Monroe’s new Chief Economic Developer has big plans

Kelsea McCrary will focus on recruiting businesses to Monroe and workforce development
Published: Aug. 12, 2021 at 6:32 PM CDT
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MONROE, La. (KNOE) - Monroe’s new economic developer has some pretty big plans for the city’s future. Kelsea McCrary will focus on recruiting new businesses to Monroe along with workforce development.

McCrary is no stranger to Northeast Louisiana. The 33-year-old grew up in Bastrop and graduated from the University of Louisiana Monroe with a Bachelors’s Degree in Fine Arts.

McCrary’s previous experience includes working at Lumen, leading their Public Policy Communications team. McCrary most recently worked in Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser’s office as the Director of Civic Design and the Cultural Districts Program for the Louisiana Division of the Arts.

McCrary is excited to return to Northeast Louisiana and knows the stakes are as high as they have ever been.

“It’s sort of a now or never type of feeling with what we have been through in 2020. With all of the social change, and the pandemic, and the things that we are seeing arise as issues come about,” said McCrary. “This is a really important time. It’s a really vital time, and we can really make a big difference.”

McCrary believes attracting businesses to Monroe is as simple as highlighting the industry-friendly environment already in place in the city.

“How to make industries aware of the unique positioning of Monroe,” said McCrary. “Access to rail, access to water, access to the Interstate. Those things are obviously all very important.”

McCrary understands convincing businesses to come to Monroe is the hard part. However, McCrary says once they are here, there’s no turning back.

“If we can get you here, we can keep you here,” said McCrary. “So I think that’s one of the most powerful statements about this area, this city, this culture. If we can get you here, you will stay here. There is something in that water, once you drink it, that makes you want to stay.”

McCrary knows one key aspect of economic development is having a capable workforce. She says she will rely on higher education for that.

“The City of Monroe has always had a great relationship with the University of Louisiana Monroe, and with Delta Community College, and with new leadership at both of those institutions, and new leadership here at the city, it’s a really bright day for workforce development and education,” McCrary said.

McCrary says a successful job would mean that Monroe becomes a destination for people around the state.

“People are pulling off. They are not just going over the bridge on the Interstate,” McCrary told KNOE. “Whenever they are saying, what is going on over there? Even just having that thought in their minds about what city is this, if they are unfamiliar. They have a really great downtown or look at this business district.”

McCrary’s first day was Aug. 2, 2021.

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