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43 - Economic Development and Developers in the News

Econ dev news from 73 economic development executives and organizations in 30 states and Canada.

Dane Carlson
Dane Carlson
16 min read
43 - Economic Development and Developers in the News
Photo by Alex Padurariu / Unsplash

Table of Contents

Welcome to the 43rd weekly edition of Economic Development and Developers in the News.

Today's issue contains economic development news from 73 economic development executives and organizations in 30 states and Canada.


Governor Mike Dunleavy selected Julie Sande as the new commissioner of the Alaska Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development. Sande was most recently executive director of the Pioneer Home in Ketchikan. She currently holds seats on the boards of the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority and the Alaska Energy Authority. Sande replaces Commissioner Julie Anderson who announced her retirement earlier this month.


Governor Hutchinson announced an economic development win for Arkansas that is the largest single project investment in state history. The project, a new U.S. Steel plant, which eventually will create more than 900 high-paying jobs and will make Mississippi County the Number 1 steel-producing county in the nation.

The $3 billion steel mill that U.S. Steel announced Tuesday that it would build in Osceola -- the largest economic development project in Arkansas history -- came together in part because of millions of dollars in incentives that state officials said they will make available to the steelmaker. The incentive package hasn't been finalized, but the Legislature enacted its centerpiece last month. Identical Arkansas House and Arkansas Senate bills that Hutchinson signed into law as Acts 3 and 4 of the second extraordinary session of the 93rd General Assembly make available recycling income tax credits that would cost the state an average of $11 million annually for 14 years or $8.8 million a year if the state buys back the tax credits at a 20% discount. The law creates a new project type for steel manufacturers to qualify for an income tax credit for waste reduction, reuse or recycling equipment.

Wayne Mays, a senior policy adviser with the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce, will launch and oversee a program called the Heartland Advanced Medical Manufacturing Regional Cluster. The goal is to attract, develop and maintain a presence of professional healthcare manufacturers in the Northwest Arkansas and northeast Oklahoma region. (Steve Clark, CEO Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce)


The Lindsay City Council approved a new economic development position. According to a staff report this position will oversee the entirety of operations for the Friday Night Market/Lindsay Farmers Market. But they will also be the point-person for coordinating the city’s economic development and revitalization efforts, especially in the downtown area, as well as related community development block grant activities which include implementing the city’s proposed projects and programs under the American Rescue Plan Act recovery plan.


Katie Young-Haddlesey, the former economic development lead for Curve Lake First Nation, who was promoted to become the First Nation’s chief operating officer this past November, shared her success stories on a panel with Cando, the national organization that promotes Indigenous economic development across Canada.  She shared the stage with Katrina Shade (the manager of the Piikani Resource Development Ltd., which has both corporate and economic interests responsible for benefiting Piikani Nation in Alberta) and Brad Mercer (the economic development officer and senior project manager for Nisga’a Ts’amiks Vancouver Society, a non-profit community organization representing Nisga’a citizens in British Columbia).


The Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade named Conor Hall as the new Outdoor Recreation Industry Office Director.


The Economic Development Commission again is calling for the revitalization of Route 156 and Sound View Beach. It's going to take strong leadership, a cohesive vision and broad community support, something EDC member Howard Margules said has been lacking in numerous efforts over the decades to capitalize on the town's beautiful and ecologically significant shoreline. In a proposal drafted by Margules, he described the commercial areas from Route 156 at Mile Creek to the police station and Hartford Avenue as "wracked with significant issues," including economic decline, parking problems, public nuisances and blight.


Volusia Business Resources is in need of a logo, and what better way to engage the business community than to tap into local design talent. As a way to involve small businesses and elevate local brands, VBR is seeking local designers to submit a logo for consideration. Along with bragging rights, the business with the winning design will receive a $500 cash prize, dedicated feature business profile in a future Volusia County Economic Development Quarterly publication, and recognition at a future Volusia County Economic Development “Q” meeting.

Southeast Florida's regional business leaders talk about the economic outlook for the year. (Peter Tesch, President, Economic Development Council of St. Lucie County)

Citrus County is in the market for a new economic development director, with the lack of progress the past few years leaving the county commission flummoxed. There’s a litany of reasons for the lack of progress the past few years: namely a strategic plan and inadequate infrastructure, from roads, water and sewer and internet services. But the recent resignation of Economic Development Director Dave Pieklik after a year, have either triggered a flicker of hope or flash of despair within the ranks of the county commissioners.


