The first President of the Development Finance Authority of Summit County (DFA) since 2000, Chris Burnham has successfully guided and financed numerous development and redevelopment projects in the greater Akron and Northeast Ohio region. With over 30 years’ experience in public and private sector development; Chris has been instrumental in building DFA into one of the most active economic development financing agencies in the State of Ohio. During his tenure at DFA, the Authority has issued $1B in economic development bonds, leveraging over $889M in additional investment. Through the New Markets Tax Credits (NMTC) program, the Development Fund of the Western Reserve (DFWR), established in 2011 by the DFA, has allocated $65M federal NMTC plus $11.5M Ohio NMTC, leveraging $55M additional federal and state NMTC allocations, enabling DFA and DFWR to directly or indirectly be associated with the retention and creation of 14,593 jobs, plus thousands of construction jobs. Chris was a lead member of the team that retained the Goodyear Headquarters and Bridgestone Research and Development Center in Akron, along with the 4,000+ local jobs tied to those companies. Under Chris’ leadership The DFA has experienced growth as evidenced by its revenues and expenses in 1999 of $116,216 and $76,722 respectively, to a balance sheet over $100M in 2018.
Chris is an innovator in regional cooperation, guiding DFA and DFWR to finance 94 projects in thirteen Ohio counties. In 2003, DFA established the Fixed-Rate Common Jobs & Investment Bond Fund Program, one of only five rated (Standard & Poor’s; A-) bond fund programs in the State of Ohio. Most recently, Chris led the effort to create and capitalize a $6.75M loan fund specifically to finance projects with favorable rates and terms within the City of Akron’s most distressed neighborhoods. The Akron Community Revitalization Fund (ACRF) was capitalized through a NMTC tax credit investor, philanthropic, corporate and individual grants, an investment from a bank and a community based loan. In 2018, the ACRF financed 6 within Akron’s poorest neighborhoods.
Prior to working for the DFA, Chris was Director of Marketing for ASW Services, Inc., he was responsible for guiding the development of CAK International Business Park, Foreign Trade Zone #181 located at the Akron-Canton Airport. The business park attracted eight new businesses with private investment of $57.85M and brought approximately 1,000 jobs to Summit County.
Chris also has served as Director of Development for Summit County with responsibility for economic development and community development programs, the Department of Building Standards, Capital Improvements, and the Planning Commission.
Chris has been and continues to be involved with numerous local community non-profits and national professional development activities.
BA in Education, MA in Urban Studies, The University of Akron.