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1️⃣1️⃣ Economic Development and Developers in the News

A podcast and econ dev news from 38 states and Canada. May 16th, 2021 - "Economic Development Week" edition.

Dane Carlson
Dane Carlson
15 min read
1️⃣1️⃣ Economic Development and Developers in the News

Table of Contents

This week we published episode 1 of the Econ Dev Show Podcast. In it, we hear a tiny bit of background about our host Dane Carlson (me).  

My two audio/video experts (two of my three sons) reviewed the episode for me over dinner yesterday.  According to my 12-year old, it sounds a little too polished and that I need more "umms".  My 15-year old agrees and finds it intimidating.  

I agree, and with that kind of advice, you can expect something more spontaneous next time.  

But let this be a lesson to you:  I knew after recording and editing that the episode wasn't perfect (or was rather too perfect), and I could have deleted it and rerecorded.  My pride would have appreciated that.  But the perfect is the enemy of the done.

This isn't my original thought.  Voltaire, the French writer, said, “The best is the enemy of the good.” Confucius said, “Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without.” And, of course, there’s Shakespeare: “Striving to better, oft we mar what’s well.”

Good work is about moving toward the desired destination and not necessarily about ensuring that nothing gets spilled or knocked over in the process.

Mistakes will happen. Missteps will occur. It’s momentum that matters.  Don't obsess over what doesn't move the needle.

Finishing is always better than perfection.


Muskogee County voters will vote on an economic development package that would make up to $20 million available for companies planning to add jobs and expand manufacturing capacity. Funding would come from the issuance of general obligation limited tax bonds by Muskogee County Economic Authority.


The City of Yuma recognized National Economic Development Week.

Suntec Concrete, a commercial concrete contractor in the Southwest, has hired former Mesa economic development project manager Will Novak as director of business development.  Novak also spent more than three years with the Greater Phoenix Economic Council.


The Batesville city council will consider a deal with Batesville Area Chamber of Commerce for $100,000 worth of economic development services to create new jobs, retain existing jobs, and expand the city’s tax base.  The agreement will pay chamber for planning, marketing, and strategic advice, as well as, staff an office of economic and industrial development with a professionally qualified senior manager and necessary staff.

Three business expansions in the city's industrial park show the local economy is moving, despite the pandemic.  The Public Facilities Commission sold three industrial properties for a total $1.1 million during the first quarter of 2021.  The companies ultimately might add about 120 jobs.  Jeffery Cooperstein, a research assistant at the Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Arkansas, said there's a lot of demand for industrial space in Northwest Arkansas.

The Arkansas Economic Development Commission announced the creation of a Small Business and Entrepreneurship Division and named Katherine Andrews the director.

The Harrison Regional Chamber of Commerce marked National Economic Development Week to celebrate the contributions of positive economic development and explain the role of the profession in our local community.


[Superior California Economic Development]( is nearing completion of the planning process for their 2021-26 regional Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy.


According to the Jefferson County Economic Development Corporation, Jefferson County added more than 3,000 jobs in 2020.  Even during the pandemic, the number of jobs grew faster than the population.

Longmont City Councilman Tim Waters suggested Tuesday night that the city’s goals for Vance Brand Airport could be more closely aligned with the Longmont Economic Development Partnership’s goals for future development in the community.

Chaffee County Economic Development Corporation appointed Jake Rishavy as its next executive director, effective July 1, 2021.  Rishavy served for nearly a decade as the Vice President for the Denver South Economic Development Corporation.

Sandy Schneider-Engle has joined the City of Fort Morgan staff as the economic development specialist.  This isn’t the first time Schneider-Engle served as a municipal economic development professional in Fort Morgan. She spent more than eight years at the city as the Progress Director in the 1990s where she worked on such projects as the establishment of a film commission office that aided in the production of Dumb & Dumber.


A plan to reorganize the Middletown Planning, Conservation and Development office by splitting it into two departments was approved for consideration at the most recent common council meeting.  The plan calls for eliminating the POCD and parking offices, and creating a Department of Land Use and separate Department of Economic and Community Development.


