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42 - Economic Development and Developers in the News

Econ dev news from 51 economic development executives and organizations in 31 states and Canada.

Dane Carlson
Dane Carlson
11 min read
42 - Economic Development and Developers in the News
Photo by Mark König / Unsplash

Welcome to the 42nd weekly edition of Economic Development and Developers in the News.

Today's issue contains economic development news from 51 economic development executives and organizations in 31 states and Canada.


Alabama

Troy University has named Greg Knedler the new Associate Vice Chancellor for Development.

Arizona

Throughout her time working for Surprise, Jeanine Jerkovic has helped launch several notable projects, including the West Valley's first business incubator and a soft landing program for international businesses.

Arkansas

Nancy Lee McNew, CEcD, PCED is now Vice President for the Economic Development Alliance of Jefferson County, AR.

California

The City of Davis Assistant City Manager and Director of Community Development, Economic Development & Sustainability, Ashley Feeney, is departing at the end of the month to become the City Manager for Citrus Heights.

Canada

Adam Joon, Economic Development Officer for the Town of Grimsby died at the age of 45 after a battle with cancer.

Colorado

The La Plata Economic Development Alliance hosted a virtual forum Thursday to kick-start a community conversation about the housing crisis in Durango and La Plata County. The alliance received a Rural Economic Development Initiative grant from the state of Colorado in partnership with the city of Durango that will be used to create a workforce housing investment strategy or investment plan. (Michael French, Executive Director at La Plata County Economic Development Alliance)

Connecticut

The City of Washington looks to open its first day care facility and before-and-after-school preschool program. To evaluate the need for a day care in town, Washington's economic development committee conducted as survey in the fall called the Shepaug Valley Childcare Survey. (Michelle Gorra, Washington’s economic development director)

Sheila O’Malley, Seymour's new part-time Economic Development Consultant, gave her first report to the Board of Selectmen. O’Malley went over a number of grants she is trying to get for Seymour, including a $10 million grant that would be used to help about 200 acres more desirable for development, a $1 million grant for downtown pedestrian and streetscape improvements and a $500,000 Brownsfield grant.

Florida

Bay County Economic Development Alliance officials unveiled the liftoff of “Project Rocket” — FedEx’s plans to build a huge new distribution center and regional headquarters in Panama City. The facility will bring 183 new jobs and will service the region from Pensacola to Tallahassee. (Becca Hardin, President Bay County Economic Development Alliance)

Nicole B. Travis, deputy city manager for the city of Lakeland, will become Tampa's top economic development official. She will replace Carole Post, the current administrator of development and economic opportunity, who is returning to the University of South Florida.

Idaho

Dana Briggs, the economic development director for the city of Idaho Falls, has left her city post for a private sector job. She was the first person to hold the position of economic development director for the city. She started in August 2015 after having served three years as the programs and events director at the Greater Idaho Falls Chamber of Commerce. (Chip Schwarze, CEO Greater Idaho Falls Chamber of Commerce)

Indiana

The Pulaski County Council members agreed to approve the Economic Development Agreement and tax abatements for the Mammoth Solar project. The project will include the installation of solar panels on several thousand acres of agricultural land with a $1 billion investment in Pulaski County. The utility property abatement would be for 20 years which would result in an estimated property tax savings of over $40 million, but Mammoth Solar would provide $34.6 million in minimum Economic Development payments to the county over a 20-year period.

The Warsaw Community Development Corp. has rebranded and is now operating under a new name, Main Street Warsaw. The organization says the rebranding strategy reflects the evolution of the organization and as well as its vision for the future. (Rob Parker, Executive Director Main Street Warsaw)

Iowa

John Hall, the president and CEO of the Marshalltown Area Chamber of Commerce, is taking strides to combat the staffing issues local businesses are facing by developing a new position focused solely on the workforce. Kyle Hall, of no relation to John Hall, is taking on the title of workforce development coordinator.

Chad Quick has been named economic development director for the city of Altoona. Quick, who had been the city’s planner for the past 20 years, will be responsible for leading strategies for economic and community development, civic marketing, infrastructure demographic research, and economic trends and analysis.

The Winnebago EDA recently approved an application for a DEED demolition loan which they hope may fund the demolition of the SuperValu. (Angie Stier, Winnebago EDA specialist)

Louisiana

Greater New Orleans, Inc. has launched a new online portal, StartupNOLA.com, to aggregate news and information about area startups and entrepreneurial activity. (Michael Hecht, CEO and President of GNO Inc.)

Maine

The City of Auburn has hired Jennifer Boenig as the downtown coordinator to drive event planning the effort to implement Auburn’s downtown revitalization plan. (Jay Brenchick, Director of Economic Development for the City of Auburn; John Williams, Executive Director Oxford Hills Chamber of Commerce)

Maryland

The Calvert County Board of County Commissioners announced the appointment of Julie Oberg as director of the Department of Economic Development. Oberg most recently served as deputy secretary for the Maryland Department of Agriculture.

