Mississippi economic development lead final candidate for Enterprise Florida president & CEO
Contact: Stuart Doyle
Mississippi economic development lead final candidate
for Enterprise Florida president & CEO
Board selects Gray Swoope Jr., executive director of Mississippi Development Authority, pending contract negotiations
ORLANDO, FL (February 28, 2011) – Enterprise Florida’s board of directors today met and voted to begin contract negotiations with F. Gray Swoope Jr., executive director of the Mississippi Development Authority, to serve as Enterprise Florida’s president and CEO.
Swoope was identified by a board search committee as its preferred candidate.
“We’re pleased with the prospect of working with Gray to usher in a new era of leadership for Enterprise Florida and economic development in our state,” said Howell Melton, the board’s vice chairman and member of the search committee. “He’s a seasoned economic developer with the right vision and mix of talent and experience to be our definitive choice for this critical position.”
Since January 2007, Swoope, 49, has served as executive director of the Jackson, Miss.-based Mississippi Development Authority, the state’s lead economic and community development agency, which also is part of the governor’s cabinet. Overseeing a $763 million budget and 300-plus employee base, he directs industry recruitment, retention and trade initiatives plus small and minority business outreach, community and asset development, and energy and tourism programs. Among his accomplishments is leading Mississippi’s recruitment effort for Toyota’s North American manufacturing arm in 2007, a project comprising a $1.3 billion company investment, 2,000 direct jobs at the onset of facility operations and another 4,900 spinoff jobs expected within five years afterward.
Swoope spent three years as the Authority’s chief operating office before assuming its chief role.
Prior stints include president of Area Development Partnership (1997-2004), a private nonprofit providing economic development and commerce services for the Hattiesburg, Miss. metropolitan area and division director of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission (1993-97) in Little Rock.
Swoope earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business administration – 1983 and 1991, respectively – at Mississippi State University. He received the university’s Central Mississippi Alumni chapter’s Alumnus of the Year Award in 2008.
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Enterprise Florida, Inc. is a partnership between Florida's business and government leaders and is the principal economic development organization for the state of Florida. Headquartered in Orlando, EFI’s mission is to diversify Florida’s economy and create better-paying jobs for its citizens by supporting, attracting and helping to create businesses in innovative, high-growth industries. In pursuit of its mission, EFI works closely with a statewide network of economic development partners and is funded both by the State of Florida and by private-sector businesses.