CHEYENNE – It took almost a year, but Mayor Marian Orr finally has a right-hand man for economic development.
Brendan Ames, a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker, will join the city in January as her chief economic development officer, Orr announced in a Friday afternoon news release.
He’ll make $90,000 per year, slightly less than Orr and about $15,000 less than the highest-paid department heads.
Officials tried earlier this year to hire a “planning ombudsman” to fill those roles, but couldn’t get someone to take the $70,000 salary from a vacant senior planner position.
Ames, a graduate of Cheyenne’s Central High and the University of Southern California, is expected to fill roles as a go-to guy for developers and recruiter of new business.
The former role will see him making sure city planners are communicating with developers and being flexible on regulations, two qualities developers have criticized the city for lacking in the past.
The latter role will see him following up with businesses interested in building or expanding here, and connecting them with incentives and other resources.
Orr said first orders of business would be things like helping Blue Federal Credit Union redevelop Cole Shopping Center, following up with a brewery interested in coming to town, and looking into possible development of the Atlas Motel and Hitching Post Inn sites.
“There’s a lot going on,” Orr said, “and I think he’s going to be a great person to really develop the relationships between developers and the planning department.”
Ames, who was most recently in the news as Cold-well’s point man on the development of F.E. Warren Air Force Base land off Happy Jack Road, did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday.
Orr also announced that Kris Jones, the City Council’s executive assistant, is taking over as City Clerk for the retiring Carol Intlekofer.
Orr said the top priority for Jones will be updating technology in the City Clerk’s Office to allow businesses to secure permits online.
Jones will make $93,000 per year.
The city also announced the hiring of three new city engineers. Wesley Bay, most recently a project engineer at the Wyoming Department of Transportation, is now a deputy city engineer making $90,000 per year.
Anissa Gerard, who comes to Cheyenne from an Iowa company she co-founded that provides weather data to long-haul truckers, is the city’s new traffic engineer. She’ll make $82,000 per year.
Molly Bennett, a former WYDOT engineer, is a senior staff engineer making $58,000 per year.