Payson Economic Development Director Mike Vogel has resigned for health reason, the town announced on Thursday.
Former Payson town councilor Vogel has for the past two years headed up the town’s effort to attract new businesses to town and also served as chairman of the Rim Country Educational Alliance Board of Directors. Early in his term he helped bring to town a bullet-manufacturing business, one of the few employers to open its doors since the onset of the recession. More recently, he played a role in smoothing the way for three major retailers — Big Lots, Big 5 Sporting Goods and PetSmart.
Town officials lauded his contributions. “Personal, health and family reasons have made this the right decision for Mike at this time,” commented Mayor Kenny Evans. “Few people have worked so long or hard, doing so under such incredibly stressful conditions — all for the betterment of our community. His successes are legend. I consider it a blessings to have been able to work side-by-side with someone of his capacity; but more importantly, to have been able to call him my friend. His talents will be missed, but he has agreed to continue to assist us with ongoing projects and contacts.”
As economic development director, Vogel worked to change the perception that Payson was anti-business. He helped develop “fast track” development and pushed for changes that would let new business space out payment of the town’s hefty water development fees. Vogel often went along with developers and business owners to meetings with town planning and building officials to keep the projects moving.
The town credited Vogel with facilitating the opening of new businesses and development that brought many new jobs to town. He labored in the face of a deep and prolonged economic slowdown in Rim Country.
Back in 2007, the town processed roughly 250 new homes annually. In the past several years, annual totals for new homes have hovered below 50. A former firefighter and union negotiator, Vogel’s no-nonsense, down-to-earth style defined his efforts to both retain current and recruit future businesses.