City Fills Role of Economic Development Director with Katie Yancey

By David M. Greenwald
Executive Editor

Davis, CA – The city of Davis took an important step toward revamping its economic development program by announcing that City Manager Mike Webb has named Katie Yancey to the role of Economic Development Director effective April 8, 2024.

According to the city, “The Economic Development Director is responsible for planning, organizing, managing and providing administrative direction and oversight to the economic development objectives, programs and activities for the City.”

The position is responsible for “attracting, engaging and retaining businesses while working to achieve a balance among City departments, other government agencies, development and real estate communities, local stakeholders and the community at large to build economic diversity, jobs and revenue growth consistent with the City’s goals and community values.”

The position has been vacant for some time.  This is the first step towards moving forward a new Economic Development Strategic Plan.

In the February 20 staff report on the General Plan, the city wrote, “As the City is in the process of hiring an Economic Development Director, it will be critical to identify to what extent the General Plan update will incorporate Economic Development as a key subject area vs. looking to the creation of a separate Economic Development Strategic Plan.”

Now that roll is filled by someone with tremendous experience and regional connection.

“Katie possesses keen business acumen and strong leadership skills,” said City Manager Mike Webb. “She is strategic, driven, team-oriented and very resourceful and will bring big-picture perspective and creative thinking to help transform and revitalize the City’s economic development department. She has extensive experience in employing municipal financial tools to achieve desired investments and to help businesses succeed.”

Webb reiterated, “One of the first key endeavors of the Economic Development Director will be to work with the community and City Council to create an economic development strategic plan to guide our efforts in Davis with a clear vision.”

Davis is getting someone with tremendous experience.

Yancey most recently worked as the Community Investment Manager at the City of West Sacramento, where she was responsible for real estate acquisitions and dispositions for the riverfront areas and the Central Business District.

The city, in their announcement, emphasized “she undertook the Bridge District’s public plaza acquisition, the River One Hotel and Condominiums Land Exchange and the Roadway Inn acquisition for Project Homekey.”

She also “worked collaboratively with City departments to encourage innovation and new ideas while helping to increase the agency’s revenue, attract new investments and enhance West Sacramento neighborhoods.”

In total, Yancey has more than 18 years of experience with the City of West Sacramento in its Redevelopment and Economic Development and Housing Departments. Yancey is very familiar with federal, state and local laws relevant to municipal economic development, including land use planning, redevelopment and policy implementation.

Yancey also has extensive experience with sustainability.

The city in its announcement highlighted: She worked for the California Environmental Protection Agency’s Environmental Health Hazard Assessment Office for seven years and co-authored their 2010 “User’s Guide for the California Impervious Surface Coefficients.”

With this experience, “Yancey supported and managed water quality, groundwater recharge and riparian ecosystem enhancement co-benefits on a wide variety of projects with the City of West Sacramento.”

She continually worked to address and emphasize sustainability and carbon neutrality, including staffing the Sacramento/West Sacramento Mayors’ Commission on Climate Change, working with the Local Government Commission and assisting with the City of West Sacramento’s Climate Action Plan.

The combination of having both the Economic Development and Sustainability functions housed in the City Manager’s Office presents an ideal opportunity for co-benefits and collaboration of these key City of Davis functions. To maximize this collaboration, the Sustainability program and Sustainability Program Manager will have a direct line of reporting to Yancey. Bridging economic growth and environmental protection will help to preserve resources and better integrate sustainable practices into local development.

“I am thrilled to be joining the City of Davis as its Director of Economic Development,” said Yancey. “The community’s commitment to civic engagement demonstrates its yearning to build something together that matters. I look forward to finding my place in this existing tapestry of economic relationships that enhances the quality of life for the community’s residents, students, businesses and visitors through sustainable economic development processes.”

Yancey earned her bachelor’s degree in human geography and a Pre-Planning Certificate from California State University, Sacramento. In addition, she holds two associate degrees in geographic information systems and social sciences from American River College.

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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  1. Matt Williams

    “build economic diversity, jobs and revenue consistent with the City’s goals and community values.”


    That is an interesting statement.  I (and probably lots of other Davis constituents) wonder what the City’s goals and community values are.  That might be a good place for Katie to start … publish and broadly distribute what the City believes those goals and community values are, and then see whether the feedback they get from the community shows that the community substantially agrees with what is published.

    Perhaps the largest part of the problems that Davis has encountered over the past decade is a total absence of “shared purpose” between the constituents themselves, as well as between the local government and the constituents.


    1. David Greenwald

      “Perhaps the largest part of the problems that Davis has encountered over the past decade is a total absence of “shared purpose” between the constituents themselves, as well as between the local government and the constituents.”

      In a nutshell

    2. Richard McCann

      The real lack of organized, directed discussion and a lack of urgency by City leadership on this issue is at the heart of this lack. People complain but they passively believe its someone else’s responsibility to solve it. Part of this derives from the fact that Prop 13 and then the fixes by state government took away much of the power of local governments to come up with solutions.

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