Oct. 29, 2020
Today Mayor James Mueller announced the appointment of Santiago Garces as the new Executive Director for the Department of Community Investment.
“Santi is a transformative leader committed to inclusive economic development, and I am thrilled to welcome him back to South Bend,” said Mayor James Mueller. “In this new role, he’ll work to spur our economic recovery, shared growth, and more opportunities for all of our residents.”
A native of Bogota, Colombia, Garces previously served as the City of South Bend’s first Chief Innovation Officer before taking a position as the Director of Innovation and Performance with the City of Pittsburgh.
“The COVID pandemic and accompanying challenges we’ve faced in 2020 call upon us to protect the progress that South Bend has made in recent years, while building an even better future for everyone who lives or will live here,” said Garces. “It is an honor to answer the call to serve, and I look forward to being back in my American hometown.”
During his previous tenure with the City, Garces spearheaded efforts to expand the capabilities of the 311 Service Center, helped save the City millions of dollars through creative strategic planning, and gained national attention for his department’s work in data-driven government and private-public partnerships. He also led the charge toward digital inclusion by developing public WiFi and C.L.I.C.K. (Centers for Learning, Information, Connectivity, and Knowledge) spaces.
Garces earned undergraduate degrees in political science and electrical engineering at the University of Notre Dame and earned a graduate degree from the university’s ESTEEM program.
In addition to his role as a founding board member of the MetroLab Network, Garces has advised the National Science Foundation and Bloomberg Philanthropies on their work in Civic Innovation.
Garces will begin in his new role on Nov. 16.