New Economic Development Coordinator Joins City of Somerton

SOMERTON – This city’s new economic development coordinator, Mike Paredes, predicts Somerton will “rise to a new level” economically in the near future as new businesses see the advantage of locating there.

And recruiting commercial prospects will be one of the responsibilities of Paredes, who recently filled the city post previously held by Shaun Cassidy, who stepped down in September.

Born and raised in Yuma, Paredes, 38, is returning to the area after having served as the vice president of the Imperial Valley Economic Development Corp.

“I always look for areas where there is opportunity for growth,” said Paredes, discussing his recent move. “Here in Somerton, I see that, as well as the opportunity to help, to contribute my two cents worth to help bring the city to a higher level.

“I see in Somerton the opportunity to increase the number of commercial establishments, with a (resulting) benefit in sales tax revenue” for the city.

“We have a council that that does a lot to promote the city, that looks for opportunities for investment,” Paredes continued. “Little by little, it is establishing the city where it needs to be.”

The city’s location and its available workforce make it competitive with other communities seeking to recruit new businesses, he added.

“Somerton is ready, in a variety of ways, for its (economic) development to take off. We offer incentives for business (to locate in Somerton), we have a state highway that passes through the city, and we can attract winter tourism.”

Paredes previously worked for the Greater Yuma Economic Development Corp., the Yuma Private Industry Council, for which he opened its Somerton office, and as project manager for the city of Mesa’s Economic Development Office.

Paredes holds a bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University, a master’s degree in human relations from Northern Arizona University, as well as a certificate in economic development from the University of Oklahoma.