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22 - Economic Development and Developers in the News

Econ dev news from eighty-nine economic development executives and organizations in 36 US states and Canada.

Dane Carlson
Dane Carlson
16 min read
22 - Economic Development and Developers in the News
Photo by Jan Canty / Unsplash

Welcome to the 22nd weekly edition of Economic Development and Developers in the News.  (Here are all of the past issues.)

Thanks for reading!  I spend more than twelve hours each week on these summaries. If you enjoy all my effort, please share with your colleagues in economic development.  If you'd like to chat, please contact me. -Dane

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Alabama

The Birmingham Business Alliance received a $450,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration Disaster Recovery Program to fund a bioscience market intelligence study, strategy and implementation plan. (Ron Kitchens, BBA CEO)

The Alabama Department of Commerce launched a digital marketing campaign called “Next” that showcases the state’s contributions to fields such as space exploration, national defense, bioscience, advanced manufacturing and mobility technologies. (Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce)

Alaska

By utilizing existing datasets, the Alaska Division of Community and Regional Affairs has produced targeted interactive data products about the economic health of communities. Data products include Made in Alaska business directories, a detailed overview of the Qualified Opportunity Zones of Alaska, an interactive application spatially displaying all commercial fishery revenue, and reports on local fuel costs in rural Alaska.

Arizona

Bennet Bratley, City of Kingman economic development manager, shared the department's reports with the Kingman City Council. The department worked with local businesses to make sure they were receiving the support and information they needed during the pandemic.

The National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development hosted the 35th Annual Reservation Economic Summit July 19-21 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  The summit is the largest and longest-running national American Indian business event in the nation. Many tribal governments, organizations, and entrepreneurs attended the summit for the high-caliber networking, winning teaming opportunities, business development sessions and one-on-one consulting. (Navajo Nation Division of Economic Development Executive Director JT Willie)

Arkansas

Mississippi County was recognized on Tuesday by
Arkansas Economic Development as the recipient of the Competitive Community Initiative title.

Anita Brackin is the new vice president of workforce development for the Fort Smith Regional Chamber of Commerce.

California

The Glenn County Planning and Community Development Services Agency is offering grants ranging from $2,500 to $7,500 to eligible businesses within the unincorporated area of Glenn County.

Colorado

The Cannabis Business Office will create new economic development opportunities, local job creation, and community growth for the diverse population across Colorado. Under the leadership of Governor Polis, they striving to expand economic prosperity within historically economically distressed areas throughout the state. (Tristan Watkins, Program Manager)

Denver Economic Development and Opportunity, in partnership with The Denver Foundation, has opened applications for a grant program for nonprofits, resident groups and micro businesses to fund projects that improve the quality of life in their communities. (Dace West, The Denver Foundation)

Florida

Kissimmee Economic Development Director, Belinda Ortiz Kirkegard, was appointed to the Orlando Airport Board.

Lake County Commissioners Tuesday approved an economic development grant to help The Villages build a $100 million mixed-use complex that will include a regional hospital. The grant is based on property taxes paid by the developer, beginning with a reimbursement rate of 80%. (Brandon Matulka, Lake County Economic Growth Executive Director)

Georgia

Norcross is abuzz with a flurry of new development and redevelopment projects. (Will Corbin, Norcross City Economic Development Director)

The 2,284-acre “megasite” in Bryan County was designed to compete with other large plots of land around the country for game-changing economic development deals that could bring tens of thousands of suppliers to Georgia.

