A familiar face will be the next CEO of Greater Fort Wayne Inc., officials announced Thursday.
John Urbahns, the organization's former No. 2 executive, will lead the nonprofit economic development organization beginning Jan. 1. Outgoing CEO Eric Doden announced in early May his decision to resign Dec. 31.
Urbahns, executive vice president of economic development, was Fort Wayne's community development director for seven years before joining Greater Fort Wayne in January 2014.
His responsibilities have included leading the group's efforts related to business expansion and attraction, entrepreneurship, innovation, downtown development and industry cluster advancement.
Doden also appointed Urbahns to lead the organization's efforts to support Electric Works, the redevelopment of the former General Electric campus.
Andrew Thomas, Greater Fort Wayne's board chairman, said the organization needs strong leadership if officials want to build on the momentum already established.
Traits that helped Urbahns rise above the other 199 who submitted resumes included his integrity and ability to collaborate with others, he said. Six finalists were interviewed in person before the board voted to select Urbahns, Thomas said.
“We're blessed to have so many talented people who had the desire to be part of Greater Fort Wayne Inc.,” he said.
Urbahns told media and staffers during an announcement in the organization's offices that leading Greater Fort Wayne and building the community and its economy aren't just a job for him – they're his passion.
“It's all about teamwork,” he added.
After the announcement, Urbahns said he plans to make workforce and talent attraction a great priority in response to the low unemployment.
Urbahns, 48, holds Ball State University degrees in urban planning and development and in environmental design. He also is accredited by the American Institute of Certified Planners.
Greater Fort Wayne was created in 2014 with the merger of the Greater Fort Wayne Chamber of Commerce and the Fort Wayne-Allen County Economic Development Alliance and is the area's sole point of contact for economic development projects.