The Winter Haven Economic Development Council announced today the hiring of David Petr as Executive Director for the newly-formed organization. Petr most recently served as Director of Marketing for the Lubbock Economic Development Alliance and Visit Lubbock, Lubbock’s Convention and Visitors Bureau in Lubbock, Texas.
“David was clearly the best fit for Winter Haven,” said Ingram Leedy, President of WHEDC. “His experience in recruiting and expanding business through innovative marketing approaches and relationship building will be an incredible asset to our community. His thorough knowledge of Winter Haven and Polk County convinced our board members that he would be a great leader for the organization.”
A graduate of the University of Texas and the University of Illinois, Petr currently oversees the strategic direction and business development of emerging industries in West Texas, an area prospering through the current economic slowdown. Prior to moving to Lubbock, Petr owned and managed a dynamic advertising agency in Austin, Texas, providing strategic direction to clients in a multitude of industries, including working with the Walt Disney Company.
According to Dr. Eileen Holden of Polk State College who chairs the search committee, “David’s proven track record in economic development, combined with his forward-thinking marketing strategies, will build upon the momentum we have experienced in our area in recent months.”
“Winter Haven is poised for greatness, and it’s time the world hears the Winter Haven story,” Petr said. “Despite challenging economic times, there are still a wealth of opportunities to facilitate new economic growth. I’m ready to deliver results with the support of the first-class board of directors already in place.”
The Winter Haven Economic Development Council will specifically target industries such as medical services, software and information technology, and logistics and distribution facilities. General business, agribusiness, and professional services are also on the list. The group, which has offices at the USF Polytechnic Blue Sky East Business Accelerator in Winter Haven, projects an annual budget range of $300,000 to $350,000 and has already begun work on its first projects. Petr will begin on March 1st, and will attend business meetings as needed in the interim.