NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development (TNECD) announced today key leadership changes on the department’s executive leadership team.

Jessica L. Johnson will serve as assistant commissioner of administration and operations. In a new role created by the department, Lyndi Berrones will serve as assistant commissioner of strategic initiatives. Erin Hutchens will succeed Berrones as Northern Middle Tennessee regional director.

In addition, after a 46-year career in state government, TNECD Assistant Commissioner Paul VanderMeer retired on October 31, 2023. VanderMeer began his career in public service in 1977 in the Office of Child Development and served in several other state agencies before joining TNECD in 2004.

“Paul is a remarkable example of what it means to be a dedicated public servant, and we were fortunate to have him play a pivotal role in guiding our department’s mission while also ensuring responsible fiscal stewardship of taxpayer dollars,” said TNECD Commissioner Stuart C. McWhorter. “I’m glad I had the privilege of working alongside him, and I wish him well in his retirement.

“Jessica and Lyndi bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to their new roles, and I’m confident their expertise will further support economic growth and elevate community development across the state,” McWhorter continued. “They will be great additions to our executive leadership team, and I also look forward to seeing how Erin will excel as she steps into her new role as regional director.”

Jessica L. Johnson joined TNECD in 2004 and most recently served as senior advisor for budget, finance and policy, where she was responsible for the strategic design and management of the department’s budget. She graduated from Vanderbilt University with a Bachelor of Arts in English and Gender Studies and a Master of Business Administration from the university’s Owen Graduate School of Management. Johnson holds a Certificate of Public Leadership from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and a Certificate of Theology and Ministry from the Princeton Theology Seminary.

Lyndi Berrones began her career with TNECD in 2017 as a statewide recruitment director. Projects she has landed have resulted in the creation of more than 30,000 direct jobs and $6 billion in capital investment in Tennessee across various industry sectors from headquarters to manufacturing and distribution. Some of her most recent projects include Oracle, LG Chem, Nashville Record Pressing and Thermo Fisher Scientific. Prior to joining TNECD, Berrones served as the economic development director for Miami-Dade County. Berrones earned a master’s degree in international business from the University of South Carolina’s Moore School of Business and an executive certificate from Harvard Business School.

Erin Hutchens joined TNECD in 2021 as a business development consultant for the Northern Middle Tennessee region. Prior to joining the department, she served six years as the director of economic development for the Rutherford County Chamber in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Hutchens is a graduate of Mississippi State University.

About the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development
The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development’s mission is to develop strategies that help make Tennessee the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high quality jobs. To grow and strengthen Tennessee, the department seeks to attract new corporate investment to the state and works with Tennessee companies to facilitate expansion and economic growth. Find us on the web: Follow us on Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. Like us on Facebook. Subscribe to our YouTubechannel.

Media Contact:
Jennifer McEachern
TNECD Director of Communications and Marketing
[email protected]
(615) 336-2689


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