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About Us

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The Office of Economic Development (OED) serves as a catalyst for public and private initiatives that create employment opportunities and a vibrant and sustainable economy.

The OED team works to enhance Charlottesville’s economy, creating quality jobs, increasing per capita income and improving the quality of life for residents. Economic Development staff promotes Charlottesville as a premier location for business and regularly works with entrepreneurs and existing businesses seeking to grow here.

Staff members provide unique assistance at the municipal level, acting as facilitators between the business community and city, state agencies, private and public sector, academia, and more. It is the intent of the team to craft business-driven strategies that enhance workforce and business development throughout Charlottesville and the region.


Building a stronger economy one business, one job at a time.

As the lead agency for economic development, we envision building a better Charlottesville that offers:

· A diverse and sustainable economy that features a balance of base industries that create high quality jobs;

· An educated workforce with access to career ladder employment opportunities that provide good wages with benefits;

· A city with leadership that supports a regional approach to economic development; and

· A partnership of government and industry that considers next generation technologies and products as economic opportunities.

Core Values 

Recognizing the importance of customer satisfaction and the need for quality services, the OED strives to:

· Support, cooperate and collaborate with federal, state, regional, and local organizations, businesses, academia, and others on projects designed to retain and create jobs, strengthen businesses and improve Charlottesville’s economy;

· Deliver quality services, assistance and programs to businesses and other partners efficiently, effectively, and promptly;

· Be proactive and demonstrate competency and professionalism in all aspects of work; and

· Deliver creative and innovative ideas and solutions to complex problems; and keep the public informed of economic development news and activities.


The OED is part of the City Manager’s Office and is located in City Hall. The Office also coordinates and administers the functions of the Charlottesville Economic Development Authority. The OED implements its strategies through an integrated approach, utilizing internal and external stakeholders, public and private partnerships and industry networks. The OED cannot accomplish its mission alone. There is always a team approach. We welcome your input and support.

Our Staff and How to Contact Them:

Chris Engel, CEcD
Director of Economic Development 
(434) 970-3111

Contact Chris for questions on business expansion and relocation, as well as information about the Charlottesville Economic Development Authority.


Hollie Lee
Chief of Workforce Development Strategies
(434) 970-3117

Contact Hollie for assistance with small and minority business creation and development, as well as workforce development, including our community recruitment events and employer workforce training programs.

Jason Ness

Business Development Manager
(434) 970-3717

Contact Jason for assistance with starting a business in Charlottesville, to request a business visitation, or demographic information.



Zoie Smith
Minority Business Development Coordinator
(434) 970-3514

Contact Zoie for assistance with minority business creation and development.


Trish Carpenter
Administrative Assistant
(434) 970-3119

Contact Trish for billing, purchasing, and general departmental information.