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45 - Economic Development and Developers in the News

Econ dev news from 95 economic development executives and organizations in 31 states and Canada.

Dane Carlson
Dane Carlson
17 min read
45 - Economic Development and Developers in the News
Photo by Victor Poblete / Unsplash

Welcome to the 45th weekly edition of Economic Development and Developers in the News.

Today's issue contains economic development news from 95 economic development executives and organizations in 31 states and Canada.

Today's issue is brought to you by LocalIntel.

California

Serving as the president and CEO of Solano Economic Development Corporation is a job that requires a deep knowledge of economic development. For Chris Rico, the agency’s new leader, it is just one topic he is well-versed in.

Ricardo Noguera is the new Economic Development Manager at City of Brentwood.

Meredith Hart is the new Economic Development Director for the City of Ventura.

Two speakers will kick off the new year for the Greater Tehachapi Economic Development Council. The economic development group is implementing new strategies to increase workforce development in 2022 and 2023.

The International Economic Development Council is truly honored to posthumously present the 2022 Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in Economic Development to our colleague and friend, Victor Grgas. On November 9, 2021, Victor Grgas passed away after a long battle with cancer.

Canada

A Winnipeg group that works to grow and promote the city's economy is staying focused on long-term plans it hopes will help businesses bounce back after COVID-19. "We are seeing light at the end of this tunnel," said Dayna Spiring, president and CEO of Economic Development Winnipeg. Spiring presented her organization's most recent quarterly update on post-pandemic recovery to the City of Winnipeg's innovation committee Monday.

Calgary Economic Development Ltd. and Opportunity Calgary Investment Fund are seeking proposals from qualified individuals or firms to provide professional services to complete an executive search for the recruitment of volunteer Board members. CED anticipates searching for up to three Board Directors and OCIF anticipates searching for one Board Director to fill the respective vacancies on each Board.

The Economic Development Advisory Committee plans for a new five-year economic development strategy.

The Ontario government is launching a new intake of the Rural Economic Development program to help build rural Ontario by investing in projects that boost economic opportunities in rural and Indigenous communities, create jobs and strengthen the labour force. (Lisa Thompson, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs)

Economic Development Winnipeg has turned to Lego to explain the building blocks of a thriving economy.  The endeavor comes from the mind of viral Lego moviemaker Tyler Walsh, whose pandemic-inspired stop motion Lego videos of Justin Trudeau media briefings have been watch hundreds of thousands of times.  This initiative offers up another moving Lego video, but this time the topic is centered around the creation of an ice cream shop bound for greatness.  As the business scales, the development concepts are explained through the voices of various Lego characters in an easily digestible conversation.

Colorado

The Cannabis Business Office, housed in the Office of Economic Development and International Trade, announces an exciting partnership with Make Green Go! to implement a technical assistance program for new cannabis ventures. (La Wanda Knox, Consultant at Make Green Go!)

During the Fremont Economic Development Corp. annual business meeting and banquet, Rob Brown, who has been the executive director for FEDC for the last 10 years, talked about the 10th year anniversary of the organization’s restructuring effort and the fifth year anniversary of the “START” initiative, which includes TechSTART, WellSTART and now AgSTART.

Florida

VisionFirst Advisors LLC announced the establishment of the Melissa R. Medley Economic Development and Community Engagement Fund at Valdosta State University. (Gray Swoope)

Pensacola may be close to taking its first real step toward creating a municipal electric utility as anger over Florida Power & Light’s rate increase.

Bay EDA, announced that FedEx Ground has chosen Panama City as the new home of its regional logistics and distribution center. The company will invest $55 million in the 250,000 square foot facility and create more than 200 jobs. Central Moloney is also preparing to open a new $20 million manufacturing operation in Bay County, creating 200 new jobs. (Becca Hardin, President Bay EDA; Alex King, Executive Director Port Authority of Panama City; Kimberly Bodine, Executive Director CareerSource Gulf Coast)

Georgia

Well-known Columbus economic developer and businessman Russ Carreker has died from cancer. He was 57 years old.

Hawaii

Fourteen aspiring leaders came together over the weekend, virtually, to work on solutions to diversify Maui’s economy. Hosted by Maui Economic Development Board, the Project Weekend is specifically designed for the Fellows of Ka Ipu Kukui, a year-long program designed to train community-identified future leaders and conceived to address planning for Maui Nui’s future. (Leslie Wilkins, President & CEO, Maui Economic Development Board; Frank De Rego, Jr., Director of Business Development Projects with MEDB; Steven Bond-Smith, Economic Research Organization at the University of Hawaiʻi; Amber Hardwick, Program Manager at MEDB; Brittany Heyd, Co-Founder of Mana Up; Teena Rasmussen, Partner with Skog Rasmussen, LLC)

Idaho

Jan Rogers was appointed Thursday as the new interim executive director of Southern Idaho Economic Development. Connie Stopher, the most recent executive director, stepped down on Nov. 5 to take a similar position with the Economic Development Coalition based in Temecula, California.

