Most people are familiar with the saying “if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.” For City of Largo’s Economic Development Coordinator Bryan Pederson, that saying could not ring truer.
In a rapidly changing world, the importance of supporting our local entrepreneurs is more crucial than ever. A healthy economy relies on economic diversification to build stronger communities and expand ecosystems — something Pederson has set out to achieve in Largo and its surrounding regions.
Pederson knew he had a passion for serving others and developing meaningful relationships from a young age, but his entrance into economic development was by chance. An alumnus of Saint Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota, Pederson earned a Bachelor of Arts in Music and Management Studies. His career path took an interesting turn following graduation when the saxophonist became a marketing research consultant at the Colorado State University Research Foundation, where he analyzed opportunities for licensing technologies to large-scale companies.
In 2017, following several community engagement roles with a financial institution and nonprofit, Pederson was offered the opportunity to re-launch the Warehouse Business Accelerator for growing technology and advanced manufacturing companies in Loveland, Colorado. After successfully revitalizing the relationship network and program framework for local entrepreneurs, he transitioned to a more traditional economic development role for the City of Greeley, Colorado, where he managed business outreach programs and fostered regional partnerships to attract and retain businesses in the area.
“It didn’t take long for me to find out that this [economic development] is what I wanted to do with my life.”
Since making the move to Florida and starting his current role at the City of Largo in 2021, Pederson has excelled in managing and executing business programs, while simultaneously assisting in the development of regional partnerships. Soon after joining the team, two of his colleagues departed the City of Largo, making Pederson the sole economic developer for a city of over 87,000 residents.
“Bryan has consistently demonstrated strong leadership skills under a difficult set of circumstances,” said City Manager Henry Schubert.
Pederson takes an individualized approach to serving entrepreneurs in Largo, learning about each of their strengths, passions and challenges to connect them with resources that fit their unique goals. Seeing the tangible impact of this work has solidified a passion for economic development and motivates him to continue influencing change in the region.
For his great work advancing economic development in Florida, Pederson recently received the Dan Webster Young Innovator Scholarship Award sponsored by the Florida High Tech Corridor and presented by the Florida Economic Development Council. Honoring Congressman Daniel Webster’s role in establishing The Corridor, the award provides up to $5,000 to fund the pursuit of a Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) credential.
“There is something truly special about this place [The Corridor]. Whoever you are, whatever you do, there is a place for you here.”