David Lehman, Commissioner & Governor’s Senior Economic Advisor
David Lehman is Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD), the state agency that oversees a wide range of programs promoting business retention and recruitment, brownfield redevelopment, the arts, historic preservation and tourism. Governor Ned Lamont nominated him for the position earlier this year.
Mr. Lehman will also serve as the Governor’s Senior Economic Advisor. He is already hard at work at creating an innovative public-private partnership between DECD and CERC known as the Partnership to Advance the Connecticut of Tomorrow (PACT), a new economic development delivery model for our state.
Mr. Lehman’s business development priorities include helping build our urban centers into engines of growth; further capitalizing on the state’s top-flight colleges and universities; strengthening the state’s workforce pipelines; and marketing Connecticut as a place that is open for business.
Prior to joining DECD, Mr. Lehman worked in the financial services industry. Most recently he was Global Head of Real Estate Finance for the Investment Banking Division of Goldman Sachs, where he worked for 15 years.
David Kooris, Deputy Commissioner
David Kooris joined the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) in March of 2018. He is responsible for orchestrating the placed-based components of the state's economic development strategy including transit-oriented development, brownfields, capital projects, waterfront, and tourism. His focus is to coordinate public sector infrastructure investment to best prepare communities for private sector growth while enhancing environmental sustainability and quality of life for all.
Prior to joining DECD, Mr. Kooris was Director of Resilience for Connecticut's Department of Housing. There, he managed two federal grants totaling nearly $65 million for coastal resilience planning across Fairfield and New Haven Counties and the design and construction of several pilot projects for green infrastructure, raised mobility corridors, distributed energy generation, and 21st century flood protection in the City of Bridgeport.
Before state service, Mr. Kooris was the Director of the Office of Planning and Economic Development and Executive Director of the Redevelopment Agency for the City of Bridgeport. There, he oversaw ten departments in the creation of the city's revitalization strategy and its execution in tangible public and private investments. Mr. Kooris began his career at the Regional Plan Association where he held several positions, most notably Vice President and Connecticut Director. His work there focused on helping individuals, communities, and agencies better understand the link between social, economic, and environmental factors and better position the tri-state region and its neighborhoods for a sustainable future through coordinated land use and transportation planning.
As an independent consultant, Mr. Kooris has worked on high-speed rail-oriented development, sustainability, and urban revitalization projects throughout the Northeast corridor as well as in Canada, Mexico, Morocco, Peru, Spain, South Korea, Taiwan, and Turkey.
He received an Hours Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and Geography from McGill University in Montreal, Canada and a Master’s in City and Regional Planning and a Master Certificate in Urban Design from PennDesign at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.
He lives in Stamford with his wife and two daughters.
Glendowlyn Thames, Deputy Commissioner
Glendowlyn Thames joined the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) in June of 2019. As deputy commissioner, chief operating officer and chief financial officer, she has a wide range of oversight responsibilities and provides strategic direction for business development and workforce initiatives.
Previously, Mrs. Thames served as Founding executive director of CTNext, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Connecticut Innovations. There she managed an array of strategic economic development programs focused on fostering entrepreneurship, startup and growth-stage businesses while cultivating a robust innovation ecosystem on behalf of the State of Connecticut.
Her multi-faceted experience with executive management of organizations includes over 15 years as a Business, government, and non-profit leader managing high-priority projects and major initiatives.
Previously at Connecticut Innovations, Mrs. Thames held several leadership positions and oversaw vital innovation programs that support the state’s small technology businesses and encourage innovation, collaboration and commercialization.
Prior to coming to CI, she served as special assistant to the superintendent of Hartford Public Schools, and prior to that, she was director of constituent services for the City of Hartford, where she managed citizen relations and worked on community and economic development projects.
Mrs. Thames holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Hofstra University and a master’s in public policy studies and law from Trinity College.