Mike Basinger, AICP
Economic Development Director
Mike has over 20 years of progressive community and economic development experience. He is responsible for the management of the City of Spokane Valley’s Economic Development efforts including developing and implementing strategies to drive economic growth and development, supporting relationships with civic, business, governmental and other economic development stakeholders. Mike is also responsible for managing the City’s long range planning efforts ensuring capital investments support economic development initiatives.
Mike has a Master’s of Public Administration and a Bachelor’s of Urban and Regional Planning from Eastern Washington University (EWU). He also served as an adjunct professor at EWU teaching spatial analytics. He is a certified planner with the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP). Mike spends his free time hiking, biking, white water rafting, kayaking, fishing, and camping.
Communications & Marketing Officer
An important part of economic development is community outreach and engagement. After all, a vibrant city should reflect the shared vision and values of its residents. Lesli works to ensure community members and business partners have the information and tools they need to generate opportunities for economic growth, whether it be a new business venture that provides good-paying jobs or a celebrated creative community space where local residents gather.
Lesli joined the city’s economic development team in 2017 and brings more than 20 years of experience in public affairs, community relations and customer service. Her experience is primarily in the education and government sectors, including recent work for state government in Montana and Oregon. She holds a bachelor’s in journalism and a master’s in public administration. When the work day ends, Lesli enjoys gardening, spending time on the water with her family – either paddle boarding or kayaking – and spoiling her yellow lab, Mia.
Susan Joseph Nielsen, EGc, APR
Economic Development Specialist
Susan Joseph Nielsen, M.S., EGc, APR is the Economic Development Specialist for the city. Susan works collaboratively to attract new businesses to Spokane Valley while helping existing businesses grow and expand. She will also connect businesses of all sizes to resources provided by the city and other partners, including grant funding and growth incentives. She will lead economic development activities and develop strategies for long-term economic vitality within the city.
Susan is an innovator in her entrepreneurial leadership experience having worked with large, small and start-up companies. In addition to leading many programs and initiatives during her career, she is an owner in her family’s 54-year-strong, third-generation business, which provides a valuable perspective for her work with other small business owners.
Susan holds a bachelor’s in communications from Washington State University and a master’s in Interdisciplinary Studies from Eastern Washington University. She serves on the board of directors for Numerica Credit Union and the Greater Inland Northwest American Red Cross. She was selected as one of 10 Spokane and Coeur d’Alene Women in Business Leadership Award recipients in 2022.
Susan’s hobbies include writing, boating, traveling, biking, walking, reading, stream fishing, making culinary recipes using her family company’s spices and RVing. Susan is always up for a great adventure!
Matt has an extensive background in Geographical Information Systems (GIS) with 14 years of progressive experience in the field. He is responsible for the administration of the city GIS system. Matt specializes in the development of customized GIS solutions to streamline city workflows. He has a diverse background in providing effective decision-making tools to support city initiatives. He also performs complex spatial analysis simulating scenarios to determine the availability of land to support projected population and employment growth.
Matt has degrees in Management of Information Systems and Geography, with a Certificate in Geographic Information Systems from Eastern Washington University. He looks forward to applying his diverse GIS background towards making the City of Spokane Valley a great place to live and work. In his down time, he enjoys going to the lake and ocean, taking hikes in the rain forest, sledding and traveling to warm places.
Housing and Homeless Coordinator
Eric has been working in the area of community development for nearly two decades. Before joining the City of Spokane Valley as Housing and Homeless Coordinator, Eric managed one of the County’s largest housing programs for households experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness.
Other work has included managing a Furniture Bank program to provide furnishings to families transitioning out of homelessness, work with the Northwest Fair Housing Alliance to ensure equal access to home loans and rental units for groups at risk of discrimination, and grant writing for a variety of area nonprofits.
Eric also has experience living throughout Latin America where he worked for nonprofits focused on community development and health initiatives.
Business Licensing Specialist
Robin is a native to the area and has worked in local government for over 25 years. Her professional life has been wide-ranging in both title and logistics. She has worked as a code enforcement officer, 911 dispatcher, evidence technician, public records officer and financial analyst – by way of Idaho, Louisiana, Missouri, Utah and Washington. Throughout her career, Robin has perfected her ability in nurturing collaborative relationships with community members, government agencies, nonprofits, community-based organizations, and business owners. Robin has always taken pride in working for entities that give back to the community and this position is no different. She serves as the city’s business licensing specialist and is the primary contact for business owners navigating the sometimes-complex world of licensing requirements. Robin also works closely with the economic development director and staff to provide administrative support. When she’s not at work, Robin enjoys spending time with her husband and their two English bulldogs, Maple and Morty, and exploring the world (34 countries and counting) and all things outdoors. She is also an athlete and enjoys playing ice hockey.