City of Surprise Economic Development Director Jeanine Jerkovic has been named the “2019 Economic Developer of the Year” by the Arizona Association for Economic Development (AAED).
The recognition took place on May 2 at the association’s annual Economic Development Distinguished by Excellence (EDDE) Awards reception in Tucson.
Under Jerkovic’s management, the Economic Development team is bringing significant long term benefits to Surprise through efforts in business attraction, innovation, international strategies and business retention and expansion.
As part of those efforts, Jerkovic created the Global Concierge Services Program in 2018 – a program where international companies benefit from internationally-knowledgeable contacts in the Arizona market and receive the support needed to start-up in the United States. Last March, the program was accepted in the Global Soft Landings Network under the International Business Innovation Association (InBIA), receiving one of only 31 designations given worldwide. The program also won WESTMARC’s West Valley Excellence in Innovation Award last fall.
The city’s business attraction efforts saw great success last year. Surprise added more than 1.3 million square feet of new commercial space to the community. Industries included advanced manufacturing, retail, healthcare, and higher education. Over the past five years, Surprise has permitted more than 1,750 commercial projects representing four million square feet and $600 million of capital investment in the community.
“As a lifelong Arizona resident, Jeanine cares about growing a sustainable economy in Surprise, and beyond our city borders, recognizing that new jobs and growth opportunities for our state is a win for us all,” says Surprise City Manager Mike Frazier. “She is a tremendous asset to the city and her efforts are helping to better serve our residents with new quality of life amenities, local jobs, and investments that help fund community needs. I am extremely proud to have her leading our Economic Development team.”
Jerkovic was nominated in the Large Community category by AAED peers. The nomination was evaluated based on overall economic impact to the community, the development of strong relationships and community support, the innovation and creativity used in the process and contributions to the economic development profession.