Wakefield named one of the Top 50 Economic Developers

RICHMOND, Va. – Jennifer Wakefield, APR, Chief Operating Officer of the Greater Richmond Partnership, Inc. (GRP), was named one of the Top 50 Economic Developers by Consultant Connect, a consulting agency designed to bridge the gap between economic developers and site consultants. Wakefield will be honored at the ECONOMIX Conference in Phoenix, Ariz., Dec. 8-9, 2020.

Jennifer Wakefield
Jennifer Wakefield

“It’s an honor to be nominated as one of the Top 50 economic developers in the nation,” said Wakefield. “This accolade is proof of the Greater Richmond Partnership’s relationship with the site location consultant community as well as the respect we hold with our peers.”

Each year Consultant Connect asks its robust site selector community and economic development partners to nominate individuals they feel are top-notch and worthy of the title “Top 50 Economic Developer.” More than 200 economic development professionals were nominated by their colleagues in both the economic development industry and the site consultant community for excellent practices, innovation and success in building the communities they serve.

As Chief Operating Officer, Wakefield leads the marketing, research and operations teams in the organization’s mission to recruit companies to Greater Richmond. Wakefield joined GRP as Senior Vice President of Marketing in 2017. During the search for the organization’s next executive, she also served as Interim President and CEO from January until August 2019.

Prior to her time at GRP, Wakefield served as the Vice President of Marketing for the Orlando Economic Development Commission (now the Orlando Economic Partnership) for 11 years. She has more than 20 years of marketing and leadership experience in the economic development, transportation, utility and financial services industries. She has a master’s degree in communications from the University of Central Florida and a bachelor’s degree in public relations and advertising from the University of West Florida. She also holds her Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) and is also a former adjunct communications professor at the University of Central Florida.

About the GRP

The Greater Richmond Partnership, Inc. (GRP) is the lead regional economic development organization for the City of Richmond and counties of Chesterfield, Hanover and Henrico in Virginia. GRP recruits companies from all over the globe which provide employment opportunities and taxable capital investment for the community.

About Consultant Connect

Consultant Connect is designed to bridge the gap between leading economic developers and location consultants through exclusive networking events and educational services. Consultant Connect not only gives economic developers an inside look into the world of site selection – it gives them the applicable information necessary to propel their communities forward.

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RICHMOND, Va. – Olga Molnar, Vice President of Global Investment at the Greater Richmond Partnership, Inc. (GRP), was elected to the Virginia International Business Council Board of Directors. She will serve as an at-large member of the Board until the end of the calendar year. Olga Molnar

“The Virginia International Business Council is extremely pleased to welcome Olga to the Board of Directors,” said VAIBC President Holly Pearce. “She has been a long-term supporter of international business development through many programs.  We welcome her expertise and energy to the organization.”

Molnar, a Certified Economic Developer and 13-year veteran of the GRP, is responsible for the Richmond Region’s international business development strategy. She develops relationships with embassy representatives, consultants and delegations to maximize the prospect pipeline of international firms considering Greater Richmond. International firms make up more than 60 percent of the GRP’s current prospect pipeline.

Born and raised in Ukraine, Molnar attended Uzhhorod National University before receiving her undergraduate degree from Spring Hill College in Mobile, Ala., with a B.S. in International Studies. She began her career at GRP as an intern as a student of the Virginia Commonwealth University’s Masters in Urban and Regional Planning program while also earning her Public Management Certificate.

About the GRP

The Greater Richmond Partnership, Inc. (GRP) is the lead regional economic development organization for the City of Richmond and counties of Chesterfield, Hanover and Henrico in Virginia. GRP recruits companies from all over the globe which provide employment opportunities and taxable capital investment for the community. For more information, visit www.grpva.com.

About VAIBC

Established in 1948, the Virginia International Business Council is the premier membership organization serving the region’s international trade professionals. Known for outstanding programs and engaging speakers, the club serves as a forum for the promotion of global commerce.

