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Keep momentum going the goal of new Downers Grove economic development leader

When it comes to development opportunities, the newest member of the Downers Grove Economic Development Corporation is excited to help keep the forward momentum going.

Bryan Gay recently was appointed president and chief executive officer, succeeding Michael Cassa, who left earlier this year to take the position of economic development director in Sugar Grove.

Gay, who has 16 years of economic development experience, most recently served as the president and CEO of Invest Aurora.

“What really excited me and drew me to this job are the opportunities available here in Downers Grove,” Gay said. “It’s a well-established community that continues to grow and reinvent itself. And it’s a great place to raise a family and open and grow a business.”

Founded in 2006, the DGEDC is a public/private partnership that promotes Downers Grove as a location for commercial, industrial and office projects. Additionally, the agency promotes tourism through the Downers Grove Visitors Bureau.

Gay was selected for the position after a competitive nationwide search, according to a news release from the DGEDC. He began Sept. 6.

“We are thrilled,” said Bob Fernandez, chairman of the DGEDC board of directors. “He is a true economic development professional with a strong history of success at the state, county and municipal level. We are excited to have him lead our organization and further the DGEDC’s goals of maximizing the economic vibrancy of the village of Downers Grove.”

Gay said his goals and objectives align closely with the strategic plan put in place by the village and DGEDC board two years ago.

“That includes redeveloping some of the older developments to get some new life and energy into those,” he said. “And I want to continue to build on what I’ve done well in my career in terms of site selection and bringing in new businesses and investments. So really it’s really just a continuation of what this village already does well and thinking outside of the box in terms of economic development.”

Economic development, Gay said, “is a nice mixture of community planning, business and workforce development and marketing all wrapped into one.”

“It’s something I love doing,” he said. “To be able to take something from a plan to actually putting it into practice and implementation … that’s a really fun part of it. There are a lot of challenges but it’s also a lot of fun.”

Residents of nearby Darien, Gay and his family long have been frequent visitors to Downers Grove.

“It’s the closest thing to an authentic downtown that we have,” he said. “So whether we’re going to a movie or grabbing a bite to eat or shopping, Downers Grove is kind of our adopted place to go.”

He is honored to be selected to lead the Downers Grove Economic Development Corporation.

“And I’m looking forward to working with the board and staff on providing more economic opportunities,” Gay said. “Together with the village of Downers Grove, we will continue to leverage our great location, high quality of life and strong local economy to build on the village’s stellar reputation as a place to do business.”

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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