City Hires New Economic Development Director

Roland A. Peña, a public affairs specialist with the Lower Colorado River Authority whose economic development experience spans 20 years, has been hired as the City of San Angelo’s Economic Development director.

As Economic Development director, Peña will serve as the lead staff member for the City of San Angelo Development Corp., which administers the half-cent sales tax for economic development. Peña will plan, coordinate and direct the City’s economic and business development efforts. He will work in coordination with the City’s other economic development partners, including the Chamber of Commerce, the Small Business Development Center and The Business Factory, in an effort to attract new employers and to assist local businesses in growing and retaining jobs.

Since 2001, Peña has worked for the LCRA, the last four years as a public affairs specialist based in Austin. From 1987-2001, Peña worked for West Texas Utilities and American Electric Power. He began his career with WTU as a line serviceman in Big Lake. From 1993-96, he was an economic development specialist in El Paso and in Abilene before earning promotions to area business manager and manager of community services in Alpine.

Peña earned a bachelor’s degree in management and a master’s of business administration in international trade, both from Sul Ross State University in Alpine. He is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma Economic Development Institute’s three-year program, and he holds certificates in project management and mediation training.

Peña has served as the chairman of Georgetown’s Planning & Zoning Commission, as a Kerrville Economic Development Foundation board member and as a city parks and recreation commissioner in Kerrville.

His resume includes experience in economic development and industry recruitment; business development and contract negotiations; collaboration with local, state and regional partners; building and maintaining relationships with economic development partners; and familiarity with governmental policies.

Peña succeeds Bob Schneeman, who has served as the interim Economic Development director. Peña’s first day with the City will be Jan. 21.

“This is a perfect fit for me,” Peña said. “Not only do I get to return to West Texas, but I’ll be honing in on the work I love most – economic development. There are already many exciting opportunities in play in San Angelo. I look forward to working alongside the City’s economic development partners in seeing those opportunities – and others – through to fruition.”

City Manager Daniel Valenzuela called the Economic Development director’s position a critical one for the community.

“If San Angelo is to grow and thrive, it’s vital that we actively work to bring more jobs from diverse industries that pay attractive wages,” Valenzuela said. “That rising economic tide lifts the fortunes of all in our community. At its essence, economic development is a quality of life issue.” 

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