Downes has served as vice chair since 2016, and has been with the EDA since 2010. He has been CEO of NJR since 1995 and also oversees its subsidiary, New Jersey Natural Gas.
He also serves as chair of the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development’s National Advisory Board at Rutgers University and as a member of the Boards of the Drumthwacket Foundation and Choose New Jersey.
During his tenure at the EDA, Downes has helped oversee the implementation of the New Jersey Economic Opportunity Act of 2013, which allowed the EDA to form Grow NJ and grant tax incentives to encourage businesses to move to or stay in the state. His appointment follows that of Tim Sullivan, former deputy commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, who was named CEO of the EDA at the earlier of this month.