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.

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.

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

Rachel serves as director of business development (consultant recruitment) at the Baton Rouge Area Chamber (BRAC) by driving business attraction initiatives and working with state and local officials, utilities and community foundations to communicate strengths and resources to companies and consultants seeking locations for new facilities within the nine-parish Capital Region. Prior to working at BRAC, Rachel was an account executive at KTAL News Channel 6-NBC in Shreveport, LA.

Rachel is among North America’s Top 50 Economic Developers of 2015. Rachel is also a member of the Southern Economic Development Council, Louisiana Industrial Executives Association and the Commercial Investment Division of the Greater Baton Rouge Association of Realtors.

Rachel earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in marketing from Louisiana Tech University. Rachel is also a graduate of Donaldson Real Estate School and earned her certification for Economic Development Finance Professional from the National Development Council.

Tracye McDanielTracye McDaniel is the President and CEO of Texas Economic Development Corporation, Inc., an independently funded and operated 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, whose mission is dedicated to economic development, business recruitment, and job creation in the State of Texas. Texas Economic Development Corporation operates the TexasOne™ Program which coordinates efforts with the Office of the Governor for strategic marketing and lead generation activities.

Formerly with Choose New Jersey, Inc., Tracye led global promotion, lead generation and project management for economic growth and job creation in the Garden State and is part of the state’s award-winning economic development organization: The New Jersey Partnership for Action (PFA). Under the leadership of Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno, the Partnership serves as the starting point for all initiatives, policies and efforts related to growing New Jersey’s economy and creating quality, sustainable jobs. In 2007, Tracye served as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the Greater Houston Partnership (GHP), Houston, TX, regarded as a top global location for business.

Tracye holds leadership positions in numerous professional and industry organizations and sits on the Board of Directors of the International Economic Development Council (IEDC). Tracye was also named by NJBIZ among New Jersey’s 2014 Best 50 Women in Business, as well as the 100 Most Powerful People in New Jersey Business. Tracye was appointed by Governor Chris Christie to both the Council on Innovation and the New Jersey Military installation Growth and Development Task Force during her time in New Jersey.

Tracye is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, and is a Ford Foundation Regional Sustainable Development (RSD) Fellow, a program of American Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE).