Abele hires new economic development director


Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele announced today that he has hired Teig Whaley-Smith to be the county’s new economic development director.

Whaley-Smith will officially start on April 15 at an annual salary of $89,000. The appointment runs through 2016 and Abele is not anticipating any difficulty in confirming the appointment and said he is hoping to keep Whaley-Smith “as long as possible.”

“I am working hard to bring in the best and brightest to Milwaukee County, and Teig is certainly that,” Abele said. “He has successfully helped develop in some of the most challenging neighborhoods in Milwaukee and he brings a wealth of experience in economic development that will be a springboard for growth across the county.” 

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Some of Whaley-Smith’s immediate priorities include moving forward on commitments made, developing a process for other deals in the pipeline and developing relationships with partners that have a role in getting deals done. 

Whaley-Smith has more than a decade of experience in economic development. He founded and currently runs Community Development Advocates (CDA). The legal and development firm represents several nonprofits that are developing inner-city housing and spearheading Milwaukee’s neighborhood commercial revitalization efforts. 

Whaley-Smith is also an adjunct professor of law at Marquette University Law School, where he teaches Community Economic Development Law and Starting & Managing a Law Practice. 

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Before CDA, Whaley-Smith worked as an attorney specializing in small business rehabilitation and he served as the executive director and primary administrator of the Historic King Drive Business Improvement District, overseeing growth of more than $100 million in development. 

“I’ve seen County Executive Abele’s dedication over many years to the community through his work with groups like the Boys and Girls Clubs and I know he shares my commitment to empower every community. With his support, and working with the County Board, I know we can move Milwaukee County forward,” Whaley-Smith said. 

The county’s economic development director position was eliminated by the County Board in 2012. 

Former Wauwatosa Mayor Jill Didier continues as the county’s economic development coordinator, now working directly for Whaley-Smith. 

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