After 2 1/2 years of leading the Valley Economic Alliance as chair, Randy Witt on Thursday announced that he was turning over the gavel to another longtime local leader, Fred Gaines.

Witt was recently made chair of the Fernando Award Foundation and previously announced that it was time to turn over the alliance to the next leader.

Witt, who owns a video production company, has been alliance chair since September 2017.

Gaines, managing partner in the law firm Gaines & Stacey LLP in Encino, has been a longtime member of the alliance board with deep Valley ties. He has served on the Calabasas City Council since 2011, including a stint as mayor.

“As mayor of Calabasas during the Woolsey Fire, (Gaines) has experience, resources and connections that will prove an asset in guiding recovery efforts and in facilitating economic development in the Valley,” Witt wrote in a letter to alliance board members on Thursday.

In his letter, Witt outlined some of the accomplishments of the alliance during his tenure, including the Housing Our Workers forum, the Access to Business Capital Workshop, and health care and veteran job fairs. The business assistance and workforce programs have reached 9,000 plus distressed businesses, saving 5,500 jobs, with 450 in-person consultations, he said.

“Our 25th anniversary event (in 2019), Shift Happens, was designed to help businesses and nonprofits prepare for disasters,” Witt wrote. “Thanks to all of you who participated in the strategic planning sessions we held, which engaged so many and revitalized our organization with new vision and direction.”