Jun 05, 2024 6:45 AM
Jim Damian
Kern County's Chief Economic Development Officer

Jim Damian,was appointed as the County’s new Chief Economic Development Officer, effective July 31, 2023.

Mr. Damian will fill a new and critical role within the CAO’s office, designed to solely prioritize regional diversification, targeting, attracting, and retaining new business ventures, along with quality job creation. He will report directly to Kern County’s CAO, and will oversee the following:

  • Act as Kern County's primary liaison to all local, regional, and statewide economic development and business organizations, groups, collaboratives, and stakeholders to ensure continuity and alignment of County economic and business development priorities.
  • Will develop winning strategies to pitch and attract new business ventures in destination retail and entertainment, logistics, advanced manufacturing, aerospace, and energy.
  • Will ensure Kern County is at the table and highly competitive in marketplace decisions of companies seeking to locate and expand in California and the Central Valley.
  • Will develop and sustain an internal organizational culture that is sharply focused on business development and success, including ensuring all external facing business areas within our organization that are crucial for our success in this space are preforming at the level and standard required for attracting and retaining new and existing business, which includes code compliance, permitting, and public communications, among others.
  • Will sustain a private sector mentality and perspective in the County's economic development work.

Mr. Damian is an entrepreneur, two-time Ironman triathlon finisher, and Bakersfield’s 2021 Businessperson of the Year. He’s a first-generation college graduate from Tehachapi and holds an undergraduate degree from San Diego State University and a master’s degree from The University of California, Berkeley.

In 2005, Mr. Damian founded Stria, an acclaimed digital transformation company that uses technology and continuous improvement to reduce the burdens associated with business processes. Stria is a five-time INC 5000 honoree and Bakersfield’s 2022 Large Business of the Year. In August of 2022, Stria was acquired by Bitwise Industries in a private equity backed venture.

Mr. Damian is also the immediate past president of the Bakersfield Rotary Club and an advisor with the Central California Small Business Development Center.