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Missouri Economic Development Director David Kerr plans to step down Dec. 31.
Missouri Economic Development Director David Kerr plans to step down Dec. 31.

DED director to step down

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Missouri Department of Economic Development Director David Kerr plans to step down from his position Dec. 31. He has held the department's top spot since November 2009.

Kerr will stay on with Gov. Jay Nixon's administration as an unpaid consultant to assist with the implementation of the Missouri Strategic Initiative for Economic Growth, a five-year plan set in motion earlier this year to foster Missouri's job and economic growth, according to a news release.

“Our work with leaders from the private sector from every corner of Missouri has given our state a sharp, focused and aggressive plan to create jobs and transform our economy during the next five years,” Kerr said in the release. “With continued growth in our exports and the rebirth of Missouri’s automotive industry, we’re already seeing the initial fruit of that extensive process, and it has been an honor to work closely with Gov. Nixon every step of the way.  

"But, after well more than 35 years in the public and private sectors, I’m ready to enjoy spending more time with my wife, children and grandchildren.”

The economic initiative engaged roughly 600 leaders from business, labor, economic development and academia to develop eight strategic objectives for the state:
  • to support local developers in the retention and expansion of existing businesses and employers;
  • to invest in technology and innovation;
  • to better market the state to outside parties;
  • to attract, develop and retain a talented work force;
  • to optimize tax, incentive and regulatory policies to support growth;
  • to increase foreign trade;
  • to encourage small and minority business development and entrepreneurship; and
  • to develop the tools necessary to let companies and communities be successful.
“David Kerr and I have worked closely together to create jobs and move our economy forward, and he has been a trusted and valuable member of my team,” Nixon said in the release.

During Kerr's tenure, DED has helped to incentivize investments and the creation of new jobs. Expedia in Springfield, IBM in Columbia and Unisys in St. Louis are examples of companies that have recently utilized DED's job-creation programs.

Kerr and Nixon also worked to pass and implement the Missouri Manufacturing Jobs Act, which helped secure an investment by Ford Motor Co. in its Claycomo plant.

Late last month, Kerr was part of a trade delegation to China which secured more than $4 billion in export agreements.

A new DED director has yet to be named, but Nixon's administration has said it will work quickly to select Kerr's successor.[[In-content Ad]]

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