Jeff Sandford is happy to be back.

Very happy.

Sandford, 49, and his family are in the process of moving back to Stephenville where he has already assumed the role of SEDA’s new executive director.

In an interview inside his office at the airport Monday, Sandford talked about the excitement surrounding his new role and enthusiasm he has for Stephenville. 

“Stephenville has evolved since we were here last and that’s what attracted us to coming back,” he said. “Stephenville was always home; we love the area. Leaving allowed us to grow personally and professionally and prepared us to come back.”

Sandford was the executive director of the Stephenville Chamber of Commerce from 2001-2006.

“There are a lot of new faces here and others I know who have now moved into leadership roles,” Sandford said. “I think we can all work together to form a team to grow the region.”

Sandford said he is still getting reacquainted with the area and is currently on a “listening tour.” 

He is meeting with city, county and education officials as well as local business leaders to develop a plan and establish relationships.

“In addition to bringing in new business, we have to think about the needs of our existing businesses and work with them. Retention is very important,” he said. “We have to be mindful of growth. It has to be smart and sustainable, something we can keep up with.”

Sandford says he understands the community’s eagerness for new businesses to arrive and plans to engage the community in SEDA’s plans.  

“Every day we get inquiries from people wanting to invest in Stephenville, U.S.A. and that’s exciting,” he said.