On Monday, July 20, the Wharton Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) named Joshua Owens of Houston as its next executive director. 

Joshua Owens

With unanimous support, the WEDC Board of Directors selected Owens due to his wealth of regional and local economic development and planning experience, as well as his previous work with the corporation.

Owens received his B.A in Marketing from Pepperdine University in 2002 and Masters in Urban and Regional Planning from Virginia Tech in 2009. 


After serving as coordinator for U.S. Building Council from 2003 to May 2007, Owens volunteered for the U.S. Peace Corps in Paraguay for two years where he worked with communities on projects in agriculture, community economic development, the environment and health.

He later served as the Municipal Services Developer with the Peace Corps, until joining Enterprise Community Partners in 2010 as the Green Communities Program Officer. 

Owens became aquatinted with Wharton during his tenure as Regional and Senior Planner for the Houston-Galveston Area Council (HGAC).


“Mr. Owens also holds the American Planning Association Certification Credential (AJCP),” WEDC said in its press release. “The board was also impressed by Mr. Owen’s work with WEDC and the City of Wharton over the past seven years, as well as his familiarity with the future infrastructure plans. Owens has assisted in writing several grants for economic development in his current role.”

A few specialties that Owens brings with him to the position include: green building, community sustainability planning, urban planning, community development, communications and marketing.

Current WEDC Executive Director Chad Odom told The County Gin that he has high hopes for Wharton as Owens makes the transition to Wharton.


“I believe he was the best applicant and will step in to fulfill many needs in Wharton,” Odom said. “He is very qualified and is very familiar with this area. I have confidence in him as the next WEDC Executive Director.”

Owens will begin his work in Wharton on Monday, August 3.

“Owens was selected among a field of qualified candidates because of his excellent credential and his familiarity with Wharton,” said WEDC Board of Directors President Marshal Francis. “Now is not the time to pump the brakes on progress, it’s time to continue moving forward with the good work that we have been doing.” 

For more information about the WEDC, visit their website www.whartonedc.com.


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