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Fort Worth and Burleson pros named two of North America’s Top 50 Economic Developers

Posted on: 09/11/2018   |   Category: Press Releases


FORT WORTH – Chris Strayer, senior vice president of Business Attraction, Retention and Expansion for the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce, and Alex Phillips, Economic Development manager for the City of Burleson,  have been honored as two of the top 50 economic developers in North America.

They were two of nine economic development professionals named from Texas.

Consultant Connect, a Kalamazoo, MI, consulting agency designed to bridge the gap between economic developers and site consultants, announced its 2018 list of North America’s Top 50 Economic Developers on Monday.

“We landed a nationally-acclaimed winner when we hired Chris Strayer and recruited him here from Ohio in February,” said Bill Thornton, president & CEO of the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce. “Chris has an excellent track record of facilitating regional partnerships, implementing new technology and overseeing successful recruitment and expansion programs.”

The economic development professionals selected for the 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.

 “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.”

Each top 50 economic developer will be featured individually from September 17 through November 30 through the selected social media channels of LinkedIn and Twitter. Each of the award winners will share their expertise in the field and a few 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. Each recipient will receive their award at Consultant Connect’s ECONOMIX event in Nashville this December.


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

Alex Philips, City of Burleson Economic Development

Amanda Nobles, Kilgore Economic Development Corporation

Brenda Robbins, Georgia Power

Brian Anderson, Wabash Valley Power

Brittany Holtzclaw, Georgia Department of Economic Development

Cathy Chambers, JAX USA

Chris Strayer, Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce

Christie Cooper Myers, Oklahoma Department of Commerce

Dale Fowler, Victoria Economic Development Corporation

Danielle Scheiner, Greater Conroe Economic Development Council

David Griggs, Metro Hartford Alliance

Donna Maisel, Marshall Economic Development Corporation

Erin Schneider, Duke Energy

Gary Tonjes, Albuquerque Economic Development

Grady Fitzpatrick, Greater New Orleans Inc.

Greg Hitchin, City of Waynesboro

Greg Wathen, Economic Development Coalition of Southwest Indiana

Greg Word, Greater Jackson Alliance

Gregg Simon, Metro Atlanta Chamber

Heidi Smith, Tennessee Valley Authority

James Chavez, SC Power Team

James Otterstein, Rock County Development Alliance

Jason Ford, Houston Partnership

Jason Giulietti, Connecticut Economic Resource Center

Jay Schwedler, Sumter Economic Development

Jeff Hite, Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce

Jefferson Traywick, Birmingham Business Alliance

Jenna Kavanaugh, Invest Buffalo Niagara

Jeremy Sowders, Hoosier Energy

Jerry Bologna, Jefferson Parish Economic Development Commission

Jill Bland, Southwest Michigan First

Keith Norden, Team Volusia Economic Development Corporation

Kelly Violette, Tomball Economic Development Coalition

Lee Crume, Jobs Ohio

Margaret O’Riley, Duke Energy

Mark Peterson, Intersect Illinois

Marvin Price, Charlotte Regional Partnership

Matt McQuade, Columbus 2020

Matthew Godinez, Chanute Regional Development Authority

Michael Buranyi, County of Brant, Ontario Canada

Michele Boggs, San Antonio Economic Development Foundation

Rachel Pierson, Baton Rouge Area Chamber

Richard Blackwell, Agracel, Inc.

Rick Byars, Gulf Power

Scott Darnell, Paducah Economic Development

Shane Homan, Community Development Foundation of Tupelo Mississippi

Shannon Ogletree, Santa Rosa County Economic Development Office

Sherry Ambrose, Florida Power & Light

Tricia Braun, State of Wisconsin

Victoria Hirschberg, Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development


The Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce, with 2,000 member businesses, is one of the largest chambers in North Texas. Through its core functions of business attraction and retention, talent development, small business and entrepreneur support, and government advocacy, the Chamber’s mission is to bring the Fort Worth region together to identify issues, solve problems and help align resources resulting in a stronger business climate and greater economic prosperity for all.

Consultant Connect is designed to bridge the gap between leading economic developers and location consultants through exclusive networking events, educational services and leadership development. 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 careers and communities forward. For more information, please visit  or call 269.207.4982.

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