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Address

Mailing Address:

Office of Economic Development
600 East Fourth Street
2nd Floor - Suite 226
Charlotte, NC 28202

Office Location:

600 East Fourth Street
2nd Floor - Suite 226
Charlotte, NC 28202

Hours: Mon-Fri 8 a.m - 5 p.m.

Contact

Monica Grier
Administrative Support Coordinator
980-314-2941

​Staff Information

DIRECTOR, OFFICE OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
Peter Q. Zeiler

As a Certified Economic Developer with 18 years of experience, Peter Zeiler serves as the Director of the Office of Economic Development for Mecklenburg County, NC. He leads a team tasked with creating and implementing the comprehensive policies and programs called for in the County's first ever strategic framework for economic development, including: business attraction and retention, small business and entrepreneur support, work force development, tourism development and building strong connected communities.

Past experience includes: leading a team of project managers in Austin, TX in facilitating the development of more than 800 acres of City owned land in public –private partnerships; managing transit-oriented development, public private partnerships and business attraction in Charlotte, NC, and the development of public assets and business attraction in Detroit, MI.

In addition to serving on several organizational boards, Peter has also taught undergraduate classes as adjunct faculty and frequently lectured for graduate coursework in urban studies and economic development.  


Michael Boger.jpgBUSINESS MANAGER

Michael Boger

As the Business Manager for the Office of Economic Development (OED), Michael provides budget management, budget development, strategic planning, performance management, and contract management for the department. Michael has held several roles in local government administration. His career began in Mecklenburg County’s Office of Management and Budget as a Budget Analyst, where he gained experience working closely with County executives to develop an annual operating budget and to perform various data analysis research projects. He then spent three years managing departmental budgets and other business administration activities with the City of Charlotte Solid Waste Services and the Mecklenburg County Information Technology Services department. Michael holds an MPA from The University of North Carolina at Charlotte and a B.A. from North Carolina State University


ADMINISTRATIVE SUPPORT COORDINATOR

Monica Grier

Monica joined the Mecklenburg County’s Office of Economic Development in August of 2019 as the Administrative Support Coordinator, she brings with her an extensive background in business operations with a focus in big box retail. Monica has managed retail operations for over a decade with experience including: Comprehensive reviews of adherence to governing guidelines, strategic staffing solutions, and adding value to new and existing customer relationships. Monica holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management and Master of Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing from Claflin University. In addition to her role with Mecklenburg County, she volunteers with Southwest Charlotte S.T.E.M Academy and organize youth events throughout the community.


SMALL BUSINESS CONCIERGE

Mark A. Stewart

In the summer of 2017, Mecklenburg County rolled out a new service to help small business owners and entrepreneurs get direct, face to face assistance in establishing and growing their enterprises. While there are a significant number of small business support providers in Mecklenburg County, it is often difficult for small business owners to know which agencies can provide them the best support. Compounding this issue is that many agencies hold regular Monday through Friday work hours. This leaves many entrepreneurs unable to take time away from work or families to meet with providers.

OED's Small Business Concierge service offers a one stop service where owners can meet directly with an expert that helps the owner identify the specific issues they are trying to solve, helps them map out a process for meeting the challenges and then connects them to the appropriate service providers. This helps the entrepreneurs to be efficient and effective in their efforts. To make sure all entrepreneurs can access this service, it is offered on weekends and weekday evenings in locations though out the County to meet people "where they are and when they are."

 The concierge service is led by Mark Stewart.  With over 22 years of experience in advising entrepreneurs, operations, financial management, marketing, non-profit development, and state and federal contracting; Mark is a valuable resource for entrepreneurs.  Mark's professional background includes: President Stewart Business Group, Executive Director of the Small Business Center at Halifax Community College, Associate Vice President at DAPCO Business Systems a Toshiba Affiliate, and Executive State Director of the Small Business Development Center for the State of Rhode Island.  Mark holds an MBA from Eastern University & Master of Arts in Human Resource Development from Villanova University and Bachelor of Arts Edinboro University.


