CEO Scott Knies to step down after 34 years at the helm
SAN JOSE – Alex Stettinski has been named the next CEO of the San Jose Downtown Association (SJDA), following a six-month national search that fielded interest from 46 candidates. Currently the Executive Director of Downtown Reno Partnership, a Business Improvement District (BID) with a $3.5 million annual budget, Stettinski will start work at the SJDA downtown offices on Oct. 4.
Stettinski will replace Scott Knies, who as the founding executive director and CEO has led the business organization since 1988. Knies will remain on the job until Nov. 4.
Stettinski’s background includes more than 20 years in the place management and economic development field working for business organizations in West Hollywood, Beverly Hills and Los Angeles. He was recruited in 2017 to build the Downtown Reno Partnership from scratch.
Current SJDA board President Alan “Gumby” Marques led the search committee and cited Stettinski’s knowledge of business improvement districts plus his focus on marketing, business recruitment, small business retention and support of the arts as key strengths.
“The committee was particularly interested in learning of a Clean and Safe program Alex built Reno which brought various community leaders together to identify compassionate and award winning solutions to homelessness,” Marques said. He added that the seven-member selection committee comprised of current and past SJDA and Property Business Improvement District (PBID) board presidents was unanimous in their vote to appoint Stettinski.
“I am eager to move to San Jose and look forward to helping downtown rebound from the pandemic related slowdown,” Stettinski said. “When I walk the streets of downtown San Jose, I see so much potential, and I believe I will bring a fresh outlook to problem-solving and place-making.”
Stettinski takes over management of SJDA’s two assessment districts and its three related non-profit organizations: the PBID, San Jose Downtown Foundation and Downtown Community Development Corporation. The PBID, best known for its Groundwerx services and street life programs, was renewed June 14 for another 10 years by an overwhelming majority of downtown property owners – 89 percent of whom voted to reaffirm the PBID.
In Reno, Stettinski worked with business and property owners to re-balance downtown and address a multitude of clean and safe issues. Reno’s social outreach program was recognized by the International Downtown Association with an Award of Excellence in 2020.
Stettinski was born in Geneva, Switzerland, and first moved to the Bay Area in 1989 to pursue a graduate degree at UC Berkeley. He is an avid bicyclist and plans to reside in downtown San Jose.