April 27, 2021

U.S. Economic Development Administration Welcomes Michele Chang and Molly Ritner

WASHINGTON – The Economic Development Administration (EDA) announced today that Michele Chang and Molly Ritner have joined the U.S. Department of Commerce bureau. Appointed by President Joseph R. Biden, Ms. Chang and Ms. Ritner will help implement the President’s plans to create American jobs and boost American competitiveness by facilitating regional economic development efforts in communities across the nation.

“The Economic Development Administration is pleased to welcome Michele Chang as our first Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy and Molly Ritner as our Chief of Staff,” said Acting Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Dennis Alvord. “With our expanding role in supporting America’s economic recovery and future growth from the coronavirus pandemic, Michele and Molly’s considerable experience will be invaluable in helping guide our efforts to transform our regional economies.”

“I am honored to be appointed by President Biden as the first to serve in this office,” said Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy Michele Chang. “I look forward to working with Secretary Raimondo and my colleagues across the Department of Commerce and the federal government as we implement the President’s vision to get our nation out of this current crisis and help American workers secure good-paying jobs.”

“The Economic Development Administration plays an important role in supporting community-led economic development strategies designed to spur private sector investment and create and retain American jobs,” said Chief of Staff Molly Ritner. “I am excited to work with Secretary Raimondo and the team at EDA to ensure the equitable distribution of federal resources to our communities in need so that we can all build back better.”

Chang and Ritner join Biden-Harris appointee and former Fortune 500 business executive Ike Umunnah, who serves as EDA’s Director of Public Affairs and Communications. Umunnah joined the bureau on January 20th, 2021. The three currently round out the senior political leadership for EDA, which is leading the American recovery with more than $3 billion dollars to promote economic recovery and future growth.

Ms. Chang is a seasoned executive with nearly 20 years of experience in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors. She most recently was the Executive Director of the Rework America Business Network at the Markle Foundation, where she worked with Fortune 500 companies to help American workers without four-year degrees get the skills they need and access quality jobs.

Previously, Ms. Chang served in the Obama Administration as Acting Chief of Staff and Deputy Chief of Staff at the U.S. Small Business Administration , where she managed the day-to-day operations of the 3,000+ person agency.

Prior to joining the Obama Administration, Ms. Chang worked at McKinsey & Company, where she helped local governments, public school systems and Fortune 500 companies alike tackle some of their most challenging and urgent issues. She has also held roles at PricewaterhouseCoopers and Hope Street Group, a national nonprofit where she led their national workforce development programs.

Ms. Chang earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Los Angeles, in Mathematics/Applied Sciences and her MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. The daughter of Taiwanese immigrants, she was born and raised in San Jose, California, and currently lives in Maryland with her husband and three children.

Molly Ritner brings nearly a decade of operational and managerial experience to the position. She recently served with the Biden for President campaign as Deputy States Director and Super Tuesday and Beyond Director. In those roles, Ritner was a member of the senior leadership team responsible for developing and executing the campaign’s battleground states strategy and managing a team of nearly 3,000 across the 17 battleground states.

Prior to the campaign, Ritner was the National Political Director at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC). In this position, she laid the foundation for the Committees offensive efforts in 2020 election cycle. In the 2018 election cycle, Ritner served as the Midwest Political Director at the DCCC, where she led a team of specialists and supported top tier campaigns throughout the Midwest and Mountain West. Ritner has previously served as a campaign manager and finance director on top-tier gubernatorial, congressional, and local races across the country.

Ritner earned a BS in Politics from Bates College in Lewiston, Maine. She spends her free time in the great outdoors as an avid skiing and hiking enthusiast.

About the U.S. Economic Development Administration (www.eda.gov)
The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation's regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA makes investments in economically distressed communities in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.