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Lombardo picks former Vegas Chamber leader for GOED director

RENO — Gov. Joe Lombardo has tapped former Las Vegas Chamber chairman Tom Burns to lead the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, his office announced Thursday.

Burns, a former president of the insurance company Cragin & Pike, will start as the agency’s executive director Jan. 30.

“As I said in my State of the State Address, economic development will be a priority in my administration,” Lombardo said in a statement. “With his successful private sector experience and leadership in the business community, I know Tom is the right person to lead GOED.”

Created in 2011 by the Legislature, the office focuses on economic and workplace development. Its board, which consists of the governor, the lieutenant governor, the secretary of state and six members from the private sector, recommended Burns to the governor’s office — a move required by law.

“I have had a good seat in observing the work that GOED has performed over the past decade,” Burns said in a statement. “Diversifying our state’s economy and building a skilled workforce that meets the demands of industry moving into the Silver State are just a few of the items I’m passionate about as I embark on the leadership role at GOED.”

Burns has worked for Cragin & Pike since 1991, serving as its president from 2010 to 2022.

Michael Brown, the agency’s former director, stepped down from the position in early December. He was appointed to the position by then-Gov. Steve Sisolak in October 2019.

“I came in with the governor; I’m just gonna leave with the governor,” Brown said at the time.

Contact Taylor R. Avery at TAvery@reviewjournal.com. Follow @travery98 on Twitter.

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