After highlighting a list of economic development initiatives during her State of the City Address, Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson has now appointed a new Commerce Director to oversee these projects and attract more. Deardra Green-Campbell is a Gary native who willingly accepted the challenge to come back and make a difference in her hometown – a characteristic held by many in the administration.
"It is an honor and privilege to return to my hometown to employ my professional knowledge and skills from the past thirty years to help advance the mayor’s vision for a thriving city,” said Green-Campbell. “The team is working hard to develop robust commercial activity, create employment opportunities in jobs that pay livable wages, and ensure an exceptional quality of life for Gary residents. I’m ready to do my part to help."
As Commerce Director, Green-Campbell will be responsible for the oversight and coordination of the community development, redevelopment, planning, building, zoning and environmental activities for the city. The coordination of these departments will help ensure that individuals and companies seeking to conduct business in Gary encounter a simplified, seamless process.
“I am so proud to have another talented, Gary grown person join us in the crusade to bring Gary back,” said Freeman-Wilson. “Deardra has the knowledge, experience and an established network that are sure to result in more economic growth for our city.”
The role of Commerce Director was previously held by J. Forest Hayes. Hayes led the effort to establish the Department of Commerce then Freeman-Wilson tapped him to lead the Gary Economic Development Corporation (GEDC).
“We are excited that the Department of Commerce and the Gary Economic Development Corporation will work together to enhance opportunities for existing businesses, attract new businesses and create jobs for local residents,” said Freeman-Wilson. “This underscores our message that the city of Gary is open for business."
Green-Campbell previously served as an executive in the investment and banking sectors for more than twenty years. She has worked for some of the nation’s leading financial services firms including Dreyfus Service Corporation, NationsBank (now Bank of America) and Charles Schwab & Co.
Green-Campbell received her formal education at Purdue and Western Michigan Universities and has completed extensive coursework in financial planning, banking, and investments. In addition to being an expert trainer and workshop facilitator, she is also a developer of training materials for other industry professionals.
Green-Campbell starts her position as Commerce Director Monday.