Brian Kenner presently is the city manager for Takoma Park, Md.
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has selected a veteran District government employee and administrative leader of a nearby municipality to be the city’s next deputy mayor for planning and economic development.
Brian Kenner, the Takoma Park, Md. city manager and a former chief operating officer for the Office of Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (PED), has been tapped by the mayor to lead his former agency. Bowser said Kenner will be her point person to implement her vision of the District’s economic development.
“Making housing more affordable and creating more good-paying jobs are my priorities as mayor,” Bowser, who announced her choice on Jan. 8, said. “Brian will hit the ground running and lead my administration’s efforts on both of those fronts. Together, we will grow the economy and deliver a fresh start for all Washingtonians.”
Kenner said that he was excited to be a part of Bowser’s team. “Economic development and job creation are driving forces of the District’s economy and I am thrilled to return to this vibrant and diverse city,” Kenner said. “My job on day one is to provide residents and businesses the top notch quality of services they deserve and expect from a world-class city.”
PED is the chief agency charged with executing the mayor’s vision of economic development strategy. The agency focuses on business attraction and retention, neighborhood revitalization and job creation with government coordination.
Victor Hoskins led PED during much of the previous administration and is credited for pushing projects such as The Shops at Dakota Crossing, CityCenterDC, the City Market at O Street, St. Elizabeths East, and the Skyland Town Center. Hoskins, now the economic development director for Arlington, Va., played a key role in the economic and population growth of such areas as NoMa, H Street., N.E., Petworth, and Historic Anacostia.
Kenner worked for Hoskins in the Gray and Fenty administrations, and was the leader in Walter Reed Army Medical Center site project. During his professional career, Kenner has worked at Fannie Mae as a senior fund manager of the Community Investment Group; served as vice president of the Public Institutions Group at public-private entity Jones Lang LaSalle; been a manager of the Government Real Estate Advisory Services Consulting Practice at Ernest & Young and was selected as a presidential management fellow for the federal government.
Kenner holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Iowa and a master’s degree in public policy from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.
In June 2013, Kenner left PED to become Takoma Park’s city manager. The position is the first in his career where he is in charge of a municipality on a daily basis. Kenner pushed initiatives in Takoma Park such as restricting the use of lawn pesticides and banning the use of polystyrene food containers. He also hired the city’s first sustainability manager and solicited proposals to redevelop a city-owned parcel in the Takoma junction section of the city.
Takoma Park Mayor Bruce Williams praised Kenner’s tenure. “Brian has done a great job in Takoma Park,” Williams said. “He engaged with the community right away and he improved many aspects of our operations. We’ll miss him, but we’re in a strong position to tackle the issues we face in the coming months and years.”
Kenner will leave Takoma Park on Jan. 31. Andre Byers, a project manager for PED, is happy to see Kenner back at his former agency. “Brian has intimate knowledge of the culture of the agency,” Byers said. “He will be competent in dealing with the D.C. council and the community and understands pure economic development. He has the personal and financial skill sets to manage the agency.”
Byers said that Bowser “could not have selected a better person.”
“He will do a great job,” he said.
Before assuming his duties, Kenner must be confirmed by the D.C. Council. A spokesman for D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson said Kenner’s confirmation hearings had not been scheduled by AFRO deadline.