Ron Coristine new PREDC executive director


By Barb McKay

The Penetangore Regional Economic Development Corporation has hired a familiar face as its new executive director.


PREDC president Jim Prenger announced Thursday that Ron Coristine will fill the role, left vacant by the passing of Gerry Taylor. Coristine, a long-time consultant, is a Kincardine councillor and the council representative on PREDC’s board of directors.


Prenger said Coristine’s qualifications, his consulting experience and his experience with PREDC led the board to offer him the position. He said the board received eight applications from individuals across Canada. Those candidates provided written submissions. The four highest ranked candidates were interviewed. Coristine assumed the position April 1.


“We expect Mr. Coristine to become effective in his position immediately given his knowledge of and background in Kincardine and the surrounding area,” Prenger said in a media release. “We welcome Ron to our team.”


In a telephone interview with The Independent Friday, Coristine said he is thrilled with the appointment.

“It’s an exciting opportunity and I’m humbled by the trust the board has placed in me,” he said. “One of the things that tickled me is they hired a local guy.”


He said by hiring locally PREDC is demonstrating a commitment to using local talent, something he would like to see continued.


“We have so much talent here and we need to start connecting the dots. We have companies here doing very specialized work. That’s a very positive thing for our economy.”


On Thursday, mayor Larry Kraemer said he was very surprised by the announcement. He said there were implications involved, as Coristine is a councillor and is the council rep with PREDC, but said it is up to Coristine to speak to that.


“I suspect there will be some difficult questions for Ron and for PREDC,” he said.


Coristine said he plans to remain on council and in his role as the policy chair for economic development and tourism.


“I will continue my time on council, but will have to declare a conflict on anything that has to do with PREDC and its finances,” he said.


With six months remaining in the council term, he added, it wouldn’t make sense to have someone else take on the policy chair role and try and get up to speed.


Prenger said PREDC didn’t commence its interview process for the executive director position until after the municipality finalized its 2014 budget. Although Kincardine has a three-year contract with PREDC for economic development, funding is allocated on a yearly basis, he said.


Coristine said in assuming the role of executive director he would like to build on the foundation that Taylor set and set priorities for work that needs to be done. Part of that will be working with Team Kincardine.


Prenger said that now that PREDC has filled the position it can get back to business.

“Now we can get back on track with the projects we are working on,” Prenger said, adding that the natural gas project will be a priority.