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GRP hires Miller as Senior Vice President of Business Development

RICHMOND, Va. – The Greater Richmond Partnership (“GRP”), the lead regional economic development organization serving the City of Richmond and counties of Chesterfield, Hanover and Henrico in Virginia, announces that Eric Miller is the new Senior Vice President of Business Development.

Eric Miller
Eric Miller

“I am thrilled to welcome Eric to our winning team,” said Lara L. Fritts, CEcD, President and CEO of the Greater Richmond Partnership. “Eric has the right experience to lead our business development team and the drive to help position our regional partners to win more projects.”

Miller currently works as the Senior Vice President of Economic Development for the Greater Memphis Chamber. There, he worked to revitalize and strengthen their business development efforts bringing a much more data-driven and focused approach.

Prior to his time in Memphis, he worked as the Executive Vice President of Business Development for the Hampton Roads Economic Development Alliance in Norfolk, Va. He also previously held positions including Managing Director of Industrial Development for the Port of Muskogee (Oklahoma), Director of Economic Development for the Stillwater Chamber of Commerce (Oklahoma), Director of Business Development for the Upstate S.C. Alliance and Senior Project Manager for the South Carolina Department of Commerce.

Miller has well over 20 years of state, local and regional economic development experience. He holds a bachelor of science degree in Criminal Justice/Government and International Studies from the University of South Carolina – Columbia and a juris doctorate in law from the University of South Carolina School of Law.

About the GRP

The Greater Richmond Partnership, Inc. (GRP) is the lead regional economic development organization for the City of Richmond and counties of Chesterfield, Hanover and Henrico in Virginia. GRP recruits companies from all over the globe which provide employment opportunities and taxable capital investment for the community. For more information, visit www.grpva.com.

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Board of Directors of the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) has re-elected Lara Fritts, CEcD, President and CEO of the Greater Richmond Partnership, to serve on the IEDC Board of Directors. The nomination took place during IEDC’s 2019 Annual Conference, which was held in Indianapolis, Ind., from Oct. 13-16, 2019. Fritts’ term continues on Jan. 1, 2020.

“We look forward to Lara Fritts’ ongoing leadership on the Board of Directors. Her continued leadership role will ensure great accomplishments in 2020 and beyond,” said Jeffrey Finkle, CEcD, President and CEO of IEDC.

“IEDC is the pre-eminent professional organization for economic developers across the globe,” explained Fritts. “Serving this organization brings a higher profile and confidence level to GRP’s partners in the site selection community.”

Prior to joining the GRP in August, Fritts worked as the Director of the Department of Economic Development for the Salt Lake City Department of Economic Development as well as the CEO of the Redevelopment Agency of Salt Lake City. There, she led business development efforts to recruit companies including Amazon, UPS, Post Brand and Stadler Rail among others to create 9,800 direct and indirect jobs and nearly $1 billion in capital investment since 2016.

A certified economic developer (CEcD), Fritts has more than 25 years of local and regional economic development experience, leading efforts in Virginia, Maryland and Wisconsin including Annapolis Economic Development Corporation; Southeast Fairfax Development Corporation and Washington D.C. Technology Council, to name a few.

She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Regional Analysis – Community and Economic Development and a Master’s degree in Urban Studies – Economic Development from the University of Wisconsin.

About the GRP

The Greater Richmond Partnership, Inc. (GRP) is the lead regional economic development organization for the City of Richmond and counties of Chesterfield, Hanover and Henrico in Virginia. GRP recruits companies from all over the globe which provide employment opportunities and taxable capital investment for the community. For more information, visit www.grpva.com.

About the International Economic Development Council

The International Economic Development Council (IEDC) is a non-profit membership organization serving economic developers. With more than 5,000 members, IEDC is the largest organization of its kind. Economic developers promote economic well-being and quality of life for their communities, by creating, retaining and expanding jobs that facilitate growth, enhance wealth and provide a stable tax base. From public to private, rural to urban, and local to international, IEDC’s members are engaged in the full range of economic development experience. Given the breadth of economic development work, our members are employed in a wide variety of settings including local, state, provincial and federal governments, public-private partnerships, chambers of commerce, universities and a variety of other institutions. IEDC’s members create high-quality jobs, develop vibrant communities and improve the quality of life in their regions. www.iedcONLINE.org.

