Secretary of Commerce, State of Rhode Island
Stefan Pryor serves as Rhode Island’s first Secretary of Commerce. Appointed by Gov. Gina M. Raimondo and confirmed unanimously by the Rhode Island State Senate in 2015, Secretary Pryor oversees and coordinates the state agencies and offices responsible for economic development, business regulation, housing, and workforce development. Rhode Island’s economic progress under Gov. Raimondo has been profiled by national publications including Chief Executive magazine (“Rhode Island Boasts the Biggest Climb in ‘Best States/Worst States‘ Rankings,” May 2, 2018) and the New York Times (“After Long Economic Slide, Rhode Island Lures New Business,” March 14, 2017). Twenty-four businesses have announced plans to land or expand in Rhode Island since the governor’s new programs were implemented about two years ago.
Pryor served for approximately five years (2006-2011) as Deputy Mayor and Director of Economic and Housing Development in the City of Newark, New Jersey. Pryor and his team played a key role in orchestrating plans for Newark’s first new downtown hotel in 40 years and first new office tower in 20 years. They also helped recruit new commercial tenants to Newark including Panasonic (North American headquarters) and Manischewitz (world headquarters). Before his work in Newark, Pryor was President of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC). The LMDC was created in the aftermath of September 11th by the state and city of New York to plan and help coordinate the physical rebuilding and economic revitalization of Lower Manhattan including the World Trade Center site. From 2002-2006, Pryor served in a number of leadership capacities at the agency, culminating in his service as the LMDC’s president.
Pryor previously served as a Vice President at the Partnership for New York City, where he led the organization’s public education initiatives including a program which worked in collaboration with two low-performing, high-poverty NYC school districts. Pryor served as the Commissioner of Education for the State of Connecticut (2011-2015). During his tenure, Connecticut passed important legislation aimed at closing achievement gaps, improving chronically underperforming schools and districts, enhancing educator effectiveness, and increasing opportunities for all students.
Pryor received his undergraduate and law degrees from Yale University.