City of Houston Mayor's Office of Communications 

Mayor's Press Release

Mayor Whitmire Appoints Veteran Leader as New Economic Development Officer

Gwen TillotsonMarch 26, 2024 -- Mayor John Whitmire announced today that he is appointing Gwendolyn Tillotson-Bell as the City of Houston's Chief Economic Development Officer. She will be responsible for the administration and relationship management of all Tax Increment Investment Zones (TIRZs), Industrial Development Agreements, Management Districts, and Special Districts.

For the past 17 years, Tillotson-Bell has successfully advanced economic and workforce development, TIRZs management, and strategic community benefits initiatives and programs while working as the Deputy Director of the Mayor's Office of Economic Development.   She replaces Andy Icken, who retired earlier this month.

Her economic development contributions include the East River, Energy Corridor, Meow Wolf, City Park Workforce Housing Development, Brittmoore/Cannon Entrepreneurial Hub, the ION Community Benefits, the East End Maker Hub, and the recently opened West on West, among other development projects across Houston and within diversely represented communities.

Under Mayor Whitmire's administration, the Office of Economic Development will re-envision the office's overall function, internal and external collaborative partners, priorities, and outcomes that best leverage existing and planned resources to achieve tangible, measurable, and impactful outcomes.

"Gwen is a sought-after leader in economic development who is both visionary and collaborative. She knows the business community and has their respect," said Mayor Whitmire. "Her experience and knowledge will guide the City of Houston through its next phase of developing and implementing policies to strengthen our competitiveness in attracting investments across key industry sectors, thereby fueling Houston's global economy," said Mayor Whitmire.

Tillotson-Bell serves as a ULI Advisory board member, ULI Chair of Mission Advancement, Secretary for SER Jobs for Progress, Chair of the SER Program Committee, Bisnow's Diversity Board, and an Advisory Board Member for the Houston Land Bank.

Gwen has a bachelor's degree in accounting, an MBA, and is a Certified Public Manager.