Michigan

Minnesota

Hamse Warfa is leaving the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development for a position in the Biden administration, making him the highest-ranking Somali appointee in Washington.

Local, regional and state organizations are set to host the 2022 Workforce Solutions Summit Jan. 20 at the Willmar Conference Center. The summit will create an opportunity for business owners and human resources professionals to dive into employee retention, hiring, diversifying, and to foster community conversations. (Aaron Backman, Executive Director of the Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission; Luke Greiner, Minnesota Department of Employment and Education Development)

Missouri

The Missouri Department of Economic Development announced that Amy Berendzen will serve as its new spokesperson and Director of Communications. Berendzen previously served as Director of Communications for Lieutenant Governor Mike Kehoe. (Maggie Kost, Acting Director of the Department of Economic Development)

New Jersey

During a recent Hunterdon County Reorganization meeting, county commissioners proposed a new goal of elevating the Hunterdon County Office of Economic Development into a full-fledged, staffed county department, and including tourism as one of its primary areas of focus. (Marc Saluk, Office of Economic Development Director)

New Mexico

Alex Greenberg, a University of New Mexico graduate with a specialty in technology management, has been named Director of the Office of Science and Technology at the Economic Development Department, Cabinet Secretary Alicia J. Keyes announced today.

New York

Carlo Scissura was named CEO of the New York City Economic Development Corporation. Scissura, a former president of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, has spent five years leading the Building Congress, a large membership organization of up to 250,000 members that promotes the construction industry. At EDC he will replace Rachel Loeb, who has led the agency since March 2021. She replaced President and CEO James Patchett. (Randy Peers, President & CEO of the Brooklyn Chamber)

James M. Tullo, who has held a variety of town economic development posts for more than 30 years, has been appointed commissioner of planning, environment and land management of Brookhaven. (Lisa M. G. Mulligan, CEO Brookhaven Town Industrial Development Agency)

North Carolina

While filling three vacant positions in the department of Community and Economic Development, Asheville leadership plan to focus on affordable housing, hoping to "meet the needs" of the community, according to department director Nikki Reid.  This decision follows the November departure of Community Development Program Director Paul D’Angelo, and Reid's appointment to the permanent role of department director, also in November.  Reid previously served as the city's Real Estate Program director. Her promotion, D'Angelo's departure and another vacancy left three positions to fill in the department. Rather than rehiring for D'Angelo's exact role, the city will advertise for a community development division manager. On separate but parallel track, the department is creating a new division to focus specifically on the city's affordable housing programs. It will contain an affordable housing development officer, with support from an affordable housing development specialist.

Destiniee Jaram, is the Courier-Tribune's new economic development reporter.

Johnston County has launched a new digital tool that aims to connect the region’s commuting workforce to positions based a bit closer to home. The website, JoCoCareers.org, launched this month, and according to a statement from Johnston County Economic Development, the job portal “seeks to align new jobs and workers, and reduce the high number of county residents who commute to neighboring towns and cities.” (Chris Johnston, director of the Johnston County Office of Economic Development)

The Mooresville Board of Commissioners on Tuesday unanimously approved an economic incentive agreement to Battle Copacking, Inc. for the construction of a new 128,000-square-foot facility at Deerfield Business Park. The incentive agreement is based on an estimated investment of up to $13.6 million for a maximum incentive not to exceed $303,481 over a five-year period, said Chad Thomas, director of business development at the Iredell Economic Development Corp.

North Dakota

Williston Economic Development has released their 2022 to 2027 Economic Development Strategic Plan, which outlines six new initiatives highlighting key areas for development in Williston.  "As we move into 2022 and beyond, you will see our focus remain heavy on business attraction, retention, and expansion efforts, and quality of life development," Economic Development Director Shawn Wenko said in the plan. "We also remain committed to attracting and strengthening that coveted retail sector as defined by the wants and needs of our community."

Ohio

Guernsey County Community Improvement Corporation Director Norm Blanchard took time Friday during the January meeting to explain the agency's role in local economic development.

North Ridgeville city officials have been planning to add a full-time director of economic development position to the administration for a few years now. Last week they made it official and named Strongsville resident Kim Lieber, as the city’s first director of planning and economic development.

Gary Frankhouse has tendered his resignation as executive and economic development director of the Crawford County Partnership for Education and Economic Development. Erin Stine, who has served as the partnership's community development director since February 2017, will serve as the acting executive director until a new leader is hired.

Oklahoma

Cathy O’Connor, a pivotal figure guiding Oklahoma City’s economic development deals for the past 20 years, is resigning from The Alliance for Economic Development to start her own consulting firm.

Pennsylvania

Altoona Blair County Development Corp. CEO Stephen McKnight has been appointed to a two-year term as president of the Pennsylvania Economic Development Association.

