Clark takes reins of EDC

By Racey Burden | Published Saturday, June 16, 2018
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When Leah Clark applied to be Bridgeport Economic Development Corp.’s administrative assistant in 2016, she was brand new to that line of work.

Clark, who was recently appointed Bridgeport EDC’s executive director by the city council, has learned a lot since then.

“I knew very little about what economic developers do,” Clark said. “I never dreamed I would even be considered for something like this at the time.”

When she started working for the EDC in 2016, Clark completed several training courses on subjects from sales tax to an in-depth economic development course. She was fascinated.

“As I got into the job and took courses and went to training, I got more involved with Bridgeport specifically,” Clark said. “I realized what we do is so important to create jobs and opportunities for our residents.”

The public service aspect is what first drew Clark to the Bridgeport EDC.

“I’ve found the older I get, the more civic-minded I get,” Clark said. “On a personal level, I volunteer and sit on boards, so that part of the job is very familiar to me.”

Clark grew up in Chico and has served on the Chico City Council. She’s currently on the Bridgeport Main Street, Bridgeport Chamber of Commerce and United Way boards. She sees economic development as another way to give back to the community.

“It’s about better quality of life for citizens by creating those jobs and giving them the things they’re interested in seeing in Bridgeport,” Clark said.

In her time as the administrative assistant to former director Kevin Holzbog, Clark helped start the EDC’s business retention program, which connects local business owners to the EDC and the chamber. She also helped plan the EDC’s 2017 Manufacturing Day, where local students toured manufacturing businesses in the area, and founded Biscuits and Business, a once-a-month breakfast meeting at the Arcadia Theatre with special speakers.

Clark said business is looking good in Bridgeport. In the last few months, the EDC has brought in three major companies for site visits and seven new businesses decided to move into downtown Bridgeport.

In one of the city’s biggest ongoing projects, the EDC has partnered with Vyve broadband to bring high-speed internet connection to Bridgeport by the fall.

“That’s such an exciting project for us,” Clark said. “We rarely get to do something that directly helps residents. That in itself is a big win for us.

“These are all really good things we’re seeing. I hope to get more people looking at Bridgeport.”

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