Annie Baxter is the Business Recruitment Manager at Duke Energy Corporation.  Prior to joining Duke Energy, Annie Baxter was the director of the Logistics, Energy, Agribusiness and Food Processing (LEAF) industry team within the Global Commerce Division of the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD). Annie has served twice with GDEcD, most recently as senior project manager for the Aerospace, Defense and Advanced Manufacturing (ADAM) team and previously as a statewide project manager. Annie has assisted companies such as Caterpillar, Keurig Green Mountain, Systemax, Bed, Bath and Beyond and King’s Hawaiian with locations.

Prior to her times with the GDEcD, Annie worked for the Electric Cities of Georgia and the Albany Dougherty Economic Development Commission. While there, Annie worked alongside the Georgia Department of Economic Development, the Georgia Allies and all local Georgia communities to recruit new industry to the State of Georgia for the purpose of job creation, capital investment and the expansion of Georgia’s tax base.

Annie serves as a board member of the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties (NAIOP) and Advisory Director of its 2014 Future Leaders Class. Annie also chairs the Young Professionals Committee of the Georgia Economic Developers Association.

Annie is a graduate of the University of Georgia receiving her Bachelor of Arts in Spanish, journalism and public relations.

Brenda Robbins is Senior Project Manager for Georgia Power. She is responsible for facilitating the location, expansion, or start-up of businesses wishing to invest in Georgia. Brenda assists companies in identifying potential communities, sites or buildings throughout the state; she also provides market evaluation, construction information, engineering assistance, and serves as a liaison between the businesses and governmental agencies involved in the site selection process. Brenda has a strong background in information systems and software, establishing data centers and talent recruitment.
She has extensive expertise and experience with headquarters locations, information technology, finance and insurance, business services, bio science, health IT and data centers. Brenda has worked with more than 150 companies that have established a presence in Georgia, collectively investing more than $7 billion and employing more than 34,000 Georgians.
Brenda is a member of the Georgia Economic Developers Association, the Metro Atlanta Bioscience Leadership Council and the Alpharetta Technology Commission. She serves on the board of directors of the Atlanta Commercial Board of REALTORS® (ACBR) and was named the organization’s 2014 Affiliate of the Year. Brenda was recently honored as one of the 2015 ConsultantConnect Top 50 Economic Developers. Her interests include travel, whitewater rafting, and gardening.
Brenda graduated from Auburn University with a business administration degree in marketing. She completed her Masters in Business Administration at Georgia State University. Brenda is a volunteer with Atlanta Pet Rescue.

Jill Frick_newJill Frick is the Director of Community & Economic Development for the City of Hagerstown, Maryland. Jill is responsible for conducting the City’s economic development programs, including the development and implementation of Hagerstown’s strategic plan for city-wide development and growth. In addition, Jill is responsible for recruitment of new businesses, recruitment and facilitation of annexations, implementation of business retention and expansion plans, assistance with economic development-related marketing and promotion efforts and creation of incentive programs.

Jill has more than 20 years of experience in economic development and downtown management. Prior to joining the City of Hagerstown, Jill was the Vice President of the International Economic Development Council, serving as Vice President of Marketing, Business Development and Member Services.

Jill received a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism from the E. W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University.

Take a look into the world of ECONOMIX 2016 with this short and sweet clip from one of the sessions held on our main stage: Measures That Matter. Though short, this clip of audio will give you practical and zero-cost steps to take when it comes to data management. Enjoy!

Looking to join us for 2017? Save your seat here!

Derith JarvisToday we decided to shake things up with the From The Ground Up podcast. We have an interview with Derith Jarvis of Mohr Partners to share with you.  We know not all of you were able to make it to ECONOMIX 2016 and we wanted to give you a sneak peek into one of the sessions from our time in Atlanta.  In their conversation, Derith and Ron dive into life, leadership and what the future relationship of site selectors and economic developers will look like. We know you’ll enjoy it!

Do you want to join us for ECONOMIX 2017? Learn more and save your seat here!

