City native joins EDC

Posted: June 17, 2013

The Winchester Star

WINCHESTER — The new existing business coordinator for the Winchester-Frederick County Economic Development Commission says she’s “inherited” a thriving business environment.

Wincheseter native Sally Michaels started at the EDC on June 3. The previous coordinator, Ken Jones, retired in April.

Michaels spent four years at Winchester Medical Center, most recently as a financial counselor, she said. After that, she worked at American Woodmark for six years, going from inside sales to managing the order entry and call team.

“We were really impressed by Sally’s overall portfolio, her experience,” EDC Executive Director Patrick Barker said Thursday. “[She] has a great, powerful drive to learn and improve, a depth of business experience, and overall just a very professional demeanor.”

He said Michaels would oversee the EDC’s Career Awareness Program, the Business Cluster Program and the call team, a group of retired executives that advises area businesses.

Barker noted that 80 to 90 percent of annual economic growth comes out of existing businesses.

“A lot of times, when new companies are looking at the community, they want to talk to existing employers,” he said. “It’s important that our existing businesses are receiving the support that they need from the community.

“We’re very keen on welcoming new companies into the market, but we’re very focused on making sure that our existing customers are getting the resources they need to stay here and grow here.”

Michaels, 39, noted the EDC has some well-established partnerships, and several area companies have announced expansions within the past year, most recently HP Hood, which plans to invest nearly $85 million into expanding its facility in Kernstown.

“I think I inherited that [positive economic growth], luckily,” she said. “I think the groundwork has been laid. I like a challenge. I like to get out there.”

Michaels will be paid $55,434 annually, according to Barker.

— Contact Sally Voth at