Job Listing: Economic Development Director

City of Sun Prairie Published: April 22, 2021
Sun Prairie, Wisconsin
Job Type




The City of Sun Prairie is seeking candidates to lead the City’s Economic Development Division. The Economic Development Director is the key City contact and ambassador for facilitating new investment in the community, from initial developer contact to ribbon cutting.  If you enjoy being part of a team that is used to getting things done, this is your opportunity.

Sun Prairie (35,895) is a growing community in the thriving Madison metropolitan area of Dane County.  The City encompasses approximately 13 square miles and is adjacent to the City of Madison, located just 10 miles from Dane County Regional Airport and 15 miles from the University of Wisconsin.

Sun Prairie combines the convenience of a high-quality metropolitan lifestyle with that of a close-knit, friendly community that is growing rapidly, experiencing $100 million in private investment and an increase of 1,000 new people per year.

Sun Prairie is a family-oriented community with a high quality of life and outstanding educational choices. The public schools attract new families and are a source of civic pride.  The City’s high school is a modern facility constructed in 2010.  A second high school is under construction and is scheduled to open in 2022. ( (https://www NULL.sunprairieschools  There are two parochial schools.  Sun Prairie is also home to the largest fitness and recreation facility  in Wisconsin and includes an outdoor water park.

This position offers a fast-paced and satisfying work environment with plenty of opportunity to affect meaningful and positive change in the community. The Economic Development Director will be able to build skills and experience in all facets of the economic development field while serving a community that is experiencing significant levels of growth amid the fastest growing region in the state.

The Department’s overall mission is to enhance and expand the local property tax base by facilitating and promoting economic development opportunities. The Director serves as the primary development advisor to the Community Development Director and the City Administrator. The Director oversees a staff of two full time employees and is appointed by the City Administrator.

The new Director will work with commissions and community organizations to promote common development goals, initiate and coordinate activities designed to create jobs and new investment, and facilitate retention of existing businesses.  The new Director will need to build relationships with contractors, private sector developers, neighborhoods, citizens, and non-profit and public organizations.  The Director will be responsible for resolving sensitive workforce housing development and similar issues as they arise.

Examples of current and upcoming projects of interest include:

  • Pending redevelopment projects recently approved for two key redevelopment sites;
  • Redevelopment inquiries on multiple sites downtown and along the W. Main Street corridor – the City’s two primary redevelopment areas;
  • Development proposals on multiple sites within the Sun Prairie Business Park;
  • An upcoming community branding effort planned to kick off in 2021;
  • A housing needs assessment and strategy project that is currently underway;
  • The re-visioning of several large-scale community events;
  • The marketing and potential sale of several City-owned parcels within the community; and
  • Reformulating the City’s development review and project management processes.


The new Director will also:

  • Act as a single point of contact or liaison for new businesses and/or development projects considering locating in the City, and coordinate with other Departments and Divisions as needed to facilitate their recruitment and investment;
  • Facilitate the approval of proposed developments and ensure they align with the City’s goals and objectives;
  • Coordinate with other Departments and Divisions as needed to facilitate new developments and investments in the community;
  • Assist developers and business owners with site selection, including marketing City-owned, developable properties;
  • Conduct retention visits to better understand existing business needs and work with departments to respond to inquiries, resolve problems and identify available resources when applicable;
  • Assist in obtaining services and assistance for new and existing businesses and industries. Research and coordinate work between City departments and local businesses to resolve problems and respond to inquiries;
  • Serve as the primary staff liaison to the Community Development Authority (CDA), and Joint Review Board (JRB);
  • Oversee and support the Business Improvement District (BID) and Tourism Manager; and
  • Coordinate other special initiatives and events sponsored by the City.


The successful candidate is required to have:

  • Bachelor’s Degree in economic development, marketing, urban planning, business administration, or related field;
  • Seven (7) years of progressively responsible economic development and planning experience;
  • Thorough knowledge of modern principles and practices of economic development administration and programs including incentives and development agreements;
  • Thorough knowledge of public relations and promotional techniques;
  • Knowledge of research methods and statistical techniques used in economic development program;
  • Ability to use economic and financial models and technical analyses to support recommendations;
  • Supervisory experience using collaborative management principles; and
  • Experience representing organizations in professional settings that require active listening and public speaking/presentations.


Preference will be given to candidates who also have:

  • Certified Economic Developer Designation (CEcD), Professional Community and Economic Developer Designation (PCED), or Economic Development Finance Professional Designation (EDFP) certifications;
  • Demonstrated ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with elected officials, department and division heads and staff, business representatives, community stakeholders, outside governmental agencies, local media, and the general public;
  • Demonstrated emotional intelligence and an ability to communicate clearly and persuasively to build strong working relationships;
  • Demonstrated public speaking skills and ability to build consensus via public meetings;
  • Additional years of progressively responsible and related experience; and
  • Spanish speaking ability.

Starting salary is $90,000 to $100,000, DOQ with excellent fringe benefits, including access to an employee wellness clinic, workout room, paid parental and caregiver leave and Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS). The City will pay reasonable relocation expenses.  The City of Sun Prairie is committed to advancing equity, honoring our diverse identity, and creating an inclusive culture.

Apply at (http://www NULL.govhrjobs with résumé, cover letter, and contact information for five professional references by May 24, 2021 to the attention of Ryan Cotton, Vice President, GovHRUSA, 630 Dundee Road, #225, Northbrook, IL 60062.  [email protected] (rcotton null@null govhrusa,  Tel: 847-380-3240 ext.114. (https://www NULL.cityofsunprairie

Click Here to Apply! (https://www NULL.govhrusa