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Malheur County’s economic development chief racks up the miles to grow economy

Greg Smith, Malheur County's economic development director, once wanted to be a coach but now he advises community leaders about how best to attract and keep businesses. (The Enterprise/Pat Caldwell)

VALE – It is 4 p.m. on a Friday and Greg Smith, as usual, is on the road.

Malheur County’s economic development director is a frequent traveler on eastern and central Oregon’s highways, and the 48-year-old Heppner resident said he doesn’t see many days off. He gets about two a month, he said.

“A lot of time on Saturday I will be structuring a loan for someone on Tuesday,” said Smith.

Yet he said he wouldn’t trade his job.

“It is so rewarding. The work our company does impacts real people,” said Smith.

In his . . .