Chamber of Commerce Hires New VP Economic Development

After completing a nationwide search, the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce focused in on  Austin, Texas, when it hired Susan Davenport as its new vice president of economic development.

Davenport, a 12-year veteran of the Austin Chamber of Commerce, is currently serving as the senior vice president of global technology strategies for the Austin Chamber and has experience as its director of economic development, senior director and vice president of business retention and expansion.

Austin’s thriving business environment has often been cited as a benchmark for Gainesville, and Davenport’s experiences there have prepared her new role of assisting existing businesses with expansion, helping new companies to grow and attracting new businesses to Alachua County.

She developed and launched Austin’s regional business retention and expansion program, Portfolio Austin, and served as a key team member for Opportunity Austin, a growth strategy that has created more than 174,000 new jobs and  regional payrolls by $8.7 billion over an 8-year period.

Davenport also developed and managed the Central Texas Regional Center for Innovation and Commercialization, which has helped 34 companies secure $60 million in funding with an additional $30 million for local research and university projects. She was also involved with the Greater Austin Technology Partnership and Austin TechLive, which brought together regional technology executives and supported entrepreneurial activity.

“I am honored to accept the opportunity to play an integral role in the growth of Gainesville and Alachua County,” Davenport said in a Chamber news release. “The potential of Alachua County is exceptionally strong, and the momentum is just beginning to build here.”

The vice president of economic development position is the final addition to the Chamber’s new leadership team that includes vice president of chamber development Deborah Bowie and vice president of public policy Kamal Latham.

Davenport is expected to start in early to mid-May. She is replacing David Ramsey, who left his position as director of the Gainesville Council for Economic Outreach to become global business director for the Mississippi Development Authority in February.

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