Our Department

Information about the Economic Development Department.

In 1993 the Office of Economic Development was created to promote and facilitate business development, to create and implement economic development strategy, and to strengthen ties with the private sector.

Through Economic Development Office's many achievements and strong reputation for reliability, on July 1, 2006, the Office of Economic Development gained department status becoming the Economic Development Department.

Economic Development Department has evolved to become a policy-oriented, fast-moving department within the City. We work with the private sector, within city government and in partnership with other agencies, the Congressional delegation, state legislators and business groups.

We take a networking, problem-solving approach. We pride ourselves on responding quickly.

Department Staff

Staff competencies include finance, recruitment, small-business development, tourism, international trade, and film and multi-media.



Gary Oppedahl, Director, Economic Development Department, comes from the private sector where he has spent much of his career fostering tech start-ups including EMCORE and most recently TriLumina, both of which are built from research conducted at Sandia National Labs. Mr. Oppedahl has been involved with business start-up activity in Silicon Valley and is a former Intel employee whose duties included new site start-ups. Mayor Berry has directed Gary to work with existing tech-transfer leaders and innovators in Albuquerque and around the world with the goal of building a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem in Albuquerque and to identify opportunities for growth and job creation; more specifically – the commercialization of research from our National Labs and our Universities.

(505) 768-3270
[email protected]

Deirdre Firth, Deputy Director Economic Development Department, is responsible for Economic Development Department’s recruitment and expansion projects and programs, including Industrial Revenue Bonds. Previously she was vice president for business development at Albuquerque Economic Development Inc., a development consultant, and an urban and regional planner.

(505) 768-3269
[email protected]

Ann Lerner, Film Liaison, brings 20 years of production experience in the film industry to the Albuquerque Film Office. Its mission is to promote and attract the film industry to Albuquerque. Her responsibilities include marketing, location scouting, production meetings, community walk-throughs, on-site visits, location follow-ups, and coordinating special screenings.

(505) 768-3283
[email protected]


Christopher Chavez, Planner, has been with EDD for nearly seven years and was previously employed with the State of New Mexico Economic Development Department. He collaborates with various economic development entities, governmental entities, and the community to actively develop the economy. Mr. Chavez also serves as the public information officer for the EDD.

(505) 768-3292

[email protected]