Fort Fairfield’s Marketing and Economic Development Director, Tim Goff, has announced his resignation. Goff, who also serves as the Director of the Maine Potato Blossom Festival, will continue to reside in central Aroostook County, but will be leaving the Town of Fort Fairfield to pursue an exciting new career opportunity. His resignation is effective August 1, 2017.
Goff was hired to help promote the community as a place to live, work and play and to seek out new investment and development that could enhance the economic climate of the region. He quickly became concerned about the lack of high-speed Internet access in rural parts of the community and sought out solutions by working with a variety of public and private partners. Soon thereafter, the Town of Fort Fairfield was gifted a Broadband Feasibility Study conducted by the experts at the James W. Sewall Company. That study helped provide a roadmap to reach the community’s goal of having broadband available at every address in the community. Working with Pioneer Broadband, the Town of Fort Fairfield was able to help secure two grants from the ConnectME Authority – which combined with private matching dollars totaled in excess of $400,000. Those funds are now being put to work constructing a fiber-to-the-home project that will bring broadband to more than 130 homes and businesses in Fort Fairfield, Presque Isle and Easton. The projects will also bring this vital resource to community assets The Nordic Heritage Center and The Francis Malcolm Science Center, better positioning them for continued success and service to the community.
He also helped spearhead the creation of the Fort Fairfield Economic Development Board (FFEDB) which has worked in coordination with the Town to seek out new approaches to attract development. The FFEDB established the Municipal Land Incentive Program which provides town-owned property to developers who relocate or build a business in Fort Fairfield that employs a minimum of two people. The program has generated considerable interest in several town-owned parcels of land as more developers have become aware of the Town’s willingness to work with investors to create, attract and retain jobs. The FFEDB has also helped provide direction for an ongoing revamp of the Town of Fort Fairfield website that showcases the communities business, cultural and recreational assets.
As Director of the Maine Potato Blossom Festival, Goff has helped grow the event’s draw from outside Aroostook County’s borders by making music, food and events the focal point of this summertime tradition. With 100+ events, multiple nights of free musical performances, one of the largest parades in northern New England and fun, agricultural-related events like Potato Picking, Mashed Potato Wrestling and Tater Tot Eating competitions, the Maine Potato Blossom Festival has continued to attract more interest from visitors from throughout the region. This year’s festival, which was the 70th anniversary event, was a tremendous success drawing large crowds and filling hotels, restaurants and shops throughout central Aroostook County.
“When I was hired to oversee the Festival, I knew we were missing an opportunity to use this great event as an economic driver for the area,” said Goff. “We quickly set out to change the physical layout of the performance area, moving the Festival Main Stage off the street and providing a better experience for all concert goers. We also expanded the schedule of performances and taped into my contacts with bands in southern Maine to encourage more bands to take the trip north, giving them a chance to experience the area and gain exposure to our crowds. It has been a success in ways we could have never imagined, and I look forward to working with the new Festival Director and serving on the Festival Organizing Committee to help keep the momentum going!”
Goff also served as Executive Director of the Fort Fairfield Chamber of Commerce until June 30th of this year and brought new life to the Agri-Business Trade Fair. The Trade Fair added a Specialty Foods Sample Space to showcase locally grown and produced foods that was wildly popular and lead to year-to-year growth in attendance in excess of 40%. Goff plans to continue to work with the Fort Fairfield Chamber of Commerce, strengthening its presence in the community.
“I had no clue what I was getting into when I left my nearly 20 year career in television to return to my hometown,” admitted Goff. “These past few years have been some of the most rewarding of my life. Being able to make a difference in the social and economic well-being of this extraordinary community has been a humbling experience. I can only hope that I have made as profound an impact on this community as this experience and community has made upon me and my family.”
“Tim has made a positive impact in the Town of Fort Fairfield, and laid a good foundation for those who follow him,” stated Fort Fairfield Town Manager, Jim Risner. “The Town’s Municipal Land Incentive Program is a product of Tim’s direct involvement in economic development. Through his initiative and hard work, the Town received a free Broadband study from the James W. Sewall Company, which put Fort Fairfield on the map for broadband expansion, and has helped garner grants to expand broadband in Fort Fairfield and neighboring communities. Having grown up in Fort Fairfield, Tim understood the excitement of the Maine Potato Blossom Festival, and in his three years as Festival Director, he was successful in bringing folks from outside The County to the great event. While the Town is losing a great employee, we are not losing a member of the community, and we wish the best for Tim and his family in the next stage of his career.”
The Town of Fort Fairfield is actively recruiting a new Economic Development and Public Information Officer to continue to build upon the foundation established by Goff in conjunction with town staff and the FFEDB over the past few years. This position will also oversee the planning of the Maine Potato Blossom Festival and work closely with other town departments to serve as their media liaison. Interested candidates are encouraged to apply. The job announcement and application information can be found on the Town’s website, http://www.fortfairfield.org/images/2017/EconDevPIOJobPosting.pdf or picked up at the Town Office.
“I cannot thank the people of Fort Fairfield, the Town Council, Town Manager and staff enough for their guidance and support over these past few years,” added Goff. “They have provided me with amazing opportunities to grow professionally and to serve both our community and our region in a variety of ways. While I will be transitioning into a new job in a nearby community, my family and I will continue to call Fort Fairfield home. I look forward to remaining active in the community and supporting the many great things going on in our community.”