H. Fred Mickelson, the Edison Co. economic development guru whose name is synonymous with business retention in Orange County, is heading for greener pastures. Mickelson retires from Edison today after 40 years, and he and his wife are moving to Oregon.
But Mickelson says his departure doesn't mean he's soured on Orange County, where he's lived for 10 years and worked for nearly five. Indeed, he'll be under contract with Edison for two more years to continue promoting local business development here.
Mickelson, who'll work one week a month in Orange County, says it "is still a great place for businesses to be, and it is doing a great job of attracting and keeping businesses." He'll be replaced at Edison as head of its Orange County business development and customer relations unit by Edison's Orange County public affairs director, Jo Ellen Allen.
In recent years, Mickelson worked tirelessly with the county Economic Development Council and headed up state "red teams" that successfully worked to keep Taco Bell's corporate headquarters and defense giant Loral Corp.'s Aeronutronic division in the county.
But now Oregon calls. Mickelson and his wife, Joan, bought 75 acres south of Portland a decade ago and have been talking ever since about moving there. The couple still has a home in Yorba Linda to sell, but the sign is out and the move is on, he says.
John O'Dell covers major Orange County corporations, manufacturing and economic issues for The Times. He can be reached at (714) 966-5831 and at firstname.lastname@example.org.