By Steve White, Grand Island Bureau Chief - bio | email
One "Marlin" catches another, as Aurora hooks a man who played a role in bringing thousands of jobs to Grand Island.
From a vibrant downtown to a farm coop that did a billion dollars in sales, plus new housing, museums, and good schools, Aurora seems to be growing in a positive direction.
Marlan Ferguson couldn't say no when opportunity called.
"Really, it looks like they've positioned themselves well for the future in some of the potential grown on industrial parks and some of that. Yeah, I'm really excited about the opportunity," he said.
Last summer, it appeared Ferguson might become Grand Island City Administrator, a job he held a decade ago. That never materialized, so he continued as head of the Grand Island Economic Development Corporation, but continued to think about his career in government.
"It got back in my blood a bit," he explained.
When the City of Aurora heard that, they contacted Ferguson about their long vacant position. This week, they voted unanimously to make Ferguson their city administrator, based on his strong resume.
Mayor Marlin Seeman said, "He has the credentials of a person who comes from now a metropolitan area who has worked in the arena of leadership all his life."
The town of 4,50 is growing. There are young families and young leaders, and heavyweight businesses like the billion dollar Aurora Cooperative, and Hamilton Telecommunications which provides services across 17 states.
Seeman said, "We don't view ourselves as having problems but having tremendous amount of opportunities."
Now there's the opportunity for confusion, with mayor Marlin with an 'i' and now city administrator Marlan with an 'a'
"I joke his mother spelled it wrong," the mayor said.
As for leaving Grand Island, Ferguson feels the timing is good after voters renewed a program that has added thousands of jobs.
He said, "There are a lot of good things happening in the community, Nebraska State Fair and really pleased with what we accomplished and certainly not far away to see continued growth."
They still have to work out contract details, but expect that to happen quickly.
And then Grand Island Economic Development will begin the search for its new director.