Sharon Hillstrom named Manatee EDC director

BRADENTON – Sharon Hillstrom, the interim director of the Manatee Economic Development Council, has been named executive director today.

She replaces Eric Basinger who left in August. The EDC conducted a national search to fill the post and narrowed selections down to three.

“After an intensive evaluation of a number of strong candidates for the position of executive director for the Manatee EDC, Sharon’s combination of experience, energy and deep local knowledge rose to the top,” said Jerry Marlar, EDC board chair. “We are confident in Sharon’s ability to not only lead our capable staff, but also to build on the momentum she helped to create in our economic development strategy. The relationships Sharon has developed with our partners in the region and the continuity she represents for our organization’s development were key factors in our board’s decision.”

Marlar said the EDC is finalizing plans to emerge in January as an organization independent of the Manatee Chamber of Commerce, where it is currently housed as a division. Hillstrom will be charged with coordinating the new organization’s introduction to the community while overseeing implementation of an aggressive outreach program to recruit businesses and jobs to Manatee County.