An Arizona businessman with a 20-year history of developing entrepreneurship has been named executive director of the Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development.

The center’s board of directors announced the appointment of Thomas G. Rainey Tuesday. He will start on Sept. 6.

Rainey is currently head of an economic development consulting firm in Arizona. He has served as president of the Vermont Center for Emerging Technologies and the Northern Arizona Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology; helped develop a business incubation strategy for New Hampshire; and developed six NASA-funded business incubator facilities in Florida in the 1990s.

Rainey is a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis and has a master’s degree in Science and Technology Policy from Lund University in Sweden.

“Tom is the right person to help MCED transition to the next level,” said Catherine Renault, chair of the MCED board. “He has demonstrated success in delivering business assistance services to high-growth companies in rural and underserved areas and significant results identifying and securing funding for these programs. We were also impressed with his international experience, including with Canada and Europe, as well as his strong business and personal ties to New England and Quebec.”

The board said Rainey’s focus will be on refining MCED’s current programs, helping create effective programs for rural participants and building programs to help businesses accelerate growth.

MECD was established in 1996 with the mission of helping to build a community of growth-oriented entrepreneurs in Maine.