ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Albuquerque Economic Development has selected Danielle Casey, currently executive vice president for the Greater Sacramento Economic Council in California, as its new president, AED announced Thursday afternoon.
Casey, who also previously led economic development efforts for the cities of Scottsdale and Maricopa in Arizona, will take AED’s reins on Oct. 26. She is replacing long-time president Gary Tonjes, who stepped down in July after leading the organization for 25 years.
“(Danielle) has the credentials, experience and poise to be an effective leader for economic development in our community,” said AED chair Eric Weinstein in a news release. “Danielle has demonstrated success in all facets of economic development and business. We are thrilled to have someone of her ability leading AED, and we are confident she will bring innovation and strategic direction that will be a true asset in developing the greater Albuquerque economy.”
Casey said she’s ready to hit the ground running.
“I look forward to officially arriving in October and getting to work,” Casey said in a statement. “With the new realities brought about by COVID and an upcoming legislative session, there is no time to waste in capitalizing on our advantages. I am eager to roll up my sleeves and build on AED’s history of success in advancing regional competitiveness and generating new employment opportunities for the community.”
The Thursday announcement came as a surprise, as earlier that day Weinstein told attendees at the organization’s virtual quarterly investors meeting that the search for Tonjes’ replacement was ongoing.
“The search committee has been hard at work over the past seven months to find a new president,” Weinstein told about 190 participants in the meeting, which was the second quarterly event that AED has conducted online since the pandemic began in March.
“There’s no announcement today, but soon,” Weinstein said during the meeting. “Stay tuned, there’s more to come.”
During the quarterly meeting, AED vice president of business development and marketing Annemarie Henton said efforts to recruit new companies to New Mexico have continued during the pandemic, albeit through virtual channels. The nonprofit is currently working on 37 different recruitment projects that, taken together, represent the potential for 1,700 jobs and $750 million in new investment.
Efforts to assist existing companies to expand their operations have also continued, Henton said. So far this year, AED representatives have provided assistance to 70 local companies. Taken together, those firms have received $3 million in funding from the state Job Training Development Program, adding 242 new jobs and an additional $13 million in new annual payroll.