Beating out competitors for major industrial projects is only one part of economic growth in Georgia, but it is one that brings in potentially thousands of jobs at a time and can include significant investments from local governments. Some experts said state and local developers in Georgia are careful to make sure these projects are net economic gains for the state.  "Incentives can't make a bad deal good, they can only make a good deal better, " said Scott McMurray, deputy commissioner for Global Commerce for the Georgia Department of Economic Development. (Michael Toma, Fuller E. Callaway Professor of Economics at Georgia Southern University; Christina Cummings, vice president of operations for the Partnership for Southern Equity)

How to recruit a business to Georgia: Incentives, incentives, incentives. (Trip Tollison, president and CEO of the Savannah Economic Development Authority)

Hawaii

National Geographic's 1969 profile of Hawaii's capital city 10 years after statehood was a preview of things to come. Hawaii quickly shifted from an agricultural breadbasket to an import-dependent state reliant on tourism. For today’s policymakers, the challenge of diversifying the economy, supporting its residents and mitigating the negative impact of 10 million-plus visitors a year is immense. (Mike McCartney, the director of the Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism)

Illinois

President and CEO Mike Kirchhoff, of the North Central Illinois Economic Development Corporation, will resign his position.

Local economic developers are a step closer to improving how they attract potential new businesses, after the Bloomington City Council voted Monday night to support a new standardized incentives policy. (Patrick Hoban, who leads the Bloomington-Normal Economic Development Council)

Peoria has received a $10 million state investment for the MacArthur Highway improvement. Leaders believe the money will be a catalyst for further development in South Peoria. (Patrick Urich, City Manager)

Indiana

Edinburgh is taking steps to better market its small town with Bartholomew County’s economic development corporation. Because parts of Edinburgh are in Johnson, Bartholomew and Shelby counties, the town had to choose which economic development corporation to work with. Aspire Economic Development + Chamber Alliance, Johnson County’s economic development corporation, very much wanted Edinburgh to join but, it made more sense to join Bartholomew County’s corporation, also known as the Greater Columbus Economic Development Corporation.

The Floyd County Commissioners and the Town of Georgetown are seeking state funding to pursue projects that local leaders say would drive major economic development in the county and region. The “64 Innovation Corridor Project” proposal seeks $9.2 million for three projects on the Ind. 64 corridor in Georgetown. One of the projects included in the proposal is the development of laboratory and entrepreneurial space in the Novaparke Innovation and Technology campus. The total economic benefit for the county is projected at $200 million with about 400 additional jobs estimated in Floyd County.

Novelis Inc., the world leader in aluminum rolling and recycling, announced it is investing more than $7 million to hire 37 new employees and restart several pieces of idled equipment at its manufacturing facility in Terre Haute, Indiana. The Indiana Economic Development Corporation offered Novelis up to $475,000 in conditional tax credits based on the company's job creation plans. The Terre Haute Economic Development Corporation approved additional incentives. (Jim Staton, SVP and chief business development officer for the Indiana Economic Development Corporation)

The Bartholomew County town of Edinburgh says it doesn't want to miss out on opportunities for economic growth, so it is taking steps to join the Greater Columbus Economic Development Corp.

The newly formed Strategic Development Commission of Northeast Indiana held its organizational meeting. The commission will work to increase the population, the per capita personal income relative to the national average, and postsecondary education and credential attainment. (Bill Konyha, president/CEO of the Regional Chamber of Northeast Indiana)

Iowa

National Rural Economic Developers Association Meeting Planner, Denise Hoffman will be leaving her position. Denise started with NREDA in 2015 and has been a valuable part of the team planning the Annual Conference each year.

The oldest golf course in Cedar Rapids will soon be home to a rebuilt clubhouse that city officials hope will fuel economic development in the flood-damaged northwest quadrant by providing a space for golf tournaments and other events. (Scott Hock, Parks and Recreation Director)

Kansas

In an effort to modernize the strategy toward economic development in Leavenworth County, they will be transitioning from a static approach involving a select few key economic development professionals to a dynamic and team-centered effort that will encourage collaboration between community leaders at all levels. (Chris Donnelly, Leavenworth County Port Authority; Josh Hoppes, Leavenworth County Development Corporation President; Brian Habjan, LCDC Treasurer; Harland Russell, LCDC Past President; Alicia Janesko-Hutchings, manager of Business Recruitment Kansas Department of Commerce; Jill McCarthy, senior vice president of Corporate Attraction for Kansas City Area Development Council; Steve Jack, LCDC Executive Director)

Kentucky

Commerce Lexington Inc. has announced the recent addition of Falon McFarland as administrative project coordinator with the organization’s Economic Development Division.