Economic developers statewide are joining Delaware Prosperity Partnership to celebrate Economic Development Week 2021 by spotlighting some of Delaware’s biggest selling points and economic developers. (Kurt Foreman)


A virtual treasure hunt, social media posts and an outreach event at the Oneco Market highlight a week’s worth of events planned for 2021 Economic Development Week. A team of Economic Development staff set up a booth at the Oneco Farmer’s Market on Friday to promote the County’s Inclusive Manatee Initiative, and to kick off the County’s Microenterprise Program.


Kevin Hanna has been named president and CEO of Conyers-Rockdale Economic Development Council.


Amanda Worthington has joined the Southern Idaho Economic Development team as the marketing manager.


The possible use of incentives for residential property in Granite City — which officials say is the first such proposed use of an enterprise zone they know of — is still under discussion. (Granite City Economic Development Director Cathy Hamilton)

James Arnold, is Edwardsville's new economic and community development director, replacing Walter Williams, who left to join Madison county’s economic development staff.

Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and World Business Chicago Vice Chair Mellody Hobson announced that Michael Fassnacht has been tapped to serve as President & CEO of World Business Chicago.  Fassnacht, who serves as Chief Marketing Officer for the city of Chicago, a position held within WBC, has led the economic development organization, in an interim capacity, since January 2021.


The city of Elwood and the Corporation for Economic Development are requesting $500,000 from the former wind farm account for an economic development project.  The Madison County Council used $400,000 of the wind farm money in 2018 to pay outstanding bills. (Rob Sparks, CEO of the Corporation for Economic Development)

International Economic Development Week is on, and to help commemorate the week, the Steuben County Economic Development Corp. has asked municipalities in the county to pass resolutions supporting local economic development.(SCEDC Executive Director Isaac Lee)


This week is Economic Development Week across the country. A much different outlook on things than this time a year ago – when the pandemic had just started to affect, well, really everything. A year later, many businesses are in a much more celebratory mood, thanks, in part, to a number of grant programs. That includes Cherokee County. (Janet Miller, Cherokee County Economic Development Corporation Director)


Eastern Maine Development Corp. has named Peter Jamieson as Katahdin Region economic development director, replacing Michael Elliott, who stepped down in February.  Jamieson, who has been director of the Katahdin Chamber of Commerce for the past year and a half, will work on programs and development that catalyze economic growth in the eight towns that make up the EMDC's Katahdin Region, collaborating with local, state and federal partners. (Lee Umphrey, president and CEO of EMDC)


Although the role of the Economic Development Department is often misunderstood with everything happening behind the scenes, Kelly Robertson-Slagle, director of the Calvert County Economic Development Department stated that economic developers, local leaders, and partner organizations are working tirelessly to improve the quality of life for Calvert County.


Tuesday's home opener of the Worcester Red Sox was a marketing home run for economic development in the city. Opening Day at Polar Park drew attention towards the city from all over New England and many in the baseball world. According to Alex Guardiola of the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce, Polar Park is now one of the key tools in the City's economic development toolbox.


The Lake Superior Community Partnership is celebrating Economic Development Week. With more than 320 members the LSCP works to stimulate the regional economy by encouraging economic growth in the community.  The new CEO of the LSCP, Sarah Lucas, says this week is a chance to highlight some of the areas that go into economic development.

"Over the last four years, the [Local Initiative Support Corporation Detroit]( has invested nearly $475,000 into Vanguard Community Development Corp. to support the economic development and anchor revitalization work in the historic North End," says Tahirih Ziegler. "Our support has led to the development of Black Bottom Park, technical assistance for 40 small businesses in the North End, and COVID-19 grants for small businesses.”

Delta Force, a young leadership program by the Delta County Chamber of Commerce, met this week on the topic of "Economic Development Day."  Class facilitator and Executive Director of the Delta County Economic Development Alliance, Ed Legault, was extremely pleased with the interaction between the students and speakers.

The Iron County Economic Chamber Alliance has a new Economic Director. Zach Hautala has joined the group to take on that role.