The Southern Idaho Economic Development (SIED) organization has hired a familiar face to serve as the interim executive director. SIED announced Thursday the appointment of Jan Roger to hold the position until a permanent replacement can be found. Rogers was the founding executive director of SIED in 2001 and held the position for 15 years.

Indiana

Jeffersonville is seeing a big boom of businesses flocking to Town Center. (Wendy Dant Chesser, President of One Southern Indiana)

The governing council has hired a familiar face as the new Brownsburg town manager. The Brownsburg Town Council selected Deb Cook, the town’s economic development director, for the job on Thursday, the council president announced Friday in a news release.

A veteran city planner with experience in private industry and the government sectors has been named Angola’s new director of planning and economic development. And Angola officials didn’t have to look far to find the right candidate. Jennifer Barclay started in the position on Monday, having most recently worked in the planning department in Auburn. Barclay replaced Vivian Likes, who took the plan director position in her home town of Butler.

The Indiana Economic Development Corp. is touting a fifth consecutive record-breaking year for economic development in Indiana in 2021. The IEDC says nearly 300 companies announced commitments to locate or expand in Indiana with more than $8.7 billion in capital investment, a 56% increase over the previous year. (Brad Chambers, Indiana Secretary of Commerce; David Behr, North Central Director; Linda Walczak, Northeast Director; Trevor Lane, Southeast Director; Jessica Tower, Central Director; Matt Saltanovitz, Northwest Director; Susan Vaughn, Southwest Director)

A $3 million donation to Purdue University Northwest will be used to develop an “impact lab” that’s expected to contribute to economic development in the region. The school says the lab will be a place for entrepreneurship, innovation and education collaboration.

The Noblesville Economic Development team has welcomed Maranda Taylor as its new economic development manager. (Andrew Murray, Economic Development Director)

Indiana Governor Eric J. Holcomb and Secretary of Commerce Brad Chambers announced the end of a fifth consecutive record-breaking year for economic development in Indiana. Nearly 300 companies committed to locate and expand in Indiana, investing more than $8.7 billion in their operations, a 56% increase from 2020, with an increasing average wage of $28.49 per hour. This marks the highest capital investment and annual record for average wages since the Indiana Economic Development Corporation was established in 2005.

The Site Selectors Guild survey reveals the impact of a global talent shortage. (Larry Gigerich, Ginovus Executive Managing Director)

Kansas

Noble Health Corporation announced it will take over a closed hospital in Ft. Scott and, after renovations, will reopen it as an acute care facility. The announcement comes after the Bourbon County REDI led by Robert Harrington, approached Noble in early 2021. The county and city paid for a feasibility study and the county has committed $2 million to help renovate the facility.

The clock is ticking on consideration by the Kansas Legislature of an extraordinary economic development incentive plan recommended by Gov. Laura Kelly to improve prospects of landing a major manufacturer expected to inject $2.5 billion annually into the state’s economy. (Eric Stafford, Lobbyist for the Kansas Chamber; Dave Trabert, Kansas Policy Institute; Eric Brown, President Salina Area Chamber of Commerce; John Jenks, Director of Policy Kansas City Area Chamber of Commerce; Matthew Godinez, Executive Director Southeast Kansas Regional Planning Commission)

Kentucky

The Somerset-Pulaski Economic Development Authority has been recognized as Business of the Year by the Somerset-Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce. Nominated in the 2-5 employee category, SPEDA received the honor at the Chamber’s annual banquet and awards ceremony. The city-county partnership, now entering its fourth year, was selected for its unique and proactive approach to reimagining economic development by focusing on the quality of life initiatives. SPEDA’s team includes CEO Chris Girdler and Chief Accounting Officer Jessica Carlton, both of whom work tirelessly to ensure SPEDA operates smoothly, efficiently and transparently

The Covington Economic Development team is seeking public input on the city's rebranding message. (Tom West, Director Covington Economic Development)

Louisiana

Louisiana Economic Development was recognized and presented with a reaccreditation plaque at International Economic Development Council’s Leadership Summit. (Don Pierson, Secretary, Louisiana Economic Development)

Maine

The city of Lewiston announced Wednesday that it has promoted one of the central figures from its ongoing Choice Neighborhoods downtown redevelopment effort. Misty Parker, a city employee since 2014, is now assistant director of economic and community development, a move that will give her a more central role in the city's efforts to revitalize and grow its economy.

Emily Ruger has been hired as Bath’s new director of community and economic development.

Maryland

Doing business in Maryland? Here are economic development agencies you should know. (Ben Birge, CEO, Anne Arundel Economic Development Corp.; Leonard Howie III, Director, Baltimore County Department of Economic and Workforce Development;  Colin Tarbert, President & CEO, Baltimore Development Corp.; John T. “Jack” Lyburn, Director, Carroll County Department of Economic Development; Steven Overbay, Director, Cecil County Office of Economic Development; Shelonda Stokes, President and CEO, Downtown Partnership of Baltimore Inc.; Michele L. Whelley, President and CEO, Economic Alliance of Greater Baltimore; Helen Propheter, Executive Director, Frederick County Office of Economic Development; Donald C. Fry, CEO and President, Greater Baltimore Committee; Len Parrish, Director, Harford County Economic Development; Lawrence Twele, CEO, Howard County Economic Development Authority; Mike Gill, Secretary, Maryland Department of Commerce; Thomas Sadowski, Executive Director, Maryland Economic Development Corp.; Troy A. LeMaile-Stovall, CEO, Maryland Technology Development Corp.; Benjamin H. Wu, President and CEO, Montgomery County Economic Development Corp.; David Iannucci, President and CEO, Prince George's County Economic Development Corp.)

Michigan

A group of Michigan economic development leaders–mostly from Northern and Central Michigan regions–is telling lawmakers in Lansing their job is far from over in fashioning business incentives to allow Michigan to compete with other states. (Maureen Krauss, CEO of the Detroit Regional Partnership; Jennifer Owens, CEO of Lakeshore Advantage; James McBryde, President and CEO of Middle Michigan Development Corporation; Veronica Horn, ​President & CEO Saginaw County Chamber; Bay County Chamber; Ryan Hundt, CEO Michigan Works! Association; Warren Call, President & CEO Traverse City Connect; Henry Wolf, Director of Government Relations Northern Michigan Chamber Alliance; Tim Daman, President and CEO Lansing Regional Chamber)

Minnesota

The City of Moorhead is now accepting applications for unscheduled vacancies on the Economic Development Authority Board. The EDA is tasked with assisting in the redevelopment of the city including creating job opportunities, and the expansion of existing businesses.

Mississippi

Starkville will continue to contract with Retail Strategies for an additional three years for retail recruitment services. The city has contracted with the Birmingham-based company since 2016, tasking it with creating opportunities to attract retail for Starkville. The cost of the contract extension is $30,000 with the city paying $15,000 and the Starkville Visitors and Convention Council and the Oktibbeha County Economic Development Authority covering the remaining costs. Retail Strategies President of Downtown Strategies Jennifer Gregory and Downtown Strategies Community Development Specialist Jeremy Murdock updated the Starkville board of aldermen on their company’s intentions and goals for the city at the board’s work session Friday.

While Monroe County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Chelsea Baulch is serving her second term on the Mississippi Economic Development Council Board of Directors, she is serving in a newer role as chair of its Women in Economic and Community Development committee.

Missouri

The expansion of the downtown St. Louis convention center — a $210 million project that’s already underway — has received a strong endorsement in a new report from the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership. The findings, however, are unlikely to change opinions on the St. Louis County Council, which has delayed action for months on a $105 million bond issue to pay the county’s share of the expansion.

Nebraska

With construction of a new terminal underway, a local committee hopes the public understands the economic impact Fremont Municipal Airport has on the community. And that residents realize the need for another structure designed to attract business to Fremont.

New Hampshire

Sean Clancy is the new Portsmouth assistant city manager for economic development, replacing Nancy Carmer, who is retiring after 36 years with the city. The function of economic development is carried out cooperatively by the Economic Development Commission, the city manager and Clancy's position. The EDC's function is to develop economic development policies, goals and objectives as an advisory commission to the Portsmouth City Council. EDC members include the city manager, the mayor and nine residents who represent the local business community.

New Mexico

Charles Ashley III is the new Economic Development Director at City of Albuquerque.

Jessica Priego has joined the Albuquerque Regional Economic Alliance as the director of stakeholder and public relations.

New York

Christopher W. Ryder, executive vice president of Putnam County National Bank in Carmel, has joined the Putnam County Economic Development Corporation's Board of Directors. "The Putnam County Economic Development Corporation is thrilled to have Chris join us. His enthusiasm, education and experience are all greatly appreciated by our team," said Kathleen Abels, president of PCEDC.

