Gray Swoope

President & Chief Executive Officer

Tallahassee, Florida

“We greatly value every engagement knowing that we have been invited to the table to be a partner. It is important we reflect the values of our client, fill that gap of knowledge and deliver results while maintaining trust.”

A recognized leader in economic development and site selection, Gray Swoope is president and CEO of VisionFirst Advisors. After a successful 30-year career in economic development, Gray launched the VisionFirst consulting practice in 2015. Gray has dedicated his career to economic development, having served at all levels representing both urban and rural regions. A constant student of the profession who never stops the pursuit of learning, Gray successfully wields his knowledge to meet the goals of his clients in today’s fast-paced economy. As a result of his unmatched experience and understanding of project drivers, Gray was named a member of the Site Selectors Guild – one of only 58 full members. 

Prior to starting VisionFirst, Gray served in Florida Governor Rick Scott’s administration (2011-2015) as secretary of commerce and president and CEO of its public/private economic development organization, Enterprise Florida, Inc. (EFI). Under his leadership, EFI elevated its economic development presence and delivered the best results in the organization’s history, announcing competitive project wins including Amazon, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Hertz, Navy Federal Credit Union, Northrop Grumman and Verizon.

Before joining Governor Scott, Gray served as executive director of the Mississippi Development Authority (MDA) under Governor and current VisionFirst board chair, Haley Barbour. During his tenure at MDA, Gray led the project team in successfully recruiting several global corporations to the state. In addition, Gray’s leadership following Hurricane Katrina was critical to Mississippi’s recovery efforts. MDA acted as the state’s fiscal agent for $5.4 billion of the federal recovery package appropriated through the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The team’s efforts were widely accoladed and can be credited to many of the natural disaster recovery programs currently in place today.

Gray earned both undergraduate and graduate degrees from Mississippi State University.

In his spare time, Gray can most likely be found out on the water. He has a passion for boating, fishing and simply spending time outdoors. He has a deep appreciation for Florida’s natural beauty, from the coastlines to the wetlands to the freshwater springs. Gray and his wife have two daughters, one in law school at Ole Miss at the other working in the film and entertainment industry in New York City.



Areas of Expertise

  • 30 Years of Leading Site Selection, State, Regional & Local Economic Development
  • Economic Development Risk Mitigation
  • Leverage of Economic Development for Greater Impact
  • Experience in Helping States & Communities Invest in Infrastructure & Talent
  • Building Community Capacity to Leverage Funds
  • Compliance Processes & Procedures

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