Gerard Velazquez, President and CEO of the Cumberland County Improvement Authority recently announced the appointment of Kim Ayres of Millville to Interim Director of Economic Development. In this capacity, Ayres will be responsible for the CCIA’s economic development objectives including the varied management, development and business marketing activities of the CCIA aimed at expanding local business and attracting new business to Cumberland County.
Ayres, a 25-year veteran in economic and community development roles, has served in leadership positions throughout Cumberland County. She is credited for establishing the Millville’s Glasstown Arts District and initiating plans for the revitalization of the Maurice River waterfront and surrounding neighborhoods.
A founder of the Millville Neighborhood Alliance, Ayres also serves on several other county-based boards and organizations including Wheaton Arts and the M25 Initiative. She remains Coordinator of Cumberland County College’s Leadership Cumberland County program, now in its 16th year, and continues as an adjunct professor of sociology there.
The new Interim Director of Economic Development has a doctoral degree in urban affairs and public policy from the University of Delaware and a master’s degree in community development from the University of Kentucky,
“Kim’s expertise, her foresight, creative thinking and passion for the county demonstrates she can hit the ground running,” Velazquez said. “We have multiple projects and initiatives occurring and more on our future agenda to improve Cumberland County. We’re fortunate that someone with her credentials has agreed to help us see them through to fruition.”
Velazquez noted that Ayres will assume many responsibilities managed previously by Economic Development Senior Vice President Jim Watson who recently resigned his post for a position in the private sector. “Jim’s leadership was instrumental in the CCIA’s advancements and economic initiatives. We are grateful for his contributions and wish him well in his new endeavors,” Velazquez added.
About the Cumberland County Improvement Authority:
In addition to its environmental related initiatives, the Cumberland County Improvement Authority is responsible for the development, financing and project management of projects and programs most vital to sustaining the economic and environmental future of the county and the state of New Jersey. The CCIA works in tandem with the Cumberland County Board of Chosen Freeholders to foster greater economic growth, business development and quality of life for all Cumberland County residents.