LONG BEACH - The city's Public Works Department head has been named to a new business and property development position.
Mike Conway, who has held his present position since 2001, will assume his new role as Business and Property Development director on March 1.
Vice Mayor Robert Garcia proposed the job in October to revive many of the functions of the Economic Development Bureau. The office was dismantled in 2010, with its duties spread between the offices of the city manager and the mayor.
The city has been missing a central point of contact for new business since then and has lacked a full-time advocate for attracting businesses to Long Beach, Garcia said.
"That proactive work is as important as reacting to red tape or things that may be happening at City Hall," said Garcia.
The disbandment of Redevelopment Agencies is expected to lead to Long Beach gaining access to more than 225 parcels representing more than 80 assembled sites in the next several years.
Officials said the real estate boon factored into Conway's selection to the post. Before his city service, Conway worked for Legacy Partners Commercial Inc. and was also property development manager for Union Pacific Railroad.
"Mike Conway has been involved in every major development deal in Long Beach over the past 10 years and has an intimate knowledge of business, real estate and the city's departments and services," City Manager Pat West said in a statement.
"He is an incredibly creative real estate and business professional who will serve the city well as the Business and Property Development director."
When Conway shifts to his new job, City Engineer Ara Maloyan will assume the interim role as public works director/city engineer.
Combining the roles of public works director and city engineer is common in California cities, officials said.
It also allows Long Beach to create the new position at no net cost, a goal of Garcia's proposal.