Burlington’s Ted Shafer named Winsted director of economic development

WINSTED — Ted Shafer, who served as Burlington’s first coach for 10 years, is now Winsted’s new director of economic development.

City Manager Josh Kelly made the announcement Wednesday.

“As the former first coach of Burlington, Ted Shafer knows what it takes to love a community, support it and help it grow,” Kelly said. “Ted will bring all of his wisdom and passion with him here at Winchester and will be a terrific addition to our team.”

Hiring Shafer is among the city’s uses for American Rescue Plan Act funding, which Kelly first presented as recommendations in November. The work will make Shafer “responsible for assisting in the holistic commercial, industrial and residential growth of the City of Winchester and the development of a robust local economy. In pursuit of this goal, the Director of Economic Development will research, review, propose , will help, work and complete tasks and projects that help attract residents and businesses to Winchester and keep them here,” according to Kelly.

Four people applied for the position; Shafer stood out, Kelly said, because of his experience as a first draftsman and his work facilitating and supporting many economic development projects in the city.

Shafer said he was involved in this type of work before being elected to Burlington.

“I’ve worked in risk management positions in the P&C insurance industry,” he said. “What’s so exciting and substantial about this is that I’ve been able to work with Connecticut’s small, medium and large businesses, especially with CFOs and staff. So I’ve been in the commercial business for most of my adult working life.

He looks forward to his new job, which he will start on January 31, with an annual salary of $48,000.

“I’m really excited about working at Winsted,” he said. “Josh has a very bright future ahead of him; and we connected right away. I look forward to working with him.

Shafer’s work in Burlington included attending monthly meetings with other city leaders from the Northwest Hills Council of Governments, which includes Winsted. “I was able to be part of the regional economic development plan that was created by Jocelyn Ayer at the COG,” he says. “So I’ve been interacting with (Winsted) on that, as well as other issues and topics related to the region.”

Winsted executives use ARPA funds for incentives for business owners, plus money for fire department, sewage plant, senior center programs, ADA improvements at recreation department playgrounds, new 800-band radios for fire and police. departments and upgrades for one of the Winsted Ambulance Association vehicles.

Shafer sees incentives as part of Winsted’s growth and positive direction.

“The city has evolved,” he says. “Having lived in the area and interacted with Winsted, I recognized, as others have, that (the town) has a tremendous core of assets. I look forward to working with everyone to grow with these opportunities.

“If you drive through town you can see part of the process beginning, with the urgent care center at Hartford HealthCare, the positive developments at Northwestern Connecticut Community College, the beautiful architecture of the many churches and in the community, and the quality of life in the lake region,” Shafer said. “You have a sense of optimism among elected officials and residents of the city; it is therefore a great recipe for positive economic development.

Shafer said he foresees a team approach to work.

“What I hope to improve and continue to develop is an integrated and team approach to achieving the goals of the city and its people,” he said. “I bring the skills and experience of my first coaching duties at Burlington over the past 10 years.”

Before being elected, Shafter was a member of the Burlington Economic Development Commission and worked in the private sector in insurance and finance related jobs. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Management in Business Administration from Tulane University, a Masters of Business Administration from Alliant University, and a Masters of Public Administration from UConn.

He is treasurer of the board of directors of Sustainable CT, of which he has been a member since 2017, when the organization was founded. To date, Sustainable CT has helped 128 registered cities complete a total of 2,583 sustainability-focused projects, according to Kelly. Burlington achieved Sustainable CT certification in 2019 and Winchester enrolled in the program in 2021.

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