Summit County Development Finance Authority President Chris Burnham retiring soon.

February 20, 2024
1 min read

Article Summary


– Development Finance Authority of Summit County President Chris Burnham is retiring at the end of 2024 after 25 years of leadership
– Rachel Bridenstine will take over as president in 2025, having served as vice president and executive director of managed entities

Development Finance Authority (DFA) President Chris Burnham has led the organization for 25 years, overseeing financing for 341 projects in Ohio. Under his leadership, the DFA has provided over $882 million in funding for major projects in the region. Burnham is set to retire at the end of 2024, with Rachel Bridenstine taking over the role in 2025. Bridenstine, currently serving as vice president and executive director of managed entities, has been selected for her leadership qualities and expertise in the field.

The DFA, previously known as the Summit County Port Authority, was established to provide capital for economic development projects in Northeast Ohio. Burnham played a significant role in the transformation of the organization, increasing its credit worthiness and lending capacity over the years. Bridenstine spearheaded the creation of the Western Reserve Community Fund, offering lending support to small businesses and nonprofits.

Community and organizational leaders have praised the work of the DFA under Burnham’s leadership. Summit County Executive Ilene Shapiro commended Burnham for his thoughtful and intentional approach to economic development. The Akron nonprofit GAR Foundation has supported the DFA through grants for operating expenses and project funding. Burnham’s mentorship and foresight in preparing Bridenstine for the role have been recognized by community leaders.

Toby Rittner, President and CEO of the Council of Development Finance Agencies, praised Burnham for turning the DFA into one of the best development finance agencies in Ohio and the country. He highlighted Burnham’s adherence to strategic plans and the development of innovative programming. Rittner expressed confidence in Bridenstine’s ability to bring a fresh perspective and energy to the organization as she assumes the role of president.

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