Ray Tipton said he asked himself three questions before deciding whether to apply for the job of executive director of the Brownwood Municipal Development District.
Was he interested? Was he ready for the challenge? And would the Brownwood Area Chamber of Commerce, where Tipton had been executive director since 2014, be OK with him leaving?
Tipton, 47, was able to answer “yes” to all three questions, so he applied for the job and was hired. Tipton started his new job Monday, trading his office at the chamber for an office on the second floor of Brownwood City Hall.
Tipton replaces Guy Andrews, who resigned from the job to go to work in San Angelo.
Tipton declined to apply for the job when it came open in 2015, when Andrews was hired. “We at the chamber had committed to things and were in the early stages of doing certain projects that I didn’t feel good about leaving,” Tipton said. “I know the feeling at the time was, I’m not comfortable just abandoning ship on those guys, and I wanted to be sure they were well taken care of and that the chamber was left in a healthy condition.”
Tipton, a graduate of Brownwood High School, has a psychology degree from Howard Payne University. He went on to own several businesses and worked as a real estate agent before taking a job at the chamber in 2009 as director of business development and marketing.
He was surprised when Andrews announced his resignation, and Tipton did not immediately decide to apply for the job. “I have a long history of entrepreneurship,” Tipton said. “My first actual real job, where I was an employee, was when I started with the chamber in 2009. I was either self-employed or a contractor laborer since I was in college because I love the entrepreneurship spirit.
“I always saw myself — if I ever left the chamber — it would be to either open my own business or to do similar work to what I was doing at the chamber, where I helped the business community. I’m a Brownwood guy, so anything I do is going to be in Brownwood, Texas.”
After Tipton talked to City Manager Emily Crawford and his wife, Lisa, about applying for the job, he felt comfortable making the decision. “I thought the timing’s right for this,” Tipton said. “I feel like there’s a lot of good that I can do here, with my connection with the business community. With my relationships with a lot of the folks who work with the city, I felt the timing was good.”
Tipton spent his first week reviewing contracts and agreements that were already in place and contacting prospects Andrews and Marshal McIntosh — who worked as interim executive director before Tipton was hired — had been working on.
Tipton said he “absolutely” made the right choice in taking the job. “I feel like it’s been an amazing week,” Tipton said. “I’ve learned a lot, and I feel pretty comfortable over here.”