PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – It took nearly seven months, but Providence finally has its new director of economic development.
Mayor Jorge Elorza announced Monday he has hired Mark Huang to guide the department, which has not had a leader since James Bennett announced his plans to leave at the beginning of the year. Huang will earn $140,000 annually.
“I am pleased to welcome Mark to Providence and excited to work with him to craft new economic development opportunities,” Elorza said in a prepared statement. “Mark brings a dynamic set of skills and experiences that will help develop innovative new approaches to creating jobs and building up our workforce.”
The website GoLocalProv first reported Huang’s hiring last month. He started the job Monday.
A member of the U.S. Army Reserve from 1991 until 2004, Huang earned his undergraduate degree at the Webb Institute of Naval Engineering and a master’s degree from Columbia University. He served as senior vice president at GE Energy Financial Services before co-founding Novus Energy Partners, an investment fund. He also co-founded San Francisco-based Tolero Ventures.
The mayor’s office said Huang plans to meet with key stakeholders across Rhode Island this week. He’ll tour the Port of Providence Tuesday and meet with members of the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce Wednesday. He is expected to talk with reporters later in the week.
Huang comes to Providence as city and state officials near the finish line on a plan to award tax breaks to developers on the vacant I-195 land. On Thursday, the City Council is expected to give first approval to an ordinance that would grant a 15-year tax-stabilization agreement to projects worth at least $10 million and 20-year deals to five still-unidentified projects worth more than $50 million.