The City of Palm Desert’s former senior development manager for economic development will be the new chief economic development officer for Palm Springs, City Manager Scott Stiles announced last week.
Wayne Olson will begin his new position at City Hall on Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2024. In Palm Desert, Olson was the chief architect of the strategy that led to the $90 million gift from the State of California to fund Cal State San Bernardino’s Palm Desert campus. He created, implemented and oversaw the City’s $2 million citywide development incentive program. He also led negotiations related to City development projects totaling $200 million, including the “Dsrt Surf” project at the City of Palm Desert’s public golf course, Desert Willow. In addition, he was responsible for liaising with the local business community on public policy programs.
Prior to his position in Palm Desert, Olson served for eight years as the chief manager of Carnivore, LLC, a real estate consultant company with clients in both Minnesota and California, which advised clients on capital projects and programs totaling over $250 million.
Prior to Carnivore, he served as a senior project manager for the City of Minneapolis Community Development Agency, overseeing and building out financing for industrial, mixed-use, commercial and entertainment venues. In addition, he managed the City’s $1 billion Upper River Master Plan.
“Wayne Olson has a wealth of experience directing successful community and economic development projects and incentive programs that make cities better and contribute to overall economic vitality,” said Stiles. “His extensive expertise will be a tremendous asset to Palm Springs, and I am excited to welcome him to the executive management team at City Hall.”
Olson graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota.
“Over the past decade, Palm Springs has undergone an incredible economic renaissance as one of the premiere resort destinations in Southern California and beyond,” said Olson. “I look forward to the exciting challenges ahead, and I am honored to be chosen to serve the City Council and our community as the City’s first ever chief economic development officer.”