By Thomas J. Sullivan–
Meghan Huber is the City of Citrus Heights’ new economic development manager, a position she’s been in for just over a month. She was hired by the city to replace Devon Rodriguez, who held the position until moving out of state last year.
The Sacramento native and graduate of Sac State currently lives in Antelope and formerly worked in the economic development division for the City of Rancho Cordova. Prior to entering the public sector, Huber worked for J.W. Marriott and Hilton in the hospitality sectors.
“I’m looking forward to getting to know local business leaders and listening to their challenges and concerns,” Huber said. “We’re looking for 100 percent retention of small business here.”
Huber will also be looking at the number of significant commercial spaces of all types throughout the city now sitting vacant, to see how they might best be filled. She plans to speak to the new owners and management of the aging Sunrise Mall to see how the city can help support the mall’s redevelopment and, in time, fill the vacancy caused by the closure of anchor tenant Sears.
In an interview with The Sentinel last week, Huber described her role as being “all about business attraction, business retention, marketing and startup support.”
“From a business retention perspective, making sure we have a finger on the pulse of our business community, making sure everyone is happy and healthy,” she said. “And from a business attraction perspective, attracting as diverse industries as possible to help to overall diversify our economy. And then retail improvement, because we’re lucky to have a lot of retail real estate.”
The move by Hobby Lobby to fill the former Toys R Us store on Greenback Lane is just one example where she said “an opportunity to create employment and bring in revenue for the city has been realized.”
“Citrus Heights is a great place to start, and to grow a business,” Huber said. “There’s plenty of room for many to add a second location, or to expand their operation.”
Much of her day-to-day job responsibilities involve outreach and networking, which she said is something she genuinely enjoys. Although she’ll be partnering with other city staff on common objectives, Huber described the economic development division as a “one-woman show.” She reports directly to the city manager’s office.
Huber also said she’s excited by the city’s new marketing message and branding strategy, “Solid Roots. New Growth” which is reflected throughout the city’s web site and in its promotion materials. The branding campaign was launched by the city last year and seeks to communicate “a healthy respect for the past, and an eye on the future,” according to a promotional video.
“I’m excited to be a part of the Citrus Heights community and help contribute to its growth,” Huber said.