City of Gardner, KS

Business and Economic Development Director

Location: City of Gardner, KS
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City of Gardner, KS
Business and Economic Development Director

The Community
Gardner, Kansas is one of the most rapidly-growing communities in the Kansas City metropolitan area. Located along Interstate 35, just 25 miles from downtown Kansas City, Gardner is a historic community with a keen vision for the future. Its roots stretch back over 150 years to its’ founding in 1857 along the route of the Santa Fe and Oregon Trails. Presently, Gardner is home to over 20,000 residents and includes seven elementary schools, two middle schools and one high school. Gardner is committed to maintaining its traditional small-town values while focusing on providing for future growth and development.

The USD 231 – Gardner Edgerton School District includes 7 elementary schools, 3 middle schools and 1 high school that serve over 5,000 students annually from both Gardner and Edgerton, Kansas.


  • BlueCHIP Award: The Parks and Recreation Department received the Blue Cross Blue Shield – BlueCHIP Award  in 2014 for encouraging and supporting healthy lifestyles through programs, initiatives, policies, recreation facilities and community-wide events. 
  • Tree City USA: The City of Gardner is recognized by the Arbor Day Foundation as a “Tree City USA.” Communities achieve Tree City USA status by meeting four core standards of sound urban forestry management: maintaining a tree board or department, having a community tree ordinance, spending at least $2 per capita on urban forestry and celebrating Arbor Day. 
  • Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting: The Finance Department is recognized by the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) for their work on the annual Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR). The Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting Program is awarded to state and local governments in recognition of financial reports that evidence the spirit of transparency and full disclosure. 

The Mayor and City Council form the Governing Body of the City of Gardner. The Governing Body is responsible for establishing and enforcing all municipal laws, ensuring that municipal services meet the desires of the community and formulating policies that guide the operation of the City organization. 

Responsibilities of the Governing Body include:

  • Enacting ordinances for the proper governing of the City
  • Approving changes in the Municipal Code as required
  • Adopting the annual budget and related financial documents; awarding municipal contracts
  • Establishing all other policies necessary to promote the health, safety and welfare of the City and its residents
  • Appointing the City Administrator and representing the City to the public and other governmental bodies 

The Position
The Business and Economic Development Director serves as the principal point of contact with external and internal constituencies on public-private partnerships for economic development through commercial real estate activities while negotiating, developing and monitoring agreements and other forms of economic and business development incentives. 

The Business and Economic Development Director reports to the City Administrator and will have the primary responsibility of directing all economic development and business attraction and retention programs. This position serves as the main point of contact on economic development issues and aggressively solicits corporate real estate executives, site selectors, businesses, business owners and other economic development professionals encouraging them to locate or expand in the City of Gardner. The position also supervises the day-to-day operations of the Economic Development, Planning and Codes Divisions. 

Essential Duties and Responsibilities

  • Develops short and long-term economic and community development plans, as well as the gathering of information and preparation of studies, reports and recommendations to achieve such goals
  • Provides professional economic development advice and assists in the application and permitting process
  • Serves as an advocate for economic development in line with the Comprehensive Plan, zoning ordinances and strategic goals as established by the Governing Body
  • Assumes full management responsibility for economic and business development services and activities, including the development and implementation of annual action plans; recommend and administer policies and procedures
  • Manages the development and implementation of department goals, objectives, policies and procedures
  • Plans, directs and coordinates, directly or through subordinates, the department’s work plan; assign projects in programmatic areas of responsibility; review and evaluate work methods and procedures
  • Oversees and participates in the development and administration of the department budget; approve the forecast of funds needed for staffing, equipment, materials and supplies; approve expenditures and implement budgetary adjustments as appropriate and necessary
  • Selects, trains, motivates and evaluates personnel; provide or coordinate staff training; work with employees to correct deficiencies; implement discipline and termination procedures
  • Develops and implements a Strategic Economic and Business Development plan for the City
  • Carries out initiatives for retention and expansion, attraction, entrepreneurial development and workforce readiness
  • Coordinates efforts with partner organizations to develop programs to support and grow small business
  • Analyzes trends and conditions and determines necessary strategic initiatives to take advantage of those trends and conditions
  • Negotiates, develops and monitors incentive programs
  • Becomes familiar with the existing inventory of available buildings and business and residential development sites within the community, including both public and private buildings and land areas
  • Prepares grant proposals and applications, contracts and other necessary documents as may be required
  • Actively identifies and pursues additional sources of funding for the department’s incentives programs
  • Oversees and ensures that all local, state and federal statutory reporting requirements for department programs are administered
  • Represents the Business and Economic Development Department’s mission to other city departments, elected officials and outside agencies; coordinates activities with other departments and outside agencies and organizations
  • Provides information and/or makes presentations to supervisors, boards, commissions, civic groups, businesses, individuals and the general public on economic development issues, programs, services and plans
  • Attends professional development workshops and conferences to keep abreast of trends and developments in the field of economic development, and represents the interest of the City of Gardner on matters related to economic development
  • Attends City Council Meetings and Work Sessions 

Education and Experience
Qualified candidates will have a Bachelor’s degree in planning, urban planning, business, public administration or related field and a minimum of ten (10) years of increasingly responsible management experience in economic development, redevelopment and community development, with at least five (7) years in a direct supervisory position. A Master’s degree is preferred.  A CEcD and/or AICP certification is highly desired. 

The Ideal Candidate
The ideal candidate will have considerable knowledge of business development, community and economic development, and long and short range planning. A working knowledge of municipal zoning and infrastructure, and planning programs and processes will be necessary for this role in addition to a thorough knowledge of city codes, state and federal laws and other influencing governmental laws, rules and regulations relative to business and economic development.  

The ideal candidate will have a proven interest in building and maintaining relationships with other organizations and economic development practitioners and be able to effectively communicate with groups and individuals, engineers, architects, contractors, developers, businesses, supervisors, employees and the general public.  This person should set a positive example of competence, professionalism, energy and work ethic to the organization. Advanced written and verbal communication skills are imperative for this position. 

The ideal candidate will possess superior management skills and have the ability to make strategic decisions pertaining to staff and procedures within the department. This individual must be able to adhere to the highest ethical and moral standards and be able to display transparency.  

The City of Gardner is offering a competitive salary commensurate with experience and a comprehensive benefits package. Relocation assistance will also be available for a successful out of area candidate.

How to Apply
Applicants should forward a cover letter and resume to:
Reference: GARBED

Affion Public
2120 Market Street
Camp Hill, PA 17011
Fax: 717-214-8004

*Deadline to receive resumes: March 06, 2015