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Wakefield promoted to COO of Greater Richmond Partnership

The Greater Richmond Partnership, Inc. (GRP), the lead regional economic development organization for the City of Richmond and the counties of Chesterfield, Hanover and Henrico in Virginia, has promoted Jennifer Wakefield, APR to Chief Operating Officer (COO) effective immediately. Jennifer Wakefield

Wakefield joined GRP as Senior Vice President of Marketing in 2017. During the search for the organization’s next executive, she also served as Interim President and CEO from January until August 2019.

“Jennifer did a commendable job as GRP’s interim leader proving herself in managing the day-to-day operations of the organization,” said Lara L. Fritts, CEcD, President and CEO of the Greater Richmond Partnership. “The board and I recognized her talents extend beyond marketing and know she will serve our organization best in an advanced role moving forward.”

Prior to her time at GRP, Wakefield served as the Vice President of Marketing for the Orlando Economic Development Commission (now the Orlando Economic Partnership) for 11 years. She has more than 20+ years of marketing and leadership experience in the economic development, transportation, utility and financial services industries. She has a master’s degree in communications from the University of Central Florida and a bachelor’s degree in public relations and advertising from the University of West Florida. She also holds her Accreditation in Public Relations (APR), signifying a high level of professional experience, competence and ethical standards. She is also a former adjunct communications professor at the University of Central Florida.

RICHMOND, VA – Business Facilities magazine, a leading publication for site location advisors recently ranked Richmond as one of the top places for corporate headquarters in its Metro Rankings Report. The Richmond Region, home to 7 Fortune 500 and 3 Fortune 1000 headquarters, ranked second in the corporate headquarters category and competed against peer cities with a population less than 300,000.

“Richmond has consistently punched above its weight class as a Fortune 1000 corporate headquarter location,” said Jennifer Wakefield, the Greater Richmond Partnership’s Interim President/CEO and Senior Vice President of Marketing. “In the U.S., few regions our size have a higher concentration of Fortune headquarters than we do, and we’re honored to be ranked among the best locations.”

Richmond also ranked in the Top 10 in other categories, including 4th for ‘Economic Growth Potential’ and 7th as a ‘Millennial Magnet’ based on a National Association of Realtors analysis of millennials moving into the 100 largest metros.

“Our business attraction efforts have been helped in recent years thanks to Richmond’s in-migration of millennial talent from all over the Mid-Atlantic area,” explained Wakefield. “Many companies are seeking millennial talent to ramp up efforts locally due to the region’s low unemployment rate. However, the region’s underemployment rate floats around 12 percent – which includes mostly millennial talent eager to expand their capabilities.”

Business Facilities’ 15th Annual Rankings Report has a national print and digital audience of more than 80,000 qualified C-level executives and site selectors.

About the GRP

The Greater Richmond Partnership, Inc. (GRP) is the lead regional economic development organization for the City of Richmond and counties of Chesterfield, Hanover and Henrico in Virginia. GRP recruits companies from all over the globe which provide employment opportunities and taxable capital investment for the community. For more information, visit www.grpva.com.

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RICHMOND, VA – The Greater Richmond Partnership (“Partnership”) announces that Richmond, Va., was ranked as one of the winners of the fDi Intelligence’s American Cities of the Future 2019/20 rankings. The Richmond Region has earned accolades from the foreign direct investment (FDI) publication during the last 11 consecutive years of publication.

“Our consistent ranking by fDi magazine as one of the top places in the US for foreign direct investment cements our region’s commitment for even more successful international expansions to the region,” said Leslie A.T. Haley, Chair of the Greater Richmond Partnership and Chair of the Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors.

Greater Richmond was named in the top three US cities in four categories: Overall Mid-Size City, Economic Potential, Business Friendliness, and Human Capital and Lifestyle.

“More than two-thirds of our projects are foreign direct investment so these third-party rankings should help convince global companies to take a look at the Richmond Region,” said Jennifer Wakefield, GRP Interim President/CEO and Senior Vice President of Marketing.

