Daniel Cortez, Deputy Director of Economic Development and Tourism, has been promoted to Director, effective July 1. After the departure of Assistant City Manager Ben Thatcher, Cortez’s history of strong work performance, world-class professionalism and commitment to assist Southlake businesses and residents make him fit for the task to lead the Southlake economic development team.
“Daniel Cortez has many notable accomplishments under his belt,” said Assistant City Manager Alison Ortowski. “His energy, creativity, intelligence and strong people skills make him ideal for this role.”
Since 2017, Cortez has worked to implement key recommendations of the 2035 Economic Development Master Plan. He has also created and implemented a commercial site assessment project, resulting in valuable insights into Southlake’s commercial centers. He managed the City’s first Business Climate Survey to understand the local business community’s strengths and challenges, track trends and ensure the City has useful data for business support programs.
“I am humbled at the confidence the City’s leadership has in me. I look forward to continuing to serve our business community with the same tradition of excellence Southlake is known for, with new inspiration and determination to meet the challenges of the future,” Cortez said. “There is truly no place like Southlake. It is my privilege to be part of a great community and I’m excited to strengthen the City’s relationships with local businesses.”
Ortowski also highlights his business retention work, noting that “he has established strong relationships through one-on-one visits and programs he’s created to improve business engagement with the City.”
Southlake youth have also benefited from Cortez’s hard work. Through the Southlake Kids Interested in Leadership (SKIL) program, Cortez has worked with Mayor Hill and Carroll ISD to offer selected students access to local business leaders through educational seminars and internship experiences. Cortez guides the students through the program, which has been in place for three years.
Perhaps Cortez has demonstrated his strongest performance with his work through the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Untangling the complex and sometimes confusing information related to the various executive orders was a terrific service he was able to provide to our business customers,” noted Ortowski. “He promoted businesses in unique and creative ways. He demonstrated a keen knowledge of the needs of our businesses and worked proactively to provide needed support.”
In his new role, Daniel will be responsible for economic development work, and will oversee the day-to-day activities of the City’s tourism and special events team.