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26 - Economic Development and Developers in the News

Econ dev news from 101 economic development executives and organizations in 40 states and Canada

Dane Carlson
Dane Carlson
23 min read
26 - Economic Development and Developers in the News
Photo by Rens D / Unsplash

Welcome to the 26th weekly edition of Economic Development and Developers in the News.  (Here are all of the past issues.)

Today's issue contains economic development news from more than 101 economic development executives and organizations in 40 states and Canada.

Thanks for reading, and congratulations to me for making it to issue # 26. I can't believe I've been at this for 6 months!  Please share this with your colleagues in economic development.

-Dane


Alaska

The Anchorage Economic Development Corporation presented their 2021 three-year outlook. (Bill Popp, President & CEO)

Arizona

Taiwan-USA Industrial Cooperation Promotion Office, which is supported by Taiwan's Ministry of Economic Affairs, signed an agreement with economic development officials in the greater Phoenix area to find ways to bring more of Taiwan's vast semiconductor industry to the metro area. (Chris Camacho, chief executive of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council)

Arkansas

The Arkansas Economic Developers and Chamber Executives organization honored Katherine Holmstrom, a senior project manager in the Business Development Division at the Arkansas Economic Development Commission in Little Rock as its Outstanding Economic Developer at its annual awards luncheon on Aug. 23.

Heartland Forward (a think tank in Bentonville that was launched in 2019 with Walton (Walmart) money) designed a comprehensive and intentional post-pandemic economic development and recovery strategy for the state of Arkansas. (Ross DeVol, the Heartland Forward president; Dave Shideler, chief research officer at Heartland Forward; Richard Florida, the world's leading urbanist and the author of several best-selling books; and Joel Kotkin, a senior fellow at Heartland Forward and a fellow at Chapman University.)

California

Jonathan Wright is stepping into a new position for the city of Auburn – Economic and Planning Manager, overseeing economic development across the city from Downtown to the airport.

Sean Quinn, the former city manager of Fairfield, has been tapped to serve as the interim president and CEO of Solano Economic Development Corporation.

The Sonoma Mendocino Economic Development District invites Sonoma and Mendocino County community members to help shape the regional economy. Community members can get involved by taking the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Survey or by participating in a Community Think Tank, a virtual community forum. (Sheba Person-Whitley, Executive Director for the Sonoma County Economic Development Board)

"As we make progress in fighting the coronavirus pandemic and as the economy gains momentum, we must look beyond short-term economic recovery and consider the linkage between the region’s long run housing needs and its potential for economic growth." said Robert Kleinhenz, CEO and principal economist with Kleinhenz Economics and a Senior Research Fellow with the Inland Empire Economic Partnership.

The pace of California companies moving their headquarters out of state is quickening, according to a new report. “The departures are accelerating as more relocation plans move to implementation,” according to the report by site selection consultant Joseph Vranich, president of Spectrum Location Solutions, and Lee Ohanian, a UCLA economics professor and senior fellow at the Hoover Institution.

Colorado

To address the COVID pandemic in the Boulder area, local chambers of commerce and economic-development organizations collectively stepped up, sharing information, resources and ideas in ways they hadn’t previously. This new level of collaboration allowed chambers and economic-development groups to help their members weather the pandemic in ways they would not have been able to alone. (Vicki Trumbo, executive director of the Lafayette Chamber; John Tayer, president and CEO of the Boulder Chamber; Scott Cook, CEO of the Longmont Area Chamber of Commerce)

Connecticut

An $8.8 million redevelopment of two long-vacant Main Street buildings stands to become the first recipient of city grant and loan money through a revived economic development program if approved by the City Council. The project received unanimous support from the Norwich Community Development Corp. board of directors for a $400,000 matching grant for building code corrections and a separate $400,000 loan. But the action is contingent upon the City Council’s approval of a plan to use $2 million of the city’s $14.4 million in American Rescue Plan grants to revive the former downtown revitalization program and expand it citywide.

Andrew Martelli is the new Economic Development Coordinator and grant writer for the city of Cheshire. He replaces Jerry Sitko, who retired earlier in the summer.

Florida

A company that might have left Sarasota will instead relocate to a larger facility after help from the Economic Development Corporation of Sarasota County and an incentive package from the County Commission. Sarasota's County Commission on Tuesday approved a grant of $129,000 from the economic development fund to be paid over 10 years and a 10-year exemption from property taxes associated with the increase in value the company plans to make on the facility. Lisa Krouse, EDC president and CEO, said that she was pleased the EDC could play a role in keeping the company local.

Officials at the Economic Development Corporation of Sarasota County report there’s been a surprising number of inquiries from companies almost since the beginning of the pandemic. Erin Silk, who was just promoted to be the EDC’s vice president of Business Development Services, says the tax environment has remained a lure, and the reluctance to maintain strict lockdowns compared to other states also played a role. “We are busier than we have ever been with talking with companies,” she said.

The future of the Sarasota County Economic Development Corp. looked bleak in June. In June, the Sarasota County Commission, with a 3-2 vote, approved a proposal to begin phasing out the county’s local business tax and redirect the Economic Development Corp.’s existing reserves to the county’s general fund budget. While not killing the EDC's entire budget, it was a shrewd move and one few others in the insular economic development sector had heard of a county doing before in Florida. The defunding proposal kicks in at the end of 2022, starting with a 33% drop in county-based funding. By 2024 the county, under the proposal, will zero out the contribution. In fiscal year 2021, the EDC’s $1.7 million budget included $1.07 million in public funding. (CEO Lisa Krouse, VP Erin Silk)

Pasco’s economic development efforts are still moving forward despite the COVID pandemic, according to Bill Cronin. The chief executive of the county’s Economic Development Corporation delivered an upbeat third-quarter presentation to the County Commission at its regular meeting and said there are close to six companies that are between a final agreement and making an announcement before the end of the year.

Georgia

Floyd County Schools College and Career Academy will be part of the state’s 2021-2022 Economic Development Partnership training cohort. It’s one of just nine Career, Technical and Agricultural Education programs chosen to participate by the Georgia Department of Education. “The EDP enables school districts to align their CTAE programs with the needs of their local labor market,” state CTAE Director Barbara Wall said.

Bulloch County Schools have been accepted by the Georgia Department of Education into the state’s 2021-2022 Economic Development Partnership Designation program. The Partnership is a district-wide certification process that prepares school districts to adopt best practices and behaviors that support economic development, strengthen their programs, and align education with key regional industries. “It is an honor to be accepted into the 2021-2022 Economic Development Partnership Designation program,” said Dr. Julie Chance, executive director of Program Improvement for Bulloch County Schools. “We want to thank the Development Authority of Bulloch County and Great Dane for representing our economic development and business and industry stakeholders during our application process. These strong partnerships are reflective of our ongoing collaboration to prepare our students for successful careers and to build an educated, skilled, and efficient workforce for economic growth in Bulloch County.”

Leaders from all over the county met with local legislators on Tuesday to discuss how to kickstart economic development in the county. This was the second meeting, initiated by local legislators and hosted by the Greater Haralson Chamber of Commerce, to determine how they could help local elected officials and administrators in their quest to bring industry and jobs to the county.(Eric McDonald, president and CEO of the chamber; Elyse Davis, Northwest Region project manager for Georgia Power)

Hawaii

The Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism released its third quarter 2021 Statistical and Economic Report. DBEDT revised its economic growth projection for 2021 to 2.7 percent, down from the 3.5 percent projected in May this year. The lower projected growth is mainly caused by the rising of uncertainty caused by the surge in Delta variant infections and the higher inflation expectations. (Director Mike McCartney)

Illinois

Urban Equity Properties recently renegotiated an incentive agreement with the city of Aurora because of unforeseen costs caused by the coronavirus pandemic. In the Keystone Building, the city is putting in about $375,000 more than planned, but Urban Equity is kicking in $2.3 million more in equity, according to Martin Lyons, acting as an economic development specialist for the city. He was until recently the city’s chief financial officer, and developed the money side of the redevelopment agreements.

Local businesses have recently met Andrea Runge, CEO of Lincoln Economic Advancement Development as she’s made her way around town. Complete with tennis shoes, Runge has been hitting the pavement alerting business owners of the new Back To Business grant program. The $250 million program is for Illinois businesses that have experienced losses as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and will provide grants of up to $150,000. Launched Aug. 18, applications are being accepted and grants awarded on a rolling basis through October 13, 2021.

The Greater Freeport Partnership announced the launch of its mobile app hosting a business directory, event calendar, lists of events and business resources. The app is available both on the Apple App Store and Google Play. (Business Engagement Director Bill Clow)

Indiana

The Lawrence County Economic Growth Council and Workforce Coalition members Shance Sizemore and Joe Timbrook along with Shawna Girgis IU Health Foundation requested $25,000 a year for the next three years from the Lawrence County Council for IU Healths Community Impact Investment Fund.

Is Northeast Indiana speaking with one voice to improve pay, population and post-secondary education in the 11 county region? The Indiana legislature wants the answer and formed the new Northeast Indiana Strategic Commission to find out. “Each LEDO (Local Economic Development Organization) in every county, you’ve got the Regional Partnership, the Regional Chamber – what’s the overall structure of who’s doing what? Are they staying in their lanes? Are they working together? This work will help answer that,” said chairman Ron Turpin. The group unanimously decided to hire TIP Strategies to survey the strengths and weaknesses of the area and develop a strategic plan.

Iowa

A Jackson County economic development official has been recognized as a “rural hero” in Iowa. David Heiar, senior adviser with Jackson County Economic Alliance, was among 13 people honored during the fifth annual Iowa Rural Summit on Aug. 19 in Cedar Rapids, according to a press release.

The Iowa Economic Development Authority announced its most recent round of financial awards will provide tax credits through the High Quality Jobs program to five Iowa companies that together will create 170 jobs and result in $50.4 million in new capital investment for the state. Those investments include awarding Cemen Tech tax benefits through the HQJ program for its provision of one job, the release said.

The Quad-Cities job growth rates are lagging, according to economists, and have not fully recovered from The Great Recession in 2007. “The Quad-Cities in general has not been a standout Metro in terms of growth,” said Dave Swenson, economist at Iowa State University. “For one reason or another you've basically had slow growth.” The Quad-Cities experienced a loss of more than 2,000 jobs during the latest business cycle, from 2007 to 2019, according to data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Kentucky

West Louisville community leaders are calling on state lawmakers to help increase economic development in the area. Retired Louisville Metro police officer Ray Baker, aka “Sir Friendly C”, led a rally Saturday to advocate for an off-ramp.

Louisiana

The Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans   is offering a mission to Israel, with the opportunity to also visit the United Arab Emirates. By expanding its traditional cultural exchange mission to include a multisector trade and business development mission, the 2022 Federation Mission will strengthen Louisiana’s economic ties with Israel by helping to increase exports to the country, build strategic relationships and explore new business opportunities.

In Lake Charles, Hurricane Ida stirred up memories of Hurricane Laura. (George Swift, the president and chief executive of the Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance)

The Leadership Institute of Acadiana has named Jan Swift interim executive director.

​​With the Metro Council’s approval of a cooperative endeavor agreement between the city-parish and the new Cortana Corridor Economic Development District, north Baton Rouge now has three special taxing districts focused on economic development and revitalization has people asking why?

Maryland

The Worcester County Commissioners last week voted 4-2 to approve a text amendment that creates a new definition for agritourism and agricultural alcohol production, which will be permitted as a special exception use in the A-1 and A-2 agricultural districts. (Kevin Atticks of Grow & Fortify)

Massachusetts

The New England Real Estate Journal published a Q&A with Eric Salerno, Town Planner/Economic Development Director, Town of Tyngsborough.

When City Councilors in Springfield resume regular meetings after the summer recess they’ll be asked to approve tax incentives for several projects. These are a mix of residential and commercial developments. (Brian Connors, Springfield’s Deputy Director of Economic Development)

Michigan

Bryan Barnett, mayor of Rochester Hills, said during Wednesday’s State of the City address that the pandemic has taught individuals about the power of nature and how it connects us to one another. In fitting fashion, Barnett delivered his address at Innovation Hills, the city’s newest park development in 25 years. He said Rochester Hills is strong and thriving, as evidenced by the park. The development received $106,246 from 402 donors, most of whom gave between $1 and $15. They live in six states and across seven Michigan counties. The Michigan Economic Development Corporation provided a $50,000 grant.

As the Detroit automakers steer toward a future of electric vehicles, Michigan will have to attract a new supply base to best serve them and keep jobs. One company setting the pace is semiconductor wafer maker, SK Siltron CSS, in Auburn. The company will build a new plant in Bay City to start operations next year, and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation are ready to help it. On Tuesday, they said the state will provide economic assistance for the new plant, which will create 150 new jobs, on top of the 130 already working at the current plant, and they said will generate more than $500 million in investment in Michigan.

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s Strategic Fund Board approved a resolution allowing Graphic Packaging International, LLC, a Kalamazoo-area paper mill, to partly finance its expansion through up to $125 million in private bonds.

Advanced Architectural Products, a maker of continuous insulation systems and thermal bridging solutions, will invest $1.1 million to expand their current facility in Allegan. Lakeshore Advantage, an economic development organization assisting employers in Allegan County, connected the company with local resources to support the project — which will add 16,000 square feet of space and create 20 jobs over the next three years. (Lakeshore Advantage President Jennifer Owens)

Michigan’s new economic chief says the state needs to become more aggressive in retaining and nurturing existing business and seeking investment from outside of the state. Quentin Messer Jr., who was named CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corp. in May, likened the strategy to building a moat around the state to guard against other states seeking to lure companies away.

Grand Rapids Area Black Businesses is renovating a vacant building into a co-working and retail space, business incubator and all-around “epicenter for Black entrepreneurial empowerment, growth and cultural discovery,” said the organization’s founder, Jamiel Robinson.

A 154-unit development that caters to the needs of an aging population could soon be built on 18 acres of vacant farmland in Grand Traverse County, following action by the Michigan State Housing Development Authority Board during its regular August meeting. The MSHDA Board allowed an allocation by the Michigan State Treasurer of up to $50 million in private activity bond volume cap to the Economic Development Corporation of Grand Traverse County for the purpose of issuing tax-exempt facility bonds to Oakleaf Village of Traverse City, LLC.

Minnesota

"I'm really proud of the Economic Development Agency for DMC and the DMC board. They've done a phenomenal job, I believe, working collaboratively with the city, with the county, Mayo Clinic, RAEDI, and other organizations," said Jeff Bolton, Mayo Clinic's chief administrative officer. He is retiring this fall after 19 years with Mayo Clinic.

Mississippi

Clarksdale will host a series of modest economic development events every Friday night this football season... home football games!

Missouri

Civic and business leaders in the Metro East aim to foster new local businesses through the help of an incubator that officially launched on Thursday. The Metro East Business Incubator will serve as a hub for local entrepreneurs to find mentors, contacts for local governments, events and other resources for those trying to scale a small business, said Amy Determann, executive director of the incubator.

Nebraska

Several economic development professionals will descend on the panhandle for an annual conference this week. The Nebraska Economic Development Association conference will be in Sidney Wednesday through Friday. Sidney Economic Development Director Kim Matthews says roughly 150 are expected to attend.

New Hampshire

More than a century ago — 107 years to be exact — Benjamin Piscopo built the Colonial Theatre because wanted to bring people together. On Friday, government leaders, members of the local business and civic community and ordinary citizens gathered to celebrate the opening of the Colonial and usher in a new era when the theater once again will become a place where people will come together for community events and to have fun. About 200 people filed into the restored theater, resplendent with its ornate Italian baroque decor, to celebrate the completion of the $14 million project which began six years ago when the Belknap Economic Development Council purchased the building, although the actual refurbishment did not begin until early last year. (BEDC Executive Director Justin Slattery)

New Jersey

Governor Phil Murphy today signed legislation which establishes the Garden State Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy Program. The program will facilitate the funding of clean and renewable energy infrastructure at commercial properties throughout the state, furthering the Administration’s commitment to battling climate change. (New Jersey Economic Development Authority CEO Tim Sullivan)

The Burlington County Commissioners have launched a new online tool which they hope will help local businesses start, grow and thrive. Commissioner Director Felicia Hopson unveiled the new Burlington County Business Portal while delivering the keynote presentation at the Chamber of Commerce of Southern New Jersey’s Regional Economic Perspective Breakfast on Tuesday. She described the new online site as a “single-location resource” for information critical to both large and small businesses, longtime established ones and new enterprises.

New Mexico

A recently completed report analyzed the entire University of New Mexico system and quantified its impact on the New Mexico economy in academic year 2020. As one of New Mexico’s major employers, UNM enhances workforce productivity, improves quality of life, stimulates innovation, and drives economic growth statewide. Made possible by support from the Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration CARES Act Funding, the study was commissioned by UNM Rainforest Innovations, the University’s technology transfer and economic development organization. (Lisa Kuuttila, CEO & Chief Economic Development Officer)

Mayor Tim Keller has named Cyndy McCrossen, a lifelong New Mexico resident and statewide location scout expert of two decades, to lead the City’s nationally-acclaimed Albuquerque Film Office. McCrossen, who specializes in quality location management, scouting, and research services for film, television, commercial, and editorial print projects, is best known for her work on critically-acclaimed and locally-produced TV series Better Call Saul, Breaking Bad, and Preacher. “The burgeoning film industry is one of our bright spots in Albuquerque, and supporting it is key to our economic development,” said Mayor Tim Keller.

Clovis Economic Development, in partnership with Elite Business Performance LLC, the Curry County Chamber of Commerce, the City of Clovis and Plateau have announced the launch of Clovis Remote, a free program designed to connect the local community with remote job opportunities. The program is available at no cost to anyone living within 25 miles of Clovis, including military spouses at Cannon Air Force Base and local veterans. (Chase Gentry, Clovis Economic Development director)

"The pandemic has laid bare the importance of broadband as never before. From remote work to online schooling, broadband has been the crucial link that has allowed the economy to function in the face Covid. And a lack of connectivity is a major barrier to economic development in New Mexico," said Christopher A. Erickson, Ph.D. professor of economics at NMSU.

Sandoval County resumed allocating small business continuity grant money for local establishments impacted by COVID-19, distributing the second round of funds earlier this month. Economic Development Director Dora Dominguez said Sandoval County received $14.3 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding geared toward capital improvements, which include projects like a business adding or renovating building space. She also said $1 million of those funds were allocated to the economic development department to be distributed to struggling businesses operating within the county.

New York

The Batavia Development Corporation will have a new director Monday with this week’s board approval of Brett Frank to replace former director Andrew Maguire. Frank, a former client service specialist at Fieldstone Private Wealth in Batavia, was appointed during Thursday’s BDC meeting. Maguire left the BDC earlier this year to become operations manager for the Town of Batavia.

The City of Gloversville and the Fulton County Center for Regional Growth posted 17 proposed economic development projects to the internet Wednesday. These proposals may be included in the city’s application to win the Mohawk Valley Region’s 5th round of New York State’s $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative contest. (Gloversville Downtown Development Specialist James Hannahs)

Governor Kathy Hochul announced the completion of construction on a $5.4 million project awarded to Jefferson County, through New York State's Resiliency and Economic Development Initiative.

Kevin Law and Stuart Rabinowitz, co-chairs of the Long Island Regional Economic Development Council shared how county, town and village officials can work with Gov. Kathy Houchul to re-imagine the region.

North Carolina

Triangle Business Journal published a Q&A with Natalie Hawkins, the executive director of Moore County Partners in Progress.

A singing barista and a storytelling economic developer walk into a coffee bar... It sounds like a joke, but it was a joint venture between the chamber, Anson Economic Development, Uptown Wadesboro, and the tourism development authority — the first of its kind. The plan is to have one night a month where the community comes together at Rev Uptown, to drive both economic gain and community engagement to Wadesboro. (John Marek, Anson County Economic Developer

Ashley Cagle with Wake County Economic Development was recognized at the 22nd annual Triangle CREW Champion Awards Thursday.

Two Triad industrial sites have been included in the 2021 Duke Energy Site Readiness program, which provides assistance to local governments and economic development officials to develop a strategy for getting sites fully ready to market for industrial projects. Additionally, each site is eligible to apply for a $10,000 matching grant from Duke Energy to help prepare it to attract projects. (Marvin Price, executive vice president of economic development for the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce)

North Dakota

It wasn’t shocking to oil patch residents that their communities’ populations soared over the past decade. Watford City saw more population growth than any city in North Dakota, at 256%. (Daniel Stenberg, economic development coordinator McKenzie County; Paula Hickel, Job Service North Dakota Workforce Center)

Ohio

Marcia Bailey who has served as the director of the Champaign Economic Partnership since its inception in 2015 will be stepping down after serving the county for more than three decades.

Monroe County officials say the planned Long Ridge Energy Terminal expansion project will create jobs and help to diversify the local economy. (Jason Hamman, economic development representative for Monroe County)

In an interview with the Dayton Business Journal, Mike Gebhart, Fairborn's economic development leader, detailed incentive programs, workforce development efforts and his thoughts on the city's economy both now and into the future.

Oklahoma

The Tulsa Authority for Economic Opportunity hired a New York-based firm to help brand the newly formed local organization. (Kian Kamas, Executive Director TAEO)

A plan being considered by city councilors would transfer all economic development funds and control of economic development activities to Muskogee Redevelopment Authority.

Lawton City Council approved funding for the coming fiscal year for Lawton Economic Development Corporation, the Lawton Fort Sill Chamber of Commerce, and Lawton Enhancement Trust Authority. The organizations each have annual agreements with the City of Lawton, specifying activities to be funded with money generated by the city’s hotel-motel tax. (Dr. Krista Ratliff, President & CEO Lawton Fort Sill Chamber of Commerce)

Oregon

A federally funded AmeriCorps program, RARE provides assistance to Oregon’s rural areas by placing young professionals in rural communities for 11 months. While living and working in these communities, members help assist Oregon’s rural areas by developing and implementing strategies that drive economic support through historic downtown revitalization, destination development, agritourism and renewable-energy projects. (Titus Tomlinson, program director for RARE; Alana Carollo, executive director Eastern Oregon Visitors Association)

Pennsylvania

How does place branding evolve during a pandemic? Mark Thomas, President of the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance discussed a new brand: ‘Pittsburgh Region. Next is Now.’

South Carolina

Vaccination is the key to further economic recovery, reopening, and rebuilding,” said Jack Kleinhenz, chief economist National Retail Federation. “With the outlook for the global economy continuing to hinge on public health, vaccine numbers are extremely important, not just for the United States but for the whole world.” (Maureen Donohue Krauss, president and CEO of the Detroit Regional Partnership)

Laurens County experienced a disruption in the progress of one of the nation’s fastest growing regions in 2020. There were only 57 announcements in 2020, compared to 92 in 2019. The Upstate Alliance took that time to refresh its marketing materials and focus on digital marketing, and to launch Move Up, an effort to fight unemployment. Now, that effort has morphed into Skill Up, to meet the needs of industries for skilled labor. (John Lummus, Upstate Alliance)

Lexington County’s population grew more quickly than other areas of the Midlands during the past decade with new residents drawn by Lake Murray, a rural feel and lower taxes.

South Dakota

District III leaders discussed rules and regulations surrounding medical marijuana, answering questions and providing guidance to proper implementation of the recently passed Initiated Measure 26. (Greg Henderson, executive director District III; Brian McGinnis, community development specialist District III)

Midland Scientific, a woman-owned full-line distributor of laboratory products, will settle down in Rapid City for its sixth location. The business will establish a 30,000-square-foot facility on Sorrel Court. (Matt Brunner, Elevate economic development director)

South Dakota is outperforming every other state in its post-pandemic recovery. A “back-to-normal” index compiled by CNN and Moody’s Analytics puts the state’s economy at 111 percent of its level in March 2020. The national average is 92 percent.

Tennessee

The Clarksville-Montgomery County Economic Development Council announced Ginna Holleman as the Chairman of the Board for the 2021-22 term. (Buck Dellinger, CEO/President)

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee visited Maury County on Friday praising the community’s ability to keep up with unprecedented growth that is now transforming the region. Maury County is also home to the single largest capital investment expansion in state history and the single largest new business capital investment in state history. Earlier this year, General Motors announced a $2.3 billion investment to produce electric vehicle batteries in Spring Hill.

Texas

Consistently ranked as one of the fastest-growing cities in the country, Conroe is a thriving business center with two major business parks that help make it a prime manufacturing and distribution hub. (Danielle Scheiner, Executive Director at the Conroe Economic Development Council)

The Kaufman Chamber of Commerce held its first annual Economic Summit to discuss how population growth, workforce training, broadband, and city and county issue s are all going to effect how Kaufman County grows into the future. (Anne Glasscock, CEO Kaufman Chamber of Commerce; Aaron Demerson, commissioner representing employers for the Texas Workforce Commission; Chris Wallace, president of the North Texas Commission; Kelly Townsend, Trinity Valley Community College)

Xcelerate Auto, a financial technology company that focuses on electric vehicles, has relocated its headquarters to McKinney from its former hub in Frisco. (Danny Chavez, senior vice president at the McKinney Economic Development Corp.)

A local manufacturer plans a $7 million dollar expansion that will add 150 jobs earning an average wage of $18.50 per hour in the City of Bryan. C.C. Creations plans to start construction in the next 12 months on a 150,000 square foot facililty in the Bryan Business Park. The city will give C.C. Creations grants totaling $630,000 dollars, waive up to $30,000 in permit fees, and ensure access to city electric, water, and sewer.

The town of Little Elm and the Little Elm Economic Development Corporation are teaming up again to encourage residents to shop local to help businesses recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Under the program residents of Little Elm and nearby communities will be mailed $25 vouchers that can be used at local restaurants. The participating businesses will discount the vouchers, and those businesses will be reimbursed by the EDC. (Jennette Espinosa, Executive Director; Natasha Roach, assistant director)

The West Texas Enterprise Center and the Amarillo Economic Development Corporation announced the return of the Amarillo Enterprise Challenge. The program gives local businesses a chance to win a share of $500,000. It also helps them develop an investment-worthy business plan, receive mentorship and business coaching, and secure potential growth capital. (Kyla Frye, Executive Director West Texas Enterprise Center; Kevin Carter, President & CEO Amarillo Economic Development Corporation)

Representatives from city, county and legislative offices gathered at the Robert A. “Bob” Bowers Civic Center Wednesday for a luncheon hosted by the Greater Port Arthur Chamber of Commerce . Speakers addressed taxes, economic development and construction projects. (Pat Avery, President/CEO; Shanna Burke, executive director for the Southeast Texas Regional Planning Commission)

An economic development incentive popular with energy firms in Texas is slated to expire at the end of 2022, prompting fears the state could start losing out on large-scale manufacturing projects. Proponents of the program known as Chapter 313 say its tax breaks generate more investment and jobs in Texas. And though critics argue it comes at a high cost to taxpayers, benefits just a few and might be unnecessary, the approaching expiration of the program is causing considerable anxiety in the economic development community. (Susan Davenport, Greater Houston Partnership Chief Economic Development Officer; Susan Arledge, ESRP Executive Managing Director – Site Selection; Vance Ginn, Texas Public Policy Foundation Chief Economist)

The Bastrop Economic Development Corporation unanimously approved to sell a 26.5-acre site at the industrial park to MOCA Ventures Nebraska LLC for $900,000. The BEDC will reimburse MOCA Ventures the $900,000 it spent on purchasing the property if the company invests a minimum of $10.7 million in building an office complex that's at least 40,000 square feet.

Floresville Economic Development Corp. nixed PUD support. (FEDC Executive Director Ben Reed)

New Braunfels-based SouthStar Communities has named Chip Mills to the role of senior vice president to lead the development of the newly approved Mayfair community, slated to bring up to 6,000 homes, 330 acres of public parks, 70 acres of commercial property, 120 acres of mixed-use development, a 160-acre employment park and four new Comal ISD schools over a 15-year buildout.

The Lufkin Economic Development Corporation's new program Lufkin Forward has the potential to kick-start economic development in the central core of the city. Lufkin Forward is a movement to increase diversity, build community and promote greater livability in the city of Lufkin.

Texas A&M University-Central Texas and the Fort Hood Regional Economic Development Corporation will welcome more than 85 industry and community leaders from across the U.S. to the Bill Yowell Conference Center to discuss the ongoing growth of the University Research Park and Innovation District. (Bill Kliewer, chair of the 14 Forward)

Eddie Garcia is the new executive director of Horizon City Economic Development Corporation.

Vermont

The Vermont Economic Development Authority approved over $26.6 million in new financing to support 408 farms and businesses throughout Vermont. (Cassie Polhemus, Chief Executive Officer at VEDA)

Virginia

Alexis Ehrhardt, president and CEO of the Danville Pittsylvania County Chamber of Commerce, will leave for a job at the University of Virginia.

Governor Ralph Northam today announced that Tyson Foods, Inc., one of the world’s largest food companies, will invest $300 million to establish a manufacturing facility in Cane Creek Centre, an industrial park jointly owned by the City of Danville and Pittsylvania County. The project will create 376 new jobs. (Sherman Saunders, Chairman of the Danville-Pittsylvania Regional Industrial Facility Authority; Linda Green, Executive Director of the Southern Virginia Regional Alliance)

The Craig County Economic Development Authority announced that cryptocurrency mining repairer and reseller Manifold Mining would immediately invest roughly $420,000 into a Craig County-based center of operations and create a minimum of fifteen jobs within the first five years of operation. (C. Jordan Labiosa, EDA Chairman; Dan Collins, EDA Director and County Administrator)

Kristy Johnson has been selected as Halifax County Industrial Development Authority’s new executive director. Johnson will start her new position on Sept. 15, taking over the reins from the organization’s interim executive director Mike Davidson, a retired Campbell County economic development official who stepped in to lead the IDA in November 2020 after the board’s termination of former executive director Brian Brown.

Congratulations to Danville's Director of Economic Development, Corrie Bobe, on her recent feature in Virginia Business on leading the charge in economic development for SoVA.

Washington

For years, a massive methanol plant proposed in Kalama, and backed by port officials, had created fault lines in the community. It pitted neighbors against each other over what they prioritized more: the environment or the local economy. And now it's over: regulators denied a key permit for the project in January and the investors walked away. (Scott Bailey, regional economist; Ted Sprague, Cowlitz Economic Development Council)

The Seattle Office of Economic Development announced the Neighborhood Economic Recovery Fund, which will support community-led strategies such as public and commercial space activation, digital equity, outreach and other economic recovery projects to respond to the specific economic and community needs of neighborhoods across Seattle, with an intentional focus on racial equity. (Pamela Banks, Interim Director of Office of Economic Development)

West Virginia

The West Virginia Economic Development Authority Board of Directors approved more than $6 million in loans to four businesses in Greenbrier, Nicholas, Mercer and Tucker counties.

Gov. Jim Justice held a ceremony today to announce over $15.5 million in Appalachian Regional Commission grant recommendations and federal Community Development Block Grant funds for a combined total of 23 projects across West Virginia.

Bill Bissett, the president and CEO of the Huntington Regional Chamber of Commerce will leave his position in October to join the office of U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., as senior advisor for economic development and state initiatives. Bissett will succeed Aaron Sporck, who is leaving Capito’s office for an opportunity outside of government.

Wisconsin

Gov. Tony Evers touted dropping unemployment numbers and the need to increase COVID-19 vaccinations at the Chippewa County Economic Development Corp.’s 27th annual meeting. (Charlie Walker, CCEDC executive director)

United States

Jeff Finkle: COVID-19 vaccinations key to regional economic development.

United States Department of Agriculture Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Justin Maxson announced that the USDA is on track to provide a record level of support for rural working capital and other business capital needs in the fiscal year 2021. The Department has invested $1.2 billion in loan guarantees to help rural businesses. The funds are expected to create or save more than 12,000 jobs for people in rural areas.

Canada

An Innovation Commission has been formed in Yukon to provide technical and professional input on the development of a five-year innovation strategy to expand opportunities for local entrepreneurs, diversify the economy and create jobs. (Economic Development’s director of technology and innovation, Candy Poon)

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Dane Carlson Twitter

Founder/Host of Econ Dev Show. By day: Director of Economic Development for Galveston County, Texas.