Taking the reins in May, Lisa Denton, Palestine's new executive director of the Economic Development Corporation, has already negotiated several big projects that include housing and retail development.
Denton said her experience with a similar-sized community, requiring similar skills for comparable markets, make her the right fit for Palestine.
“They’ve had a lot of changes, but they are trying to be progressive and grow,” Denton said. “There is a great partnership between the county, the city, and the economic development corporation. Some of the projects we are taking on have amazed me. I’ve not seen this level of partnership in other communities. It's very refreshing.”
Prior to coming to Palestine, Denton worked with a commercial retail development advisory firm for the Texas-Oklahoma market, when the coronavirus hit. She realized just how much she missed economic development.
“Not being able to do true job retention and that outreach during the darkest days of the state COVID-19 stay-at-home order was really hard for me,” Denton said. “So when Leslie reached out about this position, I said, ‘let’s talk.’”
Denton served as executive director of Athens Economic Development Corporation from January 2015 to July 2019. From 2004 to 2014, she worked as the assistant director for Kilgore Economic Development Corporation.
A graduate of Texas A&M University’s Texas Engineering & Extension Services, she is certified as an economic development master practitioner, an economic development finance professional, a community and economic developer, and a business and expansion professional.
Denton is impressed with the commitment and involvement of local leaders in the Texas legislature.
“With Senator Nichols, you can’t get any better,” she said. “He’s a great proponent of economic development. Palestine’s city, county, and state leadership get the big picture of what it takes to grow the community and alleviate the tax burden.”
Denton and her husband are empty nesters who live in Athens. They have two sons – one in McKinney and the other in Florida.