MEDA Members’ Corner: Miranda Braatz

Miranda Braatz, Chief Executive Officer, New American Economic Development Strategies

Explain your role within your organization
I am the Chief Executive Officer of my organization and the visionary behind our various products aimed at furthering economic development throughout the Nation. I use my gifts of perspicacity, passion and perseverance to equip small and mid-sized communities with innovative economic development solutions, and thereby empower them to recover from disasters, revitalize stagnant economies and reimagine their viability in a new era.

What role does your organization play in expanding economic opportunity?
New American Economic Development Strategies (EDS) is a full service privately held Economic Development Firm dedicated to bringing the next generation of innovative Economic Development concepts, products and services to all communities. At EDS we believe that all communities have the right to access affordable and equitable Economic and Community Development.

Please include any personal background information that you’d like to share (Alma mater, Military Service, hobbies, etc)
At the beginning of her career, Miranda rose to achievement as the youngest City Manager and CEO of a multi-million dollar local government entity in the country, where she pursued her passion for urban redevelopment and economic development. Miranda currently owns and serves as CEO of a nationally recognized Economic Development firm. Miranda’s efficacious career spans public speaking, professional writings, teaching and years of dedicated public service. With her Masters Degree in Public Administration, Miranda enjoys teaching others her renowned approach to urban redevelopment and community advocacy.

Miranda Braatz, MPA is a Chief Executive Officer who partners with state and local governments to help create and administer innovative economic development programs that serve the communities’ strategic objectives. After nearly a decade of working in economic development and local government, Miranda knows what drives those conversations. Her extensive experience with underrepresented and marginalized communities has taught her to understand their economic needs and desires. Her focus has always been to shepherd the redevelopment process in sync with the community fabric, maintaining historic and cultural integrity while enhancing economic opportunities and viability.

Miranda’s professional experiences has made her an expert in redevelopment of retail shopping centers and ageing large land parcels. In order to facilitate economic growth, Miranda partners with both the public and private sectors; creating Public Private Partnerships (PPP), which in turn provides economic growth within cities. Miranda uses PPP’s because the infusion of private capital enables more efficient procurement of properties and improves the focus on both client satisfaction and life cycle maintenance. When used strategically PPP’s can be an important tool for infrastructure and development. Having grown up in an ageing and declining community, Miranda has always envisioned revitalizing those areas in a way that’s conducive to future growth while avoiding the displacement that often occurs. Her belief is that growth and development must be right for that community and not a disruptive force. Since the beginning, Miranda’s career has been a passionate and purposeful pursuit focused on economic development within low-to-moderate-income areas around the country.

Miranda holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from The George Washington University, a Graduate Certificate in Public Management from George Mason University, and a Master of Public Administration degree with a concentration in State and Local Government, where she graduated with Institutional Honors.

Most recently, Miranda served as the Chief Operating Officer of New American Strategies, Inc., which has been contracted by the Texas General Land Office to administer a $100 Million Community Development Block Grant – Disaster Recovery program. This program is the largest economic development project ever undertaken in the United States and is the only of its kind. Miranda’s collaborative leadership approach and perspicacity led this program to success for Hurricane Harvey victims in the State of Texas, paving the way for similar recovery program efforts across the nation.

Miranda has created and implemented Economic Development departments and programs and Incentive Funds for various local governments across the country. In addition to her economic development work, Miranda has served as a City Manager, City Administrator, and Economic Development Department Founder and Director.

As a City Manager, Miranda modernized the policies, practices and procedures of cities as she implemented her own style and work philosophy. She transformed governments and staff to high-functioning, technologically astute and responsive teams focused on implementing practical ideas. Miranda instituted City Economic Development Departments tasked with providing economic development incentives to local establishments. Following the institution of these Departments, Miranda established Economic Development Incentive Funds within these entities. These Programs managed over $1 Million throughout the Department. In addition to the establishment of these novel Programs, she also sought to repurpose an abandoned 1,000 seat theatre, cultivating Public Private Partnerships (PPP) that utilize the vacant theatre into high-end usable civic space for the community. Miranda built momentum as a City Manager and passed three (3) multi-million-dollar economic development projects that had been stagnant for years prior, while restructuring and implementing multi-million dollar budgets.

As Assistant City Administrator, Miranda founded the Economic Development Department for the City of New Carrollton, Maryland. Within one-year she expanded it to include two full-time employees with a $150,000 budget. As founder of the Economic Development Department, Miranda established a $1 million Fund to incentivize growth, which she used to implement a major revitalization of the commercial district in the City of New Carrollton. As Assistant City Administrator, Miranda harnessed her passion for community revitalization to breathe new life into dying and distressed communities. She has an uncanny ability to write grants, negotiate deals, pursue major development projects and conduct economic development with local and state governments. Miranda’s tenure with the City of New Carrollton molded her into the fearless and dedicated leader she has become. Miranda’s professional drive led her to manage a 5-year capital improvement plan and oversee grant spending for the City. Additionally, Miranda served as Lead Administrator for all insurance matters for the city, developed community endeavors for veterans and promulgated new policies and procedures regarding our environmental inheritance. Her consistent and responsible management of constituent engagement increased citizen participation and fostered community pride.

Miranda’s other roles include working for the City of District Heights, Maryland, as a Community and Economic Development Fellow, and working for the American Council for Technology-Industry Advisory as a Government Programs Manager in Fairfax, Virginia. Additionally, Miranda served as a member for several professional organizations, including serving as President of the Maryland City and County Managers Association, Maryland Municipal League, Maryland Economic Development Association, International Council of Shopping Centers, International City and County Management Association, International Economic Development Council, Commercial Real Estate Development Association, Young Government Leaders National Chapter, and Women of Prince Georges. Miranda’s professional conduct has led her to receive the 2005 Wisconsin Volunteer of the Year and the 2013 ICMA Young Professional Award.

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