This morning, Mayor Sandy Stimpson announced the selection of Mobile native Joan Dunlap as executive director of the mayor’s Innovation Team, an initiative facilitated by a $1.65 million Bloomberg Innovation grant.Stimpson said he was excited to choose the Murphy High School graduate from a total of 160 applicants nationwide. The city received applications from as far away as Boston and Seattle.
“We received applications from across America and we were thrilled to find our top candidate right here in our local workforce,” Stimpson said at a press conference at Dunlap’s alma mater Monday. “Joan Dunlap has an outstanding background as an entrepreneur and investor and she has had impressive experience reviving economically depressed areas in Houston. We are excited to welcome her home again as we continue our efforts to transform Mobile.”
Dunlap and Executive Director of Planning and Development Dianne Irby will soon meet with Bloomberg officials about how to best proceed with the grant money. Mobile’s “I-Team” will work to revitalize neighborhoods. Stimpson said focusing resources on the Campground neighborhood, the Oakleigh Garden District and Africatown could be a possibility, as well as areas of Dauphin Island Parkway. He said the group would work with council on picking the right neighborhoods.
Dunlap will help Stimpson hire the remaining members of the team, including a senior adviser and two junior advisors and analysts. Dunlap’s position, as well as the others will be paid for through the grant money, which will span three years, Irby said. At the end of three years, at least some of those positions will be transformed into full-time city positions.
Dunlap, who graduated from Tulane University, the Jones Graduate School of Management at Rice University, and completed graduate studies at Harvard Business School, served as a founding partner of Houston-based PetroHawk Energy Corp. She also served in the Real Estate Finance Group of JP Morgan Chase, where she worked with public and private officials to redevelop blighted areas of Houston.