Former GO-Biz Leader Appointed as Executive Director of Inland Economic Growth & Opportunity Initiative (IEGO)

The Inland Economic Growth & Opportunity Initiative, or IEGO, announced the appointment of Matthew Mena as its new executive director. IEGO is a regional network of leaders from businesses, nonprofits, higher education, and state and local government working to grow sectors that can create promising jobs for Inland Empire workers and students.

“We’re excited to have Matthew serve as IEGO’s next Executive Director. His passion for our region, economic development, community, and his experiences in government come together in this role,” said Karen Suarez, Director of Uplift San Bernardino and IEGO Steering Committee Co-Chair. “We look forward to working with Matthew and continuing the collaborative work ahead.”

“His extensive experience in the IE region will continue to spotlight IEGO as a strong collaborative platform to further regional inclusive economic development efforts,” added Suzanne Holland, Director of Riverside County Office of Economic Development and IEGO Steering Committee Co-Chair.

IEGO is housed within the Inland Empire Community Foundation, an 80-year-old nonprofit with donor and agency funds directed to causes that benefit the region. Working from the Foundation’s Riverside office, Mena’s responsibilities will be to grow and manage the IEGO network and continue to build strategies for sector-based economic development. IEGO is targeting the industrial sectors of sustainable logistics, green technology, cybersecurity, and advanced manufacturing.

Mena is an experienced advocate for the Inland Empire, having served in various roles at GO-Biz and the County of San Bernardino Economic Development Department. He has a talent for finding creative solutions to complex problems in both the public and private sectors. Through his work, he has helped create and retain over 1000 jobs and has collaborated with cities and community-based organizations to enhance their economic development programs and strategies. As a native of the Inland Empire, Matthew is passionate about contributing to the economic growth of the bi-county region.

“I am honored to take on the role of Executive Director of IEGO and am committed to leveraging my experience, skills, and partnerships to lead with vision, drive results and positively impact the organization and the communities in the region,” said Mena.

Mena succeeds Jackie Melendez, who was IEGO’s first executive director. During her time, Melendez led a broad collaborative of 90+ organizations to respond to the Community Economic Resilience Fund CERF Phase I planning grant for $5 million that was awarded to the region. Melendez will now serve as the Assistant City Manager of the City of Chino.

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