Kip Bergstrom has 30 years of experience as a strategist, business executive, economic development professional and place-maker. He is a nationally prominent advocate of place-centric economic development. He has participated in the successful repositioning the City of Stamford, the State of Rhode Island and Connecticut’s largest bank. His interests, writings and accomplishments span the full spectrum of economic development, including tourism, education and talent, transportation, entrepreneurship, technology commercialization, real estate development, and the interface of the human network and the natural system.
On April 12, 2011, the General Assembly approved Kip as the Executive Director of the Commission on Culture and Tourism. On July 1, 2011, the Commission merged into the Department of Economic and Community Development and Kip became a deputy commissioner of DECD with a portfolio that includes the development of the innovation economy, statewide branding, as well as the arts and culture, historic preservation and tourism functions.
From 2008 to 2011, Kip served as Executive Director of the Stamford Urban Redevelopment Commission, the development agency for the City of Stamford, which has been instrumental in transforming Stamford into New York’s principal business satellite for financial services and corporate headquarters. Kip also coordinated Reinventing Stamford, a civic conversation and a strategy in action, enabling Stamford citizens to take a role in their own destiny. As part of that initiative, Kip led a diverse group of 300 business, community, political and education leaders in an in-depth exploration of the emerging conditions that will impact Stamford, and the opportunities in them for long-term economic growth, energy-efficiency, environmental quality, and reduced economic disparity. The goal is a resilient, thriving city that is a magnet for talent, a center for innovation and a model of green values where people want to live and work.
For ten years, from 1998-2008, Kip was the Executive Director of the Rhode Island Policy Council, a private/public partnership which included senior leaders of business, labor, government and higher education. In that position, Kip developed an economic strategy for Rhode Island, positioning it as part of the tri-state Boston metro economy. Kip also launched initiatives to improve Rhode Island’s business climate, innovation capacity and quality of life, bringing the state to a position of national leadership across a broad spectrum of economic and community development dimensions. Rhode Island was among the four states that made the greatest improvement in the Kauffman Foundation’s New Economy Index between 2002 and 2007. Historically a regional laggard, from 1998 to 2008, Rhode Island often led New England in job and income growth, increasing its share of the Boston metro’s high wage jobs.
From 1993-1998, Kip was Stamford’s first economic development director. He helped create prospect development networks and peer-to-peer selling teams that resulted in a dramatic turn-around of the Stamford economy, outperforming every city in Connecticut and every major business center in the New York metropolitan area. Kip was directly involved in 66 successful business recruitment and retention projects, totaling 6,500 jobs and 2.5 million square feet of space, including the attraction of the 2,200 employee North American headquarters of UBS, the world’s second largest bank.
Prior to coming to Stamford in 1993, Kip held senior management positions in the private and public sectors. He has a Masters Degree from the Kennedy School of Government and the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University, where he was the first student to specialize in economic development.
Kip lives in Old Saybrook with his wife, Marilyn Piurek, and four dogs. He has two grown children, living in New York and London, and one granddaughter.