Indy chamber names economic development exec

An Austin, Texas, economic development manager with Indiana roots will soon be in charge of bringing new businesses to Indianapolis.

The Greater Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday morning announced the hiring of Brian Gildea as vice president of Indianapolis economic development. He will start in early February.

Gildea, 40, is economic development manager for Austin, where he's worked for the city of 750,000 people since 2009, He previously did the same job in his hometown of Elkhart in northern Indiana. He will move back to Indiana this month and start work in February.

Gildea’s hiring was recommended by Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard, the Indy chamber said.

"Adding Brian’s expertise to our already successful efforts will continue to make Indianapolis a top choice in the Midwest for new and growing businesses,” Ballard said in a prepared statement.  “Austin is typically one of the most successful cities in America when it comes to economic development.”  

The chamber absorbed the city’s former economic development agency, Develop Indy, last May and has been searching for a new executive since then. The last Develop Indy director, Scott Miller, was hired as CEO of the chamber.

The chamber will stop using the “Develop Indy” brand and conduct the city's economic development work, as well as other business, as the "Indy Chamber," spokeswoman Molly Deuberry said.

Post-merger branding was a major concern for economic development officers from suburban counties, who worried that the regional effort, branded as "Indy Partnership," would be further diluted. The Indy Partnership brand is still in use but may change in the future, Deuberry said. The chamber is interviewing candidates for vice president of regional economic development now, she said.

The chamber also announced that Mark Fisher will lead its lobbying efforts as vice president of government relations and policy development. Fisher was on the Develop Indy staff and served as interim director after the merger.

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