December 4, 2012
Burlington, VT – Community and Economic Development Office Director Peter Owens today announced that new Burlington resident Nathan Wildfire has joined the CEDO team to focus on enhancing the City’s economic development efforts. Wildfire, who began his new job yesterday, will serve as Assistant Director of Economic Development. Wildfire spent the last eight years working in Pittsburgh for a nonprofit community development group that has gained national acclaim revitalizing a severely distressed urban community into a mixed-income sustainable community.
“One of CEDO’s top priorities is to be more entrepreneurial in facilitating catalytic community development projects,” said Owens. “Nate’s experience with outside the box financing strategies and partnership building will serve Burlington well as we continue to support and stimulate the emergence of the Creative Economy.”
Wildfire will focus on Waterfront development, entrepreneurial funding opportunities to address downtown housing, sustainable parking strategies to encourage economic development, and the prioritization of green infrastructure. Wildfire also will assist CEDO’s transformation to a more nimble, self-sustaining financial model in the face of declining Federal support.
While in Pittsburgh, Wildfire served as Director of Planning for East Liberty Development, Inc. (ELDI), where he led the creation of the 2010 Community Plan, resulting in more than: $10 million in direct project grants; $100 million in leveraged investment; 300 units of new housing; and 300,000 square feet of commercial space. The East Liberty neighborhood since has been featured as an example of sustainable, community-minded revitalization in numerous national media publications, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic Magazine, and Next American City Magazine. Prior to his work at ELDI, Wildfire served as a fellow with the Coro Center for Civic Leadership and worked for nonprofits, government entities, a chamber of commerce, and for private business.
Wildfire, who served on the boards of two emergent and influential green economy nonprofits, hopes to bring leadership and team building experience to both CEDO and other Burlington stakeholder groups.
“I was fortunate enough in Pittsburgh to be surrounded by extremely talented and creative thinkers who weren’t afraid to use all the assets of the community to address age-old shared challenges,” said Wildfire. “Everything I have seen from the Mayor’s Office and CEDO gives me confidence that they’re working hard to listen to all stakeholders and bring new ideas to the table. I am very excited and grateful to be a part of that process.”
Wildfire emerged as one of three finalists from a field of talented candidates. Bruce Seifer, who recently retired as Assistant Director of Economic Development, had served the City in this position for 28 years.
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