Daniel Mann is ready to hit the ground running as he starts his tenure with the Fort Chaffee Redevelopment Authority. Mann took a moment from his first day as the new executive director at FCRA Friday (Aug. 16) to talk to Talk Business and Politics about his initial priorities in his new job.
“I want to jump right into working with prospective tenants and building strong relationships with (developers, community partners and stakeholders) to see how they can help us and we can help them to grow the region,” he said.
Mann also wants to meet with developers of recently purchased property in Chaffee Crossing to develop the property, so it can begin “creating jobs and making an impact” on the area. Mann said he looks forward to working with the Arkansas College of Health Education, area shipping industry and local, regional and state officials to make the area more viable and build on the quality of life that will bring more young professionals and young families to the area.
Mann, who was born and raised in Tulsa and graduated from Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, has significant experience in economic development and is eager to put that to work with FCRA.
“I started at the Tulsa Metro Chamber of Commerce as an intern. I needed a summer job. I called the chamber to see if they knew of any summer internships available and ended up as their intern,” he said.
Mann began working with the convention and visitor’s bureau but was moved to the economic development side of things. While there he worked with economic development on a smaller scale while manager of small and minority owned businesses and much larger scale as the executive director of the Tulsa area partnership and senior project manager for business attraction.
He also developed and led a six-county bi-state regional partnership for eastern Iowa and western Illinois in the Quad Cities region. Most recently Mann served as CEO of Great Plains Development Authority where he “successfully recruited manufacturing, warehouse/distribution, professional services and energy companies (that) led to the creation of over 5,000 new jobs with a total of over $1.6 billion in new investment,” a media statement on Mann said.
Great Plains is a quasi-municipality commissioned by the Pentagon to transfer and redevelop the former Kansas Army Ammunition plant in southeast Kansas.
Mann, who arrived in Fort Smith early Friday morning, will eventually be joined in town by his family, his wife of almost 20 years Tiffany, his daughter and his son. His daughter is a senior and will finish out her high school career in southeast Kansas, where the family has lived. With her obligation as a cheerleader and with the many civic organizations with which she is involved, moving her did not make much sense for the family, he said.
“They will be staying in … Kansas for now. (My daughter) will be graduating early, in December. We will look at transitioning as soon as possible,” he said.
Mann’s son is a sophomore in high school and is involved in golf and civic organizations as well, Mann said. The family enjoys spending time together as a family. They like being outdoors, enjoy the art scene in places they live and like live entertainment. They also very much enjoy the “lake life.” Mann said when living in Oklahoma, he used to travel through Fort Smith for vacations at Lake Ouachita near Hot Springs.
“It had been quite some time since I had been in Fort Smith. Ten or 12 years since I was here. A lot has changed for the benefit of all those here. There really is a lot here for young families,” he said.
A drop-in reception to meet Mann is scheduled for 3 to 5 p.m. Sept. 5 at Fantasies at the Fort, 12201 Ward Ave. in Chaffee Crossing.
“I’m always available to the public. I want the community to know I am always available to them, either me or a member of my staff,” Mann said.