Greater Paducah Economic Development owns or controls three separate business/industrial parks all different in nature: an office park, distribution park and river site with triple rail access. Bruce Wilcox, president/CEO said, “If you have product, if you have inventory, that puts you in a different league.”

Louisiana

Dasjon Jordan has been named executive director of Broad Community Connections, which promotes the health and economic wellness of the Broad Street corridor. Jordan previously served as the strategy and real estate development manager for the Ujamaa Economic Development Corp.

The City of Monroe announced Kelsea McCrary will become the City’s Chief Economic Developer.

The City of Abbeville is partnering with Louisiana Economic Development to build an economic development plan for Abbeville. The Louisiana Development Ready Community program is designed to identify the strengths and weaknesses of Abbeville and provide community leaders with clear direction on specific resources needed to foster successful economic development.

Hunt Forest Products and Tolko Industries announced that the companies will develop a new $240 million sawmill in Bienville Parish. The joint venture company will create 130 direct new jobs and 387 indirect jobs in Louisiana’s Northwest Region.  (Justyn Dixon, president and CEO of the North Louisiana Economic Partnership)

Maryland

Allan Gallant, an accountant who was an early proponent of bringing grocery stores to underserved neighborhoods, died of stroke complications Saturday at his Lutherville home.

Massachusetts

Amanda Pham has been promoted to become the new executive director of the Springfield Redevelopment Authority, replacing Christopher Moskal, who is retiring after 26 years with the city.

A Boston-based architecture and design office assigned as a consultant to Sunderland presented its recommendations for the town’s pandemic recovery plan during Monday’s Selectboard meeting.

Michigan

Antoine Bryant has been nominated to serve as the next director of Detroit’s Planning & Development Department. Bryant will take over the role from Katy Trudeau, who has been serving as interim director since January.

Two more businesses in Van Buren County are each the recipient of a $20,000 loan from the county’s Economic Development Board to help stabilize their companies in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Zach Morris, Executive Director of Market Van Buren)

The Northwest Industry 4.0 Consortium received a grant to further the awareness and integration of Industry 4.0 practices in the region. Key activities funded by the grant include a learning lab, awareness building, and marketing. (Jason Slade, Northwest Michigan College director of technical academic area)

Ford Motor Co. on Tuesday said it has selected the city of Romulus for the site of a previously announced, $100 million global battery research and development center. Ford's Ion Park project moved forward after the Michigan Strategic Fund approved the transfer of an existing renaissance zone. A renaissance zone designation allows a company to operate free of virtually all state and local taxes over the life of the agreement.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced economic development grants for RV manufacturers Cruiser RV and Heartland Recreational Vehicles in support of two new manufacturing campuses in Sturgis. The two projects are expected to generate a total private investment of $35.9 million and create a total of 450 high-wage jobs in St. Joseph County. (Paul Ajegba, director of the Michigan Department of Transportation.)

The Chippewa County International Airport is receiving over $5 million in grant funds from the U.S. Department of Transportation, which will be used for the reconstruction and expansion of the airport’s general aviation terminal building to improve operations and efficiency for travelers and baggage moving throughout the airport. The two-story facility will also house Chippewa County Economic Development Corporation. (Chris Olson, President Chippewa County Economic Development Corporation)

The city of St. Joseph will continue its economic development agreement with Cornerstone Alliance. The matter came up at Monday’s meeting of the St. Joseph City Commission as Cornerstone’s Rob Cleveland recapped some recent work the organization has done to attract investment.

