Written by The Business Journal Staff
Aaron Blair, president and CEO of the Downtown Fresno Partnership, is stepping down early this summer after three years on the job.
A national search for his replacement will begin immediately.
Blair said he accepted a position as city manager for the town of Granby, Colorado, which has a population of 1,864 people and sits at nearly 8,000 feet in the Rockies.
Blair said the outdoor offerings (he is a skier) were a factor in his decision to relocate. He has a wife and two daughters.
“It’s hard to leave fresno,” Blair said in an interview Monday morning. “We love Fresno.”
Blair’s last day on the job will be June 9.
“The past couple years have truly been an amazing time to serve downtown Fresno and I’ve developed relationships that my family and I will cherish for the rest of our lives,” Blair said in a written statement.
“We have a multitude of exciting things happening in downtown this year and our team is fully committed to executing a flawless plan for the grand opening and programming of Fulton Street, the Downtown Fresno Ale Trail, expanding Brew University, continuing our aggressive business and investment recruitment, and maintaining our commitment to our management plan.”
Blair came to the job in June 2014, replacing Kate Borders, who stepped down after two years to run a downtown organization in Tempe, Arizona.
During his tenure with the Downtown Fresno Partnership, Blair oversaw a number of initiatives, including:
— A 78-percent approval rate for renewing the property-based improvement district that includes a staff of seven and 180 property owners
— Cost-saving measures that ensured the organization’s stability
— Actively recruited or assisted more than 60 news businesses and four new breweries to locate to Downtown Fresno
— Worked with city staff to ensure implementation of the $20 million Fulton Street reconstruction project
— Spearheaded development of the Downtown Fresno Ale Trail and Brew University
— Revamped the annual State of Downtown event
— Received recognition by the International Downtown Association for two years in a row for the Downtown Fresno Partnership’s marketing campaigns
“Aaron has successfully stabilized the organization over the past three years and we’re grateful for his leadership,” said Jason Geil, chairman of the Partnership’s board of directors, in a statement. “He’s taken downtown Fresno to the next level and his commitment to the job will be missed.”
Before serving as president and CEO of the Partnership, Blair was the downtown manager for the City of Albany, Georgia, where he successfully recruited more than 30 new businesses and $4.5 million dollars in new private investment in one of the country’s poorest communities.
“Thank you for embracing my family, and allowing us to serve the downtown community,” Blair added in his statement. “We Believe in downtown Fresno, I believe in downtown Fresno.”