Victor Hoskins is leaving as a top economic development official for Mayor Vincent C. Gray to take a similar post with Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III.
As D.C. deputy mayor for planning and economic development, Hoskins helped Gray manage Wal-Mart’s entry into the District and oversaw efforts to develop huge tracts of land including the former Walter Reed Army hospital and the former St. Elizabeths hospital in Southeast.
Baker said he tried to hire Hoskins, a former official with the state of Maryland, earlier in his administration after a recommendation from former executive and mentor Wayne K. Curry, but Gray beat him to it. Hoskins will serve as the county’s deputy chief administrative officer of economic development and public infrastructure.
“Someone with his caché is an automatic win for us,” Baker said of Hoskins. “We wanted to take our time and find somebody who would really send a signal to the business community and international community that we are serious.”
Hoskins’s move marks the latest in a string of departures from the Gray administration now that the mayor has seven months remaining in office, and he is not the first to join Baker, who is likely to be re-elected to a second term.
Nicholas Majett, former director of the D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, left the District to join the county last month. Hoskins’s post was being filled on interim basis by Aubrey Thagard, another former D.C. official, after appointee Carla Reid decided to move on.
Other departures from the Gray administration include Harriet Tregoning, the former planning director, and transportation director Terry Bellamy.
Baker said Curry urged him to go after Hoskins because of Hoskins reputation for spurring economic development. Baker said Hoskins will assess Prince George’s economic development portfolio and help lead existing projects like transit-oriented development, the MGM National Harbor casino and a deal to lure a consolidated FBI headquarters to Greenbelt.
Hoskins “is someone who is known in the region as a person who is getting things done,” Baker said.
Gray issued a statement thanking Hoskins, crediting him with helping to lower unemployment in the city to 7.5 percent, its lowest level in years. Gray also credited Hoskins with advancing major shopping and commercial developments centers including CityCenter DC, City Market at O and the Shops at Dakota Crossing.
“Our loss is Prince George’s County’s gain, as Victor has done an extraordinary job in moving the District’s economy forward by leaps and bounds,” Gray said. “Through his expertise, his passion, his commitment and his enthusiasm, we have made significant progress across a number of areas vital to ensuring the District continues to grow in an intelligent and sustainable fashion, and I am grateful for his service to our city.”
Staff reporters Luz Lazo and Mike DeBonis contributed.