Chamber hires new economic development head

Published: Thursday, April 11, 2013 at 6:30 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, April 11, 2013 at 7:39 p.m.

By way of comparison, Austin, Texas, is often held up as an example of what Gainesville could aspire to become, a university city that is home to more than 4,000 technology companies.

The Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce announced Thursday that it has hired a 12-year veteran of the Austin Chamber of Commerce to lead efforts to grow, retain and recruit businesses.

Susan Davenport was hired as vice president of economic development. She is now senior vice president of global technology strategies for the Austin Chamber.

“I am honored to accept the opportunity to play an integral role in the growth of Gainesville and Alachua County,” Davenport said in a news release. “The potential of Alachua County is exceptionally strong, and the momentum is just beginning to build here. I look forward to helping take this community to the next level in fostering innovation, creating jobs and growing this economy.”

She previously served as director of economic development, and senior director and vice president and business retention and expansion for the Austin Chamber.

Davenport developed Austin’s business and expansion program, Portfolio Austin. She also developed the Central Texas Regional Center for Innovation and Commercialization, credited with helping 34 companies receive $60 million in funding with an additional $30 million for research and university projects, according to a news release from the Gainesville Chamber. Davenport developed the Greater Austin Technology Partnership and Austin TechLive to involve tech executives in economic development activities and support entrepreneurs.

“The addition of Susan Davenport solidifies the foundation from which the Gainesville Chamber and Council for Economic Outreach will build on for years to come,” said Tim Giuliani, president and CEO of the Chamber and Council for Economic Outreach. “A person of Susan’s abilities, leadership and amazing track record will help accelerate the success of Alachua County.”

Davenport is scheduled to start in early May. She replaces David Ramsey, who left as director of the Gainesville Council for Economic Outreach in February to become global business director for the Mississippi Development Authority.

She joins other recent Chamber hires that include Deborah Bowie as vice president of Chamber development and Kamal Latham as vice president of public policy.

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