Santa Fe economic development director to leave position

May 12, 2019

One week short of two years on the job, Matt Brown is leaving his post as the city of Santa Fe’s economic development director to become CEO of Centro San Antonio, a nonprofit downtown advocacy group in the nation’s seventh largest city.

Brown, whose last day with the city is May 24 did not come to the Santa Fe job as an economic development professional but rather as an entrepreneur, heading up start-up toy and strategy-brand-innovation companies and working as an executive at LeapFrog and Scholastic.

He departs just as the city issued the first in a series of requests for proposals to redevelop the city-owned 66.55-acre Midtown property, the former campus of College of Santa Fe and Santa Fe University of Art and Design. The Office of Economic Development led the Midtown planning process, which he insisted involved a lot of community input.

“That’s our single biggest project,” Brown said earlier this year. “This is the moment when planning becomes reality.”

Brown wanted to expand economic development beyond Santa Fe’s traditional business clusters of tourism/hospitality, fine art, film and media, real estate and government. He sought to focus on emerging sectors in food industry, technology/artificial intelligence/big data, simulation companies, health care and integrative/creative economy “pay for experiences,” such as Meow Wolf.

He helped get state Local Economic Development Act, or LEDA, funds for local success stories Meow Wolf, Descartes Labs and Marty’s Meals.

Brown, a former attorney, lived in Santa Fe from 1991 to 1994, then left for Berkeley, Calif., until starting June 1, 2017 in his position with the city of Santa Fe.