The Grand Rapids City Commission adopted 12 budgets for the 2022 fiscal year recommended by various downtown and neighborhood boards. The budget provides reinvestment of over $43 million for community and economic development, including almost $2 million in investment through six corridor improvement authorities and a neighborhood business improvement district. (Economic Development Director Jeremiah Gracia)


Two central Minnesota cities have been awarded $1.8 million grants to make infrastructure improvements from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development Greater Minnesota Business Development Public Infrastructure Grant Program. (DEED Commissioner Steve Grove)

The Itasca Economic Development Corporation announced the formation of Innovate 218, a regional Launch Minnesota Hub designed to support innovators and entrepreneurs located in Northeast Minnesota. (Tamara Lowney, IEDC president)

The Detroit Lakes Regional Chamber of Commerce held an economic development summit. Jennifer Byers, vice president of grassroots and chamber relations for the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, presented on the Minnesota workforce of 2030.


The Madison County Economic Development Authority announced this week they plan to bring a 100,000 square foot speculative building to the Madison County Mega Site in partnership with Agracel and Ergon. (MCEDA Executive Director Joey Season said they enjoy seeing the mega-site continue to grow and attract businesses.)

Patsy Gregory, the Economic Development Liaison for the City of Okolona, this week outlined several major economic developments under way in the city.


At the Cape Girardeau Area Chamber of Commerce's First Friday Coffee last week, chamber members heard from a panel representing several businesses who said, by and large, the local economy has weathered the COVID-19 pandemic as well as anyone could have expected. They also pointed to numerous signs of growth throughout the community. The panel included chamber president John Mehner, Old Town Cape executive director Liz Haynes and Jeff Maurer of Mayson Capital Partners and PAJCO/Rhodes 101.

The Jefferson City Regional Economic Partnership took a step toward formally beginning work. The organization elected a board of directors and officers for the board as well as set initial areas of focus during a meeting. The board will focus on workforce development, broadband connectivity expansion, business attraction, housing availability and affordable transportation, according to a news release.


The NGage economic development group got an inside look of the newest building on Southeast Community College’s Beatrice campus this week. NGage staff and board members took a tour of the Academic Excellence Building.  (Trevor Lee, executive director)

New Jersey

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Atlantic County lost 40% of its economy, due in large part to the county being 60% dependent on travel, tourism and leisure, according the Atlantic County Economic Alliance.  President Lauren Moore says that their goal is to diversify the area’s economy so when disaster strikes, it won’t cripple the region again.

The New Jersey Economic Development Authority Board approved the creation of the Emerge program, a new jobs-based tax credit program created under the Economic Recovery Act of 2020.  The program is available to projects that invest private capital into the state and create good-paying jobs, with a focus on the state’s priority sectors, which include: technology; life sciences, offshore wind, clean energy, advanced manufacturing, food & beverage (non-retail), financial and professional services, and transportation and logistics. (NJEDA VP, Christopher Emigholz)

New Mexico

A long-time family business in Socorro has been awarded state economic development assistance to expand a brewery and beverage business that can lead to more steady year-round revenue, New Mexico Economic Development Department Cabinet Secretary Alicia J. Keyes announced Thursday.

New York

Rachel Loeb has been named the new president and CEO of the New York City Economic Development Corp., after serving as the city's acting economic development leader since March.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday launched Round XI of the Regional Economic Development Council initiative, officially kicking off a new decade of economic development in a post-pandemic recovery. The 2021 funding round includes more than $750 million in state economic development resources.

Any long-lasting economic effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on the Hudson Valley may not be as devastating nor as long-lasting as some have feared, based on what Michael Oates, president and CEO of the Hudson Valley Economic Development Corporation has been hearing and seeing.

The New York State Authorities Budget Office has asked a judge to dismiss a lawsuit challenging state oversight and financial reporting requirements for the privately run Saratoga Economic Development Corp.

A Penn Yan coffee company reopened in new location after receiving a  low-interest business loan from the Finger Lakes Economic Development Center for $75,000 for seven years with payments amortized over 10-years at fixed interest rate of 1, said Mike Lipari, economic development specialist at FLEDC.

Mark Geise Chautauqua’s Deputy County Executive for Economic Development, and CEO of the CCIDA, took the opportunity of National Economic Development Week to look forward.

