Today, Bill Parrish, Jr., Chairman of Parrish & Heimbecker Ltd and Chair of the Board of Directors of Economic Development Winnipeg (EDW), and Dayna Spiring, EDW President & CEO, announced that Ryan Kuffner, Vice-President, Sales & Business Development, has been appointed EDW’s next President and Chief Executive Officer.
“I am pleased to share that following an extensive executive search and in-depth interview process, the board has appointed Ryan the organization’s next leader,” said Parrish. “Ryan demonstrated a clear vision and detailed platform shaped by extensive leadership experience and fueled by a genuine commitment to Winnipeg. We are excited to watch EDW’s next chapter unfold as Ryan builds on a legacy of strengthening Winnipeg’s economic future through relationship-building, and as a connector and activator.”
According to Parrish, the search was a comprehensive and competitive process that attracted a slate of high-quality candidates from across our community. EDW engaged People First HR Services to undertake the search, resulting in 75 candidates being considered, 12 of which were ultimately interviewed for the role.
“This was a rigorous process, and I am honoured that the board has entrusted me to lead the organization. This next level of responsibility is one I do not take lightly,” said Kuffner. “Dayna has built an exceptional organization during her seven years with EDW, assembling a team of passionate and talented Winnipeggers. We are known among our business community and government partners for our ability to lead and execute, and I look forward to continuing to drive impact for our community.”
Kuffner joined EDW in December 2017 with a vision to evolve its business development and investment attraction efforts to world-class levels, leveraging his global experience. Throughout his five+ years with EDW, Kuffner has been accountable for business expansion, retention and investment attraction efforts in support of the city’s key economic sectors, with the teams driving total capital investment of $999 million and creating 12,590 new direct, indirect and induced jobs, since he assumed the VP role in 2018.
He also created, and has been accountable for, the success of the organization’s Real Impact campaign, raising unprecedented funds from the private sector to support EDW's work, totalling more than $1 million per year for five years, a 30 per cent increase over the last five-year campaign results. Leveraging private sector support, Kuffner worked with municipal, federal and provincial partners to increase public sector funding for EDW’s investment attraction and talent-related activities, resulting in incremental public sector funding of $10m+ over the next several years.
“With a broad mandate to attract tourists, talent and investment to our city, EDW promotes leisure tourism in creative ways and lands high-value business conventions and special events that generate direct economic impact. We collaborate with the business community and government to help shape an economic environment in which businesses can thrive. These are all important ways to contribute to community.”
Kuffner is successor to Dayna Spiring, whose last day with EDW will be August 18. According to Spiring, EDW is at an inflection point and on a growth trajectory created by ambitious, achievable plans.
“I couldn’t be more pleased with the board’s decision to appoint Ryan to this role. I hired Ryan and I know what he can do. He has built high-performing teams and shepherded EDW into new spaces where it can deliver value. I trust that Ryan will steward the organization thoughtfully, aligned with the mission and vision, while continuing to serve our business community’s needs and remaining open to new possibilities. EDW is in very good hands.”
Prior to joining EDW, Kuffner held increasingly high-profile roles with Canada’s Foreign Service, both in Canada and abroad, with his final posting abroad as head of trade and investment at the Canadian Embassy in Ecuador. Over his 15 years as a trade diplomat, he represented Canada in bilateral and multilateral trade negotiations; advised and supported Canadian companies on international business development; helped attract and retain foreign investment to Canada, and supported Canadian investors in investing abroad as part of the mandate of facilitating job creation and economic development. He is also trilingual, speaking French and Spanish, in addition to his native English.
“I believe in the power of private-public sector partnerships, the importance of reconciliation and the capacity of empowered teams to excel and create significant, long-term impact,” said Kuffner. “EDW is a focused team that generates real results and measurable outcomes, and I look forward to championing the organization — and our city — here at home and beyond with the support of EDW's stakeholders. We know how to tell our city’s story, and we are positioning Winnipeg on the global stage and spotlighting everything we have to offer.”
The board wishes to extend its sincere appreciation to Spiring for her strong and inspiring leadership.
“When Dayna assumed the role of President & CEO in 2016, the board gave her a mandate to put EDW on the map and ensure the organization’s relevance to the local business community,” said Parrish. “Under her tenure, EDW doubled its revenues, almost doubled in employee count, attracted significant development and is regarded as an agency that can tackle big projects and get big things done – even amid a global pandemic. On behalf of the board, thank you, Dayna, for your fearlessness, action and unwavering belief that Winnipeg is a great place to live, work and invest. We cannot wait to see what’s next for you.”
Kuffner will assume the role of EDW President & CEO on August 21, 2023.