Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed names Obama executive to head city’s development arm

By David Pendered

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed announced today the city’s development arm will be headed by a man who now works in President Obama’s administration.

Reed named Brian McGowan, who now is a deputy assistant secretary/COO in the U.S. Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration, as president and CEO of the Atlanta Development Authority.

In choosing McGowan, Reed passed over longtime ADA executive Ernestine Garey, who now serves as the ADA’s interim president. The third finalist for the job was Daniel Gundersen, who formerly served as New York’s commissioner of economic development and has White House connections.

Brian McGowan

Brian McGowan

“I believe that Brian McGowan’s extensive experience having worked at all levels of government will help the Atlanta Development Authority continue to move the City of Atlanta toward economic recovery,” Reed said in a statement released by his office.

“We’ve made great strides over the past 16 months with initiatives such as the ongoing revitalization of the Historic Westside District, the redevelopment of Fort McPherson, and the relocation of Porsche’s headquarters to the city.

“I am confident that under Brian’s leadership, we will build on that strong foundation and generate even more economic investment and development opportunities for the City of Atlanta.”

McGowan’s resume says he worked on the gulf disaster recovery in addition to devising economic development policies for cities in Serbia and Bulgaria.

“I am honored to have been selected as the new President/CEO of the Atlanta Development Authority, and I am grateful for the confidence that Mayor Reed and the board members have placed in me,” McGowan said in a statement released by the mayor’s office.

“Atlanta is one of America’s greatest cities because of the value it has placed on innovation, education and connections to the global economy.  It’s an economic powerhouse and a city poised for 21st century leadership and growth,” he said.

“I look forward to working with public and private sector leaders throughout the region to accelerate that momentum and create jobs and opportunity for the people of Atlanta,” McGowan said.

The mayor chairs the ADA board and handpicks the president and CEO of an authority that is not accountable to the Atlanta City Council.

The ADA dispenses money to promote the city through bond issues that subsidize development; revolving loan funds for businesses; tax credits; and tax increment financing – known in Atlanta as tax allocation districts.

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David Pendered, Managing Editor, is an Atlanta journalist with more than 30 years experience reporting on the region’s urban affairs, from Atlanta City Hall to the state Capitol. Since 2008, he has written for print and digital publications, and advised on media and governmental affairs. Previously, he spent more than 26 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and won awards for his coverage of schools and urban development. David graduated from North Carolina State University and was a Western Knight Center Fellow. David was born in Pennsylvania, grew up in North Carolina and is married to a fifth-generation Atlantan.

1 reply
  1. Anna Foote says:

    David – one correction to this otherwise well written article. The Mayor does NOT ‘hand pick’ this position – the Board of the ADA went through an extensive selection process and made a decision as a whole, with the Mayor’s participation and support. I participated on the selection committee and want you to be clear about how the process worked. I am happy to discuss with you further, if you’d like.

    Anna Foote
    member ADA Board of Directors, Chair Finance CommitteeReport

    Reply

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