Office of Community and Economic Development
Staff Spotlight: Meet Erik Cherkaski
Erik Cherkaski is a project manager at OCED focusing on industry development and clean energy. He joined the team in 2014.
Tell us about your professional background.
I’m a Bulldog alumnus. I moved here from the East Coast about ten years ago and received both my bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Fresno State. I was also a legislative scholar intern at The Maddy Institute, which really gave me my first taste of local efforts that support our region. I’ve worked at the City of Clovis and for a nonprofit focused on clean energy needs in the Valley. I started working at OCED a few months after getting my Master of Public Administration, beginning in finance before moving my way up to project management. It’s been one cool journey!
Who inspires you?
I am inspired by anyone I meet who follows their passion. I work with so many people who are passionate about different projects, whether it be clean transportation, manufacturing, agriculture, etc. Seeing individuals apply their passions to improve their communities is incredibly inspiring, and motivates me to give my all in my work.
What is your favorite movie?
I’m a big movie buff, so too many to really name! The original Star Wars trilogy will always hold a special place in my heart, though. Digging the current Star Wars movie renaissance we’re experiencing right now too.
What’s the coolest project you’re working on right now?
I have a couple, but I’m really looking forward to Americas Competiveness Exchange (ACE) 10 in October. It’s a regional effort lead by the U.S. Economic Development Administration that provides a guided tour of a region's economy and innovative practices to over 50 foreign delegates from throughout the world, with the goal of fostering new partnerships and sharing best practices. The tour will start in San Francisco, and then move to Monterey, Fresno and end in Davis and Sacramento. The Fresno stop will showcase our ag laboratory and WET Center at Fresno State, Bitwise Industries and our cultural centers downtown. Can’t wait!
What’s your favorite local meal?
Bit of a foodie, so I would be remiss if I didn't include a shameless plug of my Instagram food blog, @saya_suka_eats (saya suka means "I like" in Malay). It features some of my favorite food and drink spots in the 559 and other places that I visit, so check it out! Some of my current favorites are Colton’s nachos and wings, anything at HOP PK and the Indian pizza’s at the Curry Pizza Company.