FILE - Rob Dixon, director Missouri department of economic development

(The Center Square) – Rob Dixon, the director of Missouri’s Department of Economic Development for the past four years, is leaving for a similar position with Ameren Missouri, based in St. Louis.

Dixon will become the director of community and economic development for Ameren. He replaces Mike Kearney, who recently retired after a 35-year career with the company.

"Missouri is a great place to do business, and I'm excited to continue to help move our state forward in the years ahead in my new role with Ameren Missouri," Dixon said in an Ameren statement. "I know the high commitment level of Ameren Missouri to attracting and retaining jobs in our state, and I'm humbled and honored to join the exceptional team focused on community and economic development."

Dixon’s resignation is effective Oct. 22 and an acting director will be announced prior to that date. Gov. Mike Parson said he will be considering candidates to lead the department in the interim until a permanent replacement can be appointed.

“We are excited for Director Dixon as he enters this next chapter of his career,” Parson said in a statement announcing the departure. “Rob has built an incredibly strong team at DED, and while we will miss his leadership and common-sense approach, we know DED’s passionate and dedicated team members will help ensure a smooth transition and continue serving Missourians without delay.”

Dixon led statewide webinars throughout the height of the pandemic to assist businesses and industries in sustaining operations, securing resources and establishing relationships and networks. Parson’s release highlighted Dixon’s development of Missouri's Best in Midwest initiative, creation of the Missouri One Start program, and completing major economic development projects resulting in the expansion of the General Motors plant in Wentzville, the Nucor steel mill in Sedalia, and the United States Department of Agriculture headquarters in Kansas City.

“Rob’s love for this state has helped bring greater opportunity to thousands of Missourians, and Teresa and I thank him for his service and wish him the best in his new role and all that comes next,” Parson said.

Dixon previously served as the president and chief executive officer of the Missouri Community College Association, a membership organization for the state’s community colleges. It’s the largest higher education in the state with approximately 2,000 members and provides networking, resources and government advocacy. He also served in a variety of roles at the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce and as director of the Hollister Area Chamber of Commerce.

He joined the U.S. Marine Corps after high school and served as an intelligence analyst in Afghanistan and Pakistan after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. He earned an associate’s degree in political science from St. Charles Community College, a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Missouri-St. Louis, and a master’s degree in public administration from Missouri State University.

Staff Reporter

Joe Mueller covers Missouri for The Center Square. After seven years of reporting for daily newspapers in Illinois and Missouri, he spent the next 30 years in public relations serving non-profit organizations and as a strategic communications consultant.