‘Mid-sized’ locations had an immediate city population more than 200,000 and a wider Larger Urban Zone of more than 750,000 people, or an immediate city population of more than 350,000 people. To create a shortlist for fDi’s American Cities of the Future 2019/20, the fDi Intelligence division of The Financial Times collected data using the specialist online tools analyzing 218 locations. Locations scored up to a maximum of 10 points for each data point, which were weighted by importance to the FDI decision-making process in order to compile both the subcategory rankings as well as the overall American Cities of the Future 2019/20 ranking.

About the GRP

The Greater Richmond Partnership, Inc. (GRP) is the lead regional economic development organization for the City of Richmond and counties of Chesterfield, Hanover and Henrico in Virginia. GRP recruits companies from all over the globe which provide employment opportunities and taxable capital investment for the community. For more information, visit www.grpva.com.

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Altria Group’s Mancuso to serve as Vice Chair

RICHMOND, VA – The Board of Directors of the Greater Richmond Partnership (“GRP”), the lead regional economic development group serving the City of Richmond and counties of Chesterfield, Hanover and Henrico, announces the appointment of Leslie A.T. Haley, Chair of the Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors, as chair of the organization. Haley takes the helm of GRP following Capital One’s Buck Stinson. Sal Mancuso, Senior Vice President – Finance and Procurement of Altria Group, Inc., was named Vice Chair of GRP.

The GRP is a public-private non-profit that markets the Richmond Region as a business location and recruits new companies to the area by targeting specific industry clusters. The Board is a mixture of local elected officials and representatives of the GRP’s 120 corporate investors.

Lara L. Fritts, incoming President and CEO of the GRP, will become an officer on the Board upon her start date on Aug. 12, replacing Jennifer Wakefield.

The following are the officers and members of the GRP Board of Directors for fiscal year 2019-2020, which began July 1:

Officers

Leslie T. Haley, Chair
Sal Mancuso, Vice Chair
John D. O’Neill Jr., General Counsel, Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP
Jennifer Wakefield, Interim President & CEO
Anita Saunders, Corporate Secretary

Public Sector representatives include:

  • Leslie T. Haley, Chair, Board of Supervisors, Chesterfield County
  • Dr. Cynthia I. Newbille, President, Richmond City Council
  • Angela Kelly-Wiecek, Board of Supervisors, Hanover County
  • Patricia S. O’Bannon, Board of Supervisors, Henrico County

Private Sector representatives include:

  • Sal Mancuso, Senior Vice President – Finance and Procurement, Altria Group
  • Buck Stinson, Senior Vice President, U.S. Card Partnerships, Capital One
  • Bobby Ukrop, President & CEO, Ukrop’s Homestyle Foods
  • Charlene Whitfield, Vice President – Distribution Operations, Power Delivery Group, Dominion Energy

Alternate representatives include:

  • Dr. Joseph P. Casey, County Administrator, Chesterfield County
  • Selena Cuffee-Glenn, Chief Administrative Officer, City of Richmond
  • Rhu Harris, County Administrator, Hanover County
  • John Vithoulkas, County Manager, Henrico County

Ex-Officio members include:

  • Phillip Avant, Central Va. Market President, Commercial Banking Team Leader, SunTrust Bank

 

About the GRP

The Greater Richmond Partnership, Inc. (GRP) is the lead public-private economic development organization for the City of Richmond and counties of Chesterfield, Hanover and Henrico in Virginia. GRP recruits companies from all over the globe which provide employment opportunities and taxable capital investment for the community. For more information, visit www.grpva.com.

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Fritts to lead regional economic development efforts

Lara Fritts, CEcD

RICHMOND, Va. – The Greater Richmond Partnership (“GRP”), the lead regional economic development organization serving the City of Richmond and counties of Chesterfield, Hanover and Henrico in Virginia, announces that Lara Fritts, CEcD will become President and CEO of the organization effective August 12, 2019.

