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CEDA appoints first Director of Economic Development | Business Section

(CEDA) — The board of the Commonwealth Economic Development Authority has announced the hiring of the agency’s first Economic Development Manager or EDM. Dave Guerrero will join CEDA from First Hawaiian Bank in Saipan, where he serves as the bank’s assistant vice president – responsible for commercial banking.

The role of EDM is a specialized position created as a result of Public Law 22-1, which transformed the Commonwealth Development Authority into CEDA, the government agency responsible for generating investment and stimulating the economic development of Marianas.

The law designated CEDA as the CNMI’s lead agency for economic development and will ensure that additional tools and funding are provided for the specific purpose of attracting, retaining and expanding sector investment. private foreigner in the CNMI.

“We have added another milestone in the history of the Commonwealth with the appointment of a new EDM,” Governor Ralph DLG Torres said. “Dave’s role will be to lead efforts to attract the right investors, work with the legislature, agencies and stakeholders to improve our destination to make CNMI more attractive to investors, create opportunities for economic diversity and to use his vast experience in finance to help CNMI accelerate its recovery.

Lieutenant Governor Arnold I. Palacios commended CEDA for appointing Guerrero to lead economic development efforts.

Lt. The governor noted, “As we work towards a stronger economic future, the Marianas have made a strategic decision in appointing a dedicated economic development officer. Dave will lead the charge with a deep understanding of what it takes to establish a sustainable business and how businesses can do this successfully in the Commonwealth.

CEDA board chair Aubry Hocog said they look forward to building the agency’s strategic plan with Guerrero. Their first order of business is to assess the current state of the economy and develop the diversification plan, which will be presented to Governor Torres.

President Hocog has said in the past that the CNMI relies heavily on one industry, tourism, adding that the Commonwealth needs to grow and welcome diverse industries and investors to rebuild the economy.

“Under the new legislation, CEDA has the ability to be flexible with these changing times. We are ready to get to work to diversify the CNMI portfolio,” added the President. “It will take teamwork to get there. With Dave’s impressive experience, we are confident that we can create a plan that will ultimately benefit our community.

CEDA Executive Director Manuel A. Sablan echoed the president’s sentiments, noting that Guerrero’s credentials, private sector experience and deep understanding of economic development will help lay a solid foundation for CEDA.

The Executive Director said: “Dave will help us focus on what is needed to bring development and investment to CNMI. We will start by establishing a multi-year plan and identifying the funding to make it a reality.

Guerrero, who grew up in Saipan, will officially join CEDA on April 18 and work with the Board of Directors and Executive Director to identify and secure investments for CNMI locally and abroad.

Guerrero holds a master’s degree in economics from California State University, East Bay. In addition to FHB, he has also worked at various US and local financial institutions – Wells Fargo at its headquarters in San Francisco, CA; Franklin Templeton Financial Services Company; and Bank of Guam.

Guerrero has worked in the financial industry for over 15 years and specializes in anti-money laundering, fraud, compliance, operations, sales, lending and investments.

Guerrero said: “When I was preparing for college, I chose economics as my field of study because I knew it could one day help our islands. I look forward to putting my years of experience to good use for the people of the Marianas. My personal goal is to improve our standard of living through sustainable business opportunities for our people, which in turn will create more jobs and ultimately lead to a stronger economy.

He is also a member of the Board of Directors-Treasurer of 500 Sails and a member of the Board of Directors-Treasurer of Micronesia Islands Nature Alliance. He is an active member of the Rotary Club of Saipan – District 2750 and served for four years as the Commissioner-Representative of Saipan for the Commonwealth Public Utilities Commission.

Guerrero added: “As the first in this role, I am faced with uncharted territory. I see my role as someone who will bring the right people together to accomplish our common mission. I’m going to talk to a lot of people, see what can work, assess the risks and fill in the gaps. It must be a win-win for the CNMI and the investors. I thank the Board of Directors for their trust in me and look forward to working with them to make the Marianas better for all of us.

The GCEA supports the mission of the CEDA

“Mr. Guerrero’s appointment is another positive step for the Marianas,” said Jerry Tan, co-chairman of the Governor’s Council of Economic Advisers, or GCEA. We knew this was key to attracting quality investors and new industries to the islands.”

Tan noted that Guerrero’s appointment comes at the perfect time as the Mariana Islands reopen and rebuild after many difficult years.

He said: “The Commonwealth is ready to build its economic future. Our residents have been through so much, and now is the time to be proactive and strategic. We are committed to ensuring that Dave receives the support he needs to succeed and to working together as a community to grow CNMI so that it is more attractive to international investors. He has the important task of connecting the Marianas to the right people and driving economic development that will directly meet the needs of the people.

Mike Sablan, CEDA board member and chair of GCEA’s domestic policy and recovery committee, noted that appointing a new director of economic development is the smartest investment in the future. of the Marianas. He said: “With Dave’s expertise and extensive experience in economics and finance, he will help our government and the private sector understand what the Marianas need to do to attract investors and how we can become more stable. on the economic plan.

Mike Sablan added, “Dave will help connect the right agencies to make development more feasible and efficient. It can establish the right incentives, through qualification certificates and tax breaks, for example, that will entice quality businesses to locate here. He has our full support. »

The transformation of CEDA

When it was established in 1984, CDA’s mission was to stimulate the economy and promote CNMI to regional and global investors. Other government agencies have helped promote investment in the CNMI. In June 2021, Public Law 22-1 was unanimously approved by the CNMI Legislative Assembly and signed into law by Governor Torres, thereby restructuring and renaming CDA to CEDA, the government agency responsible for generating investment and promote the economic diversity of the Marianas. CEDA has been identified as the lead agency to lead future economic growth. With the appointment of EDM, Guerrero will liaise with local agencies, stakeholders and investors to ensure quality projects for the Commonwealth.

About CEDA

The Commonwealth Economic Development Authority is an autonomous public body primarily responsible for stimulating economic development in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

CEDA’s mission is to enhance economic stability in the Marianas, improve the quality of life for residents, create business and employment opportunities on all islands, and increase government tax revenue.

CEDA provides appropriate financial and technical assistance to facilitate the start-up or expansion of private and public enterprises for their success, the benefit of the economic well-being of the Commonwealth and the long-term sustainability of CEDA.

Its offices are located in Saipan (670-234-6245), Rota (670-532-9408) and Tinian (670-433-9203) and are open from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

For more information, visit developcnmi.com or connect with them on Facebook (@developcnmi).