Meet Our Team#
Need business support or help navigating the City organization? The City is committed to a healthy economy that is vibrant, resilient and integrated with the community's social and environmental fabric.
How can we help? We collaborate. We convene. We are a funding agency. We can help build relationships.
The Economic Health Office exists to connect your business with:
- Business retention/expansion expertise
- Partner organizations
- Targeted industry clusters
- Construction projects business support
- Multicultural Business & Entrepreneurship Center
- Talent sector partnerships
- Business data analytics
- Small business support
SeonAh Kendall, CPA is the City of Fort Collins Director of Economic Health, where she oversees the Economic Health Office's team focused on business retention and expansion, talent development/recruitment and special projects to ensure a vibrant Fort Collins economy. During her tenure at the City, SeonAh has assisted in the development of the City’s business assistance policy framework, Broadband business plan and Connexion branding, industry cluster competitive process and Business Appreciation Breakfast.
Prior to her work at the City, SeonAh was Business Program Director/Faculty at Front Range Community College. Additionally, with over 20+ years as a small business owner in Fort Collins, SeonAh is able to share her insight and perspective within the City organization on the development of policies and procedures that impact small businesses. SeonAh holds a BS and MS in Business Administration with a concentration in financial and tax accounting from Colorado State University. She is also a Certified Public Accountant (CPA).
SeonAh serves as a member of the Board of Directors for the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) and Economic Development Council of Colorado (EDCC). She is a founding member of the NoCO Manufacturing Partnership, an all-volunteer organization representing over 200 northern Colorado manufacturers to address workforce development opportunities and continue to support a thriving environment for manufacturers in our community. Additionally, SeonAh represents the City as a member of the Economic Development Research Partners (EDRP), the think-tank and research arm of IEDC.
Shannon is the Small Business Program Manager, overseeing small business engagement and the newly launched Multicultural Business and Entrepreneur Center. She proudly supports small businesses regularly, but especially on Thursdays which she has self-declared, Merch Day Thursdays, donning small business t-shirts and sharing about it on Instagram. Most recently she served as the Interim Economic Health Manager, overseeing COVID business response programs and outreach. Shannon currently supports committee work for the Economic Development Council of Colorado. She loves having meetings over milkshakes at Stuft Burgers, sipping sprtizers at Butterfly Café, slurping oysters at Jax Fish House, buying graphic t-shirts at Lemons & Lace, and grabbing lunch at Taqueria Los Comales.
Clay Frickey is the Redevelopment Program Manager, focusing on managing the operations of the Urban Renewal Authority. Prior to joining the Urban Renewal Authority, Clay worked in the City of Fort Collins Planning Department. His work included a mix of development review and long-range planning efforts with a focus on affordable housing. Amongst his accomplishments were being the project planner on the largest development in Fort Collins, co-managing the update to the City’s Affordable Housing Strategic Plan, and providing strategic direction on the housing component of City Plan. Clay holds a bachelor’s degree from University of Denver and a master’s degree from Cornell University and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP).
Jillian Fresa is an Economic Health Manager with the City of Fort Collins Economic Health Office. She supports business retention and expansion projects as well as prospective businesses interested in Fort Collins. Jillian also works on talent & workforce development initiatives collaboratively across the region as well as other projects that help contribute to an equitable, vibrant, and healthy Fort Collins economy and community.
Originally from Virginia, she completed her Master’s in Public Administration at Old Dominion University, where her graduate research focused on economic development policy and theory. She holds her bachelor’s degree in International Relations, with a concentration in environmental affairs from Virginia Tech.
Edgar Ramos is our Bilingual Business Specialist. Local to Fort Collins, Edgar specializes in helping businesses navigate government processes and find resources for entrepreneurs to overcome barriers. As business owner himself, Edgar understands the struggle that is entrepreneurship.
Edgar will be supporting the ARPA funded, Multicultural Business and Entrepreneur Center (MBEC), that will connect small businesses and entrepreneurs to critical resources as they create, launch, and grow their businesses, all while building trust across all businesses. In addition, Edgar supports the initiative of the NoCo Latino Chamber of Commerce as an advisor.
According to the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) report - Investing in Entrepreneurs of Color, “business ownership is one of the greatest equalizers to racial inequality.... and yet businesses owned by people of color fall behind businesses owned by white people in almost every measurable indicator starting with the number of businesses owned by people of color, to their revenue, number of employees, and access to business capital."
I graduated with my degree in Social Work in 2020 from Middle Tennessee State University and focused in refugee resettlement and immigration services. After graduating, I moved to Salt Lake City and worked at the International Rescue Committee with their Spice Kitchen Incubator program, which assisted new Americans in started and growing their own food businesses. Since then, I have worked in a variety of positions for small businesses helping them grow and develop their services. Now that I am in Fort Collins, I am excited to be a part of the Multicultural Business and Entrepreneur Center and get to know the business community and help businesses owners succeed and flourish.
Born and raised in Buenos Aires Argentina, Tommy’s international background has provided him the ability to become highly adaptive in new environments and become more open-minded, hence, understanding other cultures and backgrounds. Through his experience in sales and digital marketing, he discovered a passion for helping brands grow through content creation on social media. Tommy enjoys working at the MBEC as a Business Connector helping entrepreneurs establish, grow, and launch their business. The people in this community are what makes Fort Collins an amazing place.
Michael Bussmann is the Business Liaison for Capital Projects. He works with community stakeholders and project managers, to mitigate impacts of city construction on local business. Dedicated to collaboration and conflict resolution, Michael believes that all sides of any issue require listening, understanding, and advocacy to achieve the best outcomes. Michael's focus is pre-project engagement and driving the mutual understanding of city infrastructure requirements, and the operational needs of the business community.
Before joining the city, Michael built his career in retail management and operations for multiple national and international companies. Originally from St. Louis, Missouri, Michael has called Fort Collins home since 2008.
Ashley Kailburn is our Sr. Economic Sustainability Specialist. She assists in planning, organizing, implementing, and monitoring projects and programs related to oversight and development of business retention, expansion, small business, and primary employer programs across the City. She also prepares and responds to prospective businesses interested in locating to Fort Collins and provides support to ensure incoming businesses are connected to appropriate resources and opportunities.
Prior to joining the Economic Health Office, Ashley spent six years with the City’s Utilities department providing education and outreach to small and medium-sized businesses. She has an extensive 15-year background in customer service, has a holistic view of our business community’s customer experience, and is passionate about collaborating in a meaningful way to build trusted partnerships.