The Denver Office of Economic Development announced Executive Director André Pettigrew has accepted a new job as the first Executive Director of the Washington, D.C.,-based Climate Prosperity, Inc.
“André’s efforts since joining the City in August 2007 resulted in significant corporate relocations to Denver and hundreds of much-needed jobs in our community,” Mayor John Hickenlooper said. “He and his management team reset the Office of Economic Development priorities in light of our tough economy by focusing on jobs and supporting Denver businesses. André demonstrated great dedication and resolve in the face of the worst economy our nation has seen since the Great Depression. We are sad to see André leave the City and wish him well in his future endeavors.
Pettigrew will leave the City on July 6, 2010. LaCharles Keesee, the Deputy Chief Financial Officer will assume the interim role as Director of OED until a replacement is named.
“I have had the privilege to work with the Office of Economic Development during one of the most challenging economic periods in our nation’s history,” said Pettigrew. “I’m grateful to the Mayor for giving me the opportunity to be a member of his team, and I count it as an honor to have served our community."
Climate Prosperity, Inc., is a national nonprofit established in June 2009 to help communities use economic development opportunities to address climate change. Denver is one of four initial Pilot Communities selected to create and implement regional climate prosperity strategies.
“Recognizing the unique nexus of responding to climate change and regional economic development, we are delighted to have successfully recruited a professional of André’s stature,” said Climate Prosperity, Inc., Board of Trustees President Dick Fleming. “He brings a proven track record in local and regional economic development and public administration, as well as an active role as a national leader on environmental and climate issues.”
Pettigrew was responsible for managing a number of innovative programs in recent years. Under his leadership and working with the Mayor’s Office, the Office of Economic Development:
- Repositioned to better support the City’s business attraction and recruitment program by working more effectively with the State Office of Economic Development and International Trade and the Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation. This effort netted a number of world-class companies relocating to Denver (DaVita, SMA Solar, REpower).
- Launched a Greener Denver Business program that features an economic development implementation strategy in alignment with the City’s Greenprint Climate Action Plan.
- Established the Business Retention & Expansion program that called on and surveyed more than 500 Denver businesses. The information was used to refine OED program strategy while generating small business loans, contracting opportunities for small, women, and minority-owned businesses with the City and better connecting employers with workforce recruitment and training programs.
- Secured a competitive grant ($2.25 million) from the MacArthur Foundation that was the impetus for creating the Denver TOD fund of $15 million for the preservation of affordable housing near Denver’s mass transit corridors.
- Created the City’s Neighborhood Stabilization Program ($29 million) and the Mortgage Credit Certificate Program ($25 million) to help mitigate the impact of foreclosures in Denver.
- Launched the Denver Neighborhood Marketplace Initiative within five business districts (Cherry Creek North, Morrison Road, Welton Street, Tennyson and Blue Bird) to assist private businesses, residents, and land owners to created sustainable, vibrant places in our neighborhoods.
- Used federal stimulus funding to hire and train more than 1,000 youth last summer and expand workforce training “wage subsidy” programs for Denver employers.
- Launched the City’s first Small Business Week in 2009, which attracted more than 800 business partners to participate in workshops and seek technical assistance
“Clearly, a number of innovative programs initiated under Andre’s direction – and in direct response to our challenging economy – have laid a good foundation for economic development in our City,” Hickenlooper said.