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Economic development stalwart to retire next month

Brian Hartz

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Pinellas County Economic Development Director Mike Meidel announced his retirement on Tuesday, March 9.

Longtime Pinellas County Economic Development Director Mike Meidel announced his retirement on Tuesday, ending a 17-year career with county government that coincided with the transformation of St. Petersburg, Clearwater and other communities into economically diverse, highly desirable locations for skilled workers, entrepreneurs and existing businesses looking to expand or relocate.

According to a news release, Meidel’s last day on the job will be April 30. He said he’s stepping down to spend more time with his family, particularly his nine grandchildren.

Meidel’s tenure at Pinellas County Economic Development began in August 2004, but he’s worked in economic development and county leadership roles for four decades, the release stated. He’s been involved in successful initiatives focused on redevelopment, entrepreneurship, job creation, employer retention, business recruitment, workforce development and the implementation of the Penny for Pinellas tax program.

“Mike’s leadership at Pinellas County Economic Development has helped local companies during the pandemic, brought new employers to our community, assisted with local business expansions and positioned Pinellas County as a destination for growing companies and innovation,” stated Barry Burton, Pinellas County administrator, in the release. “His work has diversified our economy, advanced redevelopment and strengthened community partnerships to focus on collaborative economic development efforts. On behalf of Pinellas County, I’d like to thank Mike for his service.”

Meidel’s resume also includes a five-year stint, from 1999 to 2004, as president and CEO of the Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce. Prior to that, he worked for Progress Energy for 12 years as an area manager specializing in economic development, national accounts and community and government relations. He also served in state government with the Florida Department of Commerce.

“I’m proud to have spent 34 years helping to make Pinellas a better place to live, work and grow a thriving business,” Meidel stated in the release. “Economic development is a team sport; our accomplishments are the result of strong collaboration among colleagues here at the county and in our cities, our partners in educational institutions and at CareerSource, as well as the staff and active members of our chambers of commerce and industry associations. I’m going to miss the many friendships that have been formed through these years of mutual effort in making Pinellas a vibrant and prosperous community.”

Pinellas County, the release stated, will begin a national search for Meidel’s successor in the weeks to come. It has selected Next Move Group to manage recruitment and selection of applicants. Inquiries and resumes can be sent to Chad Chancellor at pinellas@thenextmovegroup.com.

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