Baye Muhammad, Rochester’s commissioner of neighborhood and business development, has been named to lead the Rochester Economic Development Corp., or REDCO, while a longtime city employee, Gary Kirkmire, has been tapped to replace him.
Muhammad will serve in the newly created position of CEO at REDCO. The not-for-profit development corporation was established in 1983 to stimulate and increase business investment in the city to create and retain jobs and provide commercial services. Mayor Lovely Warren, who announced the appointments Monday, serves as board chairwoman. “These appointments reflect the actions of a city that is ready to manage its growth,” Warren said in a statement. “Under this new structure, REDCO will become the leading agency to promote Rochester on the national and international stage so job creators across the world are fully aware of the opportunities our city has to offer. The beauty and vitality of Rochester have been a well-kept secret for far too long. The time has come to tell our story to the world.”
The city’s Neighborhood and Business Development department, or NBD, has one of the most expansive missions within city government, officials noted, including code enforcement, land-use management, the regulation of licensed trades, housing development, business assistance and the administration of more than $12 million in federal grant funding.
Muhammad served as commissioner of NBD since 2015. Accomplishments under his term include the drafting of Rochester 2034, the city’s first comprehensive plan since 1999; a departmental reorganization to increase the focus on customer service and long-range planning; the development of new real estate created by the Inner Loop East and Midtown projects, among other things.
“I continue to be grateful for the many opportunities Mayor Warren has provided me to spend each day improving the quality of life in Rochester,” Muhammad said. “Working with the dedicated men and women of NBD has been the highlight of my professional career. After years of managing the sweeping mission of this department, I am excited to focus my attention on my true passion of job creation by introducing Rochester to new employers.”
Kirkmire has been a city employee for 34 years. Under his watch, NBD developed a nationally recognized rental inspection program, a lead-poisoning prevention program that has produced an 85 percent reduction of child lead poisoning and a revamped hiring process for code enforcement officers.
“I am excited to work with Mayor Warren as the commissioner of NBD and helping her advance her important goals of job creation and neighborhood vitality,” Kirkmire said. “I am also grateful to Baye Muhammad for the guidance and valuable counsel he has given me over the years. I intend to follow his successful example of innovation and improvement.”
In addition to REDCO, Rochester is represented in economic development by the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council, one of 10 such REDCs in New York State, and Greater Rochester Enterprise Inc.