Arts & Life

New Downtown Long Beach Alliance CEO aims to improve community

Austin Metoyer will continue to serve his hometown, Long Beach, as the new president and CEO of Downtown Long Beach Alliance. The Long Beach State alumnus was the youngest out of the final three candidates.

“I know this downtown and I know this organization,” Metoyer said. “I know it like the back of my hand.”

Austin Metoyer has served the DLBA for a total of six years and nine months, overseeing the economic development of downtown and working as the research and policy manager.

“Not having 25 years worth of experience behind my belt is a little different in terms of my approach,” Metoyer said.

He expressed his excitement as the new CEO despite his work history and believes Long Beach has challenges that need to be addressed.

“I think it’s a mix of emotions,” Metoyer said. “It’s really exciting about the opportunity that I have to bring just a fresh lens on the organization.”

Even without the experience, he is confident in his knowledge of downtown Long Beach and the new organization he directs.

Born and raised in Long Beach, Metoyer found his way to the DLBA when deciding on his master’s degree. He graduated from Long Beach in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in international business with an emphasis in Japanese but soon realized he didn’t like business at all.

“I am a young Black gay man, so my experiences have shaped my view on how I think the organization should be run and how I think the downtown could be,” he said.

Instead of continuing to pursue business, he found a niche that mixed two of his previous employments and while working with the DLBA he pursued his master’s degree in Urban Planning at the University of Southern California.

“I was doing some research and I came across a master’s degree in Urban Planning and when I was looking at what that entailed, or what the course work looked like, it had exactly what I was looking for,” Metoyer said.

He felt in sync with his graduate studies and the work he was doing at the DLBA.

“Austin is the right person in the right role at the right time,” DLBA board chair-elect Debra Fixen said in a press release.

“As the first new president and CEO of the organization in the past 25 years, we are fortunate to have someone with such a great mix of community, industry and leadership experience,” Fizen said.

Metoyer plans on motioning for a more diverse set of events and support that reflects the Downtown Long Beach community.

“I love what the city is starting to do and focus on and I want to be a part of that change,” Metoyer said.

Metoyer grew up in a predominantly white neighborhood in Orange County and described feeling left out while growing up stating he was “one of four Black people in (elementary and middle) school.”

Moving to his high school in Long Beach he finally felt there was “a broad spectrum of Black people.”

“Some like anime, some like basketball, there wasn’t one stereotype of what a Black person needs to be,” he said.

His overall experience with the city shaped him into the person he is today.

“My experiences here I think really helped solidify my confidence in myself, my ability to lead and connect with people,” Metoyer said.

For Metoyer, Long Beach has always felt like home.

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