Ware leaving Mid-East

Published 12:32 am Friday, January 6, 2012

Will accept similar post with GWRC in Fredericksburg, Va.

Tim Ware, executive director of the Mid-East Commission for the past 10 years, is leaving that post to take a similar post with the George Washington Regional Commission based in Fredericksburg, Va.

GWRC is the planning-district commission for Planning District 16, which includes the City of Fredericksburg and Caroline, King George, Spotsylvania and Stafford counties. Ware begins working there Jan. 17.

“The Commission provides a broad array of services for the benefit of the 320,000 residents of Planning District 16, including regional environmental, energy-conservation, hazard mitigation and rural transportation planning programs; operation of GWRideConnect, the region’s nationally-recognized rideshare brokerage that facilitates and promotes vanpooling and transit use, and; serving as staff to its sister board, the Fredericksburg Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, which is the federally-recognized transportation-planning commission serving Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania and Stafford,” reads the GWRC website.

Tim Ware

Ware replaces Robert H. Wilson as GWRC’s executive director. Eldon James has been serving as GWRC’s interim executive director since Wilson’s resignation took effect June 10, 2011. Wilson resigned to become chief of public transportation for the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation.

James, during a brief interview Thursday, said GWRC’s selection committee chose Ware because its members were impressed with Ware’s “long experience and strengths as a manager of a regional (planning) organization.” The committee members believe Ware has the knowledge and skills needed to lead the commission, he said.

“The region is split by I-95, so their No. 1 challenge is congestion,” Ware said Thursday. “Their census between 2000 and 2010, that area saw growth of about between 35 and 40 percent for every one of the four counties. The region’s only about right at 300,000 people. It’s not really that much bigger than we have here, which is about 250,000, but you’ve got a half a million people coming through that area a day on I-95.”

Ware talked about some of what he considers accomplishments made by the Mid-East Commission during his time as its executive director after replacing Bob Paciocco as executive director.

“We’ve come a long, long way. Bob left the agency in really good shape. We’ve been a little bit more proactive in different programs we bring on. You just can’t rely on federal and state funding all the time. You’ve got to be a little more entrepreneurial about how you go about bringing in new projects,” Ware said. “We’ve really seen that during the recession. As far as local governments are concerned, they’re having to cut their (planning) budgets. Our planning department has been able to step up and fill that void. Like Beaufort County — we serve as their planning staff. They don’t have to hire anybody and pay all their benefits. The county is coming out OK on that deal. They may not do that forever, but they’re doing that now.”

Ware had high praise for the Mid-East Commission staff.

“I think one of the biggest accomplishments is that we’ve got a great staff here,” Ware said. “This organization would be able to run without an executive director until they fill it. There’s not an employee here that I would want to lose.”

During 2010-2011, Ware served as president of the National Association of Development Organizations and participated in a White House Rural Council meeting July 25. The council, which is focused on economic development, job growth and improving the quality of life, was formed to provide recommendations on investments in rural areas. Ware also testified before the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Highways and Transit in March, when he urged its members to consider the needs and importance of small metropolitan and rural America during the reauthorization process of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users.

About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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