MassDevelopment Names Haverhill’s Robertson as TDI Fellow, Serving Lowell

Community and Economic Development Planner Nate Robertson. (Courtesy photograph.)

Transformative Development Initiative Fellow Nate Robertson. (Courtesy photograph.)

Nate Robertson is bringing to Lowell his economic development experience that first helped Haverhill and, later, other Merrimack Valley communities.

Robertson, of Haverhill, was named by MassDevelopment this month as one of 13 Transformative Development Initiative Fellows and has been assigned to Lowell, a newly selected TDI district. Fellows are MassDevelopment employees who provide on-the-ground economic development expertise and collaborative leadership in cities and help TDI partnerships use such tools as technical assistance; grants to support local market development, arts and cultural infrastructure; collaborative workshops; placemaking; and more.

“MassDevelopment’s Transformative Development Initiative takes a street-level approach to accelerating economic growth in Gateway Cities,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy, who serves as chair of MassDevelopment’s board of directors. “The Baker-Polito Administration is glad to see the agency expand this program to 13 cities and bring on an impressive cohort of economic development professionals who will help advance former industrial neighborhoods across the Commonwealth.”

Haverhill was previously named a TDI community and Robertson served as assistant economic development director for two-and-a-half years in a partnership between the city and the Greater Haverhill Foundation. He moved to the Merrimack Valley Planning Commission in March 2019 as community and economic development program manager.

In an interview with WHAV earlier this year, he reported confidence returning to pre-pandemic levels, but noted challenges to overcome.

“We see that, though labor force participation is up, we have historic job openings. We also have historic quit rates, increased early retirements, people switching jobs, a lot of sort of industry shuffle going on here in the local economy,” he said.

According to MassDevelopment, he previously owned a small flower shop, co-produced a documentary about addiction and recovery and worked on harm reduction and food security issues for the AIDS Support Group of Cape Cod. A statement said “Nate’s experiences working at the intersections of health, wealth, and housing anchor his approach to community building.”

He has a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Vermont.

Besides Lowell, incoming TDI communities are Attleboro, Hyannis, Fall River, Holyoke, Lawrence, Lynn, New Bedford, Pittsfield, Revere, Springfield, Taunton and Worcester. MassDevelopment President and CEO Dan Rivera, who formerly was Lawrence’s mayor, said the current group of cities receiving aid is the largest in the program’s history.

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