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Area EDC promotes four staff members to leadership roles

The Bradenton Area Economic Development Corp. promotions range in leading engagement and development for businesses in the area.

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  • | 5:30 p.m. October 15, 2021
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  • Manatee-Sarasota
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BRADENTON — Four staff members at one of the region's most visible economic development organizations have something to celebrate, as promotions were announced. 

Sharon Hillstrom, president and CEO of the Bradenton Area Economic Development Corp., recently announced the staff promotions as: 

  • Max Stewart, vice president of economic development. 
  • Lauren Kratsch, senior director of business relations. 
  • Elizabeth Cordes, director of investor relations. 
  • Kirsten Lovett, event and social media manager.  

“I am proud of the individuals we have recruited and retained, and the teamwork they demonstrate as we continue to diversify the Bradenton area economy,” says Hillstrom in a press release. “Our approach to economic development requires creativity, strategic thinking and a strong work ethic – qualities that our team exemplifies daily.”

Stewart, a Business Observer 2021 40 under 40 recipient, joined the EDC in 2017. In his new position, he will oversee the EDC’s functions related to business relocation and expansion.

Kratsch has been with the EDC since 2003 and is now in charge of leading the organization’s proactive engagement with local, established businesses to ensure the EDC is providing the resources companies need to succeed in Manatee County.

Cordes, who joined the EDC in 2018, will oversee investor recruitment and engagement. And the most recent hire of the four promotions, Lovett, joined the EDC in 2019. She is now responsible for the creation and execution of the EDC’s events and social media strategy.

The $1.6 million organization leads economic development for the Bradenton area’s nine communities located on the south side of Tampa Bay.


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