SMALL BUSINESS LENDING & CREDIT COACHING

Fred A. Atiemo

Mecklenburg County introduced a new support service in early 2018 to help small businesses and entrepreneurs meet their capital and credit needs to launch and grow. The goal of the program is to help these entrepreneurs manage their finances better for long term stable growth and to better manage their capital needs. This service is provided in a one-on-one approach to better provide a tailored and focused service to suit individual business needs. The coaching can include:

  • Support in credit building programming for entrepreneurs who are in a pre-launch and start-up phase to prepare for future lending opportunities
  • Working with existing business owners and entrepreneurs by auditing business and finance plans for soundness and readiness of business venture and loan preparedness
  • Helping potential borrowers develop concrete action plans to correct credit deficiencies, develop business plans suitable for attracting capital and effective use of the capital
  • Assisting business owners and entrepreneurs find financing that fits the needs of the applicant which also aligns with the lending objectives of the financial institution
  • Performing follow-up reviews of businesses that have received capital and/or credit coaching to evaluate progress

 

The capital and credit coaching service is led by Fred Atiemo, a seasoned economic development practitioner with over 30 years of hands-on experience in banking and economic development. Fred has extensive experience in facilitating project development, implementation and management. Fred moved to Charlotte, NC in 2014 from Portland, Oregon where he worked at Portland Development Commission as the Economic Development Finance Manager for 13 years. He also worked in the banking section for over 14 years at varying levels – from examining financial institutions to leading a community bank. Fred holds an MBA from Marylhurst University and Bachelor of Science from Portland State University in Oregon.


BUSINESS DIVERSITY & INCLUSION (BDI)

Jamila R. Davis

Jamila joined the Mecklenburg County’s Office of Economic Development in September 2018 as the BDI Program Manager. The mission of the Business Diversity & Inclusion Program is to increase participation of minorities, women, and small businesses in Mecklenburg County business opportunities through outreach, training, and partnerships.

Jamila moved to Charlotte in 2003 to continue her rewarding career in professional education and strategic initiatives, where she has focused her efforts in training and learning development, program management, performance solutions, workforce/skills development, entrepreneurship and small business, compliance and ethics, research and assessment, licensure and certification, and nonprofit management. Jamila enjoys forging strong meaningful business and community relationships and has a passion for building up the community and structuring a positive path for youth and the underserved.

Prior to joining Mecklenburg County, Jamila worked at:

  • Renaissance West Community Initiative
    • Program Officer - Education/Workforce Development (Neighborhood Revitalization)

  • Charlotte School of Law
    • Director of Professional Education and Strategic Initiatives

  • Central Piedmont Community College’s Small Business Center
    • Program Developer/Business Counselor

Jamila holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Master of Public Administration with a concentration in Local Government Management for Sustainable Communities from Walden University.


BUSINESS ATTRACTION

Shahid Rana

Shahid is a community and economic development specialist with 14+ years of experience in Baltimore, MD, Philadelphia, PA, Camden, NJ and now Charlotte, NC. He specializes in creating and managing programs that support the community and local business economy through public-private partnerships. Shahid is a creative problem solver and a strategic implementer. His experience includes leading small business and merchant associations, business attraction, business tax credit incentives, business improvement district governance, destination marketing, and community planning initiatives.

He’s currently serving as the Business Attraction Program Manager for Mecklenburg County’s Office of Economic Development. Shahid is responsible for the office’s efforts in responding to site selection request for proposals, identifying and implementing effective business attraction marketing efforts, and building and maintaining strong partnerships with state and regional economic development agencies.

Shahid is a graduate of University of Maryland College Park’s Master of Real Estate Development Program and Morgan State University’s Architecture and Environmental Science Undergraduate Program. He also holds graduate certificates in Nonprofit Board Governance and Design Charrette Management. Shahid is a proud father of two, and enjoys time volunteering in the community, fishing and producing visual art.

BUSINESS DIVERSITY & INCLUSION (BDI)

Malaya Abed

Malaya joins the Mecklenburg County’s Office of Economic Development as the Business Diversity & Inclusion Program Compliance Officer in November 2020. Malaya takes pride in cultivating robust relationships with business partners, vendors, community organizations, individual community key stake leaders, and especially with small business owners. She also brings business development experience having owned a small consulting business supporting Fortune 500 companies with programs and projects taking place in the US and internationally. 

Malaya is a major supporter of diversity community growth serving as a navigator/referral source to share business opportunities with minorities, immigrants, women, and small business owners, as a presenter of skill building and diversity workshops, and as an advisor to young career professionals to discover their career paths and how to obtain employment connections. While working fulltime and maintaining a small consulting business, Malaya also lends her time supporting, promoting, and marketing diverse community events taking place at the regional level in Mecklenburg County and at the national level in other US cities.

Malaya holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and a Master of Public Administration from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. 


EXISTING INDUSTRY

Clay Andrews

Clay comes to us from the Office of Industry and Government Partnerships, part of the Research and Economic Development Department at UNC Charlotte. His title was Liaison for Corporate Partnerships where he was the primary outreach person for engaging businesses in partnerships with the university. He also served as the primary economic development contact for the university in working with other state, regional and local economic development allies recruiting projects to the Charlotte region such as this office. He led the university responses that assisted in recruiting new investments from Honeywell, Cognizant, Lowes, Oerlikon, Yokohama Tire and others.

