Westerville hires new economic development director


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WESTERVILLE — Rachel Ray has been named economic development director for the City of Westerville. She most recently served as economic development administrator for the City of Dublin.

Ray replaces Jason Bechtold, who was promoted to assistant city manager in March by City Manager Monica Irelan. She begins her new role in Westerville on Monday, June 14.

“Rachel brings to Westerville a strong network inside the development community, and she knows what communities need in order to retain and attract business and jobs,” said Bechtold. “She uniquely understands Westerville because of her experience finding opportunities for the Columbus Region. The momentum we’re seeing in Westerville right now will thrive with Rachel leading our efforts.”

In Dublin, Ray’s accomplishments include managing a series of economic development agreements, resulting in more than 2,800 new and retained jobs and over $30.3 million in income tax revenues. Ray was also a project manager for the Bridge Street District, with responsibilities in development, zoning and signage.

Leading Westerville’s economic development efforts will involve building upon the success in Westar at Polaris Parkway and Cleveland Ave, as well as a series of redevelopment projects in existing commercial and industrial districts. She will also continue efforts to attract new investment in historic Uptown Westerville.

“Westerville is well-known in the Columbus region and beyond for its sound economic and land use policies and innovation in local government as a globally-recognized Intelligent Community. With its strong economic development strategy already in place, I’m excited to bring my talents and experience to the City of Westerville in keeping with this tradition,” said Ray. “Westerville is one of the most strategically situated communities in Central Ohio, with an exceptional quality of life and amenities that will be more important than ever to attracting high quality jobs and investment. I’m eager to advance some exciting and bold new ideas.”

Ray currently serves as president of the Ohio Chapter of the American Planning Association, a 1,200-plus member statewide professional organization, and holds certifications in the American Planning Association (APA) and American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP). She has earned the American Society for Quality (ASQ) certification, is a certified Six Sigma Black Belt (CSSBB) and is a member of the International Economic Development Council (IEDC). Ray is a graduate of The Ohio State University, with a Master’s degree in City and Regional Planning (MCRP) and Bachelor’s in History.

Originally from Bexley, Ray and her family reside in Upper Arlington.

For more information on the City of Westerville City Manager’s Office, please visit www.westerville.org/cmo.

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Submitted story

Submitted by the City of Westerville.

Submitted by the City of Westerville.