WSC alum returns to Wayne

Virgil is new director of Wayne Area Economic Development

Rachel Knox, Staff Writer

A Wayne State College alumnus was recently named executive director of Wayne Area Economic Development.

Luke Virgil, a graduate of WSC’s political science program, began his new career on Monday.

Prior to accepting this position, Virgil had been the economic development coordinator in Laurel, Nebraska, since 2012. He was one of four finalists who took part in the interview process conducted by the
hiring committee of the Wayne Area Economic executive board of directors.

The interview process involved public meetings where several members of the community were able to interview each candidate, asking questions
about past experiences and ideas for Wayne economic development.

“These interviews were a great way to be introduced to the community
and get a feel for how much interest the people take in Wayne’s economic development,” Virgil said.

Although Virgil said it will be difficult to transition to Wayne from Laurel, which he called a great community, he is very optimistic.

“I have had a really good opportunity in Laurel and this community has been very good to myself and my family,” Virgil said. “I’ve had a lot of support through the years.”

The position became vacant when the former executive director, Wes Blecke, was appointed to serve as Wayne’s city administrator.

“Wayne has some very good anchor institutions like the college and the hospital,” Virgil said. “These institutions provide plenty of stability because there are a lot of people employed at the college, whether it is professors or staff. It brings a lot of students to town on a regular

As executive director of Wayne Area Economic Development, Virgil will have several different duties. In economic development, there are a number of major things that happen in the community all the time, he said. Business recruitment and business retention are two important examples, Virgil said.

“Business recruitment is when you try to bring people to your community to start a business, whether it’s an entrepreneur or a large corporation setting up a manufacturing facility,” said Virgil. “You’re trying to recruit them and expand the tax base and expand the employment base in your community.”

Virgil sees this transition as an opportunity to grow in his career.

“Community development is all about improving your quality of life,” Virgil said. “It’s a different career than I ever anticipated and I like it a lot.”

Rachel Knox
Luke Virgil accepted a position at Wayne Area Economic Development.