Alpharetta has hired an economic development director after a year-long search, and the proposed city budget for the next fiscal year provides funding for economic project.
Peter Tokar will begin his new duties on June 4.
In making the announcement during Monday night’s City Council meeting, Alpharetta Mayor David Belle Isle said, “This is an exciting time for Alpharetta as we launch initiative like our Technology Advisory Commission, rebrand ourselves as The Technology City of the South, and begin to implement the recommendations in our new economic development plan. Mr. Tokar is bringing new ideas to the table and the experience to help us achieve our goals in an aggressive timetable.”
Alpharetta's proposed budget includes $500,000 for branding and $100,000 in economic development initiatives. What form that branding takes still needs to be determined by City Council as it creates an economic toolbox for the city, the mayor said. The branding needs to go beyond metro Atlanta and throughout the Southeast. Actual phrases in the branding are being investigated to make sure other communities haven't got a copyright on them.
"That's going to be something that all of us will work on as we develop the toolbox," Belle Isle said.
Tokar has been hired to help City Council develop the economic toolbox.
"That's aggressive, and I'm all in favor of it. I wonder what that entails," asked Councilman Michael Cross.
Council will have to develop that detail, Belle Isle said, as the city has never had an economic toolbox before.
The city said in a release that Tokar will be move to Alpharetta from South Florida where he led similar efforts for the City of Davie, building that community’s economic development program from scratch. Over a three-year period, Tokar completely restructured the program; rebranding the community, creating new business recruitment strategies, and developing the town’s first structured incentive program to spur job creation. Tokar also dedicated considerable effort to working with existing businesses in Davie to ensure that the environment encouraged their growth and success.
Prior to his time in Davie, Tokar ran economic development programs for the Greater Fort Lauderdale Broward Alliance, the City of Miramar, Florida, and the Miramar – Pembroke Pines Chamber of Commerce. Tokar also has private sector experience in sales and public relations.
He holds a Bachelor of Science in Communications and Advertising from Liberty University and a Masters of Business Administration from Nova Southeastern University.