The Dodge City/Ford County Development Corporation is a non-profit organization that promotes the growth and development of existing businesses, and pursues quality new businesses to help sustain the economic vitality of the area. With the recent investments announced, Dodge City and Ford County have experienced an increase of 13.1% in job growth over the past five years, accounting for over 2,000 additional new job openings in all areas including accounting, health, manufacturing, hospitality, agribusiness, and education.
The Dodge City/Ford County Development Corporation is a joint partnership between the City of Dodge City, Ford County, and several private businesses.
The mission of the Dodge City/Ford County Development Corporation is to promote the growth and development of existing business and pursue quality new businesses in an aggressive, positive, and efficient manner that promotes the socio-economic viability of the region.
Click the tabs below to learn more about each of our team members.
Joann Knight serves as the Executive Director of the Dodge City/Ford County Development Corporation and has been with the public/private partnership for 22 years. She is responsible for overseeing the organizations day-to-day operations including business recruitment and expansion, workforce, housing, rural community development, neighborhood revitalization and entrepreneurship.
Mrs. Knight currently serves as the Chairman of the Dodge City Housing Advisory Board, is a member of the Team Kansas Advisory Board, MLP Community Advisory Committee, Main Street Dodge City Board of Directors, as well as several local and regional advisory boards. She was the 2013 Kansas Representative on the Southern Economic Development Council Board of Directors and is a Past President of the Kansas Economic Development Alliance.
Chelsey Dawson joined the Development Corporation in October 2008 as the Special Projects Coordinator and in May 2010 was named Main Street Director. In this position, Chelsey works towards revitalizing the downtown historic district through the development of new incentive programs, implementing new marketing and event promotions, and working with current and new small businesses to strengthen the downtown business climate. Chelsey received a Bachelor of Arts degree emphasizing in Advertising and Public Relations from Fort Hays State University in 2008. Outside of work, Chelsey is involved in several community organizations including Big Brothers Big Sisters and United Way Leaders.
Debbie Harris is the Special Projects Assistant for Workforce for the Development Corporation. She maintains the dodgecityhasjobs.com website as well as showcases Dodge City’s workforce needs at several career fairs throughout the Midwest every year. Debbie is also responsible for the day-to-day financial management of the office, collects quarterly cost of living data and organizes Dodge City Festivals, Inc. She has been with the Development Corporation for 15 years.
Leslie serves as the Housing & Neighborhood Development Coordinator for the Organization. She is also a Certified Administrator for the Kansas Department of Commerce's CDBG General & Housing Programs. Prior to the Development Corporation, she was the Administrative Assistant for the City Manager of Dodge City. This experience and knowledge she gained while working with the City Manager, helped her to jump straight into this position with the understanding of how all the different departments of the City work together for the benefit of housing; whether this is new development or rehabbing existing housing and neighborhoods. Outside of work, Leslie is involved is community and school organizations. She and her husband, David, have three children, Ryan, Tryston and Brittany.
Alba Ortiz joined the Dodge City/Ford County Development Corporation as the Business Development Coordinator in October 2014. She brings onboard creativity, bilingual capabilities (Spanish), and enthusiasm. As a Dodge City native, she is excited to learn more about how to help the community grow.
Alba and her husband, Christian Goble, live in Dodge City and are raising three future geniuses. Her children: Cora, 5; Arlo, 3; Dahlia, 1.5 years old, allow Alba to always be on the edge of her seat. While raising children, Alba enjoys music, playing violin, and figure drawing.
Please help give a warm welcome to her as you see her out and about as she grows in this position.