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Algadi takes charge at Worthington Regional Economic Development Corp.

Abraham Algadi, new Manager of the Worthington Regional Economic Development Corp., stands outside of the organization's building Thursday.

WORTHINGTON -- Abraham Algadi has been on the job just a few days, but is already hard at work.

"I'm just familiarizing myself with the physical space and getting my bearings established with where things are at," said the new manager of the Worthington Regional Economic Development Corp. (WREDC). "I'm trying to see where things are at in terms of where they ended and where they are at in the process.

"Definitely, WREDC has been very busy with a lot of things in the community," he continued. "We'll try to keep that momentum going. I don't want my learning to slow down that process."

Algadi officially began on Wednesday, but was in town for the April 18-19 Regional Bioscience Conference.

"I got to meet the members of the board and I found them all to be involved committee members and caring and concerned," Algadi said. "They share common objectives in terms of where they would like to push the business community and the future growth of the community forward."

Algadi, a native of Jordan, came to Worthington from Pine Island, where he was the city administrator. Prior to that, he had experience in urban planning and economic development.

"There is a saying, 'The more I know, the less I understand,'" he said. "I'm humbled, frankly, oftentimes by the idea that there's always more to learn in any environment.

"On the technical level, I can assure you, that I possess what it takes to do things and to do the stuff that needs to be done," he added. "Knowing technical stuff is one thing and it's really helpful, but there are always flavors and impressions and histories and different things that are relevant and different from one community to the next that need to be respected and learned."

Working in a city with a smaller population limited Algadi to a certain extent. But in Worthington, he believes, the possibilities are endless.

"Worthington offered a unique opportunity," he said. "I was economic development director and city manager within a city one-fourth the size of Worthington. There is only so much you can do there as economic development director and city manager.

"Worthington, being a larger market, offered more within the economic development realm than what Pine Island had to offer with being the top of the organization."

As a new era of the WREDC begins, Algadi knows there are issues that need to be addressed.

"You just have to understand the issues you are dealing with on a daily basis," he said. "Each issue is going to be unique and has different attributes and different challenges. They demand different attention from you."

Moving forward, Algadi wants to focus on making Worthington an attractive place for business growth and expansion.

"I think a very big priority is to build on the strategic position that WREDC and the leadership of the WREDC has established so far," he said, adding that he wants to move Worthington toward a position where it "can take advantage of emerging technologies in the bioscience field."

Algadi also wants to work with local, regional and national educational and research institutions to help build the right workforce in southwest Minnesota.

"If the word goes out to the industry to the world, to the state and to the region that Worthington is preparing the next cadre of emerging technology's workers, then we become an immediate attraction to those companies," Algadi said.

He stressed the regional reach of the corporation and working with areas outside of Worthington.

"I will be looking at the menu of services the WREDC can offer to all our member organizations, our member communities and also make that available to other organizations and communities and see what we can do to be relevant -- to be of service and help them accomplish their goal," he said.

Being new to the position and the area, Algadi is going to work to get to know businesses -- and have them get to know him as well.

"The more we are out there engaging people and putting a face to the acronym WREDC, the more likely they are to know who we are and the more likely we are to know who they are," he said. "I will be reaching out in terms of visiting over coffee or dinner with our business contacts, our membership and the membership of the chamber to say hello and establish enduring relationships with them."

While it's a new start for the WREDC, Algadi recognizes the work done in previous years.

"I admire the work that was done before me. There was a lot of work that was done," he said.

"Worthington is to be commended and the people who worked on it, there are a lot of good things that happened over the years. The Bioscience Conference is going to be a top priority for us. I think that would be one of the important priorities.

"I am kind of excited about the prospects," he continued. "I think you're going to see a fully engaged WREDC. We intend on taking advantage of the good work that was done before us and build on it."

His door will always be open.

"I hope to God I live up to the expectations of the leadership of this community," Algadi said. "I invite businesses, local organizations and anybody that wants to learn about what WREDC does and what it is we can serve them with, no matter the size of the business, big small or medium. I invite them to call us and we will spend whatever time it takes to help understand their business model and help find ways to help them. My doors are always open."

Daily Globe Community Content Coordinator Aaron Hagen may be reached at 376-7323.