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Third Generation Valley Resident Takes Reins From Eager as Economic Leader



Will Oliver has been named to head the Fresno Economic Development Corporation following the retirement of Lee Ann Eager. (GV Wire Composite/Paul Marshall)
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The Fresno Economic Development Corporation found its captain to lead the ship just in time for its long-time head to step down.

“We are poised to amplify our efforts in attracting new businesses, creating living-wage jobs, and training the workforce of the future.” — new Fresno EDC President/CEO Will Oliver

Former Vice President of Business Services Will Oliver will take the role of CEO beginning Sept. 1. He began working for the organization in 2013 after serving as a Madera city councilman and mayor pro tem for the city.  He is a third generation Central Valley resident with family roots in the community for more than 100 years.

“I am honored and humbled to serve as the next President and CEO of the Fresno County Economic Development Corporation. We are poised to amplify our efforts in attracting new businesses, creating living-wage jobs, and training the workforce of the future,” Oliver said. “I am excited to lead our talented team in driving sustainable growth and advancing initiatives that will have an impact on the businesses and communities we serve.”

$23 Million Grant to Train Fresno Workers Part of Oliver’s Toolbox

The move comes as former CEO Lee Ann Eager officially retired in August after 14 years. The EDC is tasked with courting businesses to the Fresno area. During her tenure, Eager expanded the nonprofit to 21 employees from eight when she began.

Part of the work involves connecting labor to business. In 2022, the organization received $23 million from the Good Jobs Challenge Grant to train 2,500 employees for jobs in specialized fields.

In addition, Oliver serves on the Developing the Region’s Inclusive and Vibrant Economy (DRIVE) Executive Committee and takes over EDC as the state has promised to invest $250 million in downtown infrastructure needs.

Oliver attended the London School of Economics and Political Science, earning an executive master of science in social business and entrepreneurship. He received his bachelor’s degree in business administration at the Craig School of Business at Fresno State.

“As a board member of the EDC, I am thrilled with the appointment of its new CEO. Mr Oliver is uniquely positioned to guide the EDC towards new heights of success,” said Carole Goldsmith, State Center Community College District chancellor.

“Mr. Oliver’s appointment ushers in a new era of innovation, growth, and collaboration, one that will undoubtedly steer Fresno County towards a prosperous future for all.”

Edward Smith began reporting for GV Wire in May 2023. His reporting career began at Fresno City College, graduating with an associate degree in journalism. After leaving school he spent the next six years with The Business Journal, doing research for the publication as well as covering the restaurant industry. Soon after, he took on real estate and agriculture beats, winning multiple awards at the local, state and national level. You can contact Edward at 559-440-8372 or at

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