The Liberty County Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Liberty County Development Authority, the Liberty County School System and the Liberty College & Career Academy are happy to announce a new joint venture, Economic Development for Educators. “After researching the success of the program initiated by the Savannah Economic Development Authority and the Savannah/Chatham County School System, we were inspired to ask our valued community partners to consider embarking on a similar version for Liberty County educators. An immediate response to help however they could has allowed us to fast track this program for our local educators so that they, and our students, receive the best possible information and education, as well as our continuing ability to be a resource in economic development for our community,” said Karisa Young, CEO of the LCCA.

The Georgia Tech Economic Development Agency University Center is now accepting applications from communities in need of assistance to identify, define, and support its workforce talent. “As the state of Georgia builds its resiliency and maximizes economic development potential for its communities, our goal with the CARES Act grant is to offer services that combine data collection and analysis with a training-driven approach,” said Juli Golemi, director of Georgia Tech’s EDA University Center program manager. “We’re committed to comprehensive stakeholder engagement that builds local capacity and economically stronger communities across the state.”


When Wayne Duckmann saw the city of Freeport was looking for a community and economic development director, he quickly realized it could be more than just a job.“ I was attracted to the position as it presents an opportunity to revitalize a historic downtown,” Duckmann said in an email. He takes over for Kristin Hinds, who moved to California last year.

Gina Czubachowski is the new executive director of the Economic Development Corp. of North Central Illinois. She began at the corporation in 2016 as the administrative manager.

The Evanston Chamber of Commerce will host a Latinx Leadership Business Development event. Paul Zalmezak, Economic Development Manager at the City of Evanston, will make a presentation on the Facade Improvement Program.


Wabash River Equites LCC is moving ahead with a $20 million project on a site overlooking the Wabash River that will become a northern Indiana city’s largest housing development in decades. The city council voted unanimously Monday to approve a 20-year tax abatement for the project. (Jim Tidd, Executive Director of the Miami County Economic Development Authority)

The Grant County Economic Growth Council Board of Directors has selected Charity Bailey as the organization’s executive director. Bailey succeeds Tim Eckerle who retired at the end of 2021. Bailey previously served as director of business development and operations for the council from 2014-2017 and returned in 2020 as senior director of economic development services.

The Indiana Economic Development Corporation is offering $120,000 matching grants in a first-come, first-served program geared toward attracting remote workers. The city of Richmond would be the local applicant in partnership with the county and the Economic Development Corporation of Wayne County. The program would involve a marketing campaign and incentives and aims to attract 20 new remote workers. (Valerie Shaffer, President Wayne County EDC; Jeffrey Plasterer, Executive Director Eastern Indiana Regional Planning Commission)


Chuck Scott is the new president of the Regional Development Association of East Central Kansas, replacing outgoing RDA President Kent Heerman. Scott previously served as the Executive Director of the Dickinson County Economic Development Corporation. (Courtney Dixon, Administrative Assistant Dickinson County EDC)


The Madisonville-Hopkins County Economic Development Corporation will be hosting a free two-part class on business plans. The classes will be taught by Professor Chris Wooldridge, director of the Center of Economic and Entrepreneurial Development program at Murray State University. (Ray Hagerman, President Madisonville-Hopkins County EDC; Ruthann Padgett, Vice President of Operations Madisonville-Hopkins County EDC)


The Superior Group of Companies has announced that it will invest $800,000 to modernize a vacant warehouse in Lake Providence. The Louisiana Economic Development says the project will result in 57 indirect jobs for a total of 107 jobs in Louisiana’s Northeast Region. (Larry Collins, Executive Director Louisiana Economic Development)


The City Council on Tuesday plans to consider rejoining the Kennebec Valley Council of Governments after leaving its membership many years ago. Ole Amundsen, KVCOG’s executive director, spoke to the council Jan. 4 and answered questions about the organization. Amundsen said KVCOG has a membership of 50 municipalities in Somerset and Kennebec counties, as well as several towns in Waldo County. In response to a question from Councilor Thomas Klepach, D-Ward 3, Amundsen said he does not know the exact date Waterville left KVCOG, but it has been at least a decade.


Dorchester Bay Economic Development Corporation is looking for a new leader. CEO Perry Newman plans to step down in June after six years in the top job.

