Secretary of Commerce, State of Rhode Island
Stefan Pryor serves as Rhode Island’s first Secretary of Commerce. Appointed by Governor 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 Governor 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). Thirty businesses have announced plans to land or expand in Rhode Island since the Governor’s new programs were implemented about three years ago. Pryor and his team have created Rhode Island’s first state-backed small business loan program and have launched SupplyRI, which connects local suppliers to larger Rhode Island institutions.
Pryor served for approximately five years (2006-2011) as Deputy Mayor and Director of Economic and Housing Development in the City of Newark, NJ. 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. 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 several leadership capacities at the agency, culminating in his service as the LMDC’s President.
Before his current position, 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, and increasing rigor and raising expectations for all students.
Pryor received his undergraduate and law degrees from Yale University.