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34 - Economic Development and Developers in the News

Econ dev news from 77 economic development executives and organizations in 36 states, plus Canada, and Mexico.

Dane Carlson
Dane Carlson
18 min read
34 - Economic Development and Developers in the News
Photo by David Menidrey / Unsplash

Welcome to the 34th 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 77 economic development executives and organizations in 36 states, plus Canada, and Mexico.


Alaska

At the Anchorage Economic Development Corporation 2022 Economic Forecast Luncheon on Jan. 26, AEDC President & CEO Bill Popp will present the 1-Year Economic Forecast for Anchorage.

Arkansas

United Kingdom General Counsel Richard Hyde made a pit stop in Arkansas last week to meet with Gov. Asa Hutchinson and top economic development officials to cement trade relations with the state.

California

Kristin York of the Sierra Business Council and Malinda Matson of the Sacramento Economic Development Administration are participating in a public economic development meeting for Plumas at the Chester Chamber office.

CalOSBA will designate and award a total of ten proposals to incubate and/or accelerate technology and science-based firms in underserved regions and communities. The official designation as an iHub2 will be a 5-year agreement with the State of California. CalOSBA will award each designated iHub2 $250,000 to build and expand programs during the first year of operation. (Tara Lynn Gray Director of the California Office of the Small Business Advocate)

Canada

Beth Veenkamp enjoys her job as the Williams Lake's economic development officer. Initially she was hired in 2017 by the city of Williams Lake to run the Seeding Start Ups grant program for entrepreneurs. At the time there were many vacant storefronts downtown. Fast forward to 2021, she is working full-time as the city’s economic development officer and said it is difficult to find a commercial space to rent.

Colorado

The Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade’s Economic Development Commission on Thursday approved more than $13 million in economic incentives to entice four companies to either locate, or expand, in the state.

Connecticut

A new housing market study projects that Groton will face "a significant unmet housing demand" over the next decade, with hiring at Electric Boat among the major drivers. Daniel Stevens, senior project manager at Camoin Associates, an economic development consulting firm based in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., presented the study findings to the Town Council this week.

The members of the Stonington EDC have worked very hard over the last couple of years to address challenging issues such as affordable housing and the revitalization of downtown Pawcatuck. The EDC is a team of volunteers that collectively donate hundreds of hours a year to serve the town. The EDC meets once a month at the Pawcatuck Neighborhood Center.

Florida

Tampa City Council member Bill Carlson had pulled an item from the consent agenda of the board’s Thursday meeting. He wanted more stipulations in the Tampa Bay Economic Development Council’s contract before it was approved. Carlson had asked for a 30-day continuance in approving the EDC’s new contract. He’s not been shy with his criticism of the organization. Carlson has been talking about cutting ties with the EDC since it changed its name from the Tampa-Hillsborough Economic Development Corp. to Tampa Bay EDC in 2019. The move frustrated other area EDCs that had been working to establish Tampa Bay as a regional draw.

Since the start of the pandemic, more people are working from home and a recently released report from LinkedIn shows Cape Coral as one of the top places remote workers are moving to. It is becoming known as a Zoom town. The economic development manager for Cape Coral, Ricardo Noguera, told WINK News that it all boils down to the low cost of living. He said people are realizing they can be just as productive in a smaller city as they can in a bigger one, like Chicago.

The Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast announced its slate of officers for its Fiscal Year 2021/2022. (EDC President and CEO Lynda Weatherman)

Project Fender, an unidentified U.S.-based marine industry products maker, wants to trade in leased space in Jacksonville and build a manufacturing facility and international headquarters. The $7.4 million facility would create 100 jobs. (Kirk Wendland, executive director City Office of Economic Development Office)

Georgia

The Cleveland Downtown Development Authority is taking shape. They recently voted on a chair, vice chair, meetings dates and discussed bylaws.

Solar technologies company NanoPV will invest more than $36 million to open a manufacturing and distribution facility in Americus. The investment is expected to create more than 500 jobs in Sumter County.

Idaho

The Executive Director of Southern Idaho Economic Development is stepping down to take a new position in Southern California. Connie Stopher, who has served as the SIED Executive Director since 2017, will leave the economic development organization on Nov. 5 to take a similar position with the Economic Development Coalition based in Temecula, California.

Illinois

Recently elected Prairie State College Trustee Monica Gordon explained to The Southland Journal today that the relationship between education and economic development is imperative to the future of the Southland. “I stand by what I have always said,” said Gordon, “There is a symbiotic relationship between higher education and economic development. We need to encourage our youth to take their education seriously. Through their education, the Southland will see a bright and prosperous future.”

Indiana

The Greater Lafayette Region has launched a new regional economic development plan. The plan lays out goals for growing population and workforce, as well as creating new quality-of-life amenities. It's a part of the State of Indiana's READI program. The Indiana Economic Development Corporation will provide up to $50 Million to 10 regions around the state, enabling them to execute on their plans. Greater Lafayette Commerce President and CEO Scott Walker said it's just what Tippecanoe and surrounding counties need to move forward.

Indiana Secretary of Commerce Brad Chambers today announced Ann Lathrop has been named executive vice president of global investments for the Indiana Economic Development Corporation effective Nov. 1, 2021.

Iowa

The City of Perry is seeing a ramp up of several projects to further its overall economic development. There are a host of projects occurring throughout Perry including the installation of solar power, the potential for Kwik Star coming to Perry, as well as work on the Perry Airport among other projects. (Sven Peterson, City Administrator)

The director of the Iowa Economic Development Authority is urging Iowans to “tell our story.” During a recent stop in Le Mars, Debi Durham told members of the Chamber of Commerce how our state has great potential and many opportunities, but we need to share that information with the rest of the world.

The Iowa Lakes Corridor Development Corporation has hired Tom Nelson as its new vice president of business development for the regional economic development organization serving the Iowa counties of Buena Vista, Clay, Dickinson and Emmet. Nelson will replace the corridor’s former vice president and entrepreneur-in-residence Brian Dalziel, who resigned earlier this year after 11 years of service for the organization. Nelson currently works for Minnesota-based Community and Economic Development Associates.

Kansas

A new federal grant to Wichita State University is expected to create nearly 100 new jobs. The Department of Commerce announced Thursday that Wichita State would receive a $2 million grant from the Department’s Economic Development Administration to purchase tools and supplies to support the new Flight Test Research Center and a Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul facility for the National Institute for Aviation Research. The project was made possible by the South Central Kansas Economic Development District.

Economic Development Directors and community leaders from the Lake Region Resource Conservation and Development shared ideas and information on promoting economic development during a meeting in Ottawa last month. Representatives from Franklin, Linn, Anderson, Miami, Osage and Coffey Counties were in attendance. This was the first event of its type in the area and it was organized by Paul Bean, the Franklin County Economic Development Director, in cooperation with Don Stottlemire, Lake Region RC&D President.

Governor Laura Kelly today announced that the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration has awarded Kansas $1 million to accelerate economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and build up local economies.

Kentucky

Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman will be relinquishing her second role, that of Secretary of the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet, to aid Gov. Andy Beshear on economic development issues. During a Capitol press conference on Thursday, Beshear said, regarding economic development, “There is so much opportunity that, in many ways, we need more than one governor. Thankfully, we have a governor and a lieutenant governor.”

The Courier Journal has a report up on five megasites in and around Kentucky. (Rick Games of the Elizabethtown-Hardin County Industrial Foundation; Mark Manning, chairman of the Purchase Area Regional Industrial Authority; Kim Logsdon, executive director of the Green River Regional Industrial Development Authority; Devin Hillsdon-Smith, Vice President, Business Development & Corporate Strategy for River Ridge Commerce Center; David Anderson, an economics and business professor at Centre College; University of Kentucky economics professor Ken Troske; Chris Clifton of the Muhlenberg Alliance for Progress; Carter Hendricks, South Western Kentucky Economic Development Council executive director; David Stipes of the Richmond Industrial Development Corp.)

Louisiana

New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell, CAO Gilbert Montano, and Economic Development Director Jeff Schwartz discused the latest updates on the City’s economic development. The topic of the discussion was the future of the former Six Flags/Jazzland site in New Orleans East. The theme park closed days before Hurricane Katrina made landfall in 2005, and the property has since been abandoned. However, as Mayor Cantrell said in the press conference, things are about to change.

The Louisiana Entrepreneurship and Economic Development Center at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette's Moody College of Business is partnering with the St. Landry Chamber of Commerce and the St. Landry Parish Economic Development to host a six-week business program. Accelerate St. Landry, a startup and small business program will begin next month and include sessions that will focus on people and their dreams, ideas and business interests, said Geoff Stewart, LEED Center director and UL marketing professor.

The Natchitoches Parish Council said no to participating in an economic development plan that could be used to leverage money for rural roads. Interim Director of the Natchitoches Economic Development Alliance Rhonda Reap-Curiel asked the council Monday to consider a cooperative endeavor agreement with NEDA and laid out the details and financial costs.

Maryland

A new report calls Montgomery County to take 10 actions to spur economic growth, ranging from creating a pandemic defense center to preparing a quantum-ready workforce. The report, titled “Connecting the Dots: Accelerating Economic Growth in Montgomery County, MD” was finalized by a 20-member economic advisory panel of business leaders countywide, and commissioned by the county’s Economic Development Corporation. Ben Wu, the president and CEO of the Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation, which released the report, said in an interview Wednesday that it shows that local leaders need to have a “sense of urgency” when trying to solve the county’s economic issues.

Massachusetts

The search for Groveland’s first town administrator concluded Wednesday night when the Select Board chose current director of economic development, Rebecca Oldham, to lead the town into a new era.

Mexico

Mexican Secretary of State Marcelo Ebrard, Mexican Minister of Economy Tatiana Clouther and US Ambassador to Mexico Ken Salazar held a meeting today with governors from the Southeast with the aim of outlining economic development strategies and projects. The governors of Campeche, Chiapas, Tabasco, Veracruz, Yucatan and a representative of Quintana Roo, according to information from the Ministry of Foreign Relations, attended the meeting, in which American businessmen also participated. The dialogue set the goal of making a $25 billion investment between 2022 and 2024 to explode economic growth in southeastern Mexico. To achieve this, an action plan will soon be defined, which will be responsible for the Ministry of Economy.

Michigan

Southwest Michigan First has selected a new CEO from Las Vegas, roughly eight months after the economic development organization’s previous executive resigned following his controversial hiring. Southwest Michigan First announced today that Jonas Peterson will be its new CEO starting in January. Peterson has been president and CEO of the Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance for more than eight years and during a period when Nevada surpassed every other state in the U.S. for job creation.

While local governments, developers, and communities usually lead placemaking efforts, the state of Michigan stands out for its embrace of place-based policy as a key economic development strategy. The state’s motivation is clear—after globalization and technological change undermined the state’s core economic strengths, and the Great Recession sent the economy into a tailspin, the state needed a new set of community investment tools to accelerate its transition to the new, knowledge-based economy. The results are promising: A recent Dynamo Metricsreport on the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s Community Development Incentives programs found that its placemaking and place-based investments produced improvements in neighborhoods and commercial corridors by increasing occupancy rates and property values by $659 million in residential and $3.2 billion in commercial buildings from 2008 to 2019.

Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer celebrated the State of Michigan winning a $1 million federal grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce's Economic Development Administration. The funds will flow into the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity and the Michigan Strategic Fund, where they can be deployed to tackle a wide range of economic challenges faced by communities, from infrastructure, job training, small business support, and more.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer, along with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, announced that the U.S. Department of Defense has awarded the Michigan Defense Center a $2.4 million grant to assist Michigan defense suppliers with cybersecurity efforts. According to the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, the MDC will use the funds to enhance their Michigan Defense Cybersmart program, which will assist small and medium-sized companies that do business with the Department of Defense by helping those businesses achieve federal cybersecurity compliance.

Lakeshore Advantage, the economic development organization serving Allegan and Ottawa counties has won a "Silver Rank" for its Annual Investor Briefing. The award was given by the International Economic Development Council during its annual conference in Nashville, Tennessee. (Jennifer Owens, president of Lakeshore Advantage; Tom Kucharski, IEDC Board Chair)

Minnesota

During a special meeting Monday, the Bemidji City Council is scheduled to hear a presentation regarding a proposed agreement with Sanford Health of Northern Minnesota and Greater Bemidji Economic Development to work together in exploring the feasibility of development in the Rail Corridor. (Lee Krueger, President Saint Paul Port Authority; Dave Hengel, Executive Director Greater Bemidji Economic Development;)

Mississippi

Starkville and Oktibbeha County have joined an incentive program that may help bring new businesses to the county. The Growth and Prosperity Program is designed to encourage economic development in areas with high poverty rates.  The county will now join Clay County, West Point and Lowndes County in the program, which allows new businesses with 10 employees or more, and existing businesses that expand by at least 10 jobs, a full exemption on state income and franchise taxes, as well as a majority exemption on sales and ad valorem property taxes for 10 years. We applaud the supervisors, and the assistance provided by the Golden Triangle Development for adding this tool to the county’s economic development efforts. (Joe Max Higgins, Jr., Golden Triangle Chief Executive Officer)

The U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration   has awarded $3,712,568 in funds through the Economic Adjustment Assistance Program to the city of Winona, Mississippi.

Montana

About five years ago when local resident and developer Molly McCabe began helping on a project originally slated for a new library, she wasn’t looking to acquire a property for development. But after the library fell through, she saw an opportunity and continued working to create a multi-use development to incorporate mixed-income residential and commercial space.  The property is now part of Kalispell’s federally designated Opportunity Zone, which the city along with Flathead County Economic Development Authority has invested in to promote economic redevelopment. The partnership has helped redevelop 45 acres of vacant or underutilized properties throughout downtown Kalispell. (Christy Cummings Dawson, FCEDA President and CEO)

Nebraska

Three Custer County businesses are celebrating their history as well as their future as staples in the community and were recognized during the annual Custer Economic Development Corporation Awards Presentation. (Executive Director Keith Ellis)

Nevada

Jonas Peterson, the current president of the Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance, said he can recreate the job generation success he's had in the desert southwest in southwest Michigan and it's a gamble he is willing to make. Peterson will take the reins at Southwest Michigan First in early January and said Kalamazoo is well positioned for growth.

New Hampshire

In a recent podcast, the NH Business Review Editor Jeff Feingold spoke with Taylor Caswell, Commissioner of the NH Department of Business and Economic Affairs, about the department’s Collaborative Economic Development Regions.  They also dig into some ways Caswell says the state can bring more workers to New Hampshire.

New Jersey

Karolina Dehnhard, managing director of the International Transaction Group at Lindabury, McCormick, Estabrook & Cooper, P.C., was a guest of the Polish government and a featured speaker at the recent European Economic Forum in Poland.

New Mexico

The Nominating Committee of the International Economic Development Council has elected Danielle Casey, CEcD, EDFP, President of Albuquerque Economic Development, Inc., to serve as Vice Chair of the External Member Relations Committee of the IEDC Board of Directors. (2021 IEDC Board Chair and President and CEO of Invest Buffalo Niagara, Tom Kucharski; IEDC President and CEO Jeff Finkle)

Ralph Mims may have stepped away from his post as the economic development manager in Los Lunas. But nearly 10 months later, he's looking for ways to stay active in Valencia County. Mims, retired last December, and was succeeded in Los Lunas by Kristen Gamboa. Now, he said he's looking to be an economic development consultant in the city of Rio Communities, a position which will be up for city council approval on Tuesday.

New York

As corporate America helps navigate the nation through the fallout of this pandemic, six exemplary US business leaders and their companies will be honored with Distinguished Leadership Awards for corporate citizenship and business stewardship by the Committee for Economic Development of The Conference Board. (Dr. Lori Esposito Murray, President of CED)

New York's economic development agency has been lax in determining whether its efforts are accomplishing the agency's goals, state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said in an audit released this week. DiNapoli called on Empire State Development, a public authority controlled by Gov. Kathy Hochul's administration, to do a better job in ascertaining whether objectives are being met through its various programs

North Carolina

Taylor J. Hutchins is the new Director of Business Recruitment at the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce.  She's part of VP Marvin Price’s team.

The Charlotte Regional Business Alliance is pleased to announce Danny Chavez will be joining the CLT Alliance team as the new Chief Business Recruitment Officer. Danny currently serves as the Senior Vice President and executive lead at McKinney Economic Development Corporation in the Dallas-Fort Worth (TX) Metroplex. (CRBA President and CEO Janet LaBar)

The Triad Business Journal profiled Sandy Dunbeck, Director of the High Point Economic Development Corp. and named her a "power player".  They also profiled Leigh Cockram, Director of the Rockingham County Economic Development and named her a "power player," too.

Ohio

The North Central Workforce Alliance of Ohio and Ashland Area Economic Development are teaming to hold an informative lunchtime summit Thursday, Oct. 27. (AAED coordinator Aaron Pauly)

The U.S. Department of Commerce has awarded a $3.6 million grant to the Workroom Program Alliance and the Cleveland Metropolitan School District to be used to transform a section of Collinwood High School into an adult technical training and workforce development facility. The high school will remain in another part of the building, guaranteeing a future for the school which CMSD had planned to close. (Jason Drake, executive director of the Workroom Program Alliance; Jamar Doyle, Executive Director, Greater Collinwood Development Corporation)

Oklahoma

The City of Owasso announced this week that a private development company is moving forward with a major construction project along the high-traffic corridor that will be home to new commercial and residential properties — including rental houses. (Chelsea Levo Feary, Owasso’s economic development director)

Pennsylvania

The Fay-Penn Economic Development Council announced the addition of two new staff members. Jim Gray has been appointed economic development manager and Misty Lowry recently joined the staff as workforce development specialist.

The City of New Castle held a pre-application workshop for its small business grant program on Oct. 18. The city received a $126,000 grant from the state Department of Community & Economic Development to respond to the impacts of the coronavirus. Eligible businesses can apply for up to $10,000. All requirements, including a list of ineligible businesses, are detailed in the application. (Shawn Anderson, New Castle director of community and economic development)

Rhode Island

Rhode Island has been awarded a $1 million economic development planning grant to help the state recover from the coronavirus pandemic. U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo announced that 24 states, including Rhode Island, had won awards from the Economic Development Administration. The Rhode Island Commerce Corp. will be responsible for carrying out the scope of work laid out in the state’s application to the EDA. (Jesse Saglio, RICC President)

South Dakota

North Sioux City leaders hope to embark as early as next spring on what they're calling a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to develop hundreds of acres of vacant land on the South Dakota city's north side. Plans include industrial and commercial development, some much-needed affordable housing and relocation of a flood-protection levee.Not one shovel of dirt has been turned yet, but all those available acres already are attracting potential developers."I have my first site visit coming up this week," North Sioux City Economic Development Corporation executive director Andrew Nilges said.

Tennessee

The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development today announced that the Highway 223 East Site has been certified through the Select Tennessee Certified Sites program. (TNECD Commissioner Bob Rolfe; Jonathan Gemmen, Austin Consulting senior location consultant; Jennifer McEachern, TNECD Director of Communications and Marketing)

Texas

The Denison Development Alliance won a Gold Rank in the Business Retention and Expansion Initiatives from the International Economic Development Council for its Ecommerce Accelerator Incentive project. The honor was presented at an awards ceremony Oct. 6 during the IEDC Annual Conference. The local program encourages Denison small businesses to ramp up their ability to meet the increasing demand for online shopping, transactions and delivery.(DDA President Tony Kaai)

The Bastrop Economic Development Corporation is looking for a buyer for its two-story building at 921 Main St. less than a year after completing construction.The BEDC spent $2.9 million to construct the 9,000-square-foot building on a Downtown lot that had remained vacant for about 15 after several fires burned down buildings at that site, with the last one occurring in 2003. (BEDC interim Director Genora Young)

Lisa Denton has taken the top job at Kilgore Economic Development Corporation. She spent 10 years with KEDC previously, becoming assistant director under former executive director Amanda Nobles. She went out to gain the kind of experience she would need to one day assume an executive director position herself. She spent nearly five years leading the Athens Economic Development Corporation and also directed the Palestine EDC before returning to Kilgore.

The Greater San Marcos Partnership was recently honored with the inaugural Community Economic Development Award. The accolade from the Texas Economic Development Council was given during an awards ceremony during the TEDC Annual Conference. GSMP said the award honors “exemplary achievement in resilience and recovery for economic development in the state of Texas.” “This is truly the community’s award,” GSMP President Jason Giulietti said.

Tarrant County College’s Office of Corporate Solutions and Economic Development opened a new center.  The Corporate Center for Learning and Development spans across 35,000 square feet. The new facility will offer businesses a training and skills development program customized to meet their employment needs, fitting into the Corporate Solutions and Economic Development office’s mission.  "Our ultimate goal is to provide exceptional, customized and turnkey workforce solutions for businesses across the region," Shannon Bryant, executive vice president for TCC's Corporate Solutions and Economic Development office

United States

The Commerce Department announced on Thursday the first round of funding awarded to support communities after the pandemic using money from the American Rescue Plan, a sweeping COVID-19 relief bill that President Biden signed earlier this year. The department announced that 24 states were awarded $1 million each in grants through an Economic Development Administration   program for planning initiatives aimed at tackling states’ recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, creating jobs and supporting economic development.

Virginia

Arlington Economic Development is proud to announce its seventh annual Fast Four Awards. The award program honors the fastest growing companies in the Arlington business community and recognizes their success, creativity, and in this year’s edition, resiliency in the face of the global pandemic. (Telly Tucker, Director of Arlington Economic Development)

A city grant program to encourage business expansion in Virginia Beach is riddled with holes, according to a recent audit. For years, the Development Authority has provided hundreds of thousands of dollars to businesses to attract them to Virginia Beach — or to get them to stay. The grants essentially help reimburse companies for capital investment and job creation in the city. But the methods used to confirm that a company has met the criteria are not up to par, the City Auditor told authority members at a meeting Tuesday. (Taylor Adams, the city’s director of economic development)

The Roanoke County Economic Development team and the Virginia Tech Center for Economic and Community Engagement team have been working together since January on an economic plan to make improvements to Roanoke County. Thursday night, a public meeting was held for the county to present the first draft of the “Elevate Roanoke County 2026 Strategic Plan.” The draft comes after months of work and survey responses from hundreds of Roanoke County residents. (County Economic Development Director Jill Loope)

The Tempur Sealy International Inc. facility in Duffield will expand, thanks to a $100,000 grant from the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority. The VCEDA awarded the grant to the Scott County Economic Development Authority for workforce development and training needs to support an expansion, a news release on the announcement said. The expansion is expected to create 25 new jobs within two years. “On behalf of the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority, we would like to congratulate Tempur Sealy on its expansion in Scott County,” said Jonathan Belcher, VCEDA executive director/general counsel.

Wisconsin

The efforts of Thrive Economic Development are paying off, according to an update provided to the Dodge County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday night. As a special order of business board chairman Russ Kottke introduced Vicky Pratt, Thrive president, and Deb Reinbold, Thrive director of business development. “We’re making a difference in within the county and businesses are taking note,” said Reinbold. “A start-up economic development organization generally takes a good seven to 10 years to get established in an area and I’m excited to share that we are already seeing the fruits of our labors, and there will be more. Once that roadmap is firmly established, when more local businesses know who to call, and as we continue to help more businesses invest in your region, these numbers will continue to rise.”

Economic Development Washington County is offering easy-access financing to help businesses and farmers in Washington County. Loans are available and EDWC will take applications until funds are exhausted on a first come, first serve basis. (Executive Director Christian Tscheschlok)


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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.