Matt McCollister joined the Columbus 2020 team in November 2010. As senior vice president, economic development, he oversees business development strategy and management. Previously, Matt served as vice president of economic development for the Columbus Chamber, business development manager for the Zanesville-Muskingum County Chamber of Commerce and worked as a licensed real estate professional. Matt graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English from University of South Carolina and is also a graduate of the University of Oklahoma’s Economic Development Institute. Matt is engaged with the International Economic Development Council, the Ohio Economic Development Association, the Ohio Sales Partnership, NAIOP Central Ohio and the Central Ohio Commercial Information Exchange.

Jill Miles serves as the National Business Development Officer at the Oregon Economic & Community Development Department, Business Oregon. Jill has held this position for the past 20 years and is highly respected as an economic developer who knows the industry and how to close deals. Jill is an effective advocate of economic investment opportunities for the State of Oregon. Prior to assuming this role, Jill was the National Recruitment Officer for Business Oregon. Jill received a Bachelor of Science degree from Eastern Oregon University.

Bob Leak, Jr., is currently the President of Winston-Salem Business Inc. (WSBI), a non-profit economic development corporation serving Winston-Salem and Forsyth County, North Carolina. Bob joined WSBI in May of 1989 as Vice President of economic development and was then promoted to President in October of 1991.Bob works closely with local business and elected leaders to recruit new business to the community.

Prior to joining Winston Salem Business, Bob served on the North Carolina Economic Development Board in 2000-2001, appointed to that position by Governor Jim Hunt. Bob is also an adjunct professor of real estate in the Wake Forest University Schools of Business.

Mr. Leak was named the Economic Development Practitioner of the year by the North Carolina Economic Developers Association in 2006 and earned his Certified Economic and Community Developer (CeCD) designation in October of 1991  Bob is a member and past President of the North Carolina Economic Developers Association (NCEDA), member and board member of the Southern Economic Development Council (SEDC), and a member and past board member of the International Economic Development Council (IEDC).

Bob received a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a Masters of Business Administration from Wake Forest University and is a graduate of the Basic Economic Development Course in Chapel Hill and the Economic Development Institute in Norman, Oklahoma.

Andrea Schruijer is the executive director for the Valdosta-Lowndes County Development Authority (VLCDA). Before joining the VLCDA, Andrea was senior vice president for the Albany- Dougherty County Economic Development Commission. Andrea’s primary responsibilities were business retention and expansion, operations and development of industrial parks.

Andrea also spent ten years with The Ritz-Carlton Company LLC, serving in different roles. Andrea completed several levels of training including: The Ritz-Carlton Leadership Course, Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Mastering Sales and Presentations and customer service training. Andrea was part of the Malcolm Baldridge Quality Award Team and Sales Team of the Year and she was nominated for Leader of the Year.

Andrea has been a long standing member of Georgia Economic Developers Association (GEDA) and served as GEDA’s chair for the Special Awards Committee. Andrea was appointed to the GEDA Board of Directors and is currently serving a three year term. Andrea is an alumnus of Leadership Lowndes and is currently participating in the program Leadership Georgia.

Andrea received her Bachelor’s degree from Georgia Southern University.

Ronnie Bryant is currently the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Charlotte Regional Partnership. Ronnie leads the team that promotes the 16-county Charlotte USA region throughout the world as a premier location for businesses considering expansion or relocation. Additionally, Ron works closely with partnership investors who provide the funding necessary to bring jobs and capital to the region.

Bryant has more than 20 years of technical, managerial and economic development expertise, and a proven track record of establishing and implementing successful economic development programs. He specializes in existing industry expansion and retention, with a strong emphasis on regionalism and marketing.

As a member of the North Carolina Economic Development Board and other professional and civic organizations, Ronnie ensures that the region plays a prominent role regionally and nationally.

Ron is a graduate of Louisiana State University in Shreveport and the Economic Development Institute at the University .of Oklahoma in Norman where he currently serves as dean. Ron is also a certified Economic Developer