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New Director of Community and Economic Development brings experience, fresh perspective to Oro Valley

Community and Economic Development Director JJ Johnston

On Tuesday, May 29, 2018, the Town of Oro Valley will officially welcome Jimmy (JJ) Johnston as the Director of Community and Economic Development. The addition of Johnston to the Oro Valley team is part of the Town’s efforts to streamline processes, expand levels of service to the community, and fulfill Council’s goal of increased focus on economic development.

May 25, 2018

During his many years of experience in economic development, Johnston has held executive leadership roles, including president/CEO, of six regional economic development organizations/chambers of commerce located in Texas, Colorado and New Mexico. He has helped to facilitate the retention, expansion and attraction of hundreds of primary employers into client communities. Those companies have created thousands of new job opportunities and have generated billions of dollars of new capital investment into the United States.

"JJ’s vast experience in economic development, site selection, and marketing will be a boost to the town’s strategic efforts in business attraction and retention,” said Town Manager Mary Jacobs. “In addition, he will provide experienced executive leadership to the department as we seek to further improve customer experiences in permitting and development. We are thrilled he is joining the Oro Valley team.”

Recruiting Johnston was part of Oro Valley’s reorganization efforts—mainly, the division of the massive Community Development and Public Works (CDPW) Department into two, separate departments. Paul Keesler, the Town’s engineer and director of CDPW, will remain director of the new Public Works Department. Johnston will head up the new Community and Economic Development Department.

"I am delighted that Mary Jacobs has invited me to join her professional team at the Town of Oro Valley,” said Johnston. “It is an honor and privilege to serve this community. I look forward to working closely with all of our community and economic development allies and partners to ensure that Oro Valley attracts the highest quality new employment opportunities possible.”

About JJ Johnston

Mr. JJ Johnston is the founder and CEO/Managing Member of ECONOGINE, LLC, an international economic development and business location consulting organization. Among his leadership roles in regional economic development organizations, JJ served as vice president of the San Antonio Economic Development Foundation, CEO/president of the Northern Colorado Economic Development Corporation, and CEO/president of the Mesa County (Colorado) Economic Development Council.

JJ also served as director of administration of TPCO America, a seamless steel pipe manufacturing (state-owned enterprise) from China. He helped attract this new industry to South Texas, representing one of the largest foreign-direct investments from China onto a U.S. Greenfield site. The company was selected as “Employer of the Year” by Workforce Solutions of the Coastal Bend in 2013, and earned a “Best Practice” recognition by the Texas Workforce Commission in 2014.

JJ has chaired the professional certification board of the International Economic Development Council (IEDC), and has served on the IEDC Board of Directors. He has chaired numerous state and regional business development organizations, including the Mountain States Association. JJ also serves as a volunteer instructor of economic development courses.

JJ earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of North Texas and is a graduate of both the U.S. Chambers Post Graduate Institute and the Economic Development Institute.  He authored a regional marketing plan that was selected “Best of Class” by the IEDC.

In 1988, JJ received his Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) Certification from the IEDC, and in 2002 was selected as a "Fellow Member," an honor conferred upon members who have achieved "exceptional stature" in the practice of economic development.

He lives in Oro Valley, Arizona, with his spouse Beverly, and enjoys riding roller coasters, hiking, snow skiing and watching his grandchildren have fun in gymnastics, soccer and music.