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BIA seeks director and market boss

By Kevin Werner, News Staff

The Ancaster Heritage Village Business Improvement Area is looking for another executive director after losing its latest employee after about six months.

Bob Wilkins, chair of the BIA, confirmed Tyler Ferguson, an Ancaster native who was hired to replace Leah Higgens last fall as executive director of the BIA, has left to manage a new start-up business online. Ferguson, who was also the Ancaster Farmers Market manager, started his positions Nov. 1.

Wilkins said the BIA is actually looking to hire two people, one to manage the farmers market and the other as executive director of the BIA. Wilkins said the farmers market job is a year-round position that includes preparation work, searching for vendors and other jobs.

“(Both positions) require capable people and we are hoping to find those qualified candidates,” he said. “We are looking for people who want to make a contribution to the community.”

Higgens, who was the BIA executive director from 2009-13, left to work in a local bakery. And after last season’s farmers market ended in October, manager Joanne Turnell returned to her food truck operation. Ferguson was hired to fill both positions. He recently opened what he describes as a local food initiative called The Farm Network, selling gourmet preserves, pantry items, snacks and gifts made by local producers.

While both BIA executive director and the farmers market manager are open to any qualified individual, Wilkins said having a good working knowledge of Ancaster and its people will be helpful.

Wilkins said the search team will also contact candidates the BIA turned down when they selected Ferguson.

“There were some excellent candidates,” he said. “It was a tough decision. I’m optimistic we can find the right persons.”

Although there is no definite time line to fill the positions, Wilkins would like to hire people “as soon as possible.”

Wilkins’ wife, Karen, a member of the Heritage Village BIA board, is overseeing the opening of the farmers market next month. And Wilkins is doing as much as he can to keep the BIA operating until a replacement executive director is found.

“There will be a slight lag is services,” he said. “We love doing the work. We treasure this community, and we want to do things right.”

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