The Leadership Alliance, the partnership between The Agency and the Greater Binghamton Chamber of Commerce, held a series of digital and in person events to National Economic Development Week.

North Carolina

Carteret County Economic Development Director Don Kirkman is making the rounds pitching Morehead City officials on a potential offshore wind energy development opportunity for Radio Island.

Economic development, education among key topics at Hickory City Council workshop.

Sandy Dunbeck has been named as High Point economic development director.  She has been the city’s acting interim director since January of this year.

The Cape Fear Economic Development Council, a nonprofit organization that advocated for a shared economic development vision for the region, has shut down.

North Dakota

Three major economic development projects could lead to nearly $450 million in construction spending and 530 new jobs in Stutsman County over the next three years.

Williston Economic Development and the Small Business Development Center hosted their annual awards on Friday, May 7, honoring the achievements of some of the hard-working individuals and businesses in the area.

Williston Economic Development has been recognized with a marketing award from the Mid-America Economic Development Council for their Williston Works Podcast.  Economic Development Director Shawn Wenko hosts.


A second Canal Winchester signature summer event has been canceled for the second consecutive year because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic and continuing health restrictions and protocols.  (Karen Stiles, executive director of Destination: Canal Winchester, the city’s tourism and economic-development promoter)

The Highland County Board of Commissioners announced the hiring of Julie Bolender as county economic development director during an afternoon meeting Wednesday.

The Wayne Economic Development Council has named John Crum as its interim president.

Guernsey County Community Improvement Corporation members recently learned that a $3.5 million project for expansion at the D.O. Hall Business Park in Guernsey County was submitted for funding in the upcoming Fiscal Year 2022 budget.  The request by Appalachian Partnership Inc., a non-profit created to advance economic development opportunities in the region, was submitted through the office of U.S. Congressman Bill Johnson.


St. Helens city officials are looking at future major economic strength through development of an industrial business park at the site the former Boise White Paper Mill.


The Harrisburg Regional Chamber & CREDC will have a new leader for the first time in two decades. Ryan C. Unger, president and CEO of the Team Pennsylvania Foundation, will become president and CEO of the chamber on July 1 replacing longtime leader, David Black.

Robin Van Auken joined statewide economic development firm Penn Strategies.

Rhode Island

The Environmental Protection Agency selected Rhode Island to receive $300K Brownfields Assessment Grant.  The funds will support under-served and economically disadvantaged communities around the state in assessing and cleaning up abandoned industrial and commercial properties.

South Carolina

Newberry City Council approved an economic development rider to incentivize a grocery store to come to town.

The town of Summerville council members are proposing incentives for commercial businesses to open in the Summerville area. “Based on factors like capital investment, the types of numbers of jobs created and wages. Not just impact the property that is being developed, but the neighboring properties in the community,” says Michael Lisle, Economic Development Manager.


JC Ford Company will invest $30 million to locate new manufacturing operations in Columbia by renovating two existing buildings, Tennessee officials said.  The investment is expected to create 210 new jobs in Maury County over the next five years. JC Ford manufactures high-speed corn tortilla production equipment and tortilla chip production lines.

The Clarksville-Montgomery County Economic Development Council executive committee announced it received a commitment from David “Buck” Dellinger to fill the position of chief executive officer.

Walgreens wants to open a distribution center in Memphis with 200 jobs; Ampro wants to start a $30 million expansion in Frayser; and developers want to renovate and transform a prominent but bedraggled row of shop space totaling 54,000 square feet on Summer Avenue in the Heights neighborhood.  These are among the new applications for tax incentives submitted to the Economic Development Growth Engine for Memphis & Shelby County.

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, Tennessee economic recruiters landed both the biggest one-time capital investment and the largest job expansion in state history last month. (Commissioner Bob Rolfe of the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development)

Site Selection magazine picked the Greater Chattanooga Economic Partnership as a 2021 Mac Conway Award Winner for Excellence in Economic Development.


Grant Ingram last week accepted the position as the new Economic Development Director for the City of Graham, moving from his manager position of the Graham Convention and Visitors Bureau.

