What does a Director of Economic Development do?

A director of economic development develops economic development strategies on behalf of a city or community, as well as overseeing a team of employees and committee members who are all working toward the same goal of community development. A director of economic development typically collaborates with city managers and planners, as well as other key city personnel, in this role. Directors work to attract new business to cities, stimulate economic growth through special city projects, and retain and help strengthen the presence of current profitable businesses within a city to achieve greater economic development goals.

The director is responsible for a variety of administrative and community outreach tasks. Tracking the amount of available business and land space within a city, assisting new businesses in relocating to a city, assisting existing businesses in moving or expanding to new locations within a city, and maintaining strong ties with local business people, boards, and special planning committees are just a few of these responsibilities. A director of economic development must also seek out and actively pursue special grants and other funding that could help a city’s economic development.

A director of economic development is also expected to provide professional advice to other departments within a city in order to further the community’s economic goals. A developer must work with zoning commissioners, local chambers of commerce, local housing authorities, state, regional, and city planners, and a variety of other federal, state, and local agencies while serving in this capacity. In order to stimulate the city’s economy, an economic development director collaborates closely with banks and other funding sources.

A director of economic development frequently attends civic meetings and chairs special economic development groups and committees focused on specific projects. A director also represents her or his city at regional meetings when necessary, outside of special city groups and committees. Most economic development directors are also expected to conduct or participate in special conferences pertaining to various types of economic growth and development on behalf of the city in which they work.

The sale of land and other city-owned real estate is overseen an economic development director. When a city makes a new land purchase, the manager is involved throughout the process, from the initial selection of the property to the sale’s final closing. The director is also responsible for publicizing the availability of lots and buildings for commercial use or sale.