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Temple, TX Case Study

Temple, Texas


Situation Analysis


The Temple Economic Development Corporation conducted a national search to identify a highly motivated economic development professional to provide leadership, vision, and expertise to focus on growing existing business and industry as well as recruit new business and industry opportunities for the Temple, Texas area.


The Temple Economic Development Corporation

The Temple Economic Development Corporation focuses on the creation of new jobs within Temple and on job creations derived from the movement of new companies to the community. TEDC also improves retail and entertainmentopportunities within the city. TEDC strongly supports significant retail outlets including restaurants, and retail shops. TEDC is looking to bring future growth to Temple by helping to fully develop the potential in medical education, research and biotechnology. TEDC is involved in the critical decisions being made to improve highways, including critically important Interstate 35.


Temple, Texas

Temple has been a crossroads for business in Texas since 1881, when the Gulf, Colorado & Santa Fe Railroad chose this location as a central link for the state’s rail lines. Temple again benefited from its location by becoming a “corridor city” along Interstate 35. Temple is widely known for its stable economy and diverse economic base of renowned medical services, research and medical education, and major manufacturing and distribution operations. It is this type of diversity that has brought over $300 million worth of development in the last 3 years. The Greater Temple Area boasts a population of over 111,000 and provides a solid economic foundation for future growth.


Researching and Selecting a Search Firm

The Temple Economic Development Corporation (TEDC) in Temple, Texas, was in need of an executive search firm to find a new President for their organization. The TEDC board is 20 of the strongest community leaders and business leaders in the area. The organization had used a search firm in the past, but they were not pleased with the results. Therefore, the executive search committee, made up of several prominent bankers, elected city officials, attorneys and construction and electric company professionals, researched many search firms and selected three for face-to-face interviews. Those three firms presented in person at the TEDC headquarters.


The TEDC search committee selected The PACE Group for their breadth and depth of experience. They wanted the best, and therefore decided they needed to hire the best. The board agreed that The PACE Group was the obvious choice. One TEDC board member said “The PACE Group was professional and polite and had done their research. We knew if they had worked so hard to learn about our community and organization they would put the same effort into the search. That is exactly what we were looking for in a search firm.” The PACE Group impressed the committee with their success, years of experience, and their Texas presence.



Process Outline


June 30: The PACE Group Pitches Services to TEDC.

The PACE Group presents their services and experience to the TEDC search committee.


July 1: TEDC Selects The PACE Group for Their Executive Search. 


July 6, 7, and 8: PACE Creates Needs Assessment.

The PACE Group interviews over 30 community leaders, tours the city, and learns about the Temple Economic Development Corporation to create the Needs Assessment.


July 19: PACE Presents the Needs assessment.

The PACE Group provides the needs assessment to the TEDC search committee in a written report and discusses the details during a presentation. The needs assessment consists of charts and summaries of the information learned from the interviews. PACE also presents an organizational overview, community profile, and detailed job description.


PACE obtains feedback on this material and observes as the board discusses specific issues and fine tunes their desires and needs for the next President. This discussion allows the board to come to solid conclusions about the job responsibilities and required qualifications for the position. The PACE group then revises the job description so it tailored to the TEDC’s specific needs and desires. PACE also receives approval to use the presented materials to market the position and recruit the best candidates in a national search. PACE also makes extensive recommendations addressing nine specific areas to be considered for the future of economic development in the Temple area.


August 17: PACE Presents Four Finalists.

PACE provides resumes, pre-interview responses, interview responses, and reference comments for four finalists. PACE provides these materials in a binder for each board member and elaborates on each candidate during a formal presentation. The board is able to ask many professional and personal questions regarding the candidates. The board also has the opportunity to request for PACE to return to the market in search of more candidates, but the TEDC board is pleased with the finalists and decides to bring in all four candidates for site visits and interviews.


PACE works with the board to create a solid and consistent interview schedule including formal and informal interviews with every member of the board. This includes tours of the community and breakfast, lunch, and dinner meetings.


August 25-26: TEDC First Round Interviews/Site Visits.

TEDC decides to bring one candidate back for a second round to meet the entire board.


September 17-18: TEDC Second Round Interview.

The selected candidate is brought in for second round interview. TEDC decides to make formal offer to the candidate, and negotiations begin with PACE assistance.


October 13: TEDC Announces New President.

The TEDC announces the hire of Lee Peterson, Commissioner of the North Dakota Department of Commerce, as the new President of their organization in the Temple Telegram.


Keys to This Successful Search


1. Strong Committed Leadership – Both Private and Public.

The TEDC executive search committee was made up of very strong community leaders—leaders, who are dedicated to the Temple community, work well with each other, respect each other, and are well respected in the community. They have a desire to get things accomplished. Mike Thompson, President of Extraco Bank and Chairman of the TEDC Board, is a great consensus builder with phenomenal leadership skills. He made sure everyone voiced their opinion and then worked to summarize the overall need. He also clearly articulated his expectations for The PACE Group. Mr. Thompson selected a fantastic group of leaders for the search committee and appointed the chairman of a competing bank to serve on the committee, an excellent demonstration of the desire to do what is best for the community.

