Following an extensive search process, Mark Cafferty, President & CEO of San Diego Workforce Partnership, was named new President & CEO of San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation, according to EDC Board Chair Debra L. Reed.

Cafferty will succeed Interim President Bill Geppert, who took over after the retirement of Julie Meier Wright this past June. He will assume the position on February 1, 2012. “A nationwide search, conversations with economic development directors in numerous major metropolitan areas and deep consideration about how to best fulfill the organization’s mission led us to a very clear conclusion,” said Reed.

“We wanted a leader who clearly understands the urgency of regional job creation and has the proven ability to foster collaborations between like organizations. Obviously, we also wanted someone who fits well with the existing organization.” – Stath Karras Chair EDC Search Committee Cafferty will head an organization with a current fiscal year budget of approximately $ 3 million and 13 employees.

“I am really looking forward to this opportunity to apply so much of what I have learned to a more dynamic, entrepreneurial environment,” said Cafferty. “I see this as a chance to have an even broader impact on the region, move at greater speed to launch new initiatives, and build on what my predecessors — Julie Meier Wright and Bill Geppert — have put in place.”

“The position requires someone who can clearly execute major initiatives, such as developing a comprehensive economic development information system with statistical data, industry information, and community linkages to facilitate expansion projects, retain existing businesses, and/or attract new companies to the region,” Karras concluded.

Cafferty joined the Workforce Partnership in 2001, becoming Chief Operating Officer in 2006. He was named Interim President & CEO in January 2008, winning the job on a permanent basis that July.

Since then, he has increased the workforce training organization’s budget by more than 30 percent, managed a one-time award of $ 25 million under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and secured more competitive grants than at any time in the past six years.

This month, he was recognized as the San Diego Business Journal’s Most Admired Nonprofit CEO. He is also one of The Daily Transcript’s Top Influentials for 2011.