A recognized leader in economic development, Gray leads the VisionFirst Advisors team, serving as President and Chief Executive Officer. After a successful 30-year career managing state, regional, and local economic development organizations, Gray launched VisionFirst Advisors economic development consulting practice. The firm works with a diverse base of private and public sector clients focusing on ways to gain a competitive edge. Current work includes location advisory services, creating effective economic development organizations and business development, marketing and communications strategies.
Gray is known for building highly successful teams noted for their ability to devise and implement strategic plans with positive results. From 2011-2015, he served in Florida Governor Rick Scott’s administration as Secretary of Commerce and as President & CEO of the state’s principal economic development organization, Enterprise Florida (EFI).
Under his leadership, EFI completed a record year in 2013-14 increasing competitive projects by 40 percent, resulting in 73 percent more new jobs and 95 percent more capital investment than in 2011. During Gray’s tenure, Florida announced competitive project wins from leading companies including Northrop Grumman, Embraer, Navy Federal Credit Union, Amazon, Bristol Myers Squibb, Deutsche Bank, Hertz, USAA and Verizon.
Prior to his tenure in Florida, Gray served as the Executive Director of the Mississippi Development Authority (MDA) under Governor Haley Barbour. During his tenure at MDA, Gray helped recruit companies such as Toyota, PACCAR, GE Aviation and Severstal (now Steel Dynamics). In addition, Gray has led successful economic development organizations at the local level in two states. Gray earned both undergraduate and graduate degrees from Mississippi State University.