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City officials wanted an experienced person to head its new Economic Development Committee and think they have that person in former Provo Mayor Jim Ferguson.

Ferguson was named the city's new economic development director during the City Council meeting Tuesday night. Ferguson will serve part time working with the Economic Development Committee to attract new businesses, promote growth in existing businesses and develop an industrial park.Mayor David Holdaway said Ferguson's economic experience when he served as Provo's mayor and in private business will help the city accomplish its economic goals.

"We feel Jim can apply some of the experience he gained while involved in Provo's development to help us do some of the things that we would like to do," Holdaway said.

As Provo mayor from 1977 to 1985, Ferguson was instrumental in developing the East Bay Industrial Park and downtown Provo. He later became general manager of the Excelsior Hotel and earlier was involved in developing the International Center in Salt Lake. He is now involved in real estate in Provo.

Holdaway said Ferguson will provide advice to new and existing businesses and help businesses find financing for expansion. He will carry out the policies established in the Economic Development Committee's monthly meetings and will be the city's liaison in attracting businesses. He also will help new businesses locate and assist in real estate acquisition.

Ferguson said that before carrying out any duties he wants to get acquainted with the committee members and the business community.

"I think it's important to spend some time getting to know the business community and their individual needs," Ferguson said. "Any community has certain elements that can be built on, and we need to identify those and work on that."

Ferguson said that if the city pulls its resources together and if businesses support the economic movement the city can achieve significant economic growth within five to 10 years.