeting of the West Central Indiana Economic Development District board of directors.

Mike Costello, board president, said Nolot is leaving the multi-county public agency in a strong financial position.

“He’s left us in good shape,” Costello said at the start of West Central’s final board meeting for 2012 and Nolot’s last meeting as executive director.

Nolot, 66, announced his intention to retire from the position in September. He has directed the agency for the past 36 years.

“The corporation is in excellent financial shape,” Nolot told the board, which meets every two months in the McMillan Adult Day Care Service facility in Terre Haute. Few not-for-profit entities can claim to be such a good financial condition, he said.

The WCIEDD, with headquarters at 1718 Wabash Ave., coordinates several federal and state-funded programs in Vigo, Vermillion, Parke, Putnam, Clay and Sullivan counties.

Among other things, it helps communities with transportation, sanitation, economic development and senior services projects.

For example, in Vigo County, West Central staff members are helping West Terre Haute make water system improvements using grant money. West Central has also helped bring about Terre Haute’s 641 bypass and the city’s hiking and biking trail system.

WCIEDD has a staff of more than 80 full- and part-time employees. The agency’s annual budget is about $3.5 million.

Speaking after the meeting, Nolot said he hopes the agency’s next executive director, who has not yet been selected, will continue working closely with the Vermillion Rise Mega Park. Nolot said the industrial park, which is the site of a former U.S. military chemical weapons stockpile near Newport, is already attracting attention from investors.

“Going forward, there’s going to be a lot of economic development up there,” Nolot said, adding he expects several investment announcements involving Vermillion Rise in the next few years.

Nolot said he also believes there is room for West Central to become more involved in promoting low-income housing, particularly in smaller communities.

A personnel committee made up of board members will select Nolot’s successor. The agency had considered using a professional search firm, but the board decided, in the end, against that move, Nolot said. The agency has instead advertised the executive director’s job opening in central Indiana newspapers and online, he said.

The personnel committee is expected to meet next month and a new executive director is expected to be in place by the first of the year, Nolot said.

Aat the start of Monday’s meeting, the board gave Nolot a round of applause for his years of service “I’ve enjoyed it,” Nolot said of his years at West Central. “And it’s gone quickly even though it’s been almost four decades.”

Reporter Arthur Foulkes can be reached at (812) 231-4232 or arthur.foulkes