The St. Petersburg Area Economic Development Corp. picked Michael Swesey as its new president and CEO, the EDC says in a Thursday news release.
Swesey will begin his duties at the public-private organization on Nov. 6, the EDC says, "at a time when St. Petersburg is poised to begin one of the most important downtown redevelopment projects in the country."
Swesey most recently served as executive vice president of the Greater Des Moines Partnership is Iowa. He has 30 years of experience in the field of economic development, the EDC says, and "led 30 successful expansion or relocation projects each year, creating more than $1 billion in new capital investment."
"He has marketed the business advantages of that region to site selection consultants, corporate real estate executives, and a national network of business location influencers he has built," the EDC says.
"Florida is appealing to businesses around the world because of its commerce-friendly climate," says Swesey in a statement. "And St. Pete is the best location in the state, with its dynamic workforce, expanding culture of innovation, and warm and inclusive business community — all drawn by the Sunshine City’s effortlessly cool quality of life. With this, plus the redevelopment of the Historic Gas Plant District, it's an economic developer's dream."
St. Pete Mayor Ken Welch served on the CEO Search Committee. Welch says St. Pete is creating a "once-in-a-generation opportunity" in the historic Gas Plant District redevelopment with the Tampa Bay Rays and the Hines Historic Gas Plant Partnership.
"Mike's background and commitment to equitable economic development make him the right choice," Welch says. "Partnerships are important and we look forward to Mike's leadership in our community."
Bill Kent, chairman-elect of the EDC, who chaired the search committee, says after an extensive national search, "we found someone with an outstanding background in business attraction as well as an existing passion for St. Pete.
Swesey will replace J.P. DuBuque, who left the EDC in May for a position in the private sector. DuBuque was the St. Pete EDC’s first president, as the organization formed in 2016. DuBuque was responsible for working with EDC investors and stakeholders to build the public-private organization focused on attracting higher-paying jobs to St. Petersburg, the EDC says.
Today, the St. Pete EDC is supported by more than 65 organizations. The EDC says it has worked with more than 60 companies on relocation or expansion in St. Pete.