During National Economic Development Week, the Buda Economic Development Corporation is celebrating 20 years of successfully growing Buda’s businesses.

Richardson Chamber of Commerce staff gave the annual report on the Richardson Economic Development Partnership at Monday’s City Council work session. REDP is a longtime partnership between the City and Chamber in attracting and supporting business in Richardson.

Jason Giulietti President of the Greater San Marcos Partnership wrote in his update: "The prospect pipeline has exploded in this fiscal year, as it currently represents more than $20 billion in prospective capital investment for our region. For reference, it is three times larger than FY20’s record-breaking pipeline and nearly ten times more than the record that stood before it. It represents thousands of potential jobs for the residents in our footprint and it continues to grow just about every day."

Genora Young has been selected to lead the Bastrop Economic Development Corp. while the group searches for a permanent leader.

The city of Palestine is one step closer in selling the Palestine Mall to the Christian Company.  The city council approved a sixth amendment to the purchase and sale agreement between the city, the Palestine Economic Development Corporation and the Christian Company during the council’s regularly scheduled bi-monthly on Monday, May 10. (Lisa Denton, PEDC's executive)

Paris Economic Development Corp. directors this week gave approval to proceed with a contract on a one-year option for a prospective industrial client, known only as Project Highway, to purchase roughly 15 acres in the Paris Business Park.  “We are still negotiating,” PEDC executive director Maureen Hammond said.


A sprawling, undeveloped expanse of land in western Weber County could be the state’s next hotspot for industrial development, a Northern Utah economic development booster thinks.  “As we look in Northern Utah for industrial expansion, we think this is the next key place to see this happen. Landowners are cooperative, want to see industrial development in this region and it’s already zoned for it,” Chris Roybal, head of the Northern Utah Economic Alliance, said Thursday.

Seeking a fresh perspective to aid in the creation of an economy-focused disaster recovery and resiliency plan for the region, Southern Utah’s Five County Association of Governments has brought on Nathanuel Martinez direct the plan’s development.


Campbell County has added new economic development incentives for businesses to come to the area.  The board of supervisors approved those new additions this week. (Nina Rezai, economic development manager)

Jennifer Wakefield, president and CEO of the Greater Richmond Partnership, wrote in her update: "Our region is hot, hot, hot right now."

Portsmouth Economic Development Is opening a brick-and-mortar resource, aiming to create a public and accessible hub for skills training, career fairs, job applications and Internet access. The 2,000-square-foot office space is located in a suite at its downtown headquarters The idea has been brewing since the fall 2019, said Jessica Bedenbaugh, marketing and communications manager.


The Greater Vancouver Chamber, the Columbia River Economic Development Council, and Identity Clark County will host the 2021 Legislative Review, virtually, on Fri., May 21 presented by NW Natural.

West Virginia

Shareholders in the Moundsville Country Club are being contacted to determine the future of the 81-year-old institution after the club has received a purchase offer from the Regional Economic Development Partnership.


The Greater Green Bay Chamber economic development team has hired Lamarr Banks as the Urban Hub community manager.


The Town of Blackfalds is welcoming its new Economic Development Officer, Christopher Johnson.

Terri Murphy joined Southgate as the new Economic Development Officer on May 11.

Despite the pandemic, Portage Regional Economic Development is moving full-steam ahead with a plan to continue Portage's economic climb. Executive director Eve O'Leary recently visited the city and RM councils to update them on her progress and is quite excited to share their efforts and some fruit of their labors.

Last week was the 2021 Saskatchewan Economic Development Week and it kicked off with Monday being recognized as Indigenous Economic Development Day to help engage neighboring communities and First Nations in building a prosperous future together.  "Economic Development Week is really an opportunity to highlight the efforts and the importance of economic development in the region," said Larry Heggs Executive Director for the Weyburn Chamber of Commerce and the Weyburn Economic Development Department.

The British Columbia Economic Development Association celebrated British Columbia Economic Development Week.

Cornwall Ontario celebrated Economic Development Week.

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Dane Carlson Twitter

Founder/Host of Econ Dev Show. Also: Sitehunt CEO and economic development consultant in Greater Houston, Texas.

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