Tuesday, September 20, 2022

City of Austin Completes Economic Development Department Leadership Team

The City of Austin Economic Development Department (EDD) is pleased to announce the final recruitment of its leadership team with the hiring of David Gray as Assistant Director and Susana Carbajal as Deputy Director.

“With a strong leadership team in place, we are positioned to continue recovery support and resources for growth in small business development, cultural arts and music industry rebound, heritage tourism, economic policy for business expansion, and redevelopment of city-owned property,” explains Sylnovia Holt-Rabb, Director of the Economic Development Department. “We look forward to increased collaboration to build Austin’s future.”
The City of Austin's Economic Development Department supports and recruits business to Austin. The mission is to promote a competitive, sustainable and equitable economy for all through six divisions:

  • Cultural Arts programs integrate arts and artists into economic development.
  • Global Business Expansion increases jobs and investment in Austin with programs that support business expansion and attraction.
  • Heritage Tourism programs aim to attract tourists by preserving historic buildings, sites, and districts.
  • Music & Entertainment supports Austin’s venues, commercial music businesses, and musicians.
  • Redevelopment facilitates innovative partnerships and projects to re-invigorate Austin neighborhoods and commercial districts.
  • Small Business helps small business owners and entrepreneurs who want to start a small business.

David Gray as Assistant Director will oversee the Creative and Cultural Ecosystem, which includes the Cultural Arts Division, Heritage Tourism Division, and Music & Entertainment Division, as well as the communications team.

“I look forward to working with our local creative and historic communities and ensuring that our services reach our most vulnerable neighbors,” notes David Gray. “We will continue to sustain Austin’s world-renowned cultural ecosystem by delivering programs, funding opportunities, and policies that produce economic and community benefits for our local creative professionals and organizations.”

Susana Carbajal as Deputy Director will oversee Business Engagement and Community Building, which includes the Small Business Division, Redevelopment Division, and Global Business Expansion Division, as well as the administrative and finance teams.

“We will continue to advocate for all Austinites through equitable development and business programming.” notes Susana Carbajal. “Engaging our local businesses and building inclusive communities are the foundation of economic development.”

David Gray

David Gray, Assistant Director

David initially joined EDD in March 2020 as the department’s Public Information & Marketing Program Manager and established the department’s first centralized communications team. David also served as EDD’s Economic Recovery Programs Project Manager when the COVID-19 pandemic arrived in Austin. In this role, he led 12 program launches in two years, which collectively distributed more than $60 million dollars in emergency support for local businesses, creatives, and communities.

Most recently, David served as Interim Assistant Director for Austin’s Housing and Planning Department (HPD), where he supported the Displacement Prevention, Inclusive Planning, and Strategic Data Divisions. David’s experience prior to joining EDD includes leading community engagement efforts for the Austin Transportation Department’s Vision Zero Program; managing the Community Benefits Division for the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission; serving as the Chief of Staff for the Mayor of Richmond, CA; and holding other key positions in outreach and policy with local government organizations. David earned his Master of Public Policy from the University of California, Berkeley, and his Bachelor’s degrees from Tulane University.

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