In a bid to deliver on one of his key election platforms from a year ago, Kelowna Mayor Walter Gray has announced the city has named its first executive director of business development.
Jim Paterson, the city’s current general manager of community sustainability assumed the new position Monday and will now be the city’s link between business and City Hall, particularly with new businesses that are locating here or are looking to do so.
“Jim will be the much-needed link between business and city services and will work with key community partners such as the Economic Development Commission to facilitate new business development opportunities, as well as support existing businesses,” said Gray.
The move follows Gray’s vow during his inaugural speech last December to ensure Kelowna is recognized as “an outstanding place to conduct business.”
The mayor said it also follows his council’s development of priorities for the current term, priorities that focus on growing the local economy and focusing on results.
Paterson joined the city as its planning manager in 2008 and became the general manager of community sustainability when city departments were reorganized last year.
Prior to coming to Kelowna, he served as the acting director of planning, property and development for the City of Winnipeg, as well as its manager of economic development. He currently serves on the Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission’s executive and is also the point person for the city with the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce.
Gray said unlike the EDC’s executive director Robert Fine, Paterson will work with businesses once they have decided to locate here or if they are considering doing so. Gray said Fine’s role is more to go out and attract business to the entire Central Okanagan.
“So it won’t be a case of duplication,” said the mayor.
Having an economic development officer as part of a city staff is not uncommon in larger municipalities and the mayor said council felt Kelowna needed a dedicated person to focus solely on business development.
According to city manager Ron Mattiussi, Kelowna’s director of real estate and building services Doug Gilchrist will act as general manager of community sustainability for the next five to six months while some more changes are made to the city’s corporate structure..
He was the acting general manager for corporate sustainability for the first six months of Paul Macklem’s year-long secondment to the regional district to run it for a year. Gilchrist recently handed over responsibility for that job at City Hall to Rob Mayne, who will fill in for Macklem for the next six months. Gilchrist has also filled in for other managers at City Hall from time to time, including for Mattiussi.