GNO, Inc.’s Michael Hecht Voted One Of “North America’s Top 50 Economic Developers”

NEW ORLEANS – Michael Hecht, President and CEO of Greater New Orleans, Inc., has been voted one of “North America’s Top 50 Economic Developers” by Consultant Connect.

         Consultant Connect, a consulting agency and joint venture between New York-based Development Counsellors International and Kalamazoo, Michigan-based Southwest Michigan First, is designed to bridge the gap between economic developers and site consultants by giving them the applicable information necessary to propel their communities forward.

         The economic developers selected for the Top 50 list were nominated by their colleagues in both the economic development industry and the site consultant community for excellent practices, innovation and success in building the communities they serve.

         Reps for GNO, Inc. said Hecht, who joined GNO, Inc. in 2008, has maintained an unwavering focus on strengthening relationships, generating relevance and delivering results in economic development. Under his leadership, they said both the region and GNO, Inc. have received numerous national honors by major publications including Forbes, Business Facilities, Bloomberg, Site Selection and others.

         Rachel Shields, GNO, Inc.’s Chief of Staff, said Hecht is “a thought leader and visionary who is well deserving of this acknowledgement.”

         Along with the honor of being recognized as top performing economic developers, those selected will also be featured on Consultant Connect’s podcast, “From The Ground Up: North America’s Top 50 Economic Developers.”

         Each of the Top 50 industry leaders will be interviewed to share insights gained from their experiences in the field of economic development, what makes their communities unique and their perspectives on the most important industry and leadership trends of the future.

         “The list of ‘North America’s Top 50 Economic Developers’ was developed as a way to acknowledge the work of these 50 economic development leaders and elevate the conversation around best practices in the industry,” Ron Kitchens, managing partner of Consultant Connect, said. “Each leader named is absolutely deserving of this recognition for the work they do every day to build their communities. The insights they share on the podcast are invaluable and worth every minute of your time to listen in.”

         The complete list of “North America’s Top 50 Economic Developers” includes:


Andrea Schruijer, Valdosta- Lowndes Development Authority

Annie Baxter, Georgia Department of Economic Development

Bentley Story, Arkansas Economic Development Commission

Beth Doughty, Roanoke Regional Partnership

Bob Marcusse, Kansas City Area Development Council

Brenda Robbins, Georgia Power

Brett Doney, Great Falls Montana Development Authority

Brian Hilson, Birmingham Business Alliance

Cal Wray, Clarksville Montgomery County Economic Development

Cecilia Harry, Greater Fremont Development Council

Chris Camacho, Greater Phoenix Economic Council

Christopher Chung, Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina

Cindy Symons-Milroy, City of Oshawa, Economic Development Services

Courtney Ross, Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce

David Ginn, Charleston Regional Development Alliance

David Swenson, York County Economic Development

Doug Lawyer, Knoxville Chamber

Douglas W. Rasmussen, St. Louis Economic Development Partnership

Gary Thompson, Toledo Regional Growth Partnership

Gray Swoope, Enterprise Florida

Greg Wathen, Economic Development Coalition of Southwest Indiana

Jana Jones, Boise Valley Economic Partnership

Jay Foran, Team NEO

Jennifer Owens, Lakeshore Advantage

Jeremy Vannatta, Big Sky EDA

Jerry Mallot, JAXUSA

John E. Greuling, Will County Center for Economic Development

Jonathan Sangster, Georgia Power

Justin Horvath, Shiawassee Economic Development Partnership

Kenny McDonald, Columbus 2020

Larry Burkhardt, Fox Cities Regional Partnership

Laura Brandt, Metro Denver EDC

Laura Leigh Savage, Virginia Economic Development Partnership

Lynn Myers, Denver South Economic Development Partnership

Marty Vanags, Indy Partnership

Michael Chrobak, Choose New Jersey

Michael Hecht, Greater New Orleans, Inc.

Michael Langley, Greater MSP

Mike Harvey, Northwest Arkansas Council

Mike Ogan, Greater Okalahoma City Chamber

Mike Rosa, Dallas Regional Chamber

Neale Wade, University of Alabama Economic Development Academy

Rachel Pierson, Baton Rouge Area Chamber

Randy Kelly, Three Rivers Planning & Development District

Rodrick T. Miller, Detroit Economic Growth Corporation

Rusty Brockman, New Braunsfels Chamber of Commerce

Scott Connell, Sherman Economic Development Corporation

Tim Cowden, Kansas City Area Development Council

Todd Battle, Kenosha Area Business Alliance

Wendy Dant Chasse, One Southern Indiana


         For more information


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