Ventura's Economic Development Division is one of four divisions housed within the Community Development Department. Economic Development staff work in partnership with the business community to cultivate an environment for economic sustainability, growth, and a balanced economy for the residents of Ventura.
ED staff interfaces with businesses, community leaders, non-profits and other government agencies to enhance Ventura’s economic development activities. The Economic Development Division is responsible for providing resources that help businesses PLAN, MAKE POSSIBLE, OPEN SHOP and THRIVE in Ventura. These resources include, but are not limited to:
- Providing resources that help start, retain or grow your business in Ventura
- Help businesses navigate the public agency process through our Ombudsmen efforts
- Provide research, market analysis, and industry/community related data and statistics to support business activities
Economic Development Manager
Estelle is a fourth-generation Ventura native and has a strong background in strategic planning, project manager and effective collaboration. In her role as Economic Development Manager, Estelle works closely with the City Council Economic Development Committee, the Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Ventura Partners, Visit Ventura, the Ventura Port District and other business partners. Estelle works closely with the Planning and Building and Safety Divisions to support the City’s efforts to encourage private sector investment in Ventura.
Estelle previously worked four years at Patagonia where she served as International Planning Manager, E-commerce Forecast Planner and Senior Supply Chain Analyst. She also has experience working for Adidas Group as a Senior Project Manager in Brand Harmonization.
Estelle received her Master of Business Administration with a concentration in Operations Management, from the University of Portland and a BA in Social Sciences from San Diego State University. She is proud alumni of Ventura High School and Ventura College, where she was a back-to-back State Champion in Woman’s Basketball.
“Ventura is a great place to live, work, and do business. I am looking forward to building a strong economic future where my daughter and future generations can thrive”
Management Analyst II
Phone: (805) 677-3958
Cary began her career with the City of Ventura in 1998, providing administrative, supervisory and management support to several City departments including the City Manager’s Office (Civic Engagement Division) and the Parks, Recreation & Community Partnerships Department. Cary is currently a Management Analyst in the Economic Development Division of the City Manager's Office. Cary works in tandem with the Economic Development Manager and the business community to enhance and improve the economic well-being of the Ventura community.
Born and raised in California, Cary has been a Ventura County resident since 1979 and a proud Ventura resident since 1993. Cary received her B.S. in Organizational Leadership from California Lutheran University (CLU) in Thousand Oaks. Outside of the office, Cary enjoys photography, traveling, and exploring the nooks and crannies of Ventura County.
Our elected officials recognize the importance and value of economic development and prosperity in our city which is why it remains one of the City Council’s top priorities.
The Economic Development Committee, a subcommittee of the Ventura City Council, is a dedicated group of three council members and community partners that meets the first Tuesday of each month at 2pm in the Santa Cruz Conference Room in City Hall (501 Poli St, room 223). These meetings are open to the public and provide an opportunity to review our progress and receive updates and input from our community partners and residents at large. You can find meeting information and a link to agendas here.
- Cheryl Heitmann, Committee Chair
- Christy Weir, Vice Chair
- Matt LaVere - "A strong local economy is the foundation of every successful city. Why? Because a strong economy creates high-paying jobs and provides the revenue Ventura needs to fund public safety, infrastructure repairs, parks and other improvements throughout the City. I believe in a safe, family-friendly and prosperous Ventura, and that is why in my role as a council member I strive every day to make economic development a top priority."
The Economic Development Division is in the process of updating the 2018-2022 Economic Development Strategic Plan (EDSP) with informed input from the Economic Development Subcommittee, key community stakeholders and partners, local business representatives, and discussions with various city advisory committees and economic data sources. The EDSP will be added to the agenda for a future City Council meeting for review and eventual adoption.
Once formally adopted by the Ventura City Council, the EDSP will be updated frequently as projects are completed, refined or re-prioritized. Treating the EDSP as a ‘living’ plan will provide flexibility in allowing new economic development opportunities to be integrated into the strategy throughout the life of the plan.
The EDSP will focus on the following key areas:
- Business Retention, Expansion and Attraction
- Workforce Development
- Special Projects