For Immediate Release
Ethan Brown named as Executive Director of Sonoma County Economic Development Board
Santa Rosa | May 15, 2023
Interim Director Ethan Brown of the Sonoma County Economic Development Board has been named executive director following an extensive nationwide search process. Brown is an 11-year veteran official of the county’s EDB and has served as its interim director since 2022. The appointment is scheduled to be confirmed by the Board of Supervisors during its meeting on Tuesday, June 6.
Prior to his appointment as interim director, Brown served as director of business development and has held a variety of roles since 2012, including as business retention and expansion program manager, business assistance officer, and project coordinator. Prior to working for the EDB, Brown was a Sonoma County small business owner. In his continuing leadership role, Brown will oversee an annual operating budget of approximately $6.4 million and 14 full-time employees. The Economic Development Board bolsters the local economy by supporting local business, including providing confidential, no-cost consulting services to business owners seeking to start, relocate, and grow in Sonoma County.
“Ethan offers first-hand knowledge of the economic and social challenges facing government, community members and business owners in Sonoma County,” said Supervisor Chris Coursey, chair of the Board of Supervisors. “We are fortunate to have Ethan at the helm so that Sonoma County businesses may continue to benefit from his experience, expertise and collaborative leadership.”
The EDB executive director is responsible for planning and delivering the department’s programs and initiatives, which are focused on supporting the
growth and retention of businesses and employment within Sonoma County. The executive director is expected to establish and maintain relationships among diverse community groups to build partnerships that support long-term strategic plans and priorities, including expanding access to broadband internet, identifying business financial resources, and supporting the creative arts.
In 2022, the Board of Supervisors adopted the economic development ‘3.0 Action Plan’ to expand the EDB’s foundation of business support to include community partnership improvements in the areas of education and workforce development, jobs and business development, and housing and community development.
“I have been honored to work with this board over the past 14 months in my role as Interim Executive Director,” said Brown. “I care deeply about this department and am proud of the work we have accomplished, and will continue to accomplish, as we cultivate the essential community and industry partnerships for a successful EDB 3.0.”
Brown’s accomplishments include facilitating $1.5 million in state tax incentives for local businesses, forming a countywide alliance of economic development professionals in response to COVID-19, and executing funding of $2.5 million in COVID-19 relief grants to local businesses.
Brown earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Sonoma State University in 2012. He is a member of Sonoma County Workforce Investment Board, Sonoma County Harvest Fair Board, Sonoma County Tourism Board of Directors, California Association for Local Economic Development, and the International Economic Development Council. His base annual salary will be $169,056. Once approved by the Board of Supervisors on June 6, his new position would take effect on Tuesday, June 13.