Columbus 2020 Leadership and Staff
Columbus Region Staff
Chief Economic Officer
Kenny McDonald, CEcD, serves as the primary leader of all economic development and business attraction efforts for the 11-county Columbus Region in his position as Chief Economic Officer of Columbus 2020. McDonald has an extensive background in site selection, regional economic development, community marketing, business recruitment and international business development.
He holds the professional designation of Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) and serves as an elected member of the Board of Directors for the International Economic Development Council. In addition, McDonald serves locally on the boards of NAIOP, SciTech and the Columbus Crew.
Previously, McDonald served as the executive vice president of the Charlotte Regional Partnership, a public-private economic development organization covering a 16-county region in North and South Carolina. McDonald's 16 years of economic development experience also include leadership positions at the Albuquerque Economic Development Corporation, Fluor Daniels Global Locations Strategies and the Savannah Economic Development Authority. McDonald received a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Dickinson State University and a Master of Public Administration from Georgia Southern University.
Executive Assistant to the Chief Economic Officer
Becky Blatt joined Columbus 2020 in January 2012 and serves as executive assistant to the chief economic officer. Prior to joining Columbus 2020, Blatt worked for the Ohio Cultural Facilities Commission and spent seven years as the Associate Director of the Conway Center for Family Business in Columbus. She understands the economic impact family-owned businesses have on the Columbus Region as well as the value arts and culture play in making communities desirable places to work, live and visit.
During her career, Blatt has worked for SSTI, Columbus Urban Growth Corporation, the Ohio Department of Development and the Ohio House of Representatives. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Administration from Miami University.
Vice President, Economic Development
Matt McCollister joined Columbus 2020 in November 2010 as vice president of economic development. McCollister brings more than 14 years of regional economic development experience to the team.
Prior to joining Columbus 2020, McCollister served as vice president of economic development for the Columbus Chamber, business development manager for the Zanesville-Muskingum County Chamber of Commerce, and also worked as a licensed Real Estate professional.
McCollister earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of South Carolina and is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma’s Economic Development Institute. McCollister is engaged with the International Economic Development Council, the Ohio Economic Development Association, the Ohio Sales Partnership, the Central Ohio Chapter of NAIOP and the Central Ohio Commercial Information Exchange.
Vice President, Existing Business Solutions
Patty Huddle joined the Columbus 2020 team in September 2011 as vice president, existing business solutions. In her capacity as vice president, she will be responsible for leading initiatives to retain and expand businesses in the 11-county Columbus Region.
Huddle has extensive economic development experience. Prior to joining Columbus 2020 she held positions at TechSolve, the Ohio Department of Development and the City of Upper Arlington, where she served as Deputy City Manager – Economic Development.
Huddle earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration/International Business from The Ohio State University. She is a certified Economic Development Finance Professional and has been active in numerous economic development-related associations.
Director, Global Markets
Deborah Scherer joined the Columbus 2020 team in January 2011 as Director, Global Markets. In her capacity as Director, she will be responsible for leading the Columbus region in worldwide marketing and business development efforts for the Columbus 2020 strategy.
Scherer brings more than 15 years of global business development experience from both the private and public sectors. Previously, Scherer was the Director of the Ohio Department of Development’s Global Markets Division. In that role, she was responsible for managing a US$3.9 million budget, the programs and operations of the Global Markets Division’s headquarters in Columbus, and the State’s network of 11 international offices. While Director, Scherer developed and implemented a foreign direct investment strategy and supported initiated investments from foreign-owned companies — totaling $2.75 billion and projected to create more than 8,400 jobs.
Scherer’s private-sector experience as an International Sales Manager includes sales and marketing on five continents, territory development, mergers and acquisitions, and promotion of Ohio products globally.
Scherer is a Certified Global Business Professional (CGBP) accredited by the National Association of Small Business International Trade Educators (NASBITE). She holds a Bachelor of Business degree from Ohio University where she majored in International Business and Marketing and minored in Spanish.
Director, Business Development, North America
Matt McQuade is responsible for identifying new business attraction opportunities in targeted North American markets and sectors. Prior to joining the Columbus 2020 team in January 2011, McQuade managed the Ohio Business Development Coalition’s sales strategy, which included a sales force consisting of 20 of Ohio’s largest economic development organizations.
McQuade holds a Master of Public Administration and a Bachelor of Art degree, both from The Ohio State University.
Senior Project Manager
Justin Bickle joined the Columbus 2020 team in November 2010 as senior project manager.
Previously, Bickle spent seven years with economic development organizations at the city, county and regional level in both Ohio and Texas. Most recently he served as manager of economic development at the Columbus Chamber.
Bickle holds a Bachelor of Arts & Science degree with concentrations in History and Political Science, as well as a Master of Public Administration & International Affairs, with concentrations in Economic Development, both from Bowling Green State University. He is also a recent graduate of the University of Oklahoma’s Economic Development Institute.
