The Executive Committee of WESTMARC announced the search for a new CEO has culminated with the hiring of Michelle Rider as President & CEO. According to Chair Candace Wiest, "We are absolutely delighted to announce Michelle Rider has accepted our offer as our new CEO. As we conducted our search for a new CEO, the Search Committee outlined the key talents of the most successful candidate. The skills we identified as critical were the ability to build relationships, strong background in economic development and public policy, relationships with centers of influence throughout the Valley, and a strong understanding of regional and local issues. While we were fortunate enough to have a pool of outstanding candidates, Michelle clearly was the leader in those categories."

Ms. Rider has had an outstanding career with organizations focused on public policy and economic development. For the past nine years she has held various key positions with GPEC. Her tenure at GPEC gave her the opportunity to interact and build strong relationships with centers of influence throughout the Valley.

Wiest said "Having personally worked with Michelle on legislative, economic development issues, as well as the coordination of the Washington delegation for the past several years, I have always found her to be professional, extremely knowledgeable and very adaptable when faced with fluid or difficult situations. I have also seen her work with a large, diverse group of leaders to build consensus on complex issues. I am absolutely confident Michelle will be a wonderful spokesperson, advocate, and CEO of WESTMARC". Ms. Rider will join WESTMARC officially on July 1, 2011.