What does a Director of Economic Development do?

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  • Written By: Laura M. Sands
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 03 April 2020
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A director of economic development creates strategies for economic development on behalf of a city or community, as well as manages a staff of employees and committee members working toward a common goal of community development. Within this capacity, a director of economic development usually works closely with city managers and planners, as well as other key city personnel. To achieve goals of greater economic development, directors work to attract new business to cities, to stimulate economic growth via special city projects, and to retain and help strengthen the presence of current profitable businesses within a city.

There are many administrative, as well as community outreach, tasks for the director to perform. A few of these tasks include tracking the amount of available business and land space within a city, helping new businesses relocate to a city, helping existing businesses move or expand to new locations within a city and maintaining strong ties with local business persons, boards and special planning committees. A director of economic development must also locate and actively pursue special grants and other funding that may be of benefit to a city’s economic growth.


As an economic development consultant, a director is also expected to provide professional advice to other departments within a city to further the economic goals of a community. While working in this capacity, a developer must also work with zoning commissioners, local chambers of commerce, local housing authorities, state, regional and city planners, and a variety of other federal, state and local agencies. A director of economic development also works closely with banks and other funding sources in an effort to stimulate the city’s economy.

A director of economic development commonly participates in civic meetings, as well as heads special economic development groups and committees relating to special projects. Outside of special city groups and committees, a director also represents her or his own city at regional meetings, whenever necessary. Most directors of economic development are also expected to simultaneously conduct or participate in special conferences pertaining to various types of economic growth and development on behalf of the city she or he is employed by.

An economic development director oversees the sale of land and other city-owned real property. When new land purchases are made on behalf of a city, the manager is also deeply involved in the process from the initial selection of the property to the sale’s final closing. It is also the director’s job to advertise the availability of lots and buildings for commercial use or sale.


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