St. Louis Economic Development Partnership

Denny Coleman to Retire

Denny ColemanSt. Louis, January 23, 2015—Today Dee Joyner, chair of St. Louis Economic Development Partnership, announced Denny Coleman is retiring from his position as the organization’s Chief Executive Officer effective, August 1, 2015.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed the past 25 years serving the businesses, institutions and citizens of St. Louis County, St. Louis City and the entire region,” Coleman said. “The St. Louis area has shown remarkable resilience during that time, bouncing back from numerous natural disasters and severe economic downturns.  I feel privileged to have played a key role in the recovery of the local economy and the current growth the Partnership is leading.”

Joyner praised Coleman’s accomplishments.

“I have known Denny and had the privilege to work with him for many years.  Not only is he a first rate economic development professional, he has the ability to build trust and develop partnerships throughout the region,” said Joyner. “He is truly committed to the economic vitality of St. Louis City and County and believes in collaboration as the way to sustain economic growth.

“One of his major accomplishments is the creation of the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership, and he has led us admirably through our first year as a city/county economic development agency.”

Coleman has served as CEO since the Partnership’s inception, August 1, 2013. Prior to that, he was President and CEO of the St. Louis County Economic Council, a predecessor organization to the Partnership.  He led the County Economic Council starting in 1990.

“I can’t say enough about the good work Denny has done over the years. It will be truly difficult to fill his shoes,” said St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger. “I don’t think you’ll find a smarter person in economic development.  His standing around the nation as one of the best has helped our region grow in countless ways through the years.”

“Denny leaves a remarkable legacy in St. Louis.  I sincerely thank him for his dedication to making our region a player in the global economy,” said St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay.  “From his days as a community developer in South St. Louis to the historic move to bring the City and County development teams together, Denny has helped create an economic atmosphere to foster the startup boom, new technology jobs, and the growth of bioscience companies.”

Coleman pledged to continue to help the Partnership during the transition.

“I am pleased to help the board, the Mayor and the County Executive during this time of transition to a new CEO,” said Coleman. “The Economic Development Partnership has become a critical partner in the future of St. Louis, and I want to do everything I can to help to further its success.”

No one symbolizes the economic strength of the City and County working together more than Coleman. He began his career in 1975 as the first director of the DeSales Housing Corporation, one of the longest tenured organizations of its kind in the City of St. Louis. He went on to become Vice President for Community Development at Mercantile Bank (now US Bank) and led the bank to a national Fair Housing Award from U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and a Private Sector Initiatives Award from the White House.  He later became development director for the City of St. Louis, serving under Mayor Vince Schoemehl.  It was during his time at St. Louis City Hall that he led the charge to consolidate numerous business development organizations into the St. Louis Development Corporation (SLDC).  In 2013, he led the effort to combine the City and County economic development teams to jointly market the region as one.

A list of key accomplishments and awards during Coleman’s time at the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership and the St. Louis County Economic Council are attached.

Joyner said a national search for a new CEO will begin immediately.

About St. Louis Economic Development Partnership Established in 2013, St. Louis Economic Development Partnership brings together the economic development agencies from St. Louis County and City of St. Louis to drive growth, generate prosperity and catalyze investment. As an Accredited Economic Development Organization, the Partnership provides a broad range of services, including entrepreneurial support (financing and incubators), business expansion and retention, real estate and community development, and international trade support through World Trade Center St. Louis.