Economic Development Manager

The City of Sierra Vista, just 70 southeast of Tucson, is seeking qualified candidates for the position of Economic Development Manager. The City, founded in 1956, has a long history tied to adjacent Fort Huachuca, and is the heart of the region’s medical, education, and commercial services, and is part of the Arizona Sun Corridor, a high tech megaregion that stretches from Phoenix to Sierra Vista. Download the Opportunity Profile then apply online.

First Review:    May 23, 2017
Initial Interview:    May 30/31, 2017
In-person Interviews:    Week of June 19, 2017

Departmental Climate & Priorities

The City of Sierra Vista has had an internal economic development function for only a few years. Added at the direction of the City Council via their strategic planning process, a solid strategy has been developed that is now underway. The division’s three pronged approach consists of retention/expansion, entrepreneurism and attraction.

The Economic Development Manager has one direct report, an economic development analyst, who is largely responsible for the retention/expansion program. To date, this program includes City Council business recognition, a Mayor’s visitation program, ombudsman services, conducting business walks and other assessments, and working with a variety of partners on programs and services to assist businesses. The Council recently provided direction to city staff to develop a grant program to assist in redevelopment of targeted, older commercial areas, a process that is being led by the Community Development Department with assistance from Economic Development.

In 2015, the division conducted a study to determine whether cyber security was a good market for Sierra Vista. The results indicated that there was opportunity for growth, and the Economic Development Manager has developed a strategy for implementing the recommendations. In March 2017, the City was awarded a $720,000 grant from the Department of Defense Office of Economic Adjustment to assist the City in diversification away from Fort Huachuca, a grant that will be managed by the Economic Development Manager. Other cyber initiatives are also underway in the community,to include the recent establishment of a four-year cyber operations degree at the University of Arizona South, a program that is anticipated to receive certification by the National Security Agency in the next year.
The Division is taking a very visible role in attraction, working closely with the Arizona Department of Commerce and other partners. The City recently cosponsored the International Site Selectors Guild conference in Tucson. Attendance at a variety of targeted conferences or working groups where relationships or leads can be developed is crucial.

The Division also works closely on tourism initiatives with the City’s Marketing and Public Affairs Office, recommending strategies on how the community can take advantage of the growing tourism market in Arizona.

The work of the Economic Development Division is highly visible in the community and with the City Council. Regular presentations are made to the elected body on the status of implementation strategies and supporting metrics.

The Position

Reports to: Assistant City Manager

Under limited supervision the Economic Development Manager directs, manages and oversees the City of Sierra Vista economic development program. This program is responsible for business recruitment, economic development marketing, business retention and expansion and collaboration with other agencies and organizations regarding community economic development. The Economic Development Manager provides a variety of advanced professional administrative and management support duties involved in developing and executing initiatives and activities that help improve the City’s local economy. Responsible for oversight and coordination of the City’s economic development policies and programs, with emphasis on facilitating business recruitment.

The Person

Responsibilities

  • Develop and execute City initiatives and activities to address issues related to the community’s economic development goals and programs, recruitment of new business, market the City for recruitment purposes and facilitate local business retention and expansion programs and services.
  • Act as the City’s lead contact and advisor to business and industrial organizations, work with them to identify factors needed to improve the competitiveness of the City and then coordinate with public and private entities to identify resources and programs to meet those needs.
  • Work extensively with other external organizations and agencies, including but not limited to the Cochise College, Small Business Development Center, Southeastern Arizona Workforce Connection, SEAGO, Sierra Vista Economic Development Foundation, Arizona Commerce Authority, Sierra Vista Area Chamber. University of Arizona Sierra Vista and University of Arizona Tech Park.
  • Create marketing strategies and information for materials to promote the community as a desirable business location.
  • Analyze existing physical, social, and economic conditions and use that information to recommend, develop or enhance City programs and strategies related to economic development.
  • Serve as a primary advocate of economic development within the community.
  • Identify needed workforce and educational services and programs which would support existing local businesses and enhance business recruitment. Facilitate their development and use through partnerships with local, regional, and statewide agencies.
  • Work with statewide agencies and organizations, including the Arizona Commerce Authority, to identify available funding and programs to help attract new business and assist local businesses.
  • Make recommendations to City management on land use and zoning policies, infrastructure, or other issues affecting economic development attraction.
  • Coordinate and, when appropriate, mediate economic development efforts of public and private agencies and committees.
  • Work to increase public awareness of the value of business recruitment and retention/expansion, improve business/community communications and mobilize resources for business recruitment and retention and expansion efforts.
  • Identify, recommend and/or implement strategies to improve the overall health of the Sierra Vista business environment.
  • Identify and apply for grants and other funding opportunities that leverage City resources for economic development activities and oversee administration of such grants or contracts.
  • Generate statistical reports, information, and plan in connection with the City’s business recruitment and retention and expansion program, and other reports related to economic development as needed.
  • Serve as staff liaison to City-sponsored economic development groups.
  • Coordinate City economic development activities with all other City departments and divisions.
  • Serve as liaison and expeditor between City departments, other government agencies and private business, industry, and development representatives.
  • Participate in long range planning and recommend long term goals for a unified economic development program in the community.
  • Communicate with the general public, other City employees, developers, and property owners to explain rules and regulations, projects, and program activities.
  • Advise City management and City Council on economic development issues and programs.
  • Attend meetings of various groups, committees and other business-related events for the purpose of reporting on activities of the department, explaining economic development programs and issues, and developing shared economic development goals and approaches.
  • Evaluate and prepare fiscal and economic impact analysis of economic development projects.
  • Prepare correspondence, detailed analytical documents, reports, and project status reports in order to communicate program activities, explain complicated ideas, and recommend alternatives.
  • Attend meetings of the City Council and appropriate advisory boards and commissions and makes presentations regarding City economic development programs and activities.
  • Perform other related duties as required.

