Today, Markham McIntyre was sworn in as the official Director of the Office of Economic Development (OED). Additionally, Preeti Shridhar joins OED as the new Deputy Director after more than 15 years of public service and leadership with the City of Renton. McIntyre and Shridhar will lead OED to advance Mayor Bruce Harrell’s One Seattle economic recovery and justice agenda that will build a more inclusive economy in Seattle.
“This is a pivotal time for Seattle as we navigate pandemic recovery and drive forward an inclusive, innovative economy where every person can fully participate and succeed,” said Mayor Harrell. “Small businesses, workers, entrepreneurs, and so many more are looking for leadership and partnership from the City. Markham and Preeti are well prepared to advance this mission with their proven experience, deep community roots, and shared vision for collaboratively building an economy that reflects our One Seattle values.”
Harrell appointed McIntyre as Interim Director in February because of his understanding of the needs of local businesses and the role they play in the vitality of Seattle’s economy. Prior to leading OED, McIntyre served as Executive Vice President at the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, where he led economic development, equity partnerships, and regional outreach. He previously worked for then-Congressman Jay Inslee.
“I am thrilled to be confirmed and sworn in as a Director in Mayor Harrell’s administration to continue serving Seattle’s dynamic and innovative economy,” said McIntyre. “This office has an incredible opportunity to work with businesses, workers, and communities to build a more inclusive and more prosperous economy in Seattle. Together with the leadership of Preeti, our team is well-positioned to shape and support the economic success of our region.”
Shridhar comes to Seattle from the City of Renton where she led the creation of the first Department of Equity Housing and Human Services. Shridhar has 30 years of experience working for the public sector. Previously, she served in former Seattle Mayor Nickels’ administration, and served as the Communications Director for the Seattle Office of Sustainability and Environment where she helped launch nationally recognized environmental programs.
“Seattle has always been a national leader with a history of innovation and diversity,” said Shridhar. “Now we must take this opportunity to make significant strides to build a resilient and inclusive economy that works for everyone in Seattle and our region.”
McIntyre and Shridhar will be working alongside Mayor Harrell to advance OED’s mission of creating an inclusive economy that opens doors and removes barriers to building individual, business, and community wealth. Since starting at OED, Markham has provided leadership and support to OED, which has recently launched the Tenant Improvement Fund, expanded Seattle Restored— a economic recovery program that matches small business owners and artists with vacant commercial storefronts to host pop-up shops and short-term art installations; invested $8 million in the Capital Access Program — a new partnership with local community development financial institutions (CDFI) that connects small businesses to flexible working capital loans; invested $6 million in neighborhood recovery grants; invested $4 million in stabilization grants for small businesses, launched Shop to the Beat — a recovery program that matches local musicians with small retail businesses to provide in-store performances during peak business hours, help increase foot traffic and sales for retailers, and provide competitive pay for musicians who lost significant income due to the impacts of COVID-19; and invested more than $300k in digital access programs for small business owners and young people including the Digital Sales Access Program and Youth Web Design program.
The Office of Economic Development (OED) is building a more inclusive economy in the City of Seattle where all residents can fully participate in and benefit from our prosperity. OED works with businesses, workers, and communities to find ways to open doors and break down barriers to wealth-creation opportunities, especially for people who have been excluded from such opportunities. OED focuses on five areas: workforce development; small, women and BIPOC-owned business support; asset ownership; key industry and business growth; and neighborhood vibrancy.
OED works at all levels of our local economy to support small and micro-businesses, partner with neighborhood business districts, support creative business sectors and workers, partner with key industries that drive innovation, job growth and global competitiveness, and invest in our local workforce with an emphasis on young people, low-income earners, as well as un-and under-employed adults.