More than $3.2 million in American Rescue Plan Act grant money will soon be available to local small businesses impacted financially by the COVID-19 pandemic. The money for the Small Business Recovery Grant program is part of a $68 million ARPA allotment awarded to the city. The program is being managed by the Bristol County Economic Development Consultants. (Kenneth Fiola, Jr. Esq
Executive Vice President at Bristol County Economic Development Consultants)


The city of Robbinsdale has seen tremendous growth in the last couple of years with three new apartment buildings coming online. Now the city wants to have a discussion on its housing future. (Pat Backen, President Robbinsdale EDA)

Hennepin County officials have stepped up and used more than $70 million in federal and state recovery funding for small grants to 6,500 businesses, nearly half of which were owned by people of color. In addition, the county more recently launched Elevate Business Hennepin County, a $1 million program offering up to 25 hours of free consulting services. More than 700 business have used Elevate for help with social media, web development, legal, finance and marketing issues. (Patricia Fitzgerald, Hennepin County Director of Community and Economic Development; Nasibu Sareva, CEO African Development Center; Henry Jiménez, Executive Director Latino Economic Development Center; LeeAnn Rasachak, CEO Women Venture)

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development Commissioner Steve Grove and Executive Director of Explore Minnesota Tourism, Lauren Bennett McGinty, hosted a roundtable focused on the "Build What Matters" campaign and how tourism, talent, and small businesses tie directly to economic and community development. (Matt Baumgartner, President Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce)


U.S. workers quit their jobs at a record pace in November, and University of Southern Mississippi Professor Dr. Chad Miller underscores several economic factors that have contributed to the disturbing trend, “The numbers do not surprise me. I think we are facing a watershed moment with perceptions of work/life balance in the United States. Demographics, technology, public policy – or the lack thereof, and the COVID mentality reset are driving the change.”

New Mexico

The Los Alamos League of Women Voters next community event, Lunch with a Leader, will feature Dan Ungerleider who is the Los Alamos County Economic Development Administrator.

El Paso Electric has named Eric Montgomery as a regional director of government affairs. Montgomery had been vice president of business development for the Las Cruces-based nonprofit Mesilla Valley Economic Development Alliance since January 2012. (Debbi Moore, President & CEO Greater Las Cruces Chamber of Commerce; Davin Lopez, President & CEO MVEDA)

Albuquerque entrepreneur Charles Ashley III, a well-known face in local business circles, will lead the city of Albuquerque's economic development department.

Artico Cold Management, a Chicago-based startup, is promising to employ up to 60 people at a new facility in Las Cruces' industrial park once construction of the 120,000 square foot cold storage warehouse is completed. (Mark Roper, Division Director New Mexico Economic Development Department ; Davin Lopez, Director Mesilla Valley Economic Development Alliance)

New York

The Westchester County Office of Economic Development is pleased to announce that 218 graduates from Launch1000, a self-paced, online program that turns concepts and ideas into de-risked startups, have each earned a $2,500 grant for completing the program. Of those Launchers, nearly three-quarters qualified to receive an additional $2,500 grant for achieving key milestones for advancing the growth of their venture. (Deborah Novick, Westchester County’s Director of Entrepreneurship and Innovation)

Chautauqua County officials are continuing efforts to get the historic White Inn in Fredonia sold. On Tuesday, there was a White Inn Community Stakeholders’ Roundtable Discussion with several potential developers at the Fredonia Technology Incubator. (Mark Geise, Deputy County Executive for Economic Development and CEO for the County Industrial Development Agency)

Governor Kathy Hochul announced the finalization of contracts between the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and Empire Wind Offshore LLC and Beacon Wind LLC, each a 50-50 partnership between Equinor and bp, for the Empire Wind 2 and Beacon Wind offshore wind projects, representing a key milestone in the advancement of offshore wind development in New York State. (Fred Zalcman, Director of the New York Offshore Wind Alliance; Jeff Vockrodt, Executive Director of Climate Jobs NY; Roberta Reardon, New York State Department of Labor Commissioner; Hope Knight, Empire State Development Acting Commissioner and President & CEO-designate; Mark Eagan, President and CEO of the Center for Economic Growth; Penny Hill, Dean of Economic Development and Workforce Initiatives for HVCC; Hannah Weinstock, Senior Director of Workforce Development for LAGCC; Elizabeth Yeampierre, Executive Director, UPROSE)

Carlo Scissura, the mayor’s reported choice as New York City Economic Development Corporation CEO, promised a “friend” he would influence officials on school site sales — without registering as a lobbyist.

