Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, saying that the city needs a unified approach towards job creation, announced the creation of a new economic development agency called Louisville Forward.
Mayor Fischer said Louisville Forward recognizes the shifting job creation dynamic, and will orient them towards the future of economic development.
Leading the Louisville Forward team will be Mary Ellen Wiederwohl, who is currently the Deputy Chief of Staff and Chief of Strategic Initiatives in the Mayor‚Äôs Office.
It won‚Äôt be a big change for Wiederwohl, who is already overseeing many of the agencies and initiatives such as Advanced Planning, Vision Louisville and the city‚Äôs green and sustainability programs that are being moved into Louisville Forward.
Jeff Mosley, who is currently Louisville Economic Development Director, will be joining the team as the chief administrative officer.
Wiederwohl said she is excited about Louisville Forward‚Äôs transformational possibilities, and said her team would use an intentional and comprehensive strategy for making Louisville the best place in America to live, work, create and innovate.
The creation of the new agency requires no additional appropriations. Greater Louisville, Inc. provides economic development services for the Louisville, KY metro area under a contract with the city, and their contractual obligations will now undergo some radical changes as most of the funding gets diverted to Louisville Forward.
For starters, GLI is eliminating six positions and the associated expenses. The city will continue to contract with GLI on certain things such as client development services, and market and industry research.
GLI will be working together with Louisville Metro in the coming months on specific economic development initiatives that will bring together the public and private sectors.
Kerry Stemler, chair of Greater Louisville Inc., said the Mayor‚Äôs announcement was not unexpected. Stemler said it may actually help GLI focus on priorities that were identified in the recently created economic development strategy called the Advantage Louisville plan.
GLI will shift its focus from attracting new companies and job creation to other plan components such as retaining and growing existing businesses, advocacy for creating a more business-friendly environment, workforce readiness, support of the start-up and the entrepreneurial community, etc.
Norton Healthcare CEO Steve Williams, who co-chairs the Advantage Louisville Steering Committee, said they believe these are the right strategies for meeting the region‚Äôs economic development needs now and in the future.