Mississippi Development Authority
In May 2012, Governor Phil Bryant appointed Brent Christensen as the executive director of the Mississippi Development Authority (MDA), the state’s lead economic and community development agency. In this capacity, Christensen oversees approximately 300 MDA employees who are engaged in providing services to businesses, communities and leaders throughout the state. These services range from traditional business recruitment, retention and expansion assistance to developing unique Mississippi assets, such as the creative economy, and implementing programs that support community development, small business growth, tourism, disaster recovery and other federal programs vital to Mississippi.
Prior to joining MDA, Christensen served for 10 years as the president and chief executive officer of the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce in Gainesville, FL. There, he oversaw the operation of the chamber, the Council for Economic Outreach, which is the chamber’s economic development arm, and the Gainesville Technology Enterprise Center, the community’s high-tech business incubator. During his tenure, the chamber was awarded its 5-star accreditation by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, placing it among the top one percent of chambers of commerce nationwide.
While in Florida, Christensen also served on the boards of the Florida Economic Development Council and Enterprise Florida, the state’s primary economic development organization.
Christensen began his career in economic development at the Area Development Partnership in Hattiesburg, MS. During his time there, he helped bring numerous projects to the area, including Kohler Company’s small engine manufacturing facility, which located in the Hattiesburg/Forrest County Industrial Park.
Christensen holds an MBA from the University of South Florida and a bachelor’s degree in Economics and Public Policy Studies from Duke University.