The head of the economic development department in Salt Lake City has been named the new president and CEO of the Greater Richmond Partnership.
Lara Fritts will become the top executive of the Richmond regional economic development organization effective Aug. 12, the group announced Monday.
She replaces Barry I. Matherly, who left the top role at the partnership in late December after 3½ years to take the top position at a similar group in Detroit.
The partnership, created in 1994, is an economic development group that recruits new businesses to the city of Richmond and the counties of Chesterfield, Hanover and Henrico.
“I really see the opportunity to create a regional approach in Richmond,” Fritts said. “I really like to do it as a team approach. The organization has been doing great work for 25 years. I want to come in and build off from the outstanding base set by my predecessors.”
Fritts, 48, works as the director of the Department of Economic Development for Salt Lake City as well as the CEO of the Redevelopment Agency of Salt Lake City. She has been there since June 2016.
She was the city’s first economic development director. Before she started, the entity was a division-level agency within city government.
During her tenure, her office was responsible for recruiting large distribution centers for Amazon, UPS and Post cereals. Those companies and others created 9,800 direct and indirect jobs and nearly $1 billion in capital investment since 2016, she said.
Before moving to Salt Lake City, she worked for accounting and consulting firm Baker Tilly Virchow Krause LLP as director of business development in its Tysons Corner office.
She also led economic development efforts as president and CEO of the Annapolis Economic Development Corp. for 3½; as executive director of the Southeast Fairfax Development Corp. from 2005 to 2009; and as president of the Washington DC Technology Council for nearly two years.
“She has a very strong background in consensus building, marketing communities and organizational development. She is a proven collaborator as well as a speaker and educator with diverse groups of stakeholders,” said Buck Stinson, the partnership’s board chairman who is senior vice president of U.S. card partnerships at Capital One Financial Corp.
Fritts received a bachelor of science degree in regional analysis-economic development from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay in 1993 and a master’s in urban studies–economic development from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 1995.