“We are proud to welcome Lara as the organization’s new president and CEO,” said Buck Stinson, Senior Vice President of U.S. Card Partnerships at Capital One and Chair of the GRP Board. “She has a very strong background in consensus building, marketing communities and organizational development. She is a proven collaborator as well as a speaker and educator with diverse groups of stakeholders.”

Fritts currently works as the Director of the Salt Lake City Department of Economic Development as well as the CEO of the its redevelopment agency. There, she led business development efforts to recruit companies including Amazon, UPS, Post Brand and Stadler Rail among others to create 9,800 direct and indirect jobs and nearly $1 billion in capital investment since 2016.

Prior to her time in Salt Lake City, she worked for Baker Tilly Virchow Krouse, LLP as Director of Business Development and led economic development efforts in Virginia, Maryland and Wisconsin including Annapolis Economic Development Corporation; Southeast Fairfax Development Corporation and Washington DC Technology Council, to name a few.

Fritts holds the certified economic developer (CEcD) designation from the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) and has more than 25 years of local and regional economic development experience. She holds a bachelor of science degree in Regional Analysis – Community and Economic Development and a master of science degree in Urban Studies – Economic Development from the University of Wisconsin.

She currently serves on the board of IEDC, is a member of the IEDC Disaster Recovery team and serves on the government relations committee for the International Council of Shopping Centers. In Salt Lake City, she served on the boards of directors for the Salt Lake City Downtown Alliance, Utah Inland Port and Utah Performing Arts Center Association.

“I am thrilled to be joining the Greater Richmond Partnership (GRP),” said Fritts. “The GRP Board, regional partners and membership are the envy of many economic development organizations in other states. With our world-class research, international and national business development and marketing teams, I am looking forward to identifying and engaging in activities that produce the most value and best outcomes for our members.”

Fritts succeeds Barry Matherly as the organization’s president and CEO and is only the third such person to fill that role in the organization’s 25-year history.

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RICHMOND, Va. – Olga Molnar, Vice President of Global Investment at the Greater Richmond Partnership, Inc. (GRP), earned the designation of Certified Economic Developer (CEcD), an international recognition that denotes a mastery of skills in economic development, professional attainment and a commitment to personal and professional growth.

“I’d like to personally welcome Olga as one of the 1,100-plus economic development professionals who hold the CEcD designation,” said Tracye McDaniel, chair of the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) Board of Directors.

After joining the GRP more than a decade ago as a masters-level intern, Molnar rose through the ranks starting in the research department and is now responsible for the GRP’s international business development strategy.

“I’m proud of Olga’s hard work and dedication to the economic development field, as the CEcD sets a high standard of excellence in the economic development profession,” said Jennifer Wakefield, Interim President and CEO of GRP.

The CEcD designation from IEDC recognizes qualified and dedicated practitioners in the economic development profession. Candidates must pass a rigorous and comprehensive examination, which has three parts and spans two days.

Molnar holds a master’s degree in urban and regional planning from Virginia Commonwealth University and bachelor’s from Spring Hill College. While at VCU, Molnar also earned a certificate in Public Management.

About the International Economic Development Council

The International Economic Development Council (IEDC) is a non-profit membership organization serving economic developers. With more than 5,000 members, IEDC is the largest organization of its kind. Economic developers promote economic well-being and quality of life for their communities, by creating, retaining and expanding jobs that facilitate growth, enhance wealth and provide a stable tax base. From public to private, rural to urban, and local to international, IEDC’s members are engaged in the full range of economic development experience. Given the breadth of economic development work, our members are employed in a wide variety of settings including local, state, provincial and federal governments, public-private partnerships, chambers of commerce, universities and a variety of other institutions. IEDC’s members create high-quality jobs, develop vibrant communities and improve the quality of life in their regions. www.iedcONLINE.org.

About the GRP

The Greater Richmond Partnership, Inc. (GRP) is the lead regional economic development organization for the City of Richmond and counties of Chesterfield, Hanover and Henrico in Virginia. GRP recruits companies from all over the globe which provide employment opportunities and taxable capital investment for the community. For more information, visit www.grpva.com.

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