The City of South Haven city council members, approved a one-year agreement with Market Van Buren economic development organization at a cost of $11,228. Market Van Buren, which is a subsidiary of Southwest Michigan-based Kinexus Group, provides economic development services for Van Buren County, as well as several other municipalities within the county.

Minnesota

Pat Campanaro, the Cook County Small Business Development Center consultant, was chosen as the 2020 SBDC Star by the Minnesota SBDC. She was nominated by her colleagues at the Cook County/Grand Marais Economic Development Authority for the SBDC State Star for Minnesota.

Mississippi

Mississippi Economic Council hosted a conference “A New Day, A New Opportunity for Mississippi” that addressed key initiatives to spur opportunities for economic growth on Friday.

John Lovorn, founder of The Pace Group, has died.

Missouri

St. Louis Development Corporation, the economic development arm for the City of St. Louis, announced today the appointment of Daffney Moore as Chief of Staff/Director of Equity & Inclusion. Moore will be the strategic advisor and counsel to the newly selected Executive Director, Neal Richardson.

Nebraska

Gov. Pete Ricketts, the Nebraska Department of Economic Development and the Nebraska Department of Agriculture will host the Governor’s Ag and Economic Development Summit on Aug. 4 at the Younes Conference Center in Kearney.

Nevada

Work has begun on the first speculative industrial warehouse at Victory Logistics District in Fernley, and the 815,000-square-foot building could represent the beginning of transformative change for Lyon County’s largest town. Daphne Hooper, Fernley City Manager, says the project puts Fernley in an incredible position for economic development and growth.

Clark County has outpaced U.S. population growth since 1930, and it’s not slowing down any time soon. That’s according to the latest population forecast published recently by our team at the Center for Business and Economic Research.  (Andrew Woods, director of the Center for Business and Economic Research at UNLV Lee Business School)

New Mexico

Tim Morgan is the new Vice President of Economic Development for the New Mexico Partnership.

Albuquerque's economic development department announced a partnership with Visit Albuquerque for a new campaign promoting the city as a destination for post-pandemic vacations.  (Synthia R. Jaramillo, director of the city's economic development department)

The New Mexico Film Office announced that this fiscal year, which began in July 2020, broke records in the state with film and TV productions spending roughly $623 million. An estimated 40% of production budgets are spent on procuring goods and services from New Mexico businesses, according to the state. Earlier this year, NBCUniversal marked the opening of its production hub near downtown Albuquerque. It joined Netflix, which has plans to expand its footprint on the southern edge of the city. Both have received millions of dollars in state and local economic development funds as incentives for locating in New Mexico. (Amber Dodson, director of the New Mexico Film Office)

New York

Extreme Makeover: Liv Co Edition is a new funding program that provides matching grant funds to help transform commercial and mixed-use buildings that are key to local revitalization efforts. These renovations will attract new visitors and boost the quality of life in the region by creating unique spaces for new and expanding businesses. (Director of Economic Development, Bill Bacon)

The Tioga County Industrial Development Agency, in partnership with Tioga County Economic Development & Planning, recently completed a study of the county’s agricultural value chain.  After being awarded a USDA Rural Business Development Grant in August of 2020, Karen Karp & Partners, a food and agriculture consultancy firm, was retained to work with the County to conduct the study.

The Chautauqua Region Economic Development Corporation, the umbrella organization of the Chautauqua County Partnership for Economic Growth, today authorized the acceptance of a three-year, $1.05 million grant award from the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation. (CCPEG Co-Chair Mark Geise, who is also the Deputy County Executive for Economic Development and CEO of the County of Chautauqua Industrial Development Agency)

North Carolina

Members of the North Carolina Economic Development Association elected Kelly Andrews, director of economic development for Pitt County, to the organization’s board of directors for a three-year term. Raleigh-based NCEDA is North Carolina’s leading association for economic development practitioners and their public and private allies and educational partners. Andrews’ election came by unanimous vote at NCEDA’s annual meeting in Atlantic Beach last month. Andrews has been Pitt County’s economic development director since October. She previously served as associate director.

The North Carolina Department of Administration’s Office for Historically Underutilized Businesses was awarded a five-year grant totaling $385,000 to establish and operate the NC Minority Business Development Agency Business Center. (NC HUB Director Tammie Hall)

Glen Raven, Inc. Custom Fabrics, LLC, has announced its plan to expand its Norlina plant in Warren County, NC. The expansion will create 205 new jobs, and $82,000,000 in capital investment. (Charla Duncan, Warren County Economic Development Director)

Global aluminum beverage packaging company Ball Corporation will create 220 new jobs in Cabarrus County, Governor Roy Cooper announced. The company will invest $383.8 million to join Red Bull and Rauch’s beverage manufacturing hub in Concord.

Ohio

Amy Sealts with the Putnam County Community Improvement Corporation earned the OhioCED certification from the Ohio Economic Development Association. (via Mark Barbash, Director of the Ohio Economic Development Institute at Ohio Economic Development Association)

BioOhio, the statewide trade group for the growing biotechnology sector, has recruited Ohio State University economic development specialist Eddie Pauline as its next CEO.  She succeeds John Lewis, who stepped down this summer after 21 years leading the organization.

Michael Loges, president of the Ohio Economic Development Association, has announced that Jason Ricker, director of business development and real estate for the Tuscarawas County Economic Development Corp., has been awarded the Ohio Certified Economic Developer (OhioCED) credential.  Loges also congratulated Harry Eadon, president and executive director for the Tuscarawas Economic Development Corp., along the board of directors, for recognizing that economic development is critical to their community and advancing the skills of their professional staff.

The Dayton NAACP held a town hall event, the "Economic Development Strategy 2022 and Beyond." Organizers said the event was streamed on the organization's Facebook page.

Eddie Pauline of The Ohio State University has earned the OhioCED Certification from Ohio Economic Development Association.

Oklahoma

The latest expansion of Tinker Air Force Base will use 220 acres acquired by the Oklahoma Industries Authority to allow for mission growth. The OIA acquired the acreage over time, purchasing smaller parcels and holding them for years with the goal of selling or leasing to Tinker for expansion when the time was right. (Cathy O’Connor, president of the Alliance for Economic Development of Oklahoma City)

Andrea Anderson was promoted to Vice President of the Ardmore Development Authority during the June meeting of the Board of Trustees. (Mita Bates, President and CEO of the Ardmore Development Authority)

Oregon

The Malheur County Court is seeking people who would like to serve on the Eastern Oregon Border Economic Development Board to submit their names for possible appointment. Candidates need to have general knowledge of the border region, more specifically the challenges and opportunities presented by being close to Idaho, the announcement reads.

Pennsylvania

All Aboard Erie announced that Michael Fuhrman will be the new executive director of the organization. Fuhrman, previously served as project manager of Destination Erie. Also, the organization announced the formation of the Lakeshore Rail Alliance, a multi-state coalition of seven passenger rail organizations that will use their collective voice to push for better mobility along the Lake Shore Corridor between Chicago and New York City.

Lycoming Arts asked city officials to consider the arts and cultural aspects of Williamsport as it discusses the best use of $25.8 million in American Rescue Plan dollars as part of the COVID-19 relief.

The Jefferson County Development Council held their 22nd annual meeting on Friday at the Punxsutawney Country Club with an array of government officials as speakers. (Development Council Executive Director Jamie Lefever)

South Carolina

Municipalities in Beaufort County are working toward economic development following funds received from the American Rescue Plan.

Tennessee

The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development awarded more than $108.5 million in FastTrack economic development grants between 51 businesses in the first half of 2021, according to a database from the department.

Lee County Airport got plenty of business and public attention as business and county government officials organized a fly-in to showcase the airport’s potential. County officials including the Lee County Economic Development Authority are working on grant applications through the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Virginia Department of Aviation to acquire $117,000 toward buying and installing a jet A fuel tank and pump system.

A revamped committee in Nolensville focused on the economic development of the town is setting the stage for recruiting new businesses as the community prepares for inevitable growth.

Texas

Amarillo City Council members put the final stamp of approval today on three economic development projects crafted by the Amarillo Economic Development Corporation.

Devoyd “Dee” Jennings, president and CEO of the Fort Worth Metropolitan Black Chamber of Commerce, has died.

Vermont

With an infusion of federal COVID-19 relief money on the way, the Select Board is considering hiring a consultant, White & Burke Real Estate Advisors, to prepare an economic development plan to make use of the funds.

Virginia

Looking ahead, we are excited about the future and confident that Arlington’s most compelling assets — its talent, connectivity and culture of innovation — are more relevant than ever in the post-pandemic world. In fact, these assets have only grown stronger with continued investments on the part of our businesses, real estate community, the County and its partners at the State level. (Marian Marquez, Director of Business Investment for Arlington Economic Development)

Sharon Phillips has joined the Town of Kilmarnock as the new economic development coordinator.

The VSU Center for Entrepreneurship in the Reginald F. Lewis College of Business and the Division of Research and Economic Development at Virginia State University has been awarded a $453,000 grant by GO Virginia, a commonwealth of Virginia-funded program, to spur minority entrepreneurship via the creation of the Minority Small Business Launch Center. The center was designed to increase the self-employment rate of minorities and the performance of early-stage minority-led firms in the cities and counties within the Richmond Metropolitan Statistical Area.

West Virginia

Jennifer Bostian has been appointed as the new executive director of the Upshur County Development Authority. Previously, she served as the deputy director of the City of Maricopa, Arizona, as well as the city’s economic development business specialist.

Three months after the Interagency Working Group on Coal and Power Plant Communities and Economic Revitalization identified Southern West Virginia as the area of the country most in need of focused federal investment because of its high dependence on coal and coal power plant jobs, the feds have announced a $300 million investment in coal communities nationwide. The U.S. Economic Development Administration has allocated $300 million of its $3 billion appropriation under the COVID-19 relief package that President Joe Biden signed into law in March to support coal communities.

United States

United States Department of Agriculture Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Justin Maxson announced that USDA is investing $14 million in rural economic development projects in 10 states. USDA is providing the funding through the Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant program. Through this program, USDA provides zero-interest loans and grants to utilities. The utilities then lend funds to local businesses for projects that create and retain employment in rural areas. Eligible applicants are USDA’s Electric Program and Telecom Program borrowers. The announcement includes investments in Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, Ohio, and Tennessee.

The Site Selectors Guild has announced Charlie Jewell as its new managing director. Jewell succeeds Rick Weddle, who retired in June 2021. In addition, Chris Lloyd, senior vice president at McGuireWoods Consulting was appointed board chair; Gregg Wassmansdorf, senior managing director of consulting at Newmark, will serve as vice chair; Larry Gigerich, executive managing director at Ginovus, will serve as treasurer; Michelle Comerford, industrial and supply chain practice lead at Biggins Lacy Shapiro & Company, will serve as secretary; Dennis Donovan, principal at Wadley Donovan Gutshaw Consulting, will continue to serve as a board member; Seth Martindale, Senior Managing Director at CBRE, will join the board;  Phil Schneider, president at Schneider Strategy Consulting, will join the board)

Canada

The Pemberton Area Economic Development Collaborative has released its Regional Economic Development Strategy. The plan lays out 36 priorities, split into three categories, ranging from “quick start priorities,” that are inexpensive and non-controversial to “complex priorities,” those that require significant funding, multiple stakeholders and have the potential to be controversial. (Jessie Abraham, director of housing Sea to Sky Community Services)


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Dane Carlson

Founder/Host of Econ Dev Show. By day: Director of Economic Development for Galveston County, Texas. Previously: World's first business blogger.