A former Moab woman, instrumental in attracting some 300 new businesses to central Utah over the past seven years, has returned to Moab to help with economic development in southeastern Utah.

Bill Howell, director of the Southeastern Utah Association of Local Governments, announced the hiring of Dixie Barksdale to help create and provide technical assistance to economic development programs in Grand, San Juan, Carbon and Emery counties.Formerly community development director for Grand County, Barksdale moved eight years ago to Provo where she was marketing consultant and economic development specialist for the Mountainland Association of Governments.

She resigned from Mountainland this month to accept the new position with the southeastern Utah government district.

Howell made the announcement Monday at a meeting of the Grand County Commission. He said Barksdale will provide expertise and experience in economic development that he believes is currently lacking in the district.

"The bottom line for her being here is to create jobs and help businesses get established or expand, all of which requires a pretty broad-based individual with economic (development) background," Howell said.

Barksdale's position is funded by legislative appropriation to Small Cities Inc., an organization administered by the state Department of Community and Economic Development to augment local economic development resources in 18 rural Utah counties through matching funds and technical assistance.

Barksdale said her emphasis will be development in the private sector, providing entrepreneurial training and technical assistance to businesses, and conducting workshops in communities implementing new economic development strategies under the state's enterprise zone program.

Grand, San Juan and Carbon counties have been certified by the state as enterprise zones. Howell said one of Barksdale's tasks will be to help Emery County with certification.

Barksdale had an extensive background in professional and economic development activities and civic service over a 28-year period in Moab.

While in Provo, she was marketing consultant for the federal Manpower Program and developed and managed the Mountainland Small Business Support Program. Between 1984 and 1987, the support program helped 280 new businesses get started in Utah, Wasatch and Summit counties.

Barksdale also helped formulate a comprehensive economic development plan targeting new industry for Provo that was recently adopted by the Provo City Council. She served on the Provo City Planning Commission and city Site Plan Review Board and remains a member of the Provo Chamber of Commerce Industrial Development Committee and the mayor's special Task Force on Provo City Issues.

In Moab, Barksdale taught in Grand County schools and managed the radio station. She was named community development director in 1976.

She served on the Moab City Council, as president of the Moab Chamber of Commerce, and was on the boards of directors for Utah Economic and Industrial Development, Utah League of Cities and towns and Utah Association of Travel Regions.