County Economic Development Director Dyan L. Brasington will quit her job this fall to move to Camp Lejeune, N.C., where her husband, a veteran of Desert Shield, has been reassigned.
Despite having been director for little more than a year, Brasington won praise from the business community.
"She did as much in a year and a half as others might have done in three," said Earl Armiger, president of the Chamber of Commerce.
"She came here at a very, very critical time," Armiger said. "Howard's economy was stagnant. She has put the county in a situation where it will be able to get along without her. She raised the office to department status, formed a strong economic development advisory committee, and produced the county's first economic development plan in 14 years."
Brasington's departure is "a real loss," said Richard H. Pettingill, senior vice president and partner of a regional commercial and industrial real estate firm. "She is a true professional with a tremendous amount of professional competence. The county is much richer for her contributions."
"We knew she would be good," said Attorney David A. Carney, a member of the search committee that recommended hiring Brasington in February 1991. "But she was better than we expected. She is a team player, a facilitator with a tasteful style who gave economic development a tremendous effort when we really needed it. Before she came, we didn't know what the standard was. It will be easier to pick a successor now that we know."
School superintendent Michael E. Hickey, who serves as a member of the economic development advisory committee that Brasington formed, said her departure is "a tremendous loss" and "another setback" for the economic development department.
Having Brasington continue through the fall will help ease the transition, Hickey said, but "whoever is going to replace her is still going to need time to get up to speed."
One of the things that will help, Pettingill said, "is the strong commitment of the [Charles I.] Ecker administration to economic development. There will be even loftier goals in the years ahead."
Ecker, who has known for two or three weeks that Brasington would be leaving, said, "What Dyan has accomplished in the last year has been tremendous. She will be difficult to replace. She built bridges to the business community and helped bring in major businesses to the county while responding to the needs of small businesses."
Brasington gives Ecker credit for what she says were "some really large, positive strides" over the past year and a half.
"We did not have programs, plans or marketing," she said. "We were holding on awaiting direction." Support from business and government raised the stature of economic development here and brought it a higher level, she said.
Brasington said she will help select her successor and will be available to contract with the county for specific projects. "I want to keep everything going at the same good pace," she said. "I'm committed to the direction the county train is moving and I don't want to miss a beat."