Fresno’s new mayor, Ashley Swearengin, is a California State University, Fresno alumna, who served as the university’s director of community and economic development and in strategic posts working improve the region’s economy.
Swearengin took the oath as Fresno’s 24th mayor on Tuesday, Jan. 6.
She is a Texas native, who was raised in Arkansas and moved to Fresno in 1987, where she attended Clovis West and Fresno Christian High. She enrolled in Fresno State’s Craig School of Business and was awarded a bachelor’s degree in 1994 and her master’s in 1997.
She worked in marketing, while attending grad school, but after taking an entrepreneurship class in the Lyles Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, she changed career course. Swearengin started her economic development career with the Central Valley Business Incubator, a nonprofit cultivator of new businesses.
Swearengin was appointed to the Fresno State Futures Institute (renamed the Office of Community and Economic Development) in 2000. She cofounded the Fresno Regional Jobs Initiative, becoming CEO of the public-private partnership aimed at creating thousands of jobs in the private sector.
Gov. Schwarzenegger appointed Swearengin to the California Commission on Economic Development in 2007.
She also served as a leader in the California Partnership for the San Joaquin Valley, a state-created organization dedicated to meeting challenges shared by Central California counties with solutions harnessing regional resources.