Louisville Forward is an integrated approach to economic and community development, combining business attraction, expansion and retention activities, and talent and workforce attraction, with all of the city's real estate development, land use and planning and design functions to present a unified solution for job growth and quality of place.
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Meet the Chief, Mary Ellen Wiederwohl
Mary Ellen Wiederwohl joined Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer’s administration in 2012, and in 2014, Fischer tapped her to lead Louisville Forward – the city’s new, integrated approach to economic and community development.
Louisville Forward combines business attraction, expansion, and retention activities with all of the city’s real estate functions and talent development to present a unified solution for job growth and quality of place. Louisville Forward has been named a Top Ten Economic Development Organization four times (2014, 2015, 2016, 2017) by Site Selection magazine, the leading trade publication for economic development, with announced projects totaling over $5 billion of investment and more than 22,000 new jobs over the last three years.
She has provided leadership for several of Mayor Fischer’s major initiatives, including his Strategic Plan, the Vision Louisville 25-year advanced plan, the Move Louisville strategic multi-modal transportation plan, the city’s first sustainability plan, the Global Louisville Action Plan and the Vision Russell Initiative, which recently won a HUD Choice Neighborhoods implementation grant.
Meet the team
Rankings and Recognitions
Perfect score of 100 on the Human Rights Campaign's Municipal Equality Index, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
Louisville Forward recognized as a 'Top Economic Development Group' by Site Selection magazine -- Four years in a row!
Louisville named "Co-Major Market of the Year" -- tying with Nashville, TN -- by Southern Business & Development
Forbes names Louisville a 'Top 10 City where Manufacturing is Thriving'
SmartAsset names Louisville a 'Top City for New College Grads'
Louisville recognized as 'Best in Class' among cities using data
EPA ranks Louisville a 'Top Midsize City' for most Energy Star certified buildings
Governing magazine recognizes Louisville as the 'Top Performer' in its Equipt to Innovate Report
SmartAsset ranks Louisville a 'Top City' for women in technology
National Geographic named Louisville to it's list of 'Best Small Cities in the U.S.'
VinePair ranks Louisville in its list of the 'World's Top 10 Beer Destinations for 2018'
Lonely Planet says Kentucky is a 'Top 10 Destination' to visit in 2018
Forbes says Louisville is a 'Top 15 City' for affordable living
Southern Living ranks Louisville on its list of '15 Incredible Solo Vacations to Take in the South'
SmartAsset ranks Louisville in its 'Top 15 cities Where Millenials are Moving'
Forbes ranks Louisville the No. 1 city in the U.S. for manufacturing
Louisville Forward named a Top Economic Development Group for 2016 by Site Selection magazine
SmartAsset ranks Louisville among the top 10 U.S. cities with lowest cost startup costs
Lumina Foundation designates Louisville as a 'Talent Hub'
Thumbtack ranks Louisville a Top 10 City for Small Business Friendliness
Perfect score of 100 on the Human Rights Campaign's Municipal Equality Index, 2015, 2016 and 2017
WalletHub names Louisville in top 10 2017 'Best-Run Cities' -- back-to-back ranking!
Glassdoor ranks Louisville as a Top 10 Best City for Jobs
NerdWallet ranks Louisville in its list of Top 20 Best Cities for Quality of Life
CNN named Louisville to it's list of 15 Charming Cities in the South
Realtor.com names Louisville's 40217 zip code as one of the Hottest Hipster Markets in the U.S.
Redlining Louisville map selected as Harvard's first-ever Map of the Month
Louisville ranked a top 5 'Best Theatre City' by Paste
Travel + Leisure named Louisville one of America's Favorite Places
Louisville designated SolSmart Gold for solar energy development
Kentucky ranked in Top States by Site Selection magazine
Louisville ranked as a Top Metro for the South Central and East North Central regions by Site Selection magazine
Named a Top 10 Best City for Job Seekers by ZipRecruiter
Named a Top 50 'Global Future-Ready Economy' by DELL
Louisville included in Huffington Post's list of 'Five Soccer Cities Making America Great Again'
Louisville ranks as one of Wallet Hub's 2016 'Best-Run Cities'
Ranked #18 on Glassdoor's 'Best Cities for Jobs' for 2016
Named 'Best Destination Experience' by World Food Travel Association 2016
Louisville named as a 'Top Destination on the Rise' by Trip Advisor
Back-to-Back perfect score of 100 on the Human Rights Campaign's Municipal Equality Index, 2015 and 2016
Named a 'Top LGBT Travel Destination' by Orbitz Travel
TIME magazine recognized Louisville as one of '240 Reasons to Celebrate America Right Now'
Conde Nast named Louisville to its list of '18 Underated Cities in America'
Forbes recognized Louisville as 'One of Five Surprising People, Places and Things to Watch'
Travel+Leisure named Louisville one of the 'Friendliest Cities in America'
Join the economic development team that is helping make Louisville a better place to live! Click here to view current city job openings.
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