Department names Shawna Searcy as new Deputy Director of Regional Engagement Division

February 7, 2023

The Missouri Department of Economic Development (DED) announced today that Shawna Searcy will serve as its new Deputy Director for the Regional Engagement Division, which promotes regional economic growth through tailored solutions for business and community development projects.

“Shawna has the experience and passion our team needs in a leader, and we’re thrilled to welcome her to DED,” said Lori Becklenberg, Director of the Division of Regional Engagement. “Regional Engagement team members are located in communities across Missouri to better understand their needs and deliver custom solutions. Shawna’s history of driving change at the community level makes her a perfect fit for our division as we work to create more opportunities for all Missourians, whether urban or rural.”

Regional Engagement serves as the primary contact for DED’s partners and customers as they access state and federal agency resources. The division consists of six teams distributed across all regions: central, southwest, southeast, northern, and the Kansas City and St. Louis metro areas. Regional Engagement also operates 15 international offices located across the globe.

Searcy previously served as Executive Director of the Kearney Area Development Council, where she led efforts to promote economic development, ensure success of local projects, and ran a successful use tax campaign. Searcy has experience working with community leaders, businesses, and government agencies to overcome obstacles and ensure progress. She has also worked for Congressman Sam Graves in his Kansas City district office. Searcy currently serves as President of the Missouri Economic Development Council and board member of the Northland Center for Advanced Professional Studies (Northland CAPS). She holds a degree in political science from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

“I’m excited to join the team at DED and continue using my skills to serve Missourians,” Searcy said. “My career in economic development has provided opportunities to work with various stakeholders to arrive at solutions that strengthen communities. I look forward to the chance to help lead the Regional Engagement Division and improve the lives of people across Missouri’s unique and diverse regions.”

About the Division of Regional Engagement

The Regional Engagement Division was established in 2019 during DED’s reorganization that dedicated more resources to business development and ensured efforts were targeted to each of the state’s urban and rural regions. In Fiscal Year 2022, DED contributed to the completion of more than 100 business projects associated with the creation of nearly 10,000 new jobs and more than $2 billion in investment.

For more information on the Regional Engagement Division, or for the latest updates on business expansion and retention projects, visit DED’s website.

About the Missouri Department of Economic Development

The Missouri Department of Economic Development (DED) works to create an environment that encourages economic growth by supporting Missouri’s businesses and diverse industries, strengthening our communities, developing a talented and skilled workforce, and maintaining a high quality of life. As one team built around the customer and driven by data, DED aspires to be the best economic development department in the Midwest. Through its various initiatives, DED is helping create opportunities for Missourians to prosper.

For the latest updates on DED’s current or future programs and initiatives, visit DED’s website.

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