New Economic Development Director Brings a Focus on Entrepreneurs, Jobs
History from Startups to Fortune 500s prepares Matthew Brown to build on existing momentum
City of Santa Fe News
Santa Fe, NM – The City of Santa Fe has hired Matthew Brown, a veteran of both Bay Area startups and Fortune 500 companies to take the helm of the Economic Development Department at City Hall and continue the city’s long-term focus on building a sustainable economy in Santa Fe.
Mr. Brown’s ties to Santa Fe go back 20 years, when he moved here after completing law school to clerk for Judge Oliver Seth at the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. He and his wife were married here, and expressed excitement to move back to their Galisteo Basin home after working in business on the West Coast.
Santa Fe’s economy remains one of the strongest in the state. Citywide unemployment is near 5%, the lowest in the state even through the recent recession. Santa Fe is well-known for its commitment to one of the first living wages in the country, still the highest minimum hourly rate statewide, and recent success in a booming film industry, which had a $250 million economic impact at the local level last year. The city has also seen rapid growth in the medical and housing industries, record Tourism numbers, and startups like Meow Wolf and Descartes Labs working successfully in the cutting edge of their fields.
Announcing the hire, Mayor Javier Gonzales said, “We’re building an economy geared to high-wage, sustainable careers, and the education and training that will create access to those jobs for Santa Feans from every corner of the community, and we’ve had some big successes. Matt’s collaborative leadership style, his drive and vision for sustainable economic growth make him a strong fit with the focus of my administration, and we’re excited he’s coming aboard.”
Mr. Brown comes from a successful background in the business sector, developing and guiding startups he founded and working as a senior executive at major companies, including Leap Frog & Scholastic. He has been a guest lecturer at the University of California Berkeley Haas Business School and Stanford University and consulted for well-known companies including Toys R Us and Disney. He has also been a board advisor for PBS Kids, the #1 children’s media organization focused on education and well-being with unprecedented reach and impact in low-income households.
Starting work last week, Brown said, “I couldn’t be more excited to join the team. Santa Fe is an exciting place, with world-class economic potential and a lot of powerful things going for us. We’ll be focused on moving forward with the lessons and recommendations from the recent City Economic Development Crossroads Report and working collaboratively with the business community, community leaders and other stakeholders to build actionable plans and begin executing at a high level.”
Brown added, “Our goal is an economy that works for Santa Fe next year, and in the next 5, 25, and 100 years. That’s going to take diversity, resilience, and access to greater opportunity for greater numbers of people.”
He was selected from a competitive, nationwide field of applicants evaluated by a committee including City Manager Brian Snyder, Deputy City Manager Renee Martinez, Economic Development Staff Alexandra Ladd and Ross Chaney, community business representative Simon Brackley, and Executive Director of the Regional Development Corporation Kathy Keith.
The Office of Economic Development reports to Deputy City Manager/Manager of Innovation Renee Martinez, who said, “We were extremely impressed by the diversity and talent in the field, and it made this a tough decision, but we’re confident we have the right candidate in Matt to bring innovation, creativity, and expertise in business-building to our economic staff. His experience shows a history of building successful, fun, innovative cultures in team after team, and we can’t wait to hit the ground running.”