Local economic development officials want to get input from companies in the region to see if they would use proposed major upgrades to a railroad spur at the city’s industrial park. The Watertown Local Development Corp., also known as the Watertown Trust, and the Jefferson County Industrial Development Agency, are conducting a survey to determine whether north country companies would use a staging area at the rail spur in the City Center Industrial Park on South Bellew Avenue. About 100 surveys will go out to companies in Jefferson and Lewis counties, said Marshall Weir, deputy CEO of Jefferson County Economic Development.

The Franklin County Economic Development  discussed anticipated plans for this year with the county Board of Legislators Thursday. Jeremy Evans, CEO of the county Industrial Development Agency, said the corporation’s goals for the year are to grow the local economy, while embracing diversity and inclusion, sustainability, and strengthening partnerships.

North Carolina

Eli Lilly and Company, a global healthcare and biopharmaceutical company, plans to invest $1 billion and create nearly 600 new jobs in Cabarrus County, officials announced Friday. According to Cabarrus Economic Development Corporation, this is the second major economic development announcement made for The Grounds at Concord – the site of the former Philip Morris plant – within the past year and is the second-largest in the history of Cabarrus County. (Page Castrodale, Executive Director of Cabarrus EDC)

Unaffordable housing, a lack of broadband infrastructure, a staggeringly low unemployment rate and a relatively high number of job openings have changed the economic development landscape in Haywood County to the point that its chief economic development arm, the Haywood Economic Development Council, must also change. That’s the point Community and Economic Development Director David Francis was trying to make during a Jan. 18 meeting of the Haywood County Board of Commissioners during where he announced sweeping changes to the way Haywood County looks at economic development.  “We needed to expand our horizons,” Francis said. “I’m having corporations now ask about affordable housing, ‘What can we do to help affordable housing?’”

North Dakota

This month, Williston Economic Development released its five-year strategic plan, which details the many goals the department has for the city. As the only accredited economic development department in North Dakota, they are required to release a strategic plan every five years. Besides focusing on supporting new and expanding businesses in Williston, Executive Director Shawn Wenko says another priority is to help create and increase the skilled workforce for the area.

Ohio

Ohio's biggest economic development project in history means the state is ponying up its biggest incentive package. The state laid out more than $2 billion in incentives that it will provide to Intel, which announced a week ago that it will invest $20 billion in building two factories, called fabs, in Licking County to make semiconductors. On top of the state's incentives, JobsOhio, the state's economic development arm, will kick in $150 million in economic development and workforce grants and the city of New Albany said it will offer a 30-year, 100% property tax abatement on the buildings that Intel constructs in the city's business park. "As we’ve all seen over the past few years, we’ve got to make more products here in America, and we want to make them here in Ohio so that we're no longer held hostage by disruptions in the global supply chain," Lydia Mihalik, director of the state's Department of Development.

The City of Delaware has hired a new economic development coordinator. The city announced Cody Hatten has accepted the position that became available in October 2021 after Courtney Hendershot was promoted to the newly created position of economic development project manager with the city.

Fairfield put a new tool in its economic development toolbox this week, and has already used it by helping a business make $800,000 in energy improvements. City Council approved Monday three pieces of legislation that included having Fairfield formally join the I-75 Energy Special Improvement District, which allows local governments to offer businesses the ability to offer Property Assessed Clean Energy financing, a program used to finance energy efficiency and renewable energy building improvements. (Fairfield Economic Development Manager Nathaniel Kaelin)

Fonda Williams' last day as the city's deputy mayor is today. On Feb. 7, he starts as senior vice president of government affairs and economic development at the Economic and Community Development Institute Inc.

Oklahoma

Sandy Pratt has joined the Wavteq Americas team as an Account Director.

Oregon

The City of Klamath Falls has opened the Request for Proposals for Nonprofit & Economic Development Funding for Fiscal Year 2022. The City of Klamath Falls supports local nonprofits that foster the City’s economic prosperity and quality of life. Funding opportunities are available to local nonprofits that launch, expand, attract or retain businesses in the City, advancing the City of Klamath Falls as a leading innovation hub and tourist destination.

Tyler Nizer, longtime marketing manager for the Clackamas County Fairgrounds and immediate past president of the Canby Area Chamber Board of Directors, will serve as the new economic development and tourism lead for the City of Canby, replacing Calvin LeSueur, who stepped down from the position last summer.

Pennsylvania

Governor