The Brownwood Municipal Development District will have a new economic development director after unanimously approving the nomination of current Brownwood Chamber of Commerce Director Ray Tipton.

Following approval by the Brownwood City Council Tuesday morning, Tipton will officially step on as director and replace Guy Andrews, who left in May to become economic development director of San Angelo in May.

“I’ve been kind of a supporting role in the economic development in the community. With the MDD as a fairly new organization, it’s a great opportunity to take a lead role in economic development,” Tipton said. “I thought it was something I was ready to do. The timing was right. With the leadership at the city and the MDD board, I felt the timing was right and I was a good fit for sliding into this position.”

Before becoming executive director of the chamber, Tipton was a small business owner focusing on a variety of fields such as real estate, media and marketing and at one point even owning a comic book store. He began working as marketing manager for the chamber in 2009 and took the reigns as executive director in 2014. Monday, Tipton officially announced his resignation during a chamber board meeting. After nearly a decade of working with the chamber, Tipton said leaving would not be easy for him.

“I’m going to a board meeting now to submit my resignation,” said Tipton after receiving his nomination from the BMDD. “The plan is they will post a job tomorrow and have a hiring committee to take care of that. I will start here on July 16th … [Leaving] might be hard. I’m looking forward to the chamber continuing with what I put in place and helping the business community prosper.”

Brownwood City Manager Emily Crawford said Tipton was the overwhelming favorite because of his business experience as well as his experience working with local government.

“Ray is no stranger to the BMDD or the business community,” Crawford said. “He has been working for the chamber for more than 8 years now, working with the business community, the Brownwood Industrial Foundation, the legislative affairs committee and the downtown development committee … Ray has been part of our retail recruitment team. He has already been a part of that group that attends the tradeshows in Dallas as well as his work with us on our retail prospects.”

The BMDD was established in 2016, focuses on promoting, assisting and enhancing economic development in Brownwood. Crawford feels Tipton is the right candidate to lead and develop the BMDD and further its mission of making Brownwood a prosperous place for local businesses and industries.

“A big part of economic development is understanding the dynamic of your community, the strengths you already have in your business community and those gaps that need to be filled,” Crawford said. “Ray comes to us with a vast knowledge of the business community in Brownwood. I believe he will be able to hit the ground running because of his familiarity with the major industry, existing commercial businesses with the city and will not take long to get on board as far as making that conversion from the chamber.”