Bill Freehling

Bill Freehling Named Fredericksburg’s Director of Economic Development and Tourism

by | Oct 28, 2016 | Government

By Susan Larson

Fredericksburg, VA – Bill Freehling has been named Director of Economic Development and Tourism for the City of Fredericksburg.

City Manager Tim Baroody made the announcement in a press release on October 28. Freehling, who has served as interim director since Karen Hedelt retired on August 1, will begin his new role immediately.

“I am humbled by this appointment, and stand ready to do everything I can to help Fredericksburg capitalize on its unlimited potential,” Freehling said. “My family and I have grown to love this community, and I am excited to have this opportunity to both advance upon what we have in place and preserve what makes us great.”

The appointment followed a nationwide search that attracted 57 applicants from 10 states, according to Baroody.

“Bill has lived and worked in our community for more than 12 years, and has built many positive relationships with area businesses, realtors, investors and developers,” Baroody said. “He understands that more is going to be demanded of our economic development team, with a stronger emphasis on business attraction and tourism advancements, and he is prepared to move out on all fronts.”

Freehling joined the city’s economic development team as assistant director of economic development in 2014, after a 10-year career with The Free Lance-Star. There, he covered the business beat, and started the Fredericksburg Business Insider weekday email newsletter.

He earned his BS from Wake Forest University and his Masters of Mass Communication from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is also working to complete his credentialing with the International Economic Development Council, the nationally recognized standard of excellence in the economic development profession.

“Bill is a team player, and a great asset to our regional economic development team,” said Curry Roberts, president of the Fredericksburg Regional Alliance. “He knows the city’s commercial inventory and parcels better than anyone, and he can hit the ground running from day one in his new elevated role.”

Freehling and his team in the Department of Economic Development and Tourism are tasked with business attraction, retention, expansion, promotion, and drawing visitors to Fredericksburg — helping grow the city’s tax base, Baroody said. “Mr. Freehling is charged with working collaboratively with city departments to advance quality commercial projects that live City Council’s community vision.”

Freehling lives with his wife Emily and their two children in downtown Fredericksburg.

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