Mike Preston of Florida has been named the new new director of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission.
Preston previously served as director of government relations for Enterprise Florida, where he helped create more than 147,000 jobs generating more than $10 billion in capital investment, according to a news release from Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s office announcing the new AEDC chairman.
Preston is a 2005 graduate of the University of Florida, a former chief of staff to a Florida state senator and a legislative assistant to a state representative.
“Mike Preston is a perfect fit to lead the Arkansas Economic Development Commission,” Hutchinson said. “As vice president for government affairs at Enterprise Florida, Michael has years of statewide economic development and business expertise and experience working with a state Legislature and governor. He’s a proven leader with an impressive track record of bringing in capital investment from major companies. Having worked in a highly competitive atmosphere, Michael understands what it takes to position a state to be a leader in job creation. I cannot wait to see what his experience, expertise and vision can do for Arkansas.”
Preston said he is looking forward to using his “economic-development experience and management skills to implement Governor Hutchinson’s plan to make Arkansas more competitive and create more jobs.
“I’ve been fortunate to work with a great team in Florida, and I’m very proud of the work we’ve done in the Sunshine State,” Preston said. “But I’m eager to put my experience, background and vision to work for Arkansas, which has so much to offer and so much potential. I’m honored to be given this incredible opportunity and excited to get started.”
Preston, according to the news release, was instrumental in key projects. Those projects include the relocation of the Hertz corporate headquarters and bringing 700 jobs and $68,750,000 in capital investment, establishing a Northrop Grumman manufacturing Center of Excellence with 1,800 jobs and $500,000,000 in capital investment, and attracting Navy Federal Credit Union to expand in the state bringing 5,000 jobs and $350,000,000 in capital investment.