After two years without a permanent economic development director, Mesa has hired a new head of the department who touts his experience in revitalizing downtown areas.
William J. Jabjiniak, who comes from a city official post in Richmond, Va., will start his Mesa job on Oct. 1.
He beat out two other candidates during a 120-day national search. He succeeds Richard Mulligan, who took a position with Chandler in 2005.
Jabjiniak, 47, spent most of his career in Manchester, N.H., where he helped cinch a deal for the Class AA New Hampshire Fisher Cats baseball team to get a new stadium and ushered in several mixeduse developments.
“I’ve been involved in a variety of projects in economic development involving turning vacant, blighted buildings into adaptive reuse, getting them back on the tax rolls,” Jabjiniak said.
He moved to Richmond in August 2005 as director of economic development.
After less than one year as director, Jabjiniak was reassigned to another department.
Richmond officials would not comment on the reason for the move, citing personnel matters, according to a July 20, 2006, story by the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
Jabjiniak said he was recruited by Richmond’s chief administrative officer — the equivalent of a city manager — to handle business operations.
While in Richmond, Jabjiniak also was involved in an attempt to build a new $330 million stadium for the Richmond Braves AAA baseball team, owned by the Atlanta Braves.
The deal fell through after years of negotiating, though discussions have recently been rekindled to build a stadium in a new location, Jabjiniak said.
“That was going on before I got there and probably will continue after I leave,” he said.
When he arrives in October, his first move will be to sit down with city staff and leaders to develop a three-to-four year strategic plan, he said.
“I want to build what I call ‘sustainable communities’ and create jobs and businesses that are sustainable for years,” he said.
Downtown Mesa Association president Tom Verploegen said he would welcome any new ideas for the city.
“It will be refreshing to see if he can bring some ideas here, but, more importantly, help implement them,” he said.
Jabjiniak holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Franklin Pierce College in Rindge, N.H., and master’s degrees in community economic development and business administration from Southern New Hampshire University.
He has been married 27 years and has one son, 16.