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Chester County Economic Development Council Announces Promotions 

Six Long-Time Team Members Will Help Business Services Grow

Left to right – Jim Hammond, Kathleen Nader, Tracey Oberholtzer, Lori Pickford, Leslie Rylke, and Chris McHenry

The Chester County Economic Development Council (CCEDC) is announcing the promotion of six long-time team members as the organization continues to expand its business services and respond to the transformed needs of local businesses rebuilding from COVID-19. 

“The demand for our services has never been higher – including for financing, location services, workforce development and innovation – and these advancements will continue to help support the incredible work that the CCEDC team is doing to serve Chester County businesses large and small,” said Gary Smith, CCEDC’s President and CEO. 

Jim Hammond – Vice President of Finance

Jim Hammond is the quintessential CCEDC success story. He began as a staff accountant in 2006, and with CCEDC’s tuition reimbursement program, Jim advanced to accounting manager and then controller in 2016. As Vice President of Finance, Jim manages all financial aspects of CCEDC and its five affiliated organizations, including monthly financial reporting, billing and collections, budgeting, grant program audits, cash and vendor management, commercial insurance programs, employee benefit programs and tax filings.

Chris McHenry – Vice President of Development Finance

With more than 35 years of commercial lending and operations experience, Chris McHenry is serving as Vice President of Development Finance for CCEDC. Chris specializes in conventional and government-backed lending, using his knowledge of financial analytics and loan products to creatively assist business restructure and growth as a means to support economic development. His duties include managing the new 190 West Business Resource Center in Coatesville which, as part of CCEDC’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiatives, will serve small business owners throughout Chester County. A resident of Thorndale, Chris is a volunteer member of multiple industry group committees. 

Kathleen Nader – Facilities & IT Services Director

Often referred to as “the face of CCEDC,” Kathleen Nader has been with the organization since 2004. As Director, Facilities and IT Services, she manages day-to-day operations and acts as the primary liaison with users of CCEDC’s headquarters in Exton. Kathleen also oversees CCEDC’s vendors, office renovations and construction projects, as well as CCEDC’s IT and communications infrastructure and support. A resident of Downingtown, Kathleen is the driving force behind CCEDC’s charitable contributions including blood drives, food drives and holiday donations.

Tracey Oberholtzer – Events Director

A year after becoming Manager for Industry Partner Events and STEM Programs, Tracey Oberholtzer is now CCEDC’s Events Director. She will be responsible for CCEDC’s signature events, which include the Hall of Fame Award Celebration, Stakeholders Breakfast and Annual Golf Outing. In her previous role, Tracey was responsible for the successful planning and execution of major events while working closely with industry partnerships to grow programming, including enhancement of career readiness of our community’s youth. A resident of Chester Springs, Tracey joined CCEDC in 2014. 

Lori Pickford – Business Outreach Manager

Businesses across Chester County know Lori Pickford in her role as Business Outreach Manager, providing support and communication to CCEDC Investors. Her work has recently expanded as liaison to the Chester County Industrial Development Authority (IDA) and Central and Western Chester County IDA. She is also the regional coordinator of the Engage Program, a statewide business retention and expansion initiative where she oversees budgets and invoicing for six county partners. Lori is a resident of Chester Springs.

Leslie Rylke – Marketing & Communications Director 

On the heels of graduating from the 2022 Leadership Chester County program, Leslie Rylke has been promoted to Marketing and Communications Director. Charged with communicating the value, benefit and impact of CCEDC, Leslie oversees the marketing communications efforts of the organization as well as its numerous initiatives and industry partnerships through graphic design, website development, social media and more. Leslie also serves on CCEDC’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Task Force. She is a resident of Downingtown.

The Chester County Economic Development Council is a private, non-profit economic development organization promoting smart growth in Chester County and the surrounding region for more than 60 years. The CCEDC provides proven financing solutions, cultivates workforce talent, leverages business partnerships and fosters entrepreneurial collaboration. Together, with the support of the private and public sectors, CCEDC initiates, implements and innovates programs that improve the business community and enhance the quality of life in Chester County. For more information, visit