Less than two years after he was hired to lead the Saint Paul Downtown Alliance, Covid-19 arrived, and Joe Spencer shifted into triage mode. The alliance was created to recruit new employers and attract more investment to St. Paul. During the pandemic, it has contacted more than 150 companies to share information. Employees of many St. Paul-based companies are working remotely, and many events at sports and entertainment venues have been cancelled, so Spencer is dealing with economic and public safety concerns downtown. He’s also identifying development opportunities that would benefit the city’s tax base post-pandemic. A new downtown improvement district, created by the City Council, will generate funds for increased safety and more amenities.