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CEO who promoted an East Side revival resigns

September 27, 2018

Jackie Gorman has resigned as CEO of San Antonio for Growth on the Eastside, ending an eight-year tenure during which she expanded the nonprofit to become a major force in the revival of the East Side.

SAGE’s board is searching for a new CEO and hopes to have a new one in place by December, said Robert Melvin, chairman of the nonprofit’s board. In the meantime, SAGE’s Director of Operations Akeem Brown is serving as interim CEO.

“She’s in good standing with us. There’s no issues. She thought it was time to move on,” Melvin said.

Gorman wasn’t immediately available for comment on Thursday morning.

She became CEO of SAGE in 2010, around the time the longtime East Side organization took on a new, narrower focus on promoting economic development in the area, Melvin said.

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When Gorman took the position she was SAGE’s only full-time employee, Melvin said; the organization now has about nine full-time employees and five interns, he said.

He credited Gorman for her skill at forming relationships with business and community leaders and for helping to change the public perception of the East Side.

“Jackie has been a critical component to the reason why SAGE has ascended to where it is today,” Melvin said. “With all the activity that’s taken place on the East Side, she played a critical role in that.”

The East Side has seen a surge of new development in recent years, especially in the neighborhoods of Dignowity Hill and Denver Heights close to downtown. Several blockbuster construction projects are in the works, including a $150 million mixed-use development in Denver Heights, a tech innovation center at the abandoned Merchants Ice complex and a 271-unit apartment complex by national developer NRP Group.

During Gorman’s tenure, part of the East Side was designated a Promise Zone, clearing the way for it to receive federal grants.

SAGE’s board is looking for a new CEO with experience in the local area, but isn’t ruling out candidates from outside San Antonio, Melvin said.

“We are looking for talent. Ideally it’s someone that has an understanding of the city, someone who has an understanding of economic development,” Melvin said. “I believe that we can find that within the city, but we are shooting that net on a broader scale.”

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