Mayor Announces Departure of Baltimore Development Corporation President and CEO Brenda McKenzie

Crest of the City of Baltimore

Brandon M. Scott
Baltimore City
250 City Hall - Baltimore Maryland 21202
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Mayor Announces Departure of Baltimore Development Corporation President and CEO Brenda McKenzie, Councilman William Cole to Replace Her

BALTIMORE, Md. (August 7, 2014)—Today, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake announced the departure of Baltimore Development Corporation (BDC) President and CEO Brenda McKenzie. Baltimore City Councilman William Cole, who currently represents the city's 11th district, will serve as the new BDC President and CEO. McKenzie resigned from her position, effective August 21, 2014. 

"I would like to thank Brenda McKenzie for her dedicated service to my administration and to the City of Baltimore," Mayor Rawlings-Blake said. "Brenda came here with energy, optimism, and a commitment to grow our city by 10,000 families over the next 10 years. As a result of her hard work, the BDC is creating the city's economic development plan, attracting new businesses to Baltimore and promoting neighborhood revitalization." 

McKenzie has served as BDC President and CEO since 2012. She previously served as economic development director for the Boston Redevelopment Authority and as deputy commissioner for the Chicago Department of Planning and Development. 

"It's been an honor and privilege to serve the City of Baltimore under Mayor Rawlings-Blake," saild Brenda McKenzie. "I've also had the good fortune to work with the wonderfully dedicated staff of the Baltimore Development Corporation. Over the past year, we were able to jumpstart development and with over $233 million in private investment -- not including the $1 billion Harbor Point project. The wins also include notable business attraction and retention efforts, including T. Rowe Price, Amazon, Pandora, and Mindgrub—just to name a few. The end result is meaningful investment and jobs in Baltimore City." 

Councilman Cole has served as the city council representative for Baltimore City's 11th district since 2007. Cole—whose district includes more than a dozen residential neighborhoods throughout south, central and west Baltimore, the Inner Harbor, downtown, and portions of the Port of Baltimore—has been a leading economic development advocate for over a decade. He has more than 20 years of public service experience—having served in the Maryland House of Delegates from 1999-2002, as a Special Assistant to U.S. Representative Elijah E. Cummings from 1996-2002, and as an Associate Vice President of Institutional Advancement at the University of Baltimore since 2003. Recently, Cole served as co-chair of the Steering Committee for the Opportunity Collaborative, the Regional Plan for Sustainable development, and as a member of the mayor's 10-year Financial Plan Executive Committee. 

"I can think of no one better to lead the BDC than Councilman Cole," said Mayor Rawlings-Blake. "I have known and have worked with Councilman Cole for over 15 years. He not only understands large and small development projects, but also understands the needs of neighborhoods through commercial revitalization and the growth of small business. Under his leadership, I am confident the BDC will continue to create jobs, spur development, shape economic development policies, and attract and retain business that is critical to grow Baltimore by 10,000 families over the next decade." 

"This is a tremendous opportunity to work with Mayor Rawlings-Blake in furthering our shared goal to grow Baltimore," said Councilman Cole. "The city, and its many diverse neighborhoods, have much to offer and I look forward to working with business, political, civic and educational leaders throughout the region to showcase Baltimore as a place to live, work, learn and play." 

"For seven years, Bill worked in my office and spearheaded initiatives to provide economic opportunities for my constituents," said Congressman Elijah E. Cummings. "Bill is passionate about building a better Baltimore City, and he will work tirelessly to bring business development to the City and to help existing businesses grow. He knows how to create successful private-public partnerships and to effectively meet the needs of the business community. I am excited to see him take on this new role." 

"Bill Cole brings unique qualities and experiences to the role of leading the BDC," said Greater Baltimore Committee President & CEO Donald C. Fry. "As a councilman, he has developed a sharp insight into the mission and the work of the BDC and has a keen understanding of the correlation that exists between economic development and city neighborhoods. He is knowledgeable about the available economic development tools and has been engaged in the review and approval of major development projects. His thoughtful approach to problem solving and deep knowledge of the city's economic issues will serve Baltimore well as he advocates for growth and prosperity." 

Cole currently serves on the Board for the Midtown Community Benefits District, the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore, and the Baltimore Area Convention and Visitors Association, as an Advisory Board member for Fort McHenry Business Association and Downtown Baltimore Family Alliance, and as a member of the Maryland Chapter of the Smart Growth America Local Leaders Council. 

He obtained his undergraduate degree in Government and Politics from the University of Maryland College Park and a graduate degree in Legal & Ethical Studies from the University of Baltimore. 

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