Carmen is a social issues and rural reporter at the Bay of Plenty Times

Tauranga business leader says 'farewell' to role

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Chief executive of Priority One, Andrew Coker, says farewell to the role in his last day of work today. Photo/file
Chief executive of Priority One, Andrew Coker, says farewell to the role in his last day of work today. Photo/file

Today Andrew Coker farewells his chief executive position at Priority One and 10 years at the economic development agency.

He started in 2006 in a business development role before taking over the reins two years later.

"When I first started at Priority One in 2006 it was apparent that the region, just as Priority One had the potential to take off and move from being reliant as an economy on retirement growth, especially from Auckland, to one that was innovation and education led with tertiary opportunities for our young people. We just had to work collectively to achieve them."

Reflecting on his time he said it was hard to pinpoint one highlight as the city had experienced significant growth but said "there's no doubt that the programme of tertiary and research provision, principally through the BOP Regional partnerships is one of the most exciting opportunities that I have seen emerge in the last ten years."

"It is huge for the region."

So was the increase in businesses and civic developments, he said.

"We've seen a growing recognition of our city centre as the cultural, commercial and civic hub of the region. With the onset of the University Precinct, the civic developments and significant private investor interest coming online we will see more and greater transformational change."

In his view Mr Coker said the key to the success of Priority One has been the strong partnerships with the business community and council's.

"I've loved my time at Priority One."

He also credited his talented team and said "I will miss them, we had some fun times''.

Mr Coker was a co-director of 2+ NZ Limited - a green-tech start-up and said he would be dedicating his time to that and was now a business member of Priority One.

His role was currently being shortlisted, he said.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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