The chief executive officer of the Mariposa Chamber of Commerce in California will lead the county’s economic development office.

The Galveston County Commissioners Court voted unanimously Monday to hire Dane Carlson as the county’s new director of economic development, nearly a year after the previous director resigned.

Commissioners selected Carlson in part because of his experience working with site selectors, which are typically hired by larger firms to scout for locations, County Judge Mark Henry said.

“We’re very much in agreement large business can drive small business,” Henry said. “We’re looking for someone who can get in and do all the functions we would expect and we’ve talked about site selectors, he has good relationships with site selectors.”

Carlson will earn between $100,000 and $109,000, which is less than the previous director but in a range recommended by a search firm, he said.

Carlson has worked as the chief executive officer of the Mariposa County Chamber of Commerce for the past two and a half years, according to his resume. In that position, he’s served as the president of the Economic Development Corp. and as a board member on the Mariposa County Tourism Bureau, according to the resume.

The Mariposa County Chamber of Commerce employs about 35 people, according to its online company profile. The county, which is northeast of Fresno, includes part of the Yosemite National Park.

“It’s a small population, but has huge tourist numbers,” Henry said.

Before joining the chamber, Carlson was vice president of marketing for nine months at LUMA America Corp., an electrical equipment manufacturer, in Santa Clara. For more than 13 years, Carlson ran Business Opportunities Inc., a business blog he founded that offers entrepreneurial advice, according to his resume.

Carlson was unavailable for a telephone interview Monday because of wildfires in Mariposa County. Part of the county is under mandatory evacuation order.

The court hired the New Orleans-based search firm Next Move Group in July to find a new director after the former economic development director, C.B. “Bix” Rathburn, resigned in June.

The county has not had an economic development director for more than a year. Rathburn, who previously held the position, resigned last summer to start his own consulting business. He’s been consulting for various local governments in the past year, including Hitchcock and La Marque.

The search was split in three phases at a total price tag of $27,000: $9,000 for interviews of local business and government leaders to build a set of goals for the new director; $9,000 to identify and vet candidates; and a final $9,000 when the employee is hired, Next Move Group CEO Chad Chancellor said.

The county had intended to hire someone by the end of the year, but candidates in the first three rounds were not hired, Henry said. As part of the contract agreement, the search firm did not charge the county for the last two searches it conducted, Henry said.

Marissa Barnett: 409-683-5257;


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