Guild Member Profile
A recognized leader in economic development, Gray Swoope is President and Chief Executive Officer of VisionFirst Advisors. After a successful 30-year career in economic development, Gray launched VisionFirst in 2015, with offices in Tallahassee, Orlando and Jackson, Mississippi. The firm has established a highly successful customer base founded on trust, results and continued engagement.
VisionFirst’s portfolio of client work, spanning more than 40 states, involves economic development strategy, marketing/communications, workforce strategy, site selection and incentives negotiations and compliance. The firm’s clients include six Fortune 500 companies and represent a variety of industries including information technology, bio pharmaceutical, aerospace, advanced manufacturing and logistics/distribution. Gray has a track record for promoting collaborative solutions and building highly effective teams that deliver successful results.
Prior to starting VisionFirst, Gray served as Florida’s Secretary of Commerce and President of Enterprise Florida, the state’s public/private economic development organization, during then Rick Scott administration from 2011-2015. Before joining Governor Scott, Gray served as the Executive Director of the Mississippi Development Authority (MDA) under then Governor and current VisionFirst board chair, Haley Barbour. During his tenure at MDA, Gray not only played a vital role in recruiting world renown companies to Mississippi but also provided leadership in economic development recovery following Hurricane Katrina.
Gray is passionate about economic development, having served at all levels representing both urban and rural regions. A constant student of the profession who never stops the pursuit of learning, Gray successfully wields his knowledge to meet the goals of his clients in today’s fast-paced economy. Gray earned both undergraduate and graduate degrees from Mississippi State University.
GEOGRAPHIC AREAS SERVED
|Medical and Life Sciences||Advanced Manufacturing||Logistics, Warehouse and Distribution|
|Forestry, Minerals, Metal||Aerospace, Aeronautics and Aviation|
|Cabot Industries||Heat Biologics||Atlas Companies|
|Space Perspective||Walmart||Other Fortune 500 companies|
After thirty years working in economic development in three states and leading two state organizations we launched VisionFirst Advisors in 2015. That experience provides both context and value to our corporate clients in location advisory strategy. Proud of our success and the continued trust we have earned from our site selection clients. Continued engagement is our benchmark for success.