GRADD leader retiring after more than 4 decades

GRADD leader retiring after more than 4 decades

OWENSBORO, Ky. (WFIE) - After more than four decades, the leader of the Green River Area Development District (GRADD) in Owensboro is retiring.

Jiten Shah started with GRADD in his late 20s.

At 73-years old, he has had a front-row seat for some of the biggest projects across the region. But, now he says it is time to shift his focus.

Recognized twice in a row to be one of the best places to work in Kentucky, GRADD will soon begin its search for a new executive director.

“Because we have a great culture here," says Shah. "The culture will always sustain regardless, who is at the head of GRADD.”

Shah has spent 46-years with the development agency.

Starting as a regional engineer in his late 20s. Later he served in various capacities before being named deputy director and then executive director in 1987.

“That’s a lot of years, a lot of great memories and everything else,” Shah recalls.

GRADD works to improve key community issues, including transportation, economic and workforce development, and aging populations too, such as helping to feed seniors.

“On average, about 1,100 meals a day that we have our contractor cook for us then we deliver those to all the seven counties in the rural areas and the senior citizen center,” Shah explains.

More than 200,000 people live throughout the seven-county GRADD region. And other projects include regional connectivity.

Shah remembers the feasibility study on what is now the Natcher Bridge connecting Owensboro to Rockport, Indiana.

Plus getting a grant to begin the process of building the river port.

“Always on the top to make sure we get our share of dollars for the communities, for maybe road extensions, road improvements, new bridges or new roads as well, but we take a lot of pride in those,” says Shah.

He also takes pride in his family and looks forward to being with them full-time.

“Missed quite a few ball games, quite a few graduations, and all those events with my children and family that now I think, if nothing else, I can spend time with grandchildren and enjoy that as well,” Shah explains.

His retirement is effective on May 1, 2020. By then he will have spent more than 410,000 hours at GRADD.

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