Mary Baldwin University alumna Crystal Stiles ’09 has been selected to receive the Economic Development Profession’s 40 under 40 awards, the only award of its kind recognizing young talent in the economic development industry.
She is the director of economic development at Florida Power & Light Company (FPL).
Stiles’ exceptional contributions to the economic development industry led her to be one of the final candidates, chosen from a pool of more than 170. The award’s program is managed by Developmental Counsellors International (DCI), a New Your-based firm that specializes in economic marketing.
“The fact that I was honored for making an impact in my community this early in my life is humbling.
My efforts hopefully make it easier for people in Florida to have a quality job,” Stiles said.
Stiles earned her degree in communication at Mary Baldwin through the Adult Degree Program, now Baldwin Online and Adult Programs, attending most of her classes at MBU’s Roanoke regional center due to family obligations, though she traveled to the main campus in Staunton her senior year.
“I had an amazing, although non-traditional, college experience and am so glad MBC/MBU provides alternative options for adult students,” Stiles said. “During graduation, I was awarded the Outstanding Adult Student Award from my classmate, another honor that still makes me proud.”
Starting her career in 2012 at FPL, Stiles has served the company in various roles including manager and project manager of economic development. Over the course of her career in economic development, she has directly supported the creation of 46,000 new jobs, the retention of another 10,000 jobs and $18 billion worth of capital investment in Florida.
“When people are working, they just have more opportunities for themselves and their families,” Stiles said. “They sleep better at night with the safety and security that comes from being more economically stable. That’s the ultimate reward for me.”
Stiles continues to lead and advance Florida’s statewide economic development strategy and the visibility of her company’s economic development program, both within Florida and nationwide. The program has been recognized for three consecutive years on Site Selection magazine’s list of “Top Ten Utilities in Economic Development” (2013 -15). Under Crystal’s leadership, FPL was named for the first time as one of “The Best Utilities in Economic Development in the Southeast” by Southern Business & Development magazine.