By David Benda of the Redding Record Searchlight, February 2016
The Economic Development Corp. has tapped a New York native with national and international business development experience as its next president.
But Tony Giovaniello is no stranger to Redding.
The 60-year-old has lived here for nearly 20 years. Much of that time was spent traveling around the world, working for companies like AT&T and NCR while living in hotel rooms.
Giovaniello said he is honored the EDC selected him to succeed Mark Lascelles, who will retire May 1 after nearly six years on the job.
“I do feel that there is a lot of opportunity to grow Shasta County’s economy over the next five years,” Giovaniello said Monday afternoon from the Shasta Venture HUB. “To have meaningful growth you have to have a lot of commitment through the public and private sector and obviously through this process I saw that was the case and it’s one of the reasons why I accepted the position.”
Giovaniello, who has an MBA from Columbia University, will start April 1 and work with Lascelles for a month.
EDC board Chair Patrick Corey said the organization is at a level where it’s never been before. So the person to succeed Lascelles was an important selection.
“We are just confident with his experience both nationally and internationally,” Corey said. “He’s the guy to take us to the next level and maintain the momentum.”
Steven Williams, vice chair of the board who headed up the search committee for Lascelles’ replacement, said Giovaniello is the “complete package. It’s really exciting for us.”
Giovaniello was among four to receive a final interview. About 40 people initially applied for the job.
Giovaniello grew up in Long Island and lived in the San Francisco Bay Area in the 1970s and ’80s. He met his wife, Kelli, in the Bay Area. The couple were living in New York with two young children when they decided to move to Redding in 1997.
“It wasn’t arbitrary,” Giovaniello said. “She is a fifth-generation Shasta County resident. She has a lot of family here.”
Giovaniello had been retired for two years when he saw the advertisement for the EDC position. He decided to come out of retirement because he thinks this job will fulfill a need for him to give back to the community and continue to be productive.
“My golf wasn’t getting any better, and as my wife said, I had a lot of people calling me for advice and those seem to be the points of my day that I liked a lot,” he said.
Giovaniello said he’s enjoyed a good life in Redding. But he has never really been able to give back to the community because he spent so much time on the road, including a few years commuting weekly to New York.
He believes the EDC under Lascelles has done a good job transitioning to a modern economy, which he calls a sustainable one. He likes the Shasta Venture HUB, a business incubator that opened last year and houses the EDC offices.
“When I look at the modern economy, I think of things like education,” Giovaniello said. “You need things like traditional education . … But I also see in new technology a lot of emerging education opportunities.”
Giovaniello also wants to continue to focus on bettering transportation in and out of Redding, including commercial air service and air freight.
“Community connectivity is very important in today’s world,” Giovaniello said. “You need the availability of high-speed audio and video so you can participate in the world economy.
“When I look at, I think that travel systems and connectivity kind of gives everybody access to the global market.”