North Carolina

“A lot of economic developers will focus their efforts on recruiting the big Toyota plant, for example, because that’s what really makes the news,” said Natalie Hawkins, executive director of Partners in Progress, “But in fact it’s really 60 to 80 percent of all jobs coming from existing businesses. Those businesses are in our communities now, they're active, they’re supportive and those businesses I think really present a great opportunity for us.”

The median home sale price jumped 33.3% in just 12 months. (Chris Johnson, Director of Johnston County Office of Economic Development)

At its December meeting, the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina appointed Lee Nettles to serve as its representative on the NC Travel & Tourism Board of Directors. The North Carolina Travel & Tourism Board advocates the sound development of the travel and tourism industry in North Carolina. Created in 1991, the board advises the Secretary of Commerce on policy matters related to tourism promotion in North Carolina. Nettles is the executive director of the Outer Banks Visitors Bureau, a role he has held since 2009.

The Greenville Eastern North Carolina Alliance, is working to diversify the area’s industry base by requesting a text amendment to establish “modular data processing facility” and “data processing center” as two separate uses, associated standards and zoning districts. (Uconda Dunn, Vice President of Business Development for the Greenville ENC Alliance)

The Haywood Economic Development Council is about to undergo massive change as the Chamber and the County wish to create a new economic development board to reflect the current challenges of workforce, affordable housing and broadband. (CeCe Hipps, President Haywood Chamber)

The Western Piedmont Council of Governments announced the hiring of Ben Willis as the new Community and Economic Development Director. Willis will begin work on Jan, 31. He is currently the Director of The Education Foundation of Caldwell County. (Sherry Long, WPCOG Assistant Executive Director and past Director of Community and Economic Development; Anthony Starr, Executive Director WPCOG)


North Olmsted appoints Max Upton as newly created economic and community development director.

Two developments in Canton and one in Jackson Township are using PACE to finance energy-efficient projects. PACE provides the property owner with a fixed, low-interest loan to pay for energy-saving projects — such as high-efficiency HVAC and LED lighting. The owner then repays the loan in installments as part of its property tax payments. (Randy Gonzalez, Economic Development Director for Jackson Township)

Intel has picked Greater Columbus for a new factory that could spark a new industry for the state. The Silicon Valley semiconductor maker plans to invest $20 billion in a Licking County site that will employ 3,000 workers.

With the rehabilitation of the Dayton Arcade, the opening of the Levitt Pavilion Dayton and the planned renovation of the Grant-Deneau Tower and Dayton Convention Center, developers and property owners see the promise of a connected and vibrant downtown. (Amy Walbridge, Dayton’s Downtown Development Coordinator; Scott Murphy, Vice President of Economic Development with the Downtown Dayton Partnership)


Muskogee Redevelopment Authority trustees brushed up against reality after learning the costs of staffing their new economic development program outstripped resources. (Leon Davis, Director MRA Economic Development)

Oklahoma's economy begins 2022 in a strong position. Dr. Robert Dauffenbach, Senior Associate Dean for Economic Development and Impact at the University of Oklahoma Price College of Business, says economic conditions are largely positive to start the year, but uncertainty over inflation, unemployment and interest rates are cause for concern.

Ample local economic development is on tap for 2022. “I’m very bullish on 2022 for Tulsa,” said Arthur Jackson, senior vice president of economic development of the Tulsa Regional Chamber.

Gov. Andy Beshear proposed pumping money into developing new industrial development sites and building an Appalachian research center to promote the state's agritech sector.


The Eastern Oregon Border Economic Development Board this week voted to authorize Executive Director Shawna Peterson to write up a draft letter detailing a funding request to local lawmakers. Peterson said that the total amount she would be requesting in the letter would be $6 million. Of this, $4.5 million would go to the border development fund and $1.5 million would go to Malheur County.


Shea Hopkins, vice president of industrial development for the Clarksville-Montgomery County Economic Development Council, discusses what new industries she’d like to bring to Clarksville.

The Jackson Chamber of Commerce has hired Rachel Tucker as the new Economic Development Coordinator.


The New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce is retooling its economic development game plan as it looks to keep pace with increasing competition in the region. (Jonathan Packer, President & CEO New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce)

Michele Boggs will be the new vice president of economic development for the New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce.

