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Chafee picks Valois for second go-round to lead EDC

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PROVIDENCE – Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee Monday nominated Marcel A. Valois, former executive director of the R.I. Economic Development Corporation, to take over leadership of the quasi-state agency again.

Most recently vice president of the private Rhode Island Economic Development Foundation, Valois previously led the EDC under then Gov. Lincoln Almond in the 1990s.

“I began my career in public service, and I am honored to have the opportunity to once again serve the people of Rhode Island,” Valois said in a news release announcing his nomination. “I truly believe that, under Governor Chafee’s leadership, Rhode Island is creating a new economic development culture, one that that embraces information, transparency, collaboration and continuous innovation. We have our challenges, but we also have tremendous opportunity to rebuild economic development in our state.”

If confirmed by the R.I. Senate, Valois would take over as EDC chief from Managing Director of Business and Community Development William J. Parsons, who turned down an executive director appointment in February due to health concerns.

Parsons has been leading the agency on a temporary basis since former Executive Director Keith W. Stokes resigned last summer in response to the failure of the state’s $75 million loan guarantee to 38 Studios LLC.

In the aftermath of 38 Studios and Stokes’ departure, Valois was part of a group that issued a detailed series of prescriptions for reforming and restructuring the EDC.

The news release announcing the nomination did not mention the “Reboot the R.I. EDC” report Valois co-authored or whether it represented an endorsement of the ideas in it.

Officials in the governor’s office were not immediately available to answer questions or provide salary details.

During his last tenure with the EDC, Valois presided over planning for the Quonset Business Park, development of the Providence Place mall and recruitment of Fidelity Investments to Smithfield.

lincoln d. chafee, edc, economic development corporation, marcel a. valois, rhode island economic development foundation, lincoln almond, william j. parsons, 38 studios, keith w. stokes, fidelity investments

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