Knowledge

  • Principles, practices and resources for economic development and urban redevelopment; job creation and business recruitment, retention and expansion.
  • Principles and practices of effective marketing and communication.
  • Federal, state and local programs and opportunities to cooperatively develop and enhance the economic strength of communities.
  • Financing trends, practices and resources in economic development.
  • Principles and practices of drafting agreements, negotiation of contracts and supervision of contractors.
  • Principles and practices of urban planning and community development, including community issues related to economic development.
  • Evaluation of community employment needs and translating those needs into recruitment strategies/job creation efforts that match the skills and needs of current residents.

Skills and Abilities

  • Planning, organizing, coordinating and administering comprehensive and coordinated programs aimed at encouraging sustainable economic development in the City.
  • Designing, developing and implementing targeted business recruitment, retention and expansion programs.
  • Communicating the City’s economic development strategy effectively to diverse groups and building consensus for this strategy.
  • Creating marketing strategies, plans and materials.
  • Developing economic development working partnerships with diverse economic development related agencies and organizations.
  • Identifying and implementing appropriate funding resources and strategies.
  • Grant writing and grant management.
  • Researching complex issues, collecting and analyzing data, and writing comprehensive, concise summaries and reports.
  • Preparing accurate and effective reports, policies, procedures and other written materials.
  • Verbal communications, including public speaking to both large and small group audiences.
  • Establishing and maintaining effective working relationships with City staff, elected officials, volunteers, a variety of boards, commissions, committees, other local, regional and statewide economic development organizations and the general public.
  • Coordinating a variety of complex tasks simultaneously.
  • Operating office equipment, including complex computer software and hardware related to assigned programs.

Qualifications

  • Five years of increasingly responsible professional experience in one or more economic development disciplines, including two years at a program management level.
  • Some experience in a public agency setting is preferred.
  • Bachelor’s degree in public or business administration, economic development, urban planning, or a related field is required; Advanced degree or designation as Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) from the International Economic Development Council desired.
  • Possess a valid AZ driver’s license or the ability to obtain an Arizona Driver’s license.
  • Degree must be from an institution accredited by one of the six regional accreditation boards:
    – MSA – Middle States Association
    – NASC – Northwest Association of Schools & Colleges
    – NCA – North Central Association of Colleges & Schools
    – NEASC – New England Association of Schools & Colleges
    – SACS – Southern Association of Colleges & Schools
    – WASC – Western Association of Schools & Colleges

Selection Process

This position is open until filled, with the first review date of May 23, 2017. Applications must be submitted through the City’s electronic application management system and can be located by going to www.SierraVistaAZ.gov and clicking on “I Want to” and then “Apply for a Job.” Letter of interest and résumé strongly recommended. It is anticipated that initial phone interviews of eligible candidates will be scheduled on May 30 and 31, 2017. Finalists will then be invited to attend an in-person interview the week of June 19. The City provides a $500 travel stipend for candidates residing outside the state of Arizona.

References & Background Information

It is the City’s policy to complete an extensive background and reference check of candidates. Once strong mutual interest has been established, candidates are asked to provide a list of references that should include, but not be limited to, a supervisor, a peer, a development client and a subordinate, as applicable. Candidates will be asked to sign an authorization to release Information for the purpose of background investigation, which may include verification of education, credit check, criminal and driving records. Should an offer be extended prior to the completion of these checks, the offer will be made contingent on the successful completion of the reference and background checks and submission of official college transcripts.

About Sierra Vista

Sierra Vista is a full service municipal government located in beautiful Southeastern Arizona. It is also home to Fort Huachuca, the largest military installation in the state and the Army’s military intelligence and network command headquarters. With a population of 45,794 and a metropolitan area of nearly 60,000, the community has a wide variety of business, retail, restaurant and housing options. In addition, at an elevation of 4,600 feet, the community boasts enviable weather with temperatures typically 20 degrees cooler than the Phoenix area. Sierra Vista is nestled at the base of the Huachuca mountains and is surrounded by three other mountain ranges. The opportunities for business growth in the Sierra Vista area are strong, and the Economic Development Manager can have a significant impact on the future of the community.
Located just 70 miles southeast of Tucson, Sierra Vista has small town charm with many amenities found in larger communities. There is a robust retail hub with diverse store chains along with smaller, privately owned businesses for a local flavor. A wide variety of restaurants, from well known national chains to numerous smaller dining establishments and ethnic choices are available.

Established in 1877, Fort Huachuca is located at the west end of Sierra Vista at the foot of the Huachuca Mountains. Home to the Buffalo Soldier, the fort has a fascinating history in addition to its significant role in the nation’s modern-day military. The cost of living in Sierra Vista is below the national average, including the Tucson and Phoenix areas. In addition, the local crime rate is below state and national levels. Healthcare services available in Sierra Vista include a brand new, state-of-the-art hospital as well as multi-specialty physician groups, several extended care and assisted living facilities, and numerous independent physicians. Behavioral health, eye and dental providers, as well as other medical specialists, are available in the local area.

Educational opportunities abound for local residents, with a variety of public, charter and private schools. The Sierra Vista Unified School District’s schools have all been rated with an A or B by the Arizona Department of Education. Buena High School offers its students a high quality and meaningful education experience, with a graduation rate of 89%, compared to 77% in Arizona and 80% nationally. Buena High School is part of the Cochise Joint Technical Education District, offering career and technical education programs such as marketing, culinary arts, sports medicine and engineering.

Sierra Vista is one of the top employers in Cochise County, with a staff of approximately 325 full-time and 150 part-time employees. One-third of its employees have been with the organization more than ten years. Their positions are challenging, rewarding, and they consider the City a great place to work.