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An under-construction distribution center near Lamb Boulevard and Interstate 15 as seen on Tuesday, July 18, 2017. Photo by Jeff Scheid.

Gov. Steve Sisolak has appointed former gold mining company executive and current cabinet member Michael Brown to lead the Governor’s Office of Economic Development.

Brown's appointment comes after the position was vacant and filled by an interim director for nearly seven months. The agency had paused new and pending applications from businesses for tax incentives — the corporate perk the office is perhaps best known for — and Sisolak has expressed interest in rethinking the incentives the state offers to attract companies. 

“Michael has done a tremendous job as Director of Business and Industry, and I am confident he will lead GOED with the same strong leadership and business acumen that had made him a key member of my Cabinet,” Sisolak said. “Michael’s decades-long career at the highest levels in business, coupled with his extensive experience in state and federal government, gives him an unparalleled perspective and expertise on what it takes to further GOED’s mission of promoting a robust, diversified, and prosperous economy for all Nevadans.”

Sisolak also thanked Kristopher Sanchez for serving as interim director of the agency. Sanchez had sought the position on a permanent basis. 

Prior to joining Sisolak’s cabinet and overseeing 12 state agencies under the Business and Industry umbrella, Brown had served as president of Barrick Gold USA. He also served for eight years in President Ronald Reagan’s administration as Special Assistant to the Director of the United States Mint at the U.S. Treasury Department.  

Brown has served on the boards of the Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance, Nevada Ballet Theatre and Three Square Food Bank, among other organizations. 

A subcommittee searching for someone to replace former GOED Director Paul Anderson had lamented the lack of qualified candidates who applied and eventually reached out to Brown

Last month, Brown said that if chosen, he would seek to form an “extremely strong partnership” between GOED and the Department of Business and Industry.

“I signed up to play on a team, and when a coach wants you to play a different position… I’ll do what the coach says,” he said.

Sisolak said recently that he wants to approach economic development in a way that doesn’t compromise education funding. GOED was created in 2011 under the leadership of Gov. Brian Sandoval and during the deepest points of the economic downturn.

“I’m committed to developing an economic development plan that reflects realities of Nevada in 2019 rather than that of The Great Recession,” Sisolak said. “We will have an incredible opportunity to make Nevada a place with a robust economy, without sacrificing education or other crucial quality of life components.”

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