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Walnut Creek Hires Its First Economic Development Manager

Ron Gerber is the director of the Novato Redevelopment Agency.

The city of Walnut Creek has hired its first economic development manager,, who has been an advocate of thoughtful economic development as director of the Novato Redevelopment Agency.

“Given the state of the economy, whether measured on a local, national or international level, intentional efforts are needed to attract, grow and retain the wide range of businesses needed for continued economic vitality in Walnut Creek,” stated Walnut Creek City Manager Ken Nordhoff in a news release. 

One of Gerber's focuses will be the revitalization effort in the area of the Walnut Creek BART station.

“Hiring an individual who possesses the skills, background and connections to bring positive results to our City is instrumental for succeeding in the economic development arena,” said Nordhoff. “Ron rose to the top from a field of well-qualified candidates who have made a successful career in economic development.” 

Gerber will earn $130,229 annually.

 “Walnut Creek has such a great reputation for high quality of life," said Gerber. "I am privileged and thrilled to have the opportunity to contribute to the economic well-being of the community.” 

Before joining Novato in 2001, Gerber, 59, spent 12 years with the Department of Economic Development and Housing in Emeryville.

Gerber’s blend of experience in working with small businesses as well as major corporations played a key factor in his selection, said Assistant City Manager Lorie Tinfow. 

Career highlights range from convincing the owners of Rustic Bakery to open their second bakery café in Novato to contributions to Pixar’s decision to locate its computer animation campus in Emeryville. In addition, Gerber led the transformation of the closed Hamilton Air Force Base in Novato into a mixed-use project with housing, recreational and arts facilities, a hotel, extensive open space and trails, and the largest wetlands restoration project in the United States.

“It was really exciting to see that military base conversion blossom into such a great community,” Gerber said. “So many communities have struggled with their military base conversions, but Novato and Hamilton have become quite a success story." 

Gerber was a leader in Novato's revamping of Old Town, at $11 million the largest capital expenditure of downtown redevelopment funds in that city's history.

His last day in Novato will be Sept. 2, Gerber said Tuesday.

John N August 18, 2011 at 05:46 AM
I congratulate Mr Gerber for his new positioin in Walnut Creek. My only question is if Walnut Creek would consider hiring a few less mature, yes I mean younger, people to help with the growth of the city. Some times it helps to have some new and fresh ideas rather than the same old same old. Just a thought.....
One more time with feeling August 18, 2011 at 08:01 PM
Apparently Marin County is the hotbed for high-salary government (financial) experts... First, Mr Nordoff http://sanrafael.patch.com/articles/city-manager-takes-job-in-walnut-creek Next, Ms Mosser http://www.marinij.com/marinnews/ci_18546985 Now, Mr. Gerber... Coincidence? Perhaps the thinking is if they are not local, there will be difficulty exposing the closet skeletons. I sincerely wish Mr. Gerber well. I hope this investment in an "Economic Development Department" has immediate material and measurable return. That would be a massive improvement over the still incomplete/unfinished Contra Costa County Library downtown Walnut Creek branch. John N, it might be naive to consider the hiring manager wants "new and fresh ideas" to be part of the skill set. That is the antithesis of "experience", could buck the status quo and might undermine the hiring manager's position/status. Considering the Neiman Marcus project, Co-op replacement project & nearby Chik-Fil-A and fitness center projects are already moving forward - as are the Walnut Creek BART station redevelopment (a Gerber "focus"), Safeway's proposed Shadelands activity and several other large projects moving forward without this position... add in the expected 4% sales tax increase to coffers and city employees' bargaining leading to an already stated improved city budget, one needs to wonder how much this position was truly needed. City "economic development" has been getting done nicely without it...
SR August 18, 2011 at 10:18 PM
This is the Mayor's payback gift to the Chamber of Commerce for the $15,000 donation during the election.
Lance Howland August 20, 2011 at 12:43 AM
Just a note to add some context and detail to SR's comment. The political contribution was a little more complex. It is explained in this Patch article from last October: http://patch.com/A-PG9

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