Gray Swoope, CEO, and founder of the economic development consulting firm VisionFirst Advisors, LLC., today announced that Cristina L. Paredes, CEcD, has joined VisionFirst as a senior consultant. VisionFirst, a subsidiary of Butler Snow LLP, is a customer-driven consulting firm that develops strategy, solves problems, and delivers results while mitigating risks and barriers.

With more than 17 years of local government experience across several disciplines, Cristina has devoted the past eight years to economic development and diversity efforts, most recently serving as the Director for the Tallahassee-Leon County Office of Economic Vitality (OEV).

Under her guidance, OEV grew to an office of eleven and spearheaded the largest growth of Tallahassee’s economy through several expansion projects, including the selection of Tallahassee as the site for an Amazon Fulfillment Center and the expansion of Danfoss Turbocor’s manufacturing and research facilities, for a total net growth of 2,900 new jobs to the local economy. Cristina also worked to promote diversity and economic inclusion efforts by directly engaging minority and women-owned businesses to help enhance business opportunities. Her office was recognized both nationally and internationally for these accomplishments. 

“Cristina is a recognized leader in our profession, named one of the Top 50 Economic Developers in the Country by Consultant Connect,” said Swoope. “We are excited about her joining VisionFirst and know the instant value she will add to our team and clients.”

Cristina will use her years of experience and skill set to provide VisionFirst clients invaluable insight into site selection and diversity efforts.

 “VisionFirst Advisors’ extensive experience, innovative and personal approach to addressing client needs have distinguished the group as the go-to firm in the economic development consulting field, ” said Cristina. “I am excited to bring my experience and knowledge to help achieve our client’s goals across the country.”

Cristina has been recognized for her work in economic development. Consultants Connect named her one of North America’s Top 50 Economic Developers in 2021. She was also recognized as one of the 2022 Tallahassee’s 25 Women You Need to Know by the Tallahassee Democrat.

Cristina received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Florida State University. In addition, she attended the University of Oklahoma Economic Development Institute, earning the designation of Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) by the International Economic Development Council (IEDC).