Consultant Connect, a consulting agency designed to bridge the gap between economic developers and site consultants, announces its 2017 list of North America’s Top 50 Economic Developers

North America’s top 50 economic developers are back in a new way: Consultant Connect announces leaders in the industry

Published: 01/23/2017
Updated: 05/17/2022

KALAMAZOO, Michigan – Consultant Connect, a consulting agency designed to bridge the gap between economic developers and site consultants, announces its 2017 list of North America’s Top 50 Economic Developers. The economic development professionals selected for this list were nominated by their colleagues in both the economic development industry and the site consultant community for excellent practices, innovation and success in building the communities they serve.

Each top 50 economic developer will be featured in an ebook. These industry leaders will be interviewed for the ebook to share their expertise in the field and leadership insights they’ve learned along the way. Consultant Connect strives to lift up this industry by recognizing remarkable economic developers for the entire economic development community to learn from.

“This annual list recognizing North America’s Top 50 Economic Developers is designed to acknowledge the hard work of the top leaders in this field and elevate the conversation around economic development and job creation,” said Ron Kitchens, managing partner of Consultant Connect. “Each of the leaders represented on this year’s list are beyond deserving of this recognition for their efforts in building our communities.”

The complete list of North America’s Top 50 Economic Developers includes:

Abby Liu, McKinney Economic Development Corporation, Texas

Ben White, Round Rock Chamber

Benjamin Teague, Economic Development Coalition for Asheville-Buncombe County

Bentley Story, Arkansas Economic Development Commission

Beth Doughty, Roanoke Regional Partnership

Brad Smidt, Greater Phoenix Economic Council

Brian Hilson, Birmingham Business Alliance

Buddy Rizer, Loudoun County Department of Economic Development

Carrie Chenery, Shenandoah Valley Partnership

Cathy Chambers, JAXUSA Partnership

Chris Wimsatt, Team Volusia Economic Development Corporation

Clark Krause, BVEP

Clay Walker, NETWORKS Sullivan Partnership

Dan Culhane, Ames Chamber of Commerce & Economic Development

Dan Henderson, Gilbert, Arizona

Deborah Price, Missouri Partnership

E. Ray Covey, AEP Texas

Gary Tonjes, Albuquerque Economic Development, Inc.

Gene Goddard, Greater MSP

Gregg Simon, Metro Atlanta Chamber

James Otterstein, Rock County, WI

Jessica Breaux, TVA

Jim Paetsch, Milwaukee 7

Juawana Colbert Williams, Fayetteville- Cumberland County Economic Development Corporation

Julie Sullivan, Dayton Development Coalition

Kati Hynes, Charlotte Chamber

Keith Gillenwater, EDG of Wabash County

Kimm Coyner, REDI Cincinnati

Kurt Foreman, Greater Oklahoma City Chamber

Larry Barnett, Midlothian Economic Development

Lee Crume, Jobs Ohio

Lucienne Pears, Charlotte County EDC

Mark Young, Jonesboro Ark Chamber of Commerce

Matt McQuade, Columbus 2020

Megan Lucas, Lynchburg Regional Business Alliance

Mike Rosa, Dallas Regional Chamber

Mitchel Allen, Greater Phoenix Economic Council

Pandy Brazeau, Virginia Economic Development Partnership

Patrick Murphy, Alabama Power

Patty Horvatich, Pittsburgh Regional Alliance

Rob Cleveland, Cornerstone Alliance

Robert Van Goens, RowanWORKS

Susan Davenport, Gainesville FL Area Chamber of Commerce

Susie Davidson, Idaho Commerce

Tim Vanderhoof, Enterprise Florida

Tom Long, San Antonio EDF

Tony Kaai, Denison Dev. Alliance (Denison, TX)

Tricia Paesani, CT Department of Economic and Community Development

Vanessa Goeschl, Charlotte Regional Partnership

Walter Sprouse, Augusta Economic Development Authority

About Consultant Connect

Consultant Connect is designed to bridge the gap between leading economic developers and location consultants through exclusive networking events and educational services. Consultant Connect not only gives economic developers an inside look into the world of site selection – it gives them the applicable information necessary to propel their communities forward. For more information, please visit or call 269.207.4982.