Clay’s economic development career spans three decades at a variety of levels. His work has been instrumental in attracting hundreds of millions of dollars of new capital investment and more than 4,000 jobs for the communities where he has worked.

He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Master of Business Administration from Winthrop University. He is also a Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) through the International Economic Development Council and serves on the membership committee of that organization. 


BUSINESS DIVERSITY & INCLUSION (BDI)

Lorena Gomez

October of 2021 Lorena Gomez joined Mecklenburg County’s Office of Economic Development as a Compliance Officer with the Business Diversity & Inclusion Program. Previously employed with Mecklenburg County’s Code Enforcement department, Mrs. Gomez supported various construction projects, worked with many developers and builders as well as companies such as, Pulte, True Homes, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo.

Lorena holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Adelphi University in Long Island, New York. Speaking fluently English and Spanish, Mrs. Gomez was a reliable resource and an interpreter with Mecklenburg County, as she facilitated various interactions between the public and the staff.
Prior to her employment with Mecklenburg County, Lorena  worked at the Cabarrus County Public Library,  where she conducted outreach events for the Literacy Program.  These programs offered at the Concord Branch were established to connect Non-English-speaking patrons of all ages with tutors and free software to assist with learning English.

Lorena has a passion for diversity and building bridges between cultures. She has had the pleasure of working with organizations like Livable Meck, City of Charlotte, and the television broadcasting company Telemundo, where she was able to be a spokesperson for Mecklenburg County. 
Over the years Lorena has always stayed true to her core values of family, knowledge, and diversity. Her goal is to continue making a positive impact in her community. 


BUSINESS DIVERSITY & INCLUSION (BDI)

John L. Walton II

John Walton joined Mecklenburg County’s Office of Economic Development (OED) as a Compliance Officer for the Business Diversity & Inclusion (BDI) Program in October of 2021. Mr. Walton  has maintained employment with Mecklenburg County since September of 2012 and believes that true public service necessitates robust communication, collaboration, and engagement as well as ensuring the development of active and thriving communities. 
 
Prior to working with OED, John was employed in the County Assessor’s Office (CAO) as a Data Validation Analyst developing, managing, and training staff on the department’s Enterprise Content Management (ECM) processes. John brings a wealth of Personal and Real Property knowledge to the team and a unique understanding of the various tax relief initiatives offered to the citizens of Mecklenburg County.
 
John holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, a Master of Public Administration degree from Strayer University and is also a Certified North Carolina Real Property Appraiser.
 
Outside of his professional commitments, John has served as the Co-Lead for the CAO Diversity & Equity Action Team (DEAT) and serves as an executive for a local Toastmasters chapter.

BUSINESS DIVERSITY & INCLUSION (BDI)

Ellie Festger

Ellie Festger joins Mecklenburg County’s Office of Economic Development as a Business Diversity & Inclusion (BDI) Compliance Officer.  Ellie has over 15 years of experience with an extensive background in operations management. She has mainly focused on off shoring, vendor management and cost reduction. Her expertise has been optimizing workflows and reducing redundancy. Recently Ellie had the opportunity to work with Hispanic entrepreneurs specifically in NC and helping them start, maintain and grow their businesses. She was involved in creating and presenting in language seminars on relevant entrepreneurial topics like getting minority certification with the government and how to manage your small business like an expert. She also conducted one-on-one consulting with Hispanic entrepreneurs to help them with a range of topics from how to start a business the correct way in NC to how to get access to capital. She has also been heavily involved in successfully helping minority clients apply for MWSBE certification through NCHUB and the City of Charlotte. Her goal at the office of economic development is to make sure that minority business owners are informed and take advantage of all the great opportunities Mecklenburg County offers.

Some of her successes include:
  • Provided technical assistance for small business owners to access over 700k in PPP loans
  • Assisted Hispanic business owners apply to grants that helped with COVID recovery and business continuation.

Ellie has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Queens College and a master’s degree in industrial organizational psychology from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology. She has a certification for Women in Business through Cornell University. She is originally from New York City, but has called the Queen City her home since 2015. She enjoys spending time with her husband and her wiener dog Frank. One of her favorite pastimes is trying out new restaurants and keeping up with the latest brewery.


 











 

Address

Mailing Address:

Office of Economic Development
600 East Fourth Street
2nd Floor - Suite 226
Charlotte, NC 28202

Office Location:

600 East Fourth Street
2nd Floor - Suite 226
Charlotte, NC 28202

Hours: Mon-Fri 8 a.m - 5 p.m.

Contact

Monica Grier
Administrative Support Coordinator
980-314-2941