Governor Greg Abbott announced Spaceport Trust Fund grant awards of $5,000,000 to the Cameron County Spaceport Development Corporation and $5,000,000 to the Houston Spaceport Development Corporation. Administered by the Governor's Office of Economic Development and Tourism, the Spaceport Trust Fund is a financial tool to support the development of infrastructure necessary for establishing a spaceport in the state of Texas.

FedEx Ground will open a new distribution center in Temple, TX. The new facility will be located on 52 acres in the Temple Industrial Park. FedEx Ground will tap into Temple's skilled workforce of over 6,500 logistics and distribution employees. (Adrian Cannady, president and CEO of Temple EDC)

The Abilene Chamber of Commerce has begun the search for a successor to longtime Abilene Convention and Visitors Bureau president Nanci Liles. Liles started her marketing career in 1982 at the Midland Chamber of Commerce, then came to Abilene in 1985 to serve as ACVB director. She retired at the end of the year. (Doug Peters, President & CEO Abilene Chamber)

Dallas will establish an economic development corporation to draw more businesses to the city, after the council unanimously approved the measure yesterday. The corporation would act somewhat independently to develop city-owned properties and attract businesses to Dallas.

Governor Greg Abbott announced that the State of Texas received three Deal of the Year awards from Business Facilities magazine, recognizing the Lone Star State's exceptional economic environment for corporate relocations, expansions, and new projects. The 2021 Deal of the Year Silver Award was awarded to the Taylor Economic Development Corporation for Samsung's new $17 billion manufacturing facility. Texas also took home two 2021 Impact Awards which were awarded to the Lubbock Economic Alliance for its new Leprino Foods Facility and the Sherman Economic Development Corporation for Texas Instruments' potential $30 billion investment. (Mark Thomas, President & CEO Taylor EDC; John Osborne, President & CEO; Lubbock Economic Alliance;
Kent Sharp, President Sherman Economic Development Corporation)

The hiring of a leader for the city’s economic development corporation will have to wait a week due to a technicality. Port Arthur City Council was set to vote on a resolution hiring Jessica Carpenter as the PAEDC’s new CEO on Tuesday morning as well as approving the PAEDC’s employee manual. Interim CEO George Davis asked for both items to be pulled from the council’s agenda until the EDC’s Tuesday night meeting. The reason was simple. Carpenter’s contract wording mentions the PAEDC’s employee manual but the new and revised employee manual had not been approved at the time of the council meeting.

Plans are taking shape to build a 48-acre luxury lakefront development in Granbury, featuring a hotel, homes, apartments restaurants and a public park for events.


At the annual Utah Economic Outlook & Public Policy Summit on Thursday, Utah Gov. Spencer Cox celebrated the state’s current economic vibrancy on the cusp of the 2022 legislative session, one riding an ongoing economic high and enjoying coffers flush with cash ready to finance a slew of projects and initiatives in the coming year.


Diversity, equity and inclusion — for Economic Alliance Snohomish County and its new CEO, Garry Clark, those are words to live by. The economic development organization has launched a new initiative, SnoCODE, which goes live this year. (Kathy Coffey Solberg, Executive Director Leadership Snohomish County)

West Virginia

The “largest economic development project” in state history has been approved by the West Virginia Legislature. Nucor will bring nearly $3 billion in capital investments along with 800 high paying jobs. Building the plant could create 1000 construction jobs over two years. In exchange for that investment, the state is offering $315 million in matching money to the company and will receive 50 percent tax credits against the capital investments.

Owens & Minor plans to locate in a 250,000-square foot building in the WestRidge Business and Retail Park in Morgantown. The project valued at $50 million is expected to be occupied about 18 months after construction begins. (Mitch Carmichael, Economic Development Director)

Jennifer Bostian, the executive director of the Upshur County Development Authority believes a new high school would contribute to Upshur County’s economic vitality.

Erin Ellis-Reid has been hired as the City of Oak Hill's new community and economic development coordinator. Her first day on the job was Jan. 3.


The Door County Economic Development Corporation Board of Directors accepted the resignation of executive director Steve Jenkins during the organization’s monthly board meeting Monday, Jan. 17. His resignation will be effective June 3, 2022.

Exact Sciences, a leading global cancer screening and diagnostics company, is expanding its presence in Wisconsin by investing an additional $350 million in its Madison campuses — a move that will create more than 1,300 new jobs. (Missy Hughes, Secretary and CEO of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation)

The City of Janesville is going to be putting the help wanted sign out again soon. Janesville Economic Development Director Gale Price is leaving to take a Vice President position at Blackhawk Bank.

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