By Sarah Naron
PALESTINE – Winnsboro resident Gayle Cooper was appointed as the new executive director of the Palestine Economic Development Corporation by City Manager Michael Hornes during a meeting of the Palestine City Council Monday, Feb. 26.
“I am humbled and grateful that the people of Palestine have entrusted me with this outstanding opportunity,” said Cooper. “The ED staff and I will work in concert with the council, board and management team to increase capital investment in the community.”
Cooper explained that the “natural beauty, lovely historic architecture and commitment to development” encompassed by Palestine is what attracted her to the city.
“I am looking forward to increasing commercial and industrial activity in the business park, strengthening the central core of the city and expanding our retail and lifestyle amenities,” she said.
Cooper has previously served as the director of the Winnsboro Economic Development Corporation. A former resident of Arizona, Cooper also worked with the Greater Yuma Economic Development Corporation and the City of Goodyear.
Achievements made by Cooper during her service in Yuma include the recruitment of commercial and retail facilities, as well as a number of international clients. During her two-year tenure in Winnsboro, she was responsible for the implementation or expansion of seven businesses.
Cooper is a graduate of Arizona State University with a master’s degree in global technology and development. She also holds the title of Certified Economic Development Director from the International Economic Development Council.
“The City of Palestine is excited to have Gayle join our senior leadership team,” said Hornes. “She has been to town several times since her appointment and is eager to get started.”
According to Hornes, the passion which Cooper harbors for economic development “is clearly evident when you speak to her.
“I see great potential in her abilities to engage the community, create opportunities and make a positive impact here in Palestine,” he said.
Cooper was selected as the lone finalist after being chosen and interviewed by Hornes, the Palestine City Council and members of the community. She will officially step into her new role Monday, March 19.