Sonja Yates Hubbard, chairman of the board of directors of AR-TX Regional Economic Development, Inc. (REDI), announced today the appointment of Robert (Rob) SItterley as the organization’s inaugural President and CEO.
Hubbard, said Sitterley’s leadership and success align with the organization’s design and mission to build a stronger economy for southwest Arkansas and northeast Texas.
“Sitterley has strong and effective economic development skills resulting in the creation of thousands of jobs in communities across the nation,” said Hubbard. “He has an ideal blend of experience in the private sector as well as vital knowledge and skills in negotiating and planning projects on behalf of government and public entities. The AR-TX REDI Board has high expectations for this newly created position and we are elated to have Sitterley join us at the helm.”
AR-TX Board of Directors, comprised of community stakeholders and representatives from both Miller and Bowie Counties, began the search for a president/CEO in 2018. Bowie County Judge James Carlow said the success of AR-TX REDI is the predictor of the future prosperity of our entire region. “Finding the right person for the job of AR-TX REDI president/CEO is vital to fulfilling the mission of the organization,” said Carlow. “Sitterley has the background and skills in marketing and business to align our region’s valuable resources with the needs of expanding companies around the nation and the world. Sitterley is one of the top economic development professionals in the country, and I am pleased we were able to attract a candidate of his caliber.”
AR-TX REDI organizers launched the organization’s initiative and intent to hire a president/CEO at a community-based rally in September 2018. Governors from both sides of the state line participated to show their support of AR-TX REDI’s initiative. Texarkana Arkansas Mayor Allen Brown said that collaborating with AR-TX REDI is top on his list as he begins his term of office.
“As a community, you have to be proactive in economic development, and bringing on Sitterley is a great place to start,” said Brown. “AR-TX REDI is going to have a very positive impact on our region all along the I-30 corridor. We have wonderful resources available on both sides of the state line that meet the needs of expanding business and industry. This is the opportunity we have all be waiting for. AR-TX REDI has helped all of us shift our view of our iconic State Line Avenue to a unifying agent rather than a dividing line.”
Assisting the REDI board of directors in the chief executive search was Jorgenson Consulting Inc., a leading national executive search firm serving organizations in non-profit, economic, and community development industries. Managing Director and Principal Todd Jorgenson expressed high praise for the REDI organization stating, “Rob is one of the top economic development professionals in the country. To attract candidates of Rob’s caliber, REDI effectively demonstrated their desire and ability to be successful. Knowing that economic development is a team sport, Rob saw that this team is ready to win and wanted to be at the core of the effort.”
The nationwide search for the most qualified candidate to lead the newly created REDI organization culminated in the hiring of Sitterley who currently serves as National Practice Leader at Merit Advisors, LLC, providing economic development consulting and site selection services to clients throughout the United States with a regional emphasis on the Southeast.
Prior to joining Merit Advisors, Sitterley served Florida’s Governor and Secretary of Commerce by leading Enterprise Florida’s Business Development team of Project Managers. Under his leadership, the team established 425 economic development projects that created 78,400 jobs, retained 34,900 positions and led to the investment of $7.9 billion in new capital expenditures throughout Florida. Mr. Sitterley assisted clients in a wide array of industries that included: aviation and aerospace, corporate headquarters, defense and homeland security, financial services, logistics and distribution, information technology and manufacturing. Individually, Sitterley effectively negotiated a positive outcome with each high profile project he worked that resulted in 37,200 new to Florida jobs, facilitated the retention of 23,600 employees and influenced $3.3 billion of capital investment.
Before moving to Floride, Sitterley worked in the private sector for over 12 years serving as Vice President at Fiscal Advisors & Marketing, Inc., the largest privately held financial advisory firm in the State of New York. He worked as a Public Finance Advisor for New York’s schools and municipalities specializing in the issuance and marketing of municipal bonds. During his tenure with Fiscal Advisors, Sitterley assisted over 300 local governments in the planning, coordinating, negotiation, financing and marketing of approximately
$7.2 billion in temporary and permanent financing.
Sitterley earned his Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Business from Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York and was inducted into the school’s athletic Hall of Fame in 2013.
“The REDI Board was prudent and diligent in the search process to ensure the net result would be a top flight President and CEO. Their persistence paid off in landing Rob Sitterley as the President and CEO. Rob has an ideal blend of direct economic development and private sector business experience,” Jorgenson added.
Chairman Hubbard commented about the enthusiasm and high expectations for REDI with Sitterley at the helm. “Under Rob’s leadership as the Vice President of Business Development at Enterprise Florida he built out the lead generation team that recruited over 37,000 new jobs to Florida. We are elated about the opportunities and prosperity he and his team will bring to our region in the future.”