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Greater Raleigh Chamber Announces Retirement of Wake County Economic Development Executive Director

The Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce President Harvey Schmitt announced that Wake County Economic Development Executive Director Ken Atkins will retire at the end of December, after more than 16 successful years as the top economic developer for Wake County.

“Since 1997 I have been fortunate to play a part in the amazing growth of Raleigh, Wake County, and the Research Triangle region,” said Atkins.  “It has been gratifying to work closely with our private sector EDGE investors, business leaders, elected officials, and company leaders to transform a mid-sized southern city into a globally recognized community with a vibrant economy, advanced educational opportunities, and a great quality of life.”

A Raleigh native with an extensive economic development career in North Carolina, Atkins returned to his hometown as the vice president for Economic Development at the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce and quickly transformed the program into a highly collaborative and successful public/private Wake County initiative serving the entire county and all of its municipalities in job attraction and retention. Atkins received his Certified Economic Developer designation in 1988 and is a past president of the North Carolina Economic Developers Association.  The North Carolina Economic Developers Association recognized Atkins as North Carolina’s Economic Developer of the Year in 2007.

“The Chamber has provided me opportunities to advance in my career and develop many of the skills needed in a growing economy.” Atkins added, “While I am not ready to fully retire, I am looking forward to a more relaxed and less regimented lifestyle.”

“Ken Atkins has served the community extremely well, helping many companies relocate and expand creating thousands of jobs and untold economic impact for the citizens of our county and region,” said Harvey Schmitt, president and CEO of the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce. “He has built an exceptional job creation network and helped drive our nationally ranked growth and economic success. His leadership will be missed.”

The Chamber will begin the search process for a new Wake County Economic Development Director immediately. Wake County Economic Development is a program of the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce.

About the Greater Raleigh Chamber

The Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce is the Triangle’s largest nonprofit business membership organization made up of more than 2,300 member firms representing two-thirds of the private sector employment in Wake County. The Chamber has represented the interests of the local business community since 1888.


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