Etcher Resigns as BRPC Executive Director

By Christopher Waltz, Record Editor
Posted 11/7/19

After nearly 25 years with the Boonslick Regional Planning Commission (BRPC), Executive Director Steve Etcher is stepping down. Etcher confirmed last week that he had submitted his resignation to the …

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Etcher Resigns as BRPC Executive Director

After nearly 25 years with the Boonslick Regional Planning Commission (BRPC), Executive Director Steve Etcher is stepping down. Etcher confirmed last week that he had submitted his resignation to the agency which he has directed since 1992. His last day will be July 31. Effective Aug. 1, Etcher will become the vice president of Community EDGE, a St. Charles-based private consulting firm which provides economic and community development services to nonprofit organizations, governments and businesses. The firm is consulting with the Greater Warren County Economic Development Council, a nonprofit, private-public partnership created in 2011 to strengthen the economic base of the area by pursuing job-creating projects and growing existing businesses. The decision to leave the BRPC was “incredibly difficult,” Etcher told The Record. “I’ve put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into this organization and I’ve worked with some fantastic communities. While it was not an easy decision for me to step down, I do so with confidence that the board of directors and staff will continue to provide exemplary service to the Boonslick Region.” The Boonslick Region includes Warren, Lincoln and Montgomery counties. Etcher said the opportunity to continue working in a similar capacity with the communities that he’s been involved with made his decision to step down possible. “It has been a privilege to serve as the executive director for the Boonslick Regional Planning Commission,” he added. “The BRPC fills a vital role in the region through the delivery of programs and services, providing sound planning and technical assistance to local governments and promoting collaborative approaches to regional challenges.” “Steve’s reputation in this field is known nationwide and I am so pleased to welcome him to our team,” said Josh Beck, president of Community EDGE. “Steve brings 25 years of experience in the areas of economic development, community planning, transportation planning, work force development and grant writing to Community EDGE and the clients we serve. “His incredible experience, knowledge and talents will significantly increase our ability to provide quality services to the communities and organizations we support,” Beck added. Etcher said he plans to continue living in the Warrenton area, where he has resided since 1987. “This is my home and this is where I want to invest myself,” he said.

Nationwide Search A six-member executive committee which is responsible for the executive director’s position will conduct a nationwide search for Etcher’s successor, he said. Truesdale Mayor Murray Bruer, who is serving as chairman of the BRPC Board of directors, said Etcher’s announcement was “quite a shock. “We have a plan of action to find his replacement,” Bruer noted. “I wish we could convince him to stay, but he’s got it planned and he’s talked it over with his family. “I don’t blame him,” Bruer continued. “He knows what he wants. He wants to try something he’s wanted to do for a long time and now he has the opportunity.” In the interim, Chuck Eichmeyer, BRPC program coordinator, will serve as executive director following Etcher’s departure. Eichmeyer has been with the organization for 23 years and has worked with a variety of programs throughout that time, including workforce development, flood recovery, grant administration, solid waste management, housing and traffic counts. “I feel my responsibility as interim director will be to keep BRPC moving forward and to serve the counties and municipalities within our region in an innovative and positive manner,” Eichmeyer said.

BRPC Grows, Expands Etcher began working for the BRPC in December 1988 as the organization’s fiscal officer. He was named executive director in April 1992. At the time, the staff consisted of five people and the BRPC’s annual budget was approximately $150,000. Since that time, the organization has grown “significantly,” Etcher said, with regard to the services offered, the BRPC’s number of employees and its annual budget. The BRPC has “probably grown tenfold in terms of the scope of services and our budget,” Etcher remarked. The staff of the BRPC now includes 20 people, including some who work part time, and the organization’s annual budget is $1.7 million. When Etcher joined the BRPC nearly 25 years ago, the organization’s focus was on grant writing for the communities served and offering job training services. “We’ve remained true to our core mission,” Etcher said. “Our goal still is to serve the communities and the citizens of our region. We’ve just expanded how we do that. “We’ve done a lot of work in disaster recovery, community planning initiatives, transportation and we’ve done work with the Department of Homeland Security,” Etcher added. He pointed out that the community planning services portion of the BRPC’s overall mission has evolved over the years, but it’s still a key focus of the agency. “The word ‘planning’ is part of our name, so we felt we should do it,” Etcher stated. He also helped secure funding for a variety of projects, including those for street and drainage improvements, water and wastewater improvements, economic development, housing and community facilities. Etcher also played an instrumental role in the conception and implementation of some of BRPC’s most innovative projects including the establishment of the LINC public transportation system in Lincoln County and the movement of three communities out of floodplains. Those towns are Rhineland, East Winfield and Silex, Etcher stated. Etcher earned his degree in business administration with an emphasis in finance from Columbia College, Columbia. He has served as president of the Missouri Association of Councils of Government and presently is an officer on the National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) board of directors.

Steve Etcher