Gov. Malloy Names Christopher "Kip" Bergstrom as Executive Director of Commission on Culture and Tourism
(HARTFORD, CT) - Governor Dannel P. Malloy today named Christopher "Kip" Bergstrom as the Executive Director of the Commission on Culture and Tourism. Upon the consolidation of this function into the Department of Economic and Community Development, Bergstrom would assume additional responsibilities as part of DECD Commissioner Catherine Smith's team. Currently, Bergstrom is the Executive Director of the Stamford Urban Redevelopment Commission, a position he has held since 2008.
"I've known Kip for years, and I've always been impressed with his keen business and marketing sense, as well as his ability to get the job done," said Governor Malloy. "He'll make an immediate impact at Culture and Tourism and will quickly become a terrific member of Catherine Smith's new leadership team. I didn't hire Kip when he first worked in Stamford, but I certainly hired him back after seeing what he was able to do in Rhode Island. His experience leading the statewide partnership there is exactly the kind of innovative, out-of-the-box thinking I'm looking forward to seeing from the new leadership at DECD."
"I'm very much looking forward to the opportunity to work for Governor Malloy again in this challenging and exciting capacity," said Bergstrom. "Governor Malloy put a premium on smart, strategic economic development while he was the Mayor of Stamford, and I know that's how he's approaching statewide economic development, as well. The Commission on Culture and Tourism is a key component of our economic strategy in the state, but it's been traditionally underutilized. I'm looking forward to redesigning the way we approach tourism and cultural attractions and working with key stakeholders in those sectors, including Governor Malloy and Catherine Smith."
"I spoke with Kip before I accepted my position with Governor Malloy, knowing how closely we would work together on a number of economic development initiatives, and I am impressed with the depth and breadth of knowledge he brings to this position," said Smith.
As the Executive Director of the Stamford Urban Redevelopment Commission, Bergstrom leads the city's development arm, helping to establish Stamford as a major satellite to New York City for corporate headquarters and financial services. Bergstrom has also been integral in refocusing the agency from office to housing development, strengthening the walk-to-work labor pool for downtown employers, and creating a 24/7 market for downtown retail. He launched a breakthrough civic engagement initiative, Reinventing Stamford, which has mobilized 350 business, political, community and education leaders to build Stamford into the New American City: a hub of innovation, a talent magnet and a model of green living and economic competitiveness.
For ten years, from 1998 to 2008, Bergstrom was the Executive Director of the Rhode Island Policy Council, a private/public partnership which included senior leaders of business, labor, government and higher education. In that position, Bergstrom developed an economic strategy for Rhode Island, positioning it as part of the tri-state Boston metro economy. Bergstrom also launched initiatives to improve Rhode Island's business climate, innovation capacity and quality of life, bringing the state to a position of national leadership across a broad spectrum of economic and community development dimensions. Rhode Island was among the four states that made the greatest improvement in the Kauffman Foundation's New Economy Index between 2002 and 2007. Historically a regional laggard, from 1998 to 2008, Rhode Island often led New England in job and income growth, increasing its share of the Boston metro's high wage jobs.
From 1993-1998, Bergstrom was Stamford's first economic development director. Bergstrom created prospect networks and peer-to-peer selling teams that resulted in a dramatic turn-around of the Stamford economy, outperforming every city in Connecticut and every major business center in the New York metropolitan area. Bergstrom was directly involved in 66 successful business recruitment and retention projects, totaling 6,500 jobs and 2.5 million square feet of space, including the attraction of the 2,200 employee North American headquarters of UBS, the world's second largest bank.
Currently, the Commission on Culture and Tourism has a marketing budget of one dollar. Governor Malloy's proposal funds that portion of the commission at 15 million dollars.