James Smith joined Pinal County as Director of Economic and Workforce Development in November 2021.
In this role, he is leading the County’s efforts to attract significant capital investment and jobs to the region while also seeking to help ensure the workforce is prepared for the jobs of the future. Projects that he has recently assisted with include LG Energy Solution’s announcement of a $2.8B manufacturing plant in Queen Creek, Procter & Gamble’s announcement of a $500M facility in Coolidge, and several semiconductor supply chain companies that have announced new facilities.
Prior to his position with Pinal County, he served as Economic Development Director for the Town of Fountain Hills, AZ. Previous experience with the City of Chandler, AZ, included managing numerous business attraction projects of major corporations, including Allstate, Liberty Mutual, Voya Financial, and Republic Services. In addition, he contributed to City efforts related to expansions by Northrop Grumman, NXP Semiconductor, and Rogers Corporation, which resulted in the relocation of their corporate headquarters to Chandler. Further experience was related to the redevelopment and reuse of commercial properties through the administration of the City’s Commercial Reinvestment Program/Infill Incentive Plan as well as leading efforts to implement an adaptive reuse program.
He holds a Bachelor of Science (Economics) and Master of Public Administration degrees – both from San Jose State University. A graduate of the University of Oklahoma’s Economic Development Institute (OUEDI), he is recognized by the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) as a Certified Economic Developer (CEcD). In addition, he has achieved the Certified Public Manager (CPM) designation through Arizona State University.