The Plant City Economic Development Corp. has its first president and CEO.
The new organization’s executive committee has named Jacob “Jake” Austin to the post.
After six years as a staff sergeant for the United States Air Force, Austin attended Western Kentucky University. With experience working for both the State of Kentucky and the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce, he moved to Florida to continue his career in economic development. He joined the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corp. in 2012 as a project manager and, in 2014, was promoted to the director of business retention and expansion.
In the last year, the department announced 12 expansion projects, representing over 3,200 jobs and $170 million in capital investment, the release said.
“Jake is very familiar with our community and has partnered with us in his previous role with the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corp.,” said Randy Larson, Plant City EDC chairman, in a statement. “Joining us as our CEO is a natural evolution of the relationship and a very strong fit.”
The PCEDC is a group of local professionals who work together to ensure that business leaders around the country understand the benefits of making Plant City the base of their operations, and business leaders in Plant City have every tool at their disposal to launch and expand their businesses.
“I look forward to working closely with Randy Larson and the entire board of the Plant City Economic Development Corp. to build a strong organization focused on securing Plant City's future as a place to live, work, and raise a family,” Austin said.
The PCEDC began in September and is a public private partnership. At its outset, the new agency had commitments from about 40 private investors of more than $150,000. A series of economic development victories helped inspire the creation of the agency.