2. Effective Timing and Game Plan.

The TEDC board was eager and prepared to move quickly. They set dates in advance and were always ready to move forward. Everyone was committed to the dates set at the beginning; therefore, the search was able to move forward as scheduled.


3. Front End Buy-In From The community.

PACE conducted over 30 interviews to ensure everyone in the community had the opportunity to voice their opinion at the beginning of the search. PACE sought their advice and expertise to determine what they believed would be the best candidate and future strategy for the TEDC. Each town is different, and PACE takes pride in obtaining the right fit for each community.


4. All Four Finalists Were Not Actively Looking For a New Position.

All were employed. Each candidate had to be sold on Temple. One candidate was from Texas, one from Mississippi, one from Missouri, and the selected candidate was from North Dakota, where he ran the state Economic Development Program.


5. Selected Candidate with Ties in the Area.

The leading candidate had family in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area. This was a key factor PACE used to sell him on Texas and was the reason such a qualified candidate was identified for this position


6. Creative Salary and Bonus Programs.

PACE and the TEDC search committee worked hard to develop a creative salary and bonus structure for the number one candidate. The chairman, Mike Thompson, created the plan and sold it to the board. His banking background was valuable to close the deal with Lee Peterson. This enabled the organization to establish a win-win situation for both their corporation and the candidate they selected.


Current Chairman of the TEDC Board


      The TEDC executive search committee interviewed several search firms and The PACE group was selected. I chose PACE because I felt John Lovorn and Allison Morris had done their homework to fully understand our community and our specific interest, prior to the interview. They were extremely well prepared. Accordingly, I knew they would also do their homework with prospective candidates. They provided first class service in every way and were very professional in their approach. The PACE Group exceeded my expectations. At the end of the search, I was very pleased with the thoroughness of the process and more importantly we hired the very best candidate available.
-Steve Wright

254 -778-4495



Excerpt from The Temple Telegram


Peterson will lead TEDC  (October 13, 2005)

Lee Peterson of Bismarck, N.D., has been named president of the Temple Economic Development Corporation.  Mike Thompson, TEDC board chairman, made the announcement Wednesday.
“When this job opened, it was the intent of the board to conduct a nationwide search for the very best candidate in the country to help Temple grow and prosper,” said Thompson, who served as chairman of the TEDC’s search committee. “Lee Peterson’s enthusiasm for Temple and his lifetime of experience in producing positive results made him our clear-cut choice. He has a remarkable track record.”
Peterson, who is replacing Larry Ruggiano, who served as TEDC president from 2000 to May 2005, will begin working in Temple in early December.

North Dakota Press Release


Peterson Named President of TEDC

For immediate release

October 11, 2005


Mike Thompson, Temple Economic Development Corporation (TEDC) board chairman, announced the appointment of Lee Peterson as president of TEDC today.


Thompson, chairman of TEDC’s search committee, explains, “When this job opened, it was the intent of the board to conduct a nationwide search for the very best candidate in the country to help Temple grow and prosper. Lee Peterson’s enthusiasm for Temple and his lifetime of experience in producing positive results made him our clear-cut choice.  He has a remarkable track record.”


Peterson has two decades of economic development experience where he focused on recruiting businesses, retaining and growing existing businesses and helping entrepreneurs develop new business ventures. During that time, Peterson has forged strong relationships with Fortune 500 companies like Microsoft, Unisys, and ING as well as companies of all sizes in energy, information technologies, advanced manufacturing, ag processing and business services.


He is coming from Bismarck, N.D., where he served as the commissioner of the North Dakota Department of Commerce since its inception in 2001. Since taking office, North Dakota has seen record growth in the number jobs, wages and new businesses. In fact, North Dakota led the nation in 2004 for average income growth, with an 8.6 percent increase from 2003 to 2004.


Prior to heading the state agency, Peterson was president of the Minot (N.D.) Area Development Corporation. Minot is considered a pioneer in economic development and their approach has been the model for successful development across the region.


“With our new roadway expansions, bioscience district, geographic location in Texas and the other vast economic opportunities available in Temple – including our proximity to Fort Hood – we are positioned to aggressively grow our community’s economic base,” says Steve Wright, TEDC chairman-elect. “With the hiring of Lee Peterson, we now have in place the tools we need to help our community realize its true potential.”


“My heart is truly in local community economic development,” says Peterson. “Temple is a perfect fit for my experience. This community has unbelievable potential and I am convinced that, working together, we can create a bright future for our local economy and the citizens of Temple.”


For more information contact

Mike Thompson, 254-774-5550

Steve Wright, 254-778-4495