Fort Worth Chamber hires Ohio economic developer to lead business recruitment

Chris Strayer

FWBP Staff

The Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce has launched its new strategic plan by hiring veteran economic development executive Chris Strayer as senior vice president of Business Attraction, Retention and Expansion.

“Chris comes to us from Columbus (Ohio) 2020. one of the top five economic development agencies in the country,” Brandom Gengelbach, the chamber’s executive vice president of economic development, said in a news release. “We have said that we need rock stars on our team and Chris is just that. His forward thinking and willingness to try new initiatives are perfect for what we need to help accomplish our new strategy.”

Strayer is the first of four senior vice presidents the chamber plans to hire as part of a reorganization emphasizing economic development under four “pillars”: business atraction and existing business retention and expansion; talent development, retention and attraction; small business and entrepreneur support; advocacy

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Strayer was senior project manager for Business Development and Project Management at Columbus 2020, the economic development organization for the 11-county Columbus region, the chamber said in its release. He has overseen more than 180 successful projects with more than $1.5 billion in investments and 35,000 retained and created jobs. Clients have included Verizon, Kroger, Abbott Laboratories and Avnet, as well as several other Fortune 500 companies.

Strayer previously served as special projects manager for the Ohio Department of Development and as development director for the city of Canal Winchester. He holds a B.S. in Urban and Regional Planning from Michigan State University and an Economic Development Finance Professional credential from the National Development Council.

“Looking across the country, it is hard to find a community comparable to Fort Worth’s ability to attract and retain top talent and economic opportunity,” Strayer said. “This is a vibrant city that my family and I are excited to call home. I look forward to working with community partners to support the continued economic growth of the Fort Worth area.”