There’s a new Cabinet position in the Commonwealth.
Gov. Josh Shapiro signed an executive order on Tuesday creating the Office of Transformation and Opportunity and named Ben Kirshner as the Chief Transformation and Opportunity Officer.
According to a press release from the Governor’s office, the “newly created office will be a one-stop-shop for businesses looking to grow and will work to aggressively reignite Pennsylvania’s economy – fostering innovation, supporting transformational economic development, and creating real opportunity for businesses and workers alike in our Commonwealth, particularly in communities that have too often been left behind.”
“I’ve heard from business and labor leaders across the Commonwealth – government needs to work more quickly and figure out a way to get to yes,” said Shapiro. “Today, we are making clear that Pennsylvania is open for business, and that we are going to be leaders in economic growth, job creation, and innovation.”
Kirshner and his staff will help develop and lead an overall growth strategy and implement economic development projects – coordinating with Commonwealth agencies, expediting permit reviews, and ensuring the speed of business review and approval of key incentive programs.
“Businesses of all sizes have been asking for economic development to be a focal point in (the Governor’s) administration and he answered their calls by creating the Office of Transformation and Opportunity,” said Kirshner.
The executive order also created the Economic Development Strategy Group that consists of the Chief Transformation and Opportunity Officer and the Secretaries of Labor & Industry, Community and Economic Development, Transportation, Agriculture, Education, and Environmental Protection. This group will directly advise the Governor on economic development projects and processes to attract and retain employers, recruit innovation leaders, and create good-paying jobs in Pennsylvania, particularly in underserved communities.
“I look forward to partnering with Ben and the Office of Transformation and Opportunity to support Pennsylvania businesses and workers and maximize the opportunity to attract game-changing economic development projects to our Commonwealth,” said Rick Siger, Acting Secretary of the DCED.
Kirshner was the founder of Elite SEM (now Tinuiti), an award-winning digital performance marketing agency and currently is a lecturer in business administration at the Harvard Business School.