South Carolina

Orangeburg County Development Commission has hired Ciara Williams to its staffing team. Williams will focus on workforce development, capital investment and job creation. (OCDC Executive Director Gregg Robinson)

The Clinton Economic Development Corporation has elected Presbyterian College president Dr. Matthew vandenBerg to serve on its board of directors. “I am excited and honored for the opportunity to strengthen and grow the partnership between Clinton and its college,” said vandenBerg. “We are a proud member of this community, and we eagerly embrace our calling to serve Clinton and Laurens County as faithful partners in progress.” Throughout its history, the college has played a central role in Clinton’s economy – as an employer, as a consumer, and as a partner. Marvin Moss, the City of Clinton’s economic development manager, said vandenBerg not only recognizes PC’s role in the local economy but also brings new ideas to the table.

South Dakota

Just weeks after college graduation, Sheldon Jensen is the newest economic development specialist for Sioux Metro Growth Alliance. A native of Owatonna in southeast Minnesota, he earned degrees in government and economics from Augustana University, graduating in December. His college path set him up well for his first full-time role, with internships for U.S. Rep. Jim Hagedorn of Minnesota, the Owatonna Area Chamber of Commerce & Tourism, the South Dakota International Trade Office and the Hartford Area Development Foundation.

Tennessee

The Industrial Board of Coffee County announced that it will be hiring Stephen Crook as its new executive director. Crook will be filling the vacated position officially on Tuesday, Jan. 18, following the retirement of the former Executive Director Kimber Ellard last September. Executive Assistant Anne Hosea has been serving as interim Executive Director while the board has searched for a replacement since October. Since 2015, Crook has served as the vice president of economic development for the Cookeville-Putnam County Chamber of Commerce.

First Tennessee Development District announced  that the eight-county organization’s executive committee had named Susan Reid, Craig’s predecessor, as interim executive director “while the board conducts a search for a permanent replacement.”  She replaces former Director Chris Craig, who retired after just four years on the job.

Texas

The McKinney Economic Development Corporation has announced the appointment of Michael Talley as the organization’s new senior vice president. Talley begins his role on January 10, 2022. Prior to joining MEDC, Talley served as the Director of Economic Development for Denton County for the past three years. Talley was also the Director of Economic Development in the City of Keene.

Patti Worfe, former Executive Vice President of the Economic Alliance for Brazoria County, has been named President and CEO of the organization.  She replaces Gary Basinger who retired from the position on December 31, 2021.

The Greater New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce announced Michele Boggs as vice president, economic development. Boggs will be responsible for working collaboratively to develop and lead an economic development strategy that adds value to the New Braunfels economy.

The new year is ringing in more growth for Denton County. “It’s just going to be massive growth,” said Michael Talley, the now-former director of economic development for Denton County. “We have to take advantage of it, and we have to take the initiative and prioritize the companies we want to go after.”

The City of San Antonio’s program for attracting and retaining new business is undergoing an overhaul. Leaders of the Economic Development Department told a City Council committee Monday they will kickstart a strategic planning initiative to review the city’s role in economic development and update the guidelines used to qualify business investments for various tax breaks and grants. The planning process will begin after an industry consultant is selected in February, said department Director Brenda Hicks-Sorensen, who was hired in July 2021 shortly after a proposed set of guidelines was introduced but never finalized.

The Port Arthur City Council is set today to approve a new CEO for the Port Arthur Economic Development Corporation. In a memo dated Jan. 4, Interim CEO George Davis asked the mayor and council to approve the appointment of Jessica Carpenter as the EDC’s new CEO. Carpenter was selected in early December by the EDC to fill the position left by the resignation of Floyd Batiste. Carpenter was one of three finalists, the other two being Biguita Hernandez-Smith and Larry Calhoun.

Shamrock Economic Development Corporation has made an agreement with Ecolomondo to build recycling plant that will recycle old tires and produce renewable resources. (Crystal Hermesmeyer, Director of SEDC)

Virginia

Emporia Community and Economic Development Manager Beverly Hawthorne is pleased with the impact of the Shop Local Gift Card Match Program. Her plea to the City Council to approve a second round of the program passed 5-1 Tuesday. The creation of the Gift Card Match Program is an effort to assist local businesses negatively impacted by COVID-19. The City used $25,000 in American Rescue Plan funding to boost small businesses in the City of Emporia. Citizens purchased up to five $10 cards for a total of $50. Participating firms matched the purchase price doubling the value of the gift cards.

The Alleghany Highlands Economic Development Corporation is working on developing a new industrial area in Low Moor, as well as other projects using new marketing assets to better represent the region.  To help they have refreshed their mission, vision and values with a new logo, website, a fresh photography library and a more active branded social media presence on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. (Krystal Onaitis, AHEDC Chair)

Washington DC

The Georgetown Business Improvement District recruited a D.C. community planner and a former newspaper publisher to bolster its economic development efforts as the nonprofit seeks to combat office and retail vacancy rates that have risen steeply since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. The BID has hired Faith Broderick from the District’s planning office to serve as its economic development director and Peter Abrahams, formerly publisher of the Washington Business Journal, as an economic development and partnerships consultant.


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


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