Katie Hamilton joined the Columbus 2020 team in November 2010 as project manager, economic development.
Prior to joining Columbus 2020, Hamilton spent a year and a half at Columbus Downtown Development Corp. and Capitol South working on projects such as Columbus Commons and the Scioto Mile. Prior to that, she worked with the City of Columbus in both the City Planning Division and the Economic Development office for more than a year.
Hamilton holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the Fisher College of Business at The Ohio State University with concentrations in both Economics and Real Estate and Urban Analysis.
Client Solutions Officer
Chris Strayer joined the Columbus 2020 team in November 2011. He is the primary contact for many top executives, business owners and community and government leaders in the Columbus Region. Strayer has extensive knowledge in economic development and processes to attract and retain businesses.
Strayer has economic development experience in positions with the Ohio Department of Development, the City of Canal Winchester, the Village of Granville and HNTB Corporation. Chris earned a Bachelor's degree in science from Michigan State University.
Economic Development Coordinator
Stephanie Bosco joined the Columbus 2020 team in August 2010 as economic development coordinator and administrator for the Mid-Ohio Development Exchange. Bosco brings eight years of professional experience from a variety of industries.
Previously Bosco held positions in both membership and economic development at the Columbus Chamber. Earlier in her career, Bosco worked in publishing as an editor for McGraw-Hill Education, and worked closely with the public as the vanpool coordinator for the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission. Bosco holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature from the University of Cincinnati.
Economic Development Coordinator
Karin Redelberger joined the Columbus Chamber of Commerce team in February 2012 as a client solutions officer of existing business services. She contributes to Columbus 2020's initiatives by meeting with business executives, plant managers, and government and community leaders to connect business retention and expansion opportunities with corresponding resources and incentives.
Redelberger is a client services and marketing professional of 15 years whose previous work experience includes positions within the legal, telecommunications, and higher education industries. Redelberger holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communications degree from the University of Dayton.
Vice President, Investor Relations
Beth Harrington joined the Columbus 2020 team in November 2011. As Vice President for Investor Relations, Harrington serves as the primary liaison for current and potential investors to the fundraising effort to help us promote and market the Region, attract and retain businesses and improve the civic infrastructure so the Columbus Region is poised to take advantage of economic growth opportunities.
Prior to joining Columbus 2020, Harrington enjoyed 20 years of experience raising money in a variety of leadership positions for organizations in Nashville, Richmond, San Diego and Houston.
Harrington earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Vanderbilt University and a Master of Arts degree from Western Kentucky University in Corporate Communications.
Director, Marketing and Communications
Irene Alvarez leads the planning, management and execution of all marketing, communications and media relations programs for Columbus 2020, with the goal of promoting the Columbus Region on a local, national and international level.
Alvarez previously led Columbus branding and advertising initiatives through her work at agency Fahlgren Mortine, and prior to that worked as marketing manager at Experience Columbus. She holds a B.S. in communications from Ohio University.
Jung Kim joined the Columbus 2020 team in November 2010 to direct economic and business research. His prior experience includes Community Research Partners, a nonprofit research center based in Columbus; the State of New Jersey’s Office of Smart Growth; and Strategic Planning Advice, an economics and planning consulting firm in the UK. He is a member of the American Planning Association and the Urban Land Institute.
Kim has a Master of Science in Regional and Urban Planning from the London School of Economics and a Bachelor of Arts in sociology and urban studies from Northwestern University.
Jay Knox joined the Columbus 2020 team in January 2011 as research analyst. Knox brings market research and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) experience, including the GIS department of Ohio Army National Guard and business research for Nextedge Applied Research and Technology Park.
Knox holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Geography and Urban Planning from Wittenberg University and is currently pursuing his Master of Geography degree from The Ohio State University, concentrating in urban geography and (GIS).
Managing Director, Strategic Development
Victor Thorne joined the Columbus 2020 team in April 2012 as managing director, strategic development.
Thorne began his career at Morgan Stanley and has consulted for Lucent Technologies' Supply Chain Networks and Coffou Partners, a retainer-based executive search firm. He most recently was a director at TechColumbus and the Ohio TechAngel Funds, the largest angel investment network in North America.
Director, Columbus Region Logistics Council
Jeff Zimmerman joined the Columbus Chamber of Commerce team in February 2012 as Director, Columbus Region Logistics Council. He contributes to the Columbus 2020's initiatives by serving as a staff member to the Council as both administrator, chief advocate and steward of the CRLC mission supporting infrastructure, workforce, technology and business environment issues.
Previously, Zimmerman held positions as an independent business development consultant and sales/operational leadership roles with Boise Cascade Office Products/OfficeMax and Moore Business Forms. He earned a Bachelor's degree in Business from Buffalo State College and holds a Certified Logistics Associate certification from Columbus State Community College.