City of Burlington Media Release – January 7, 2020

Burlington Economic Development is pleased to announce the appointment of Anita Cassidy as Executive Director effective January 1, 2020. Anita has been in the role of Acting Executive Director since May 2018 when former Executive Director Frank McKeown retired. Anita has over 15 years of experience in Economic Development delivering results-oriented strategies and programs that drive economic growth. She first joined Burlington Economic Development in 2011 and has since led a number of important projects.  

“Since being appointed Chair of Burlington Economic Development I have had a close working relationship with Anita,” said Randy Smallbone, Board Chair of Burlington Economic Development. “I was pleased to be able to recommend to the Board that Anita be given the role of Executive Director. She has proven herself over the last 18 months, in a period of change for the City of Burlington,” Smallbone concluded. 

Anita brings a diverse background that includes fundraising, research and stakeholder management, program and project management, strategic planning, non-profit leadership, and finance administration. Anita is multi-lingual, speaking both Italian and French, and has lived and worked in six countries including Scotland, England, Italy, Belgium, USA, and Canada. Anita also holds an MSc in Economic Development from the University of Glasgow.  

Since becoming Acting Executive Director, Anita has led Burlington Economic Development to a number of recent successes including the implementation of several of the recommendations resulting from the Mayor’s Red Tape Red Carpet taskforce. She also continues to collaborate with the City of Burlington on the development of a proposed Municipal Development Corporation, which will be under consideration by City Council in 2020. Anita oversaw the continued growth of TechPlace, which is going into its third year of operations this year. It was also under Anita’s leadership that Burlington Economic Development led a successful pitch to Endress + Hauser to build a new 47,000 square foot state-of-the-art customer experience centre in Burlington. The company officially broke ground on the site in August 2019.  

In 2020, Burlington Economic Development will undergo a review of its governance structure to determine how to best deliver on the economic development mandate for the city. Anita is looking forward to participating in this process and sees it as a crucial opportunity to check in on the city’s progress toward achieving the economic goals laid out in the City’s 25-year Strategic Plan.  

Burlington Mayor Marianne Meed Ward has been on the Burlington Economic Development Board of Directors since Fall 2018. “I’m delighted by the closer bonds between Burlington Economic Development and city staff and council, fostered under Anita’s leadership. She has shown herself to be an enthusiastic and collaborative partner throughout recent initiatives, including the Mayor’s Red Tape Red Carpet task force, taking the lead on implementing several of these.” Mayor Meed Ward continued, “I look forward to continuing to work closely together to deliver on our shared goal of attracting new businesses to Burlington and helping our existing businesses expand.” 

Anita has and will continue to make partnership a top priority at Economic Development, working closely with colleagues at the City, Halton Region, Tourism, as well as the Chamber of Commerce and Burlington’s Business Improvement Areas to support economic prosperity in Burlington and across the region.  

Media Contact:
Claire Green 
Manager, Marketing and Attraction 
Claire.green@burlington.ca 

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