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Mayor Keller Announces New Director of Economic Development

Local business owner and community advocate brings years of experience in economic development

Jan. 11, 2022

Today, Mayor Keller announced the appointment of the new Economic Development Director, Charles Ashley III. As an active member of the Albuquerque community and successful businessman, Ashley will bring his knowledge of economic and community development into his role to help attract new businesses and support those that are already here in our city.

“Albuquerque is entering a promising time for sustainable, diverse economic growth, and we look forward to having Charles lead our department through it,” said Mayor Tim Keller. “His work as a business owner, advocate, and partner to the City over the years has created opportunities for folks from all walks of life, and we’re fortunate to have him continuing that mission with us.”

Charles Ashley III is Founder of Cultivating Coders, a New Mexico-based company that provides technical training and curriculum in web and mobile application development to K-12 schools, as well as adult learners, in tribal, rural, and overlooked urban areas that lack resources in coding and computer science education. Soon after Cultivating Coders' inception, it won the SXSW Tech Startup of the Year award for ingenuity in its training approach. Prior to his current role, Charles was a Marketing and Strategy Consultant for several clients in the Technology, Higher Education, and Film sectors.

"Economic development is vital to a community's success, because it plays a role across sectors. Whether it's film, workforce development, or education, our city's economy benefits significantly when these sectors are strong and connected, as a whole ecosystem," said Charles Ashley III. “I look forward to serving Albuquerque in a new capacity, and to building on the strong work the department has done in recent years to support our local economy and bring in a multitude of new opportunities.”

Ashley previously served as Film Liaison and Marketing Specialist for Bernalillo County's Economic Development Department in New Mexico, and was Manager of Marketing for CNM's STEMulus Center. Charles is equal parts successful businessman and compassionate community advocate. He is the recipient of numerous awards which reflect that: he won Albuquerque Economic Development's Rising Star Award; Business Journal’s Influencers: Rising Star Award; Albuquerque Business First's 40 Under 40 Award; and was selected as a member of the White House TechHire Initiative. Most recently, he won the New Mexico Ethics in Business Award.

Charles thrives on finding effective solutions to problems and then bringing those solutions to life. He is hopeful that his compassion for educational and workforce development opportunity, combined with his business acumen, can continue to affect positive growth for overlooked populations. Charles also believes strongly in giving back to the community; he has sat on numerous Boards of Directors, including ONE Albuquerque Fund (as Chairman), US Eagle Federal Credit Union, New Mexico Learning Alliance, New Mexico AIDS Services, and APS Foundation’s Selfless Senior Selection Committee. He also served the City of Albuquerque, both on Mayor Berry’s Arts and Culture Deep Dive Committee and Mayor Keller’s Education Transition Team.