Noblesville, IN – Today, Mayor-elect Chris Jensen announced his administration’s Senior Staff Team: Deputy Mayor Matt Light, Director of Public Safety Chad Knecht, and Director of Community and Economic Development Sarah Reed.
“This team is ready to lead Noblesville on day one,” Mayor-elect Chris Jensen said. “Bringing years of management experience and a proven record of results to Noblesville, I’m proud these leaders of their respective fields are joining me to serve our city and residents.”
Jensen selected Matt Light, currently Chief of Staff at Indiana’s State Board of Accounts, to serve as Deputy Mayor. At the SBoA, Light leads a staff of nearly 300 that audits all state agencies and local units of government. Additionally, Matt brings his experience in past executive roles at the Indiana Attorney General’s office and as an adjunct professor at the IU McKinney School of Law to serve Noblesville’s residents.
Reflecting Noblesville’s growth and rapidly evolving national trends in public safety challenges, Chad Knecht, a past Deputy Operations Director of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department and current Senior Director of Security and Safety for the Indiana Pacers, will fill the newly created Director of Public Safety position. Coordinating Noblesville’s public safety efforts, he will oversee the city’s police and fire departments and manage traditional public safety issues, mental health care, and community partnerships.
Current Noblesville Planning Director Sarah Reed will take the newly created role of Director of Community & Economic Development. There, she will oversee a coordinated approach to economic development and planning to further enhance and streamline Noblesville’s efforts to attract businesses, entrepreneurs, and manage smart growth for the city.
All three positions on the senior staff team will report directly to the Mayor’s office.
Together, Mayor-elect Jensen and the senior staff team will be focused on providing clear vision and leadership to push boundaries, innovate, and build the next chapter of Noblesville’s success story.
Matt Light – Deputy Mayor
Matt Light has more than a decade of government administration and public sector project management experience. He currently serves as Chief of Staff for the State Board of Accounts, a 280-employee agency that audits all local government units and state agencies. In that capacity he has managed SBoA’s legislative policy portfolio and served as the agency’s primary liaison to the legislature and Governor’s office. Matt steered efforts on a legislative enactment that will allow SBoA to recover more audit costs from federal grants, which is expected to decrease taxpayer subsidization from the state general fund by more than $3 million per year. He has overseen modernization projects that enhanced SBoA’s efficiency and value proposition for auditees. Matt also launched and coordinated a Field Examiner Advisory Council to increase connectivity between field and office staff and ensure employees are working in a consistent fashion that supports the agency’s strategic vision. He also developed strategy for SBoA in coordination with law enforcement partners on “Operation Public Accountability” that culminated in 15 arrests and for more than $1.1M in public funds misappropriations.
Prior to working for SBoA, Matt served in several leadership capacities for the Office of Attorney General. He was Chief Deputy for former Attorney General Greg Zoeller, managing operational and professional development efforts for the office’s seven legal divisions and coordinating internal and external communications strategies and legislative initiatives. Matt’s accomplishments as Chief Deputy included enhanced relationships with agency general counsels that produced increased efficiencies and reorganization of the Consumer Protection, Licensing Enforcement, and Revenue divisions to better utilize available resources and promote increased achievement of departmental and office goals. Matt also served as Advisory Division Chief Counsel, Legislative Liaison, Identity Theft Unit Supervisor, and Chief Operating Officer during his ten-year tenure in the Office of Attorney General. In 2008, he developed the strategy for the launch and operation of the Identity Theft Unit, one of the first units in the country dedicated to assisting identity theft victims while supplementing and complementing law enforcement efforts. His strategies also led to a more than $6 million general fund increase for the office in the 2017 state budget bill.
Matt recently served on the Indiana State Bar Association’s Board of Governors, as counsel to ISBA Immediate Past President Todd Spurgeon. He was a 2013 graduate of the ISBA Leadership Development Academy and has previously served as Chair of both the Young Lawyers Section and Professional Legal Education, Admission, and Development Section. He has been involved with numerous ISBA outreach and volunteer programs, including Mentor Match, Talk to a Lawyer Day, provision of legal education resources for high school students and young adults, and community service projects. He is an adjunct professor at the IU Robert H. McKinney School of Law where he teaches the “Representing the Government” course. A Noblesville resident since 2007, Matt lives in the Mill Grove neighborhood with his wife, Erin, and their children Savannah, Dakota, and Luke.
Chad Knecht – Director of Public Safety
Currently the Indiana Pacer’s Senior Director of Security and Safety, Chad Knecht is a past Deputy Operations Director of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department . Chad is a graduate of Covington Community High School, and has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminology from Indiana State University. Chad is a 29 year veteran of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department. While on the police department Chad was named Rookie Officer of the year, received two Medals of Valor and numerous citations and letters of commendation. He is a graduate of the IMPD Leadership Academy Class 2011-02.
Chad held various positions on the police department including street patrolman, narcotics investigator, Safe Streets Task Force Commander, 10 years on the SWAT Team including the position of SWAT Commander. He has also held previous Executive Command Staff Positions including the Major of the Homeland Security Bureau which ensured the city’s readiness for tactical situations, critical incidents, major special events (Indy 500, Brickyard 400, Indiana Black Expo, Moto GP, Colts games, Pacers Games, NCAA Final Four and other major special events and conventions) through a collaborative public safety partnership. Chad’s other positions included East District Commander, Downtown District Commander, Deputy Chief of Operations and Chief of Staff.
Each of these positions required developing relationships and partnerships with not only all aspects of public safety, but also trust and collaboration with the community and business partners. This could only be accomplished with by embracing a true public servant mindset with the overall good of the community as the goal. Chad was able to develop plans and strategies as well as operationalize plans which went far beyond “law enforcement” towards true public safety by finding solutions to disorder and social issues through partnerships with both public and private sectors to facilitate long term solutions.
Chad’s wife of 28 years, Tracy, is a police officer with IMPD. Chad and Tracy were in the same recruit class and met in the training academy and have not been apart since! Tracy is a shining example of a truly committed “community policing officer” who has worked the same area engaging and securing the neighborhoods on her beat for 29 years. Chad and Tracy have one daughter, Jordan, who also lives in Noblesville with her husband Andrew and their two children.
Sarah Reed – Director of Community and Economic Development
Sarah L. Reed is the Director of Planning and Development for the City of Noblesville, Indiana and a certified Planner through the American Institute of Certified Planners. She was appointed by Mayor John Ditslear to the position in February of 2016 after serving for two years in the City’s Economic Development department. She previously worked for the Planning and Development department in the City of Westfield, Indiana.
In 2016, Sarah commissioned and facilitated the completion of a Residential Market Analysis to establish a strategic plan for housing in Noblesville. She is continuing the momentum of the analysis by creating a transparent development process through increased communication between City staff, petitioners, and Plan Commission and Common Council who have the final recommendations/votes on new projects. Early in 2018, another step in the process was completed through the creation of a Housing Policy Plan. In addition to tackling the housing challenges, she has also led the Downtown District Streetscape Master Plan project and Comprehensive Plan Update during her three+ years in the leadership role.
In her role in Economic Development, Sarah’s main areas of focus included: Business Retention and Expansion, Business Attraction, Workforce Development, and Project Management. She managed Noblesville’s first formal Business Retention and Expansion Program, Stay Here * Grow Here and a community-wide Soft Skills Campaign dubbed #NoblesvilleWORKS through a partnership with Noblesville Schools (K-12) and local businesses. Sarah also co-facilitated the Noblesville Workforce Development Council, managed the Workforce 200 Committee, and served an integral role in bringing the largest hotel and convention center in Hamilton County to the City of Noblesville. Prior to joining Noblesville’s Economic Development staff, Sarah worked as an Associate Planner for the City of Westfield, Indiana where she processed and coordinated applications and petitions for City Council, Advisory Plan Commission and Board of Zoning Appeals. Reed created staff reports and presented ordinances, resolutions, annexations, and Comprehensive Plan amendments.
Reed holds a Bachelors of Urban Planning from the University of Cincinnati, and received the Outstanding Student in Planning Award in 2003. A graduate of the Oklahoma University – Economic Development Institute in May of 2016, the only professional-level program of its type in the U.S., which provides professional economic development professionals with up-to-date knowledge and tools necessary to succeed in today’s constantly-changing economic development marketplace. Reed has also completed Phase I and II of the Certified Public Manager Program through Ball State University, in February of 2019. She is now holds the national designation as a Certified Public Manager. Sarah has also completed a course by the National Institute of Crime Prevention (NICP), Basic Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design. It teaches proper design and effective use of the built and social environment to achieve a more productive use of space and a reduction of crime. Reed is a 2013 graduate of the Hamilton County Leadership Academy, is the active Cub Scout Pack 103 Committee Chair (Cicero, IN) for the Del-Mi District of the Boy Scouts of America, and is a member of inaugural class the Noblesville Schools Miller Ambassadors.