The City of Racine hired Jeffrey Towne as its first economic development specialist, which will help keep small businesses in Racine and focus on attracting new businesses.

The job, which was created and approved in the city’s 2017 Budget, will also help mitigate small business owners’ concerns. Towne started the job on Monday.

Before starting the job, Towne served as the principal planner for the City of Appleton for 15 years, the planner for the City of Rockford IL, and as a print press operator for Rock Ten Company in Milwaukee. Towne has a Bachelor’s degree in geography from University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee and a Master’s degree in sustainable tourism from Arizona State University.

Racine city administrator James Palenick believes Towne will help the city grow.

“We fully expect that Mr. Towne will become an instant asset to the city development team,” he said.

Amy Connolly, director of city development, said Towne’s background is needed in the city.

”Jeff’s addition to our team is a much-needed and anticipated addition to the City Development Department’s proactive efforts in support of small business, and in bringing sustainable economic development and redevelopment to the City of Racine,” Connolly said.

Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for Patch.com, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.