Director, Economic Innovation & Growth

Posted on Sept. 20, 2022

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Position Details:

Employer: Sturgeon County

Location: Morinville, AB

Industry: Municipal Government

Position Outline:


Sturgeon County is a vibrant municipality that offers a great deal in the residential, agricultural and industrial sector.  Located just north of the Cities of St Albert, Fort Saskatchewan, and Edmonton, Sturgeon County appeals to investors that require access to infrastructure and global markets in a low-cost location, within a regulatory environment that is adaptive, transparent, and straightforward.

Not only is Sturgeon County poised to take advantage of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) trends seen globally and across Canada, but the County shares a border with one of the fastest growing populations in Canada.  The Edmonton region is the dominant hub for northern Alberta, and is the fifth largest census metropolitan area in Canada (Statistics Canada, 2021).

Sturgeon County is an economically diverse and entrepreneurial county that shows leadership in economic development and environmental stewardship, and it is recognized for its large and diverse agricultural sector, while seeing extensive growth in areas such as advanced manufacturing, petrochemicals, transportation, and logistics.  

In addition to offering a unique blend of urban and rural lifestyles, it is the peacefulness and community of a rural setting with the convenience and opportunity of an urban centre.  Sturgeon has it all: welcoming and affordable communities, a bustling energy sector with vast opportunities, and plenty of indoor and outdoor amenities.  Whatever your age, we offer a range of services and program that provide a high quality of life for residents.

Please visit our website for further information at


This role reports directly to the General Manager, Development & Strategic Services and leads a team of six professionals.  The Director, Economic Innovation & Growth serves as the key leader and the chief economic developer supporting Sturgeon County’s economic development and strategic growth interests, including the coordination of all economic ecosystem platform activities, both internally and externally.

The position promotes, facilitates, and enhances economic investment attraction, marketing, interconnection, and business retention/expansion initiatives within the County.  The position liaises with various non-profit, resident, business, government, associations, and other stakeholders to ensure high levels of development retention, expansion, and investment in Sturgeon County. Working closely with the Council, this position will work to strategically position the community within new energy and digital economies, to catalyze support around complex economic initiatives, and to work collaboratively with stakeholders.  Within a rural and indigenous community context, the ecosystem will take a mission-oriented approach, aiming to establish and bolster domestic deployment hubs that highlight local technology and encourage cross sector and international collaborations. 


The Director, Economic Innovation & Growth is accountable for:

Investment Attraction and Marketing

  • Oversee design and implementation of specific campaigns and tactics to aggressively position Sturgeon County as a domestic and globally competitive jurisdiction for small- and large-scale new investment.
  • Manage and contribute to the development of marketing programs and related digital and print media to promote the County’s economic development and ecosystem activities and initiatives. 
  • Develop and administer targeted financial and non-financial incentives designed to attract key investments.
  • Lead deal origination (lead generation), proactive sourcing, market studies, economic and financial analyses, etc.
  • Evaluate the implications of various commercial, industrial, and other development proposals in the context of the County’s economic development strategies, plans and policies.  Work with staff across departments and divisions to remove or address roadblocks to development opportunities.
  • Establish and maintain an economic development information database of demographic and market research materials from regional, provincial, national, and international sources.

Business Retention and Expansion

  • Respond to enquiries from the business community and the public by providing support to a wide range of proposals for development, expansion and relocation.
  • Build networks across the region and beyond that can be leveraged to help achieve outcomes, including participating on a variety of local and regional economic development committees.
  • Provide relevant support and serve as a ‘connector’ for Sturgeon County’s existing business community with the goal of helping them to grow and prosper.
  • Collect business information via several channels, to better assess and support current business activity.
  • Oversee the production and distribution of a business client newsletter and other periodicals where required.

Strategic Development and Liaison

  • Develop and recommend an annual departmental business plan and key performance indicators (KPI’s), ensuring programs, activities, services and outcomes align with Council's Vision, Corporate Strategic Plan, Municipal Development Plan, Corporate Business Plan and department mandate.
  • Maintain a strategic economic development and competitiveness strategy that articulates the department’s strategic alignment, investment attraction and business retention/expansion objectives, geographic and sectoral investment targets, programs and services provided, competitiveness gaps and roadmap, key performance indicators, resourcing requirements, governance supports, customer service commitments, and more.
  • Ensure primary liaison between Sturgeon County and the Alberta’s Industrial Heartland Association, Edmonton Global, Prairies Canada, Invest Alberta Corporation, the Villeneuve Landing Network, Transition Accelerator, Edmonton Region Hydrogen Hub, land developers, builders, site selectors, academic institutions, indigenous communities (including Alexander First Nation), and other key partners.
  • Ensure direct administrative support and recommendations to the County’s Economic Development Advisory Board (composed of two Council members and ten public members).
  • Present to Council, Council Committees, regional boards, and others as a key Administrative representative on matters related to economic development, growth, and ecosystem development.
  • Represent thought leadership and organizational reputation (roundtables, presentations, speaker series, etc.).
  • Maintain an appropriate level of understanding, and support the coordination of issues, opportunities and messaging with primary external stakeholders, particularly those impacting the strategic direction of the municipality. 

Economic Ecosystem Development and Advancement

  • Position the community within new energy and digital economies, through an ‘Ecosystem Approach’ platform – the Ecosystem is an energy transition, digitization, and community outcomes focused initiative in Sturgeon County.
  • Lead and coordinate Ecosystem related initiatives across the organization, including sequencing, planning, and messaging.  Coordinate a blueprint (implementation plan) for clean energy integration in Sturgeon County and the implementation of initiatives which support the development and scaling of a low-carbon economy within the context of energy evolution.
  • Conduct strategic development (roadmaps, greening defence, workforce development, demand development, competitiveness, waste solutions, ESG [Environmental, Social, and Governance] alignment, digitization, industry requirements, etc.) where required.
  • Leverage scientific analysis and industry experience to identify, sequence, test-demonstrate-commercialize-deploy evidenced-based business cases.
  • Establish and support the strong sustainable brand position for the Sturgeon County Ecosystem and delivery of the vision, support complementary marketing and communications (website, messaging, modelling, etc.).
  • Advance tools to drive development:
    • Infrastructure requirements (broadband, roads, pipelines, H2 blending, etc.)
    • Land use and regulatory requirements
    • Policy and advocacy requirements (government funding, government policy, etc.)
    • Incentives
    • Pilot and testing opportunities
  • Maintain knowledge and appreciation of the technology energy/carbon policy landscape. Maintain oversight of Ecosystem pathways with other areas across the province.

Departmental Administration

  • Ensure staff workplans to advance departmental objectives, and ensure that processes, resources and systems are in place.
  • Provide leadership, management, coaching, mentoring, recognition, recruitment, and retention of direct reports and departmental personnel to reinforce performance outcomes and build future capacity.
  • Ensure effective staff performance accountability and management at the department level, to ensure business plan alignment and successful outcomes.
  • Implement the County’s project and change management framework to support the successful implementation of projects.
  • Participate in divisional activities and act on behalf of the GM, Development & Strategic Services as required.
  • Follow the Sturgeon County Health & Safety Management System guidelines and adhere to all responsibilities and accountabilities as outlined in the Sturgeon County Safety Management System.
  • Showcase a commitment to customer satisfaction and a customer service culture.
  • Prepare complex briefings, presentations, correspondence, confidential recommendations, and other professional advice related to economic development to the General Manager, CAO, Leadership Team, County Council, the Economic Development Advisory Board, the public, and other stakeholders.
  • Ensure ongoing project tracking, evaluation, and reporting for funded projects.  Provide internal reporting and governance supports (cross-functional teams, steering committee, external committee).
  • Maintain a comprehensive customer relationship management system to support active and productive relationships with key stakeholders.
  • Oversee a variety of studies and projects including researching, assembling, analyzing, and interpreting data related to economic development.
  • Build and nurture relationships with all County departments to facilitate the achievement of departmental and corporate objectives.
  • Model the corporate values of collaboration, accountability, respect, excellence, and safety.


To be successful, the incumbent must:

  • Have solid political acumen with the ability to recognize and anticipate issues that could have a significant impact on the community and the organization.  The ability to exercise sound judgment and be discrete in relation to sensitive and confidential matters.
  • Possess well-developed project planning and management skills.
  • Demonstrate environmental awareness of current trends/issues locally, regionally, provincially, and federally, including current academic research or other positions.
  • Have strong facilitation skills with the ability to effectively include stakeholders in the process of information sharing, planning, and decision making.
  • Show high-level communication skills: create and deliver verbal presentations, prepare written materials (reports and publications), and achieve buy-in and agreement.
  • Be a self-starter with the ability to plan and implement multiple and often unstructured projects concurrently across the organization and with other organizations functioning within the same service chain.
  • Successfully integrate cross-functional processes, while innovating and designing to deal with new expectations from residents and businesses.  Ability to navigate and integrate throughout the organization; analyze financial, operational, and business environment information.
  • Possess solid interpersonal skills with the ability to build rapport with a wide variety of stakeholders, ability to set priorities, identify tasks, set achievable timelines, delegate work, as well as work effectively as part of a team.  Well-developed conceptual and problem-solving skills.
  • Show initiative, proactive planning, and time management skills, as well as the ability to respond to often heavy and shifting workload(s).  Must be able to communicate status of program work plans, and represent program decision points.
  • Ability and willingness to travel outside the community from time-to-time (this may include provincially, nationally, and international).   


The successful candidate will possess the following, or an acceptable combination of education and experience focused on leadership:

  • Bachelor’s degree in business administration, economics, public administration and significant professional experience (with demonstrated leadership and management capacity) in a relevant field.  Experience in a municipal economic development context is preferred.
  • Extensive knowledge of focus industries (such as such value-added agriculture, heavy industry, defence and security, aerospace, resource extraction, manufacturing, petrochemical and energy value chains - including hydrogen and clean energy, commercial and residential development, etc.), investment attraction, business retention and expansion, municipal planning and infrastructure requirements, pro forma analyses, and private investment processes.
  • Knowledge of event hosting, business incubation and acceleration services, tourism attraction, marketing/promotion, and business retention and expansion services is preferred.
  • Must have a strong understanding of economic conditions and trends within the Edmonton Metropolitan Region, Alberta, and Canada.


A competitive compensation package will be provided to the successful candidate.  This includes an attractive and competitive base salary, a second-to-none benefits package, LAPP (Local Authorities Pension Plan), as well as the APEX Supplemental Pension Plan.  Details will be discussed in further conversations.


James Davies                               

Managing Director

DCG Executive Search Services Ltd.

Phone: (780) 758-9796

E-mail: [email protected]


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