City of Westerville: Rachel Ray leaving Dublin for role as economic-development director

Marla K. Kuhlman
ThisWeek group

The city of Westerville has appointed Rachel Ray as economic-development director, effective June 14.

Ray, who most recently was Dublin’s economic-development administrator, follows Jason Bechtold, who was promoted to assistant city manager in March by City Manager Monica Irelan.

Rachel Ray

Ray’s base salary is $104,998, and she will receive paid vacation, sick leave and Ohio Public Employees Retirement System pension, said Erica Charles, Westerville community affairs specialist. She has been offered medical, dental and life insurance but had not accepted them yet as of June 1, Charles said.

“Rachel brings to Westerville a strong network inside the development community, and she knows what communities need in order to retain and attract business and jobs,” Bechtold said. “She uniquely understands Westerville because of her experience finding opportunities for the Columbus region. The momentum we’re seeing in Westerville right now will thrive with Rachel leading our efforts.”

He said he expects Ray will build upon the success in the Westar development at Polaris Parkway and Cleveland Avenue, as well as an ongoing series of redevelopment projects in commercial and industrial districts.

She also will continue efforts to attract new investment in Uptown Westerville.

Ray said Westerville is well known in central Ohio and beyond for its sound economic and land-use policies and innovation in local government as a globally recognized Intelligent Community.

“With its strong economic-development strategy already in place, I’m excited to bring my talents and experience to the city of Westerville in keeping with this tradition,” she said. “Westerville is one of the most strategically situated communities in central Ohio, with an exceptional quality of life and amenities that will be more important than ever to attracting high-quality jobs and investment. I’m eager to advance some exciting and bold new ideas.”

In Dublin, Ray managed a series of economic-development agreements, resulting in more than 2,800 new and retained jobs and more than $30.3 million in income-tax revenues, according to information provided by the city of Westerville.

She also was a project manager for the Bridge Street District, with responsibilities in development, zoning and signs.

Ray currently serves as president of the Ohio Chapter of the American Planning Association, a 1,200-plus-member statewide professional organization, and has certifications in the American Planning Association and American Institute of Certified Planners.

She has earned the American Society for Quality certification, is a certified Six Sigma Black Belt and is a member of the International Economic Development Council. A Six Sigma Black Belt is a professional who can explain Six Sigma philosophies and principles, including supporting systems and tools, according to the American Society for Quality.

Ray has a master’s degree in city and regional planning and a bachelor’s degree in history from the Ohio State University.

Originally from Bexley, Ray and her family reside in Upper Arlington.

mkuhlman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekMarla