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36 - Economic Development and Developers in the News

Econ dev news from 149 economic development executives and organizations in 45 states, Canada, and the Caribbean.

Dane Carlson
Dane Carlson
27 min read
36 - Economic Development and Developers in the News
Photo by Dillon Austin / Unsplash

Welcome to the 36th 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 149 economic development executives and organizations in 45 states, Canada, and the Caribbean.


Alabama

Local business leaders heard a detailed summary of Shelby County’s projects, events and internal operations from County Manager Chad Scroggins.

According to the report by the prestigious Hoover Institution at Stanford University, “Alabama is exceptionally endowed with a vast array of natural assets that can be leveraged to expand its outdoor recreation industry, enhancing the state’s attractiveness for high-skill individuals and new tourists, as well as yielding substantial returns for both rural and urban communities.”

Arizona

Mohave County Economic Development partners with the cities, [email protected], county departments, Chamber of Commerce’s, K-12 and higher education, nonprofit organizations, businesses, churches, and community members  to find new solutions as well as share the responsibilities and resources. (Tami Ursenbach, director Mohave County Economic Development)

Arkansas

Katherine Holmstrom has been hired as a project manager at Entergy Arkansas’ business and economic development group. Holmstrom has 13 years of community and economic development experience in Arkansas, most recently as a senior project manager at the Arkansas Economic Development Commission.

Economic development official Katherine Andrews will lead the newly created Arkansas Office of Outdoor Recreation. (Stacy Hurst, Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism Secretary; Becca Caldwell, Director Of Rural Services Arkansas Economic Development Commission)

California

San Jose is moving closer to a major new affordable housing development near Diridon Station. The project calls for the demolition of more than 64,000 square feet of existing industrial buildings on McEvoy Street in order to build the affordable housing units. It's the first major housing project moving forward near Google's planned Downtown Village. (Nanci Klein, San Jose Director of Economic Development)

The City of Arvin interviewed the three finalists in line for the vacant city manager position. Finalists include Ricardo Noguera, the current economic development manager with the city of Cape Coral, Florida.

Canada

In a move to transparency, the Yukon government’s department of economic development announced and identified the recipients of their new Economic Development Fund program. This year, 28 different projects will be provided with more than $1 million, with individual projects being funded within a broad range of value. (Ranj Pillai, Minister of Economic Development)

“We certainly want to have economic development, but we don’t want one region competing against another for the same investment dollars. If we’re going to have different ministers in charge of different regions, I think that’s one of the things I would be highlighting as a concern,” said Pedro Antunes, chief economist of the Conference Board of Canada, “I think attracting investment to a particular region is fine, [but] attracting investment from one region to another is problematic.”

Caribbean

At the second virtual Caribbean Future Summit – Dwight Sutherland, Barbados Minister of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment, during his address, outlined that by utilizing the youth power, the Caribbean region can become a leading global technological and creative hub.

Colorado

The Colorado Springs Chamber & EDC announced Johnna Reeder Kleymeyer as its new president and chief executive officer. She will join Dirk Draper, the Chamber & EDC’s current president & CEO, on Nov. 29 to ensure a smooth transition before his retirement. (Kimm Lauterbach, President & CEO Regional Economic Development Initiative of Cincinnati)

Summit County and the Summit Prosperity Initiative — the economic development arm for the Summit Chamber of Commercecollaborate to put together an economic recovery dashboard for each quarter. The dashboard relies on a survey filled out by business owners, in addition to unemployment numbers specific to the county, sales tax figures, job postings and more. (Corry Mihm, project manager for the Summit Prosperity Initiative; Blair McGary, Executive Director Summit Chamber of Commerce)

Connecticut

Groton’s Galaxy Roller Rink, the only roller skating facility in southeastern Connecticut, closed just over three and a half years ago. The recent announcement of the sale of the building that housed the rink, and the strong probability that it will be torn down, brought a considerable amount of disappointment to the many who had enjoyed skating there for over a half-century. (Jonathan J. Reiner, Director of Planning and Development Services; Sam Eisenbeiser, Economic Development Specialist; Paige R. Bronk, Economic and Community Development Manager)

Florida

Governor Ron DeSantis announced a $1.69 million award to the City of North Port through the Florida Job Growth Grant Fund for the installation of water and wastewater infrastructure across 500 acres at the Panacea Activity Center. The City of North Port represents 20 percent of Sarasota County’s growth over the past 10 years, but 90 percent of the workforce commute to work outside the city’s borders. The City of North Port is matching the state’s investment, resulting in a project that is estimated to create as many as 9,700 new, permanent jobs to support the area’s self-sufficiency. (Secretary Dane Eagle of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity; Florida Secretary of Commerce Jamal Sowell, President & CEO of Enterprise Florida, Inc.)

Rumble, a video platform that's popular with conservative viewers, investors and politicians has signed a lease for property on Longboat Key that will act as its new US headquarters. The company says it plans to fill 20-25 new positions in Florida "immediately," according to a press release. The Economic Development Corporation of Sarasota County and Enterprise Florida both played roles in bringing the company to Sarasota; the Sarasota County Commission also voted to award Rumble an $825,000 Economic Development Incentive Grant. (Lisa Krouse, President & CEO Economic Development Corporation of Sarasota County; Destin Wells, Senior Vice President, Business Development Enterprise Florida)

Orange County Government has launched a new website called BizLink Orange to help businesses as they build their presence in Orange County. The site is a one-stop shop to access entrepreneurial resources including how-to guides, coaching and other tools to help them start and grow their businesses. BizLink Orange is a new economic development program managed by the National Entrepreneur Center and has already attracted more than 40 participating organizations for its initial launch. (Eric Ushkowitz, Economic Development Administrator, Orange County Government; Andrea Wesser-Brawner, Chief Innovation Officer for Orange County Government)

Georgia

Eileen Hughett joined Site Selection Group as Vice President of Economic Incentives.

Bedford County Development Association has announced the selection of Jennifer Marsh to fill the vacant role of vice president. Marsh will be supporting BCDA’s efforts in a wide range of areas including marketing, financing, development of business parks and business centers, workforce development and networking.

Georgia Power has donated $30,000 to Wiregrass Georgia Technical College to support the college’s economic development effort in its newly formed Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force. The mission of this group is to closely examine available data to identify gaps or barriers that may be unintentionally derailing the ability of a student to be successful.

Remington Firearms, America’s oldest firearms manufacturer, will locate its global headquarters and open a new advanced manufacturing operation as well as a world-class research and development center in LaGrange, Georgia. Through these projects, RemArms will invest $100 million and create 856 jobs over a five-year period in Troup County. (Scott Malone and Kelley Bush of the City of LaGrange Economic Development Authority; Pat Wilson, GDEcD Commissioner; Taylor Kielty, Senior Project Manager Georgia Department of Economic Development; Steve Daniel, Executive Director Georgia Quickstart)

Hawaii

For the first time, all four counties across the State of Hawai‘i are collaborating to bring Global Entrepreneurship Week to entrepreneurs and businesses statewide. Global Entrepreneurship Week in Hawai‘i will take place from November 8-14 with a series of live online events and workshops geared to local businesses. GEW week focuses on encouraging startups to bring ideas to life and drive economic growth for small business.
(Lori Fisher, Maui Business Brainstormers; William Charter, Chief Of Staff Global Entrepreneurship Network; Len Higashi, Acting Executive Director Hawaii Technology Development Corporation)

Kaua‘i participates in Global Entrepreneurship Week. Kaua‘i will host two virtual events: Sustainable Tourism and “The Future of Young Entrepreneurs of Hawai‘i” (Joel Guy, executive director the Hanalei Initiative; Dirk Soma, professor of business at Kaua‘i Community College; Robbie Melton, Kaua‘i director of the Small Business Development Center; Mark Perriello, President/CEO Kaua‘i Chamber of Commerce; Jaclyn Kaina, Director of Programs Kaua‘i Economic Development Board; Nalani Brun, Director Kauai Office of Economic Development)

Illinois

The Dream Center, located in Austin’s Soul City Corridor, aims to help entrepreneurs go beyond dreaming and bring their business ideas to reality. Some of their support offerings include consulting, grant writing, social media marketing, graphic design and “business in a box”— a service that includes everything needed to launch a business. The center also offers virtual offices, virtual assistants and business phone lines. (Marseil Jackson, CEO Dream Center)

After a myriad of setbacks, including a global pandemic, The Coop officially opened its doors in Hillsboro. The plan for the first shared co-working space and business incubator in Montgomery County was announced in 2019.

Indiana

Local Bartholomew County communities will receive more than $1.6 million in state matching grants to steer toward much-needed road improvement projects.

Commercial grade solar fields could represent a major investment and tax boon for northeast Indiana. Developers would likely seek a big tax abatement for a new solar development, up to a 100% abatement for 10 years. (Gary Gatman, executive director Noble County Economic Development Corp.)

The Purdue Center for Regional Development selected five Indiana counties to receive $15,000 grants to support “digital inclusion plans” to assess broadband access and needs. The counties selected include Boone, Carroll, Dearborn, Greene and Rush. (Dr. Roberto Gallardo, director of the Purdue Center for Regional Development; Molly Whitehead, Executive Director Boone County Economic Development Corporation; Jacob "Jake" Adams, Executive Director Carroll County’s Economic Development Corporation; Mike Perleberg, Executive Director of One Dearborn Economic Development; Brianne Jerrels, Executive Director of Greene County Economic Development)

Iowa

Audubon city leaders know their priorities: more affordable housing, general aesthetics like clean yards and kept-up buildings, and a robust US Highway 71 corridor into and out of town. (Sara Slater, Audubon County’s economic development and tourism director)

Jewell, a town of 1,216 in Hamilton County, might seem an unlikely place for a business boom. But the small town has a nearly full Main Street, which has become a destination shopping location. “Jewell is truly a bright spot,” said Debi Durham, director of the Iowa Economic Development Authority.

Kentucky

Kentucky economic development experts have more to talk about than just about any time in history. Coming off a week when the state topped $10 billion in announced economic investment, that’s just the beginning. (Gina Greathouse, Executive Vice President of Economic Development at Commerce Lexington)

The Board of Directors of the Heart of Danville Main Street Program have promoted Mary C. Conley to executive director. As Executive Director, Conley is coordinating the revitalization of Danville’s downtown historic commercial district through the Main Street Approach a four-point framework for downtown transformation and includes comprehensive work in the areas of economic and business vitality, design, promotion and organization.

A new online map and data tools help Covington residents better understand the city and its government. Information about road conditions, rental properties, and economic development incentives are among immense new data sets that have been added to the City of Covington’s website.

Nemak Kentucky, a subsidiary of Mexico-based Nemak, has announced a $27 million expansion of its Glasgow plant that is expected to create as many as 170 jobs at the company that makes lightweight automobile parts primarily out of aluminum. The expansion will nearly double employment at the Glasgow Nemak plant, which now has about 200 employees. (Jack Mazurak, Executive Director Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development; Maureen Carpenter, Executive Director Barren County Economic Authority)

The City of Union issued a proclamation designating November 27 as Small Business Saturday, a national day of locally owned small business recognition.

Louisiana

Louisiana Economic Development recognized business owners who exemplify Louisiana’s entrepreneurial spirit on Thursday, Nov. 4 at the 2021 Louisiana Small Business Awards. (Heidi Melancon, Director Louisiana Small Business Development Center Network; Don Pierson, Secretary Louisiana Economic Development)

According to Michael Olivier, Louisiana Committee of 100 for Economic Development Inc., two key amendments will make Louisiana more successful.

The St. Bernard Economic Development Foundation has won two major industry awards from the International Economic Development Council. The foundation won a gold award for neighborhood and retail development for its partnership with St. Bernard Parish Government and a bronze award for entrepreneurship for its work with the Meraux Foundation in creating and hosting Startup St. Bernard. (Meaghan McCormack, Executive Director St. Bernard Economic Development Foundation)

Construction plans are taking off at Chennault International Airport. “We have not missed a day of work, whether it’s because of COVID, because of the hurricanes, because of flooding, or for extreme cold weather,” executive director Kevin Melton said. “We’ve not stopped working here, and it’s all for a great cause.” As one of Southwest Louisiana’s economic powerhouses, Melton explains that they are focused on remaining an active driver of economic development with plans of expansion.

Maryland

Frederick Community College, in collaboration with Frederick County Workforce Services, The City of Frederick Department of Economic Development, and the Frederick County Office of Economic Development is excited to announce the first "Biotech Boot Camp". This free 4-week training program is designed to teach participants the basic skills needed for entry-level positions in the biotech industry. (Richard Griffin, Director of Economic Development City of Frederick; Mary Ford-Naill, Economic Development Manager City of Frederick; Latrice Lewis, Frederick County Workforce Services; Michelle Day, Director Frederick County Workforce Services; Helen Propheter, Executive Director, Economic and Workforce Development Frederick County Office of Economic Development)

Massachusetts

The city of Haverhill has received a $750,000 MassWorks grant to design a new and larger Merrimack Street parking garage – part of a sweeping redevelopment project to remake the eastern entrance to the downtown with a modern parking facility surrounded by new retail stores, professional offices, restaurants, housing and public spaces. (William Pillsbury, the city’s economic and development director; Erica Schechter, Director MassWorks Infrastructure Program)

A group of religious and civic leaders plans to voice their opposition next week to a proposed pot warehouse and courier service in Grove Hall. (Charles Muhammad of the Grove Hall Neighborhood Development Corp.)

Michigan

Ann Arbor’s search for a new Downtown Development Authority executive director is down to three finalists after a first round of interviews. DDA is searching for a replacement for Susan Pollay, who retired last year after 24 years as director.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer released the following statement on the US Economic Development Administration awarding a grant of $10,307,393 to Michigan as part of $314 million in American Rescue Plan State Travel, Tourism, and Outdoor Recreation funding.

The Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation received an award from the International Economic Development Council for its electronic newsletters. (Patti Gartland, President; Amelia Barkley, Communications and Program Specialist Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation)

Minnesota

Winnebago’s Economic Development Authority board discussed the prioritization of their goals for 2022 at their most recent board meeting. (Angie Stier, EDA specialist)

Scott Marquardt is a senior vice president with the Southwest Initiative Foundation. For the past 13 years he has worked helping entrepreneurs, and before that, for seven years in economic development with the city of Montevideo. Since 1986, the Southwest Initiative Foundation has invested nearly $98 million in the region through loans and grants.

The tax increment financing district for the Block 25 Lofts apartment project in downtown Willmar was approved by the Willmar City Council. The TIF district will reimburse the project developer, Lumber One Development Company, a portion of their paid property taxes to help fund some of the costs incurred in the project, such as environmental remediation. (Aaron Backman, Executive Director Kandiyohi County & City of Willmar EDC)

The developer, Saturday Zenith LLC, informed the Duluth Economic Development Authority that it would agree to increase its equity investment in the project by $2.7 million, but that still leaves a financial gap of about $1.5 million. The authority agreed to fill that gap with an additional $1.5 million in tax-increment financing, bringing its proposed total assistance to $2.94 million. (Chris Fleege, Director Duluth Economic Development Authority)

Unlike most cities with rent control, St. Paul will not exempt new construction, which opponents argue will force lenders and developers to look outside the city.  (Nicolle Goodman, Director of St. Paul Planning and Economic Development)

During a work session Monday, the Bemidji City Council held an open discussion regarding ideas for economic development initiatives. (Dave Hengel, Executive Director Greater Bemidji Economic Development)

The Fairmont Economic Development Authority took action on potential further development of White Tail Ridge. (Linsey Preuss, Economic Development Coordinator; Ned Koppen, President Fairmont Chamber)

Missouri

The Missouri Department of Economic Development announced that the Crossroads Industrial Park in Joplin is now a Missouri Certified Site. (Maggie Kost, Acting Director Department of Economic Development; Tony Robyn, Director of MOKAN Partnership)

Montana

US Senator Jon Tester announced $1 million in American Rescue Plan funding from the US Department of Commerce to facilitate planning and coordination for the distribution of economic development resources in Montana to support Montana small businesses and grow the economy.

Nebraska

A presentation given to all area government entities by the county’s economic development corporation reported Sarpy County’s record year of building valuations has reached over $2.1 billion. (Josh Charvat, business development manager from Grow Sarpy)

New Hampshire

The New Hampshire Community Development Finance Authority has been awarded a $2.5 million grant from the US Small Business Administration to launch the Community Navigator Pilot Program in New Hampshire. The program is designed to reduce barriers to getting access to resources for small businesses in under-served businesses and communities. (Katherine Eastery Martey, Executive Director CDFA; Justin Slattery, Executive Director Belknap Economic Development Council; Lise Howson, Executive Director Coos Economic Development Corp.; Anne Duncan Cooley, CEO Grafton Regional Development Corp.; Mary Ann Kristiansen, Executive Director Hannah Grimes Center for Entrepreneurship; Liz Gray, State Director New Hampshire Small Business Development Center;  Laurel Adams, President Regional Economic Development Center of Southern New Hampshire; Alison Chisolm, Entrepreneurship & Innovation Program Coordinator River Valley Community College Upper Valley Entrepreneurship Center; Denise Roy-Palmer, Executive Director Wentworth Economic Development Corp.)

New Jersey

Kean University is one of 25 colleges and universities nationwide selected for a US Economic Development Administration University Center grant to promote innovation and strengthen regional economies. (Tim Sullivan, CEO New Jersey Economic Development Authority; Jin Wang, Ph.D., dean of the College of Business and Public Management at Kean; John E. Harmon Sr., founder, president and CEO of the African American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey; Carlos Medina, president and CEO of the Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey; Thomas Richardson, Ph.D., President ILSE; John W. Kennedy, Ph.D., chief executive officer of the New Jersey Manufacturing Extension Program)

New Mexico

Kristen Gamboa reflects on her first year as Los Lunas' senior economic developer.

The city of Roswell plans to renew its agreement with Roswell-Chaves County Economic Development Corp. that would provide it $100,000 a year in funds, plus up to another $25,000 a year that could be reimbursed to the group for special projects. (Jessica Armendariz, Project Manager for Roswell-Chaves County EDC)

It’s rare you see any development on the river in the Albuquerque area but now there’s a move to build a boating and canoeing area along the Rio Grande. The Outdoor Recreation Department within the Economic Development Department released the awardees of the grant that would develop a new outdoor development.  In Bernalillo, they are planning on building a new picnic area and a dock and ramp for kayaks and canoes. The Rio Grande Conservancy District, along with a group called the Paddlers Coalition, filed for the state grant to bring more access to the Rio Grande around Highway 550. “It was really dangerous for people to pull off and pull back in into that location with boat trailers and things like that. It’s a public safety improvement program as well,” Mike Hamman, CEO of the Rio Grande Conservancy District said.

New York

Earlier this year, Peekskill Industrial Development Agency, Peekskill Business Improvement District and Hudson Valley Gateway Chamber of Commerce partnered to create a City of Peekskill Destination Marketing/Business Attraction project to support existing businesses, attract new businesses, and expand the diversity of businesses in Peekskill. (Deborah Milone, Executive Director Hudson Valley Gateway Chamber of Commerce; Matthew Rudikoff, Executive Director Peekskill Industrial Development Agency)

CenterState CEO’s Economic Champions, hosted a virtual celebration of 376 companies as 2021 Economic Champions for their collective hiring of nearly 3,500 employees, more than 4. 6 million square-feet of expansions, and over $767 million in capital investments. At a time of tremendous economic pressure, 120 businesses were recognized for opening new storefronts, offices and facilities; 40 were highlighted for celebrating a milestone anniversary and 98 were recognized for receiving significant awards and achievements.  The accomplishments speak to businesses’ commitment and contributions to the local and regional economy. Companies were nominated as Economic Champions for their accomplishments throughout the year by CenterState CEO and the Greater Oswego-Fulton Chamber of Commerce, the Upstate Minority Economic Alliance, the Downtown Committee of Syracuse, peers, employees and staff.  (Robert Simpson, president of CenterState CEO)

North Carolina

Danny Chavez, the senior vice president of McKinney’s  Economic Development Corporation and architect of the organization’s Innovation Fund, is taking on a new role as the chief business recruitment officer for the Charlotte Regional Business Alliance.

Rockingham County Economic Development recently announced at least four manufacturing companies looking for workers in the area. (Leigh Cockram, Director of Economic Development and Tourism)

A conference and workshop was held at Newland Town Hall on Oct. 26 to discuss an assessment of Newland prospects, expansion, growth, opportunities and challenges for the town in order to promote prosperity for the town and residents. The meeting was hosted by Hilary Greenberg, who holds a Master’s degree in regional planning from The University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, and is employed with Greenberg Development Services from Charlotte. Greenberg Development Services is an economic development consulting firm with more than 25 years of experience working with communities across the country in the areas of downtown business attraction and business retention. (Avery County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Anne Winkelman)

The cleanroon design, construction, and process integration company AdvanceTEC will construct a new facility and hire as many as 25 workers with average wages of $125,000 at a location near Clayton, the company announced today. The $10 million facility will serve biotechnology companies in the Triangle as well as across the East Coast. The privately-held company, founded in 2000, is headquartered in Richmond, Va. and will build its new facility on 12-acres of land in Johnston County between Smithfield and Clayton. (Chris Johnson, director of Johnston County Economic Development)

North Dakota

After a 16 month long search Fufeng Group Ltd. has selected Grand Forks for its first US-based manufacturing facility.  The company is a global leader in bio-fermentation; manufacturing products that serve animal nutrition, food & beverage, pharmaceutical, health and wellness, oil & gas, and other industries. (Keith Lund, Grand Forks Region Economic Development Corporation President and CEO)

Ohio

At a glance, the 20-page report detailing the city of Clayton's new economic development plan might appear overly ambitious. But the updated five-year roadmap isn't a checklist of far-fetched aspirations. Instead, it's a framework for self-sufficiency. Based upon a strategy from the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency, Clayton's new plan is in some ways similar to its 2016 counterpart. "Smart growth" is still the name of the game, as the original plan saw more than $21. 3 million of capital investment pour into the city. In other regards, the plan has evolved. This time around, Clayton added a new focus area — residential development — to expand the scope of its economic investment priorities.  (Jack Kuntz, director of development)

Oklahoma

Oklahoma's Latino population is growing, and so is the economic impact of Latino-owned businesses and customers, David Castillo, executive director of the Greater Oklahoma City Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, said. The percentage of Hispanic residents in Oklahoma has more than doubled from 9% in 2010 to 18. 9% in the 2020 U. S. Census, Castillo said. Nearly 20% of the population in Oklahoma County is Hispanic, he said.

It was a busy morning at the Ardmore Industrial Airpark as they welcomed nearly a hundred private airplanes from the Texas based, non profit organization Airplanes and Coffee for their first ever out of state fly in.  The fly in brought a wide variety of personal use planes to the airpark.  Giving pilots and visitors a chance to see some unique aircrafts.  “Basically it's like a car show but with planes,” said Ardmore Development Authority Vice President of economic development Andrea Anderson. “Aviation is such an important industry for the state,” Anderson said. “It is now the number 2 employer in the state of Oklahoma so anything we can do to encourage aviation, especially general aviation, we are going to get behind it.”

A new community venue in southwest Oklahoma City seeks to bring more cultural events to an up-and-coming district.  City planners want to turn one block of S Harvey Avenue near Commerce Street into a festival plaza to honor the growing Hispanic and Latinx population in this part of the Capitol Hill area.  “The community that does not have a business here or that does not own property here is very excited to have a place that they feel like they can call their own,” said Gloria Torres, Historic Capitol Hill District executive director.  (Luis Hidalgo, Scissortail Community Development Corporation economic development director; Robert Ruiz, Scissortail Community Development Corporation executive director)

Oregon

After members of the public and the Rainier Economic Development Council raised concerns about the committee’s operations in June, it is taking steps to get back on track. At a Monday meeting, REDCO, which is made up of City Council members, officially passed an intergovernmental agreement ending the $75,000 annual payment from the city to the council which had ceased in practice some years before.

The Oregon Board of Forestry voted unanimously to appoint Cal Mukumoto as Oregon’s 14th state forester during special meeting last week. Mukumoto will now work with the Department of Forestry’s Human Resources team on terms of his employment prior to determining a start date. Mukumoto is a forester and management consultant from Coos Bay. He earned a bachelor’s degree in forest management from Humboldt State University and a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Washington. Mukumoto’s diverse leadership experiences span the public and private sector and include work in the fields of economic development, natural resource management, turnaround solutions, and biomass energy development.

Pennsylvania

Teri Ooms, executive director at The Institute for Public Policy and Economic Development at Wilkes University, this week said in order to address Northeast Pennsylvania's needs in terms of workforce development, it is necessary to understand the composition of the region's labor market, as well as past and projected trends in employment.

He was Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corp.’s vice president, he has worked for the Allentown Economic Development Corp., and now Matt Tuerk is Allentown’s new mayor, according to unofficial results.

South Carolina

A new company has decided to call Jasper County home and bring 126 manufacturing jobs with it, officials said. Builders FirstSource, a supplier of structural building products, announced Nov. 2 its plans to establish operations in Jasper County.  The Coordinating Council for Economic Development has approved job development credits related to this project.  It said the council also approved a $750,000 Rural Infrastructure Fund grant to Jasper County to assist with related project costs.

Tennessee

Last month, Ted Townsend completed his transition into the role of chief economic development officer of the Greater Memphis Chamber after a year at the head of a partnership between the chamber and the University of Memphis.
The Commercial Appeal recently talked with Townsend about what the Ford deal means for Memphis long-term, why the region needs more students studying science, technology, engineering and math, and how the labor shortage is impacting local businesses.

City and economic leaders in Memphis hope to reimagine the historic river and music city as a place for urban tech innovation. The shift, they hope, will spur the economy, broadband access and efforts to place data at the center of decision-making.  Part of what’s positioning Memphis as a smart city is the Smart Memphis Plan, which was adopted in April and is a byproduct of the broader Memphis 3.0 Comprehensive Plan. But also, sizable private developments — like The Walk on Union, a $1.5 billion real estate development, and the coming Ford megacampus known as BlueOval City in nearby Stanton — have moved planning and economic development conversations into the more smart city and data-driven space.  (Ted Townsend, chief economic development officer at the Greater Memphis Chamber of Commerce; Paul Young, president and CEO of the Downtown Memphis Commission; Andre Fowlkes, president of Start Co., a venture development company aimed with growing Memphis as a digital city)

The Tennessee Economic Development Council recently recognized G. C. Hixson, Executive Director at Joint Economic and Community Development Board of Wilson County, as recipient of the Legacy Award.  Hixson received the award to honor his achievements in economic development in Tennessee and especially in Wilson County.

Several organizations earned six awards from the IEDC in a competition that drew 500 entries from four countries.  RegionAHEAD earned an award for its Appalachian Highlands COVID-19 Response in the category of Regionalism and Cross-Border Collaboration.  Also earning an award in the Real Estate Redevelopment and Reuse Category was R&G Ventures for its Model Mill Redevelopment.  The Unicoi County Joint Economic and Community Development Board also earned an award for its "Real. Wild. Unicoi County" Campaign in the category of Special Purpose Website.  NeTREP earned an award for its 2020 Annual Report within the Annual Report category.  NeTREP also earned an award for its InCompass Council within the Economic Equity and Inclusion category.   (Unicoi County Economic Development Board executive director Tyler Engle; NeTREP CEO Mitch Miller; RegionAHEAD organizer Andy Dietrich; Northeast Tennessee Regional Economic Partnership CEO Mitch Miller)

Ralph Schultz, President and CEO of the Nashville Chamber of Commerce, recently shared information about job growth and economic development in Williamson County and the Middle Tennessee region with local leaders at Franklin Tomorrow’s quarterly Breakfast with the Mayors. Because the mayors in Williamson County and the region work together on planning for the future, this area has continued to see both population and job growth during the pandemic. In recent months traffic patterns have almost returned to normal, as have the number of jobs. However, Schultz and the mayors agreed that growth must be planned for it to be beneficial.

Texas

Pike Powers, a pioneer of Austin’s technology industry, died at his home Sunday after a long bout with Parkinson’s disease. He was 80.  “He was one of the most significant civic leaders this region as ever known, a major contributor to the technology economy, the so called Technopolis, that Austin enjoys today,” said Sandy Hentges Guzman, CEO of the Austin Area Research Organization, which announced his death. Powers was a longtime member of the civic and economic group, serving as a member from 1984 to 2013.

Capstone Mechanical's $5 million expansion getting $400,000 public boost. The company will receive $300,000 from the Waco-McLennan County Economic Development Corp., which is funded by the city and county. A five-year business grant spells another $40,000 from the county and $73,000 from the city, said Kris Collins, senior vice president for economic development at the Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce.

The Palestine Area Chamber of Commerce is hosting a Women’s Luncheon from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 10 at The Redland’s Hotel, 400 N. Queen St. Guest speaker for this event is Tracy Irby. Irby is the Director at Texas Women’s University – Center for Women Entrepreneurs and an adjunct instructor. Irby has an MBA and BBA in Marketing from Texas A&M University-Commerce. She is a recent graduate of OU Economic Development Institute and holds an Economic Development Finance Certification form the National Development Council.

A no-bid deal to give city land to a nonprofit group for homeless programs drew pointed questions Monday at the Dallas City Council Committee meeting. The far Northeast Dallas site at 12000 North Greenville Avenue near I-635 LBJ Freeway is a former state highway department maintenance yard that is now owned by the city of Dallas. (Dallas Economic Development Chief Eric Anthony Johnson)

The Brazos Valley Economic Development Corporation has reached a new funding milestone thanks to the support of private sector businesses. Local companies in the "Invest Brazos Valley" investment group have surpassed $350,000 in contributions to the BVEDC, accomplishing their five-year goal. Thanks to the investments of the one hundred businesses, the Brazos Valley EDC will continue its work towards bringing new companies and job growth to the Brazos Valley."For us, it's really about partnership," said Matt Prochaska, president & CEO of Brazos Valley EDC.

Athens Economic Development Corporation Director Joanie Ahlers is asking for applications from businesses that want to improve the eye appeal of their properties. The 2022 Business Assistance Grant Program can provide up to a 75% matching grant, with a maximum of $12,500, for enhancements such as demolition, facade improvements, landscaping, parking lot repairs, painting and the like.

Aransas County commissioners held public hearings. Thursday, Nov. 4 in regard to a proposed Aransas County Economic Development Policy, which includes guidelines and criteria for tax abatement as authorized by Chapter 312 of the Local Government Code, and guidelines and criteria for tax rebate agreements and other incentives as authorized by Chapter 381 of the Tax Code. A second hearing followed about the proposed creation of an Aransas County Economic Development Evaluation Committee. (Michael Meek with Meek and Associates, LLC)

On Nov. 4, officials with the University of Houston, Sugar Land Economic Development Council and County Judge KP George’s office unveiled the “Diversity over Division,” piece, a new mural on UH’s Sugar Land campus aimed at celebrating the richness of the Fort Bend County community.

United States

For many DMOS, the pandemic is awakening partnerships with local economic development organizations and other government entities in new and often fruitful ways. In fact, it’s one of three central trends identified in the new DestinationNEXT 2021 Futures Study, released in August. “Destination organizations are expanding their roles in many directions,” according to the report. “They’re aligning with government and community organizations more intentionally to support initiatives designed to improve social issues and local quality of life; fuel priority sector development; attract outside investment and high-value talent; and elevate the overall destination brand beyond a tourism lens.” (Daniella Middleton, senior vice president, tourism development at DCI)

Utah

"We have a concentrated focus on advancing Mayor Mendenhall's Tech Lake City initiative, fostering a vibrant arts and entertainment ecosystem and supporting an inclusive environment for our residents. While we are optimistic about the growth happening already, it is vital to city leadership and our department to maintain the feel and culture of an urban environment while helping our economy provide the jobs we need," said Ben Kolendar Director of Salt Lake City's Department of Economic Development.

Vermont

Governor Phil Scott today announced the selection of Montréal -based economic development firm, CIDEP, as the new Vermont Trade and Investment Representative and Liaison in Canada. CIDEP’s main priority will be to initiate contact with Canadian businesses looking to expand into the U. S. market and then generate quality leads that have high potential to turn into Vermont investment projects. CIDEP will also represent Vermont at key trade events in Canada touting Vermont as a business and tourist destination. (Michel Belval, President of the American Chamber of Commerce in Québec; Frederick Bernard, CEO of CIDEP)

Virginia

The Virginia Association of Counties awarded Roanoke County a 2021 achievement award for revitalization in Vinton’s downtown district, and the International Economic Development Council granted Roanoke County an award for public-private partnerships in Vinton’s downtown revitalization. (Jill Loope, director of Economic Development for Roanoke County)

Harrisonburg will receive $100,000 to grow B-Cubed, the city’s Black- and Brown-owned business growth program. Funds will help support the program as it seeks to create a welcoming culture that will attract new Black- and Brown-owned business ventures to the area while encouraging increasing investment from existing businesses in Harrisonburg. “Once again, this shows why the Valley is such a special place – where groups work together to achieve a common goal,” Harrisonburg Economic Development Assistant Director Peirce Macgill said. “It’s great to see the partnership with SCCF bear fruit. The grant funds will help the B-Cubed team take the program to the next level.” (Chris Quinn, President & CEO of the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Chamber of Commerce)

Richmond law firm Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP has added two members to its Virginia government relations team, the firm announced last week. Elizabeth Rafferty and Adisa Muse, both based in Richmond, will serve as directors of government affairs for the firm’s full-service public affairs and strategies consultancy, which focuses on global economic development, commerce and government relations.

Pinnacle Physical Therapy, a new locally-owned private practice group, has received a $2,000 start-up incentive grant from Orange County Economic Development. The grant is designed to attract creative talent, and support local entrepreneurs locate into commercial space, according to a release from the agency.  (Rose Deal, Director of Economic Development)

Washington

More than 19 months after the US border was shut down to nonessential travelers from Canada and Mexico, fully vaccinated visitors can now cross to enjoy recreation, tourism and shopping. For border communities in Washington, the change couldn’t come soon enough. (Don Goldberg, director of economic development at the Port of Bellingham and Whatcom County)

Snohomish County is updating the Paine Field Airport Master Plan. The team has created an online open house and will host a webinar Nov. 9 so community members can learn more about work completed so far and where the plan is headed. Residents will also have an opportunity to communicate with the project team directly. (Terry Ryan, Snohomish County aerospace economic development director)

West Virginia

Six administrators and staff members of the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine will speak at the Small Communities, Big Solutions Conference, an event showcasing successful projects and those who are bringing change to West Virginia. The virtual conference will take place Nov. 15-18. Small Communities, Big Solutions is hosted annually by the Alliance for the Economic Development of Southern West Virginia, the West Virginia Community Development Hub and Coalfield Development. The Alliance for the Economic Development of Southern West Virginia is a consortium of 10 public higher education institutions in the state’s southern region, including WVSOM, focused on fostering an environment for economic growth.  WVSOM President James W. Nemitz, Ph.D., praised the event for its role in examining ways to improve the lives of West Virginians.

At the virtual Eastern Panhandle Entrepreneurs Forum on Thursday, hosted by the Berkeley County Development Authority, viewers learned how small business coaches can help start and grow business in West Virginia. Sponsors of the event were Region 9 Planning and Development Council, Berkeley County Development Authority, Jefferson County Development Authority, and Morgan County Economic Development Authority.

The Lewis County Economic Development Authority recently swore in board members. (Cindy Whetsell)

Brad Smith, former Intuit executive chairman and the next president of Marshall University, has a long-term plan to increase West Virginia’s population and create new economic opportunities. Through the Ascend West Virginia program, which is supported by and was developed by Smith and his wife Alys in collaboration with state officials, more than 1,000 new residents are expected to move to the state in the next five years.“Our goal is, over the next five years, to attract 1,000 remote workers and their trailing significant others, partners and family members to move to West Virginia to make it their new forever home.”

Marshall County Commissioners were handed a folder and asked to support a study Tuesday. The papers showed their county’s trends and that of other Ohio Valley communities. The Ohio River Valley Institute wants to project the future of the Ohio Valley’s community and then take that information to officials. Sean O’Leary, with the Ohio River Valley Institute, talked economic development for Marshall County’s citizens, and not investing in industry that doesn’t promise jobs.

Wisconsin

The City of Sun Prairie announced Michael Beale has joined the Community Development Department as the new Economic Development Specialist. Beale will be responsible for providing administrative, technical and research support for specific economic development initiatives, assisting in executing the city’s business attraction efforts, and developing relationships with key partners. He replaces Taylor Brown, who was promoted to City Economic Development Director on July 22 to replace Neil Stechschulte, who departed for a similar position with the City of Green Bay.

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. (Christian Tscheschlok, Executive Director)

The Greater Green Bay Chamber will present its much-anticipated Economic Development Strategic Plan Update this week at a community-wide event to be held at the Radisson Hotel & Conference Center. Adopted in May 2017, the Strategic Plan was built around an ambitious set of 11 initiatives designed to support the creation of new jobs and investment in Greater Green Bay. Since the plan's creation, seven task forces made up of business and community leaders have met regularly to guide and execute the plan's implementation. (Patrick Stumpf, economic development communications manager)

Wyoming

State lawmakers continued to express confusion this month about tribal eligibility for economic development programs in Wyoming. The state’s Select Committee on Tribal Relations advanced a draft bill last week clarifying that tribal entities are eligible for the Wyoming Business Council’s Business Ready Community Grant program. The clarification was deemed necessary after the Wyoming Attorney General told WBC officials that tribal entities were not eligible for the program, despite the fact that tribal entities have received BRC grants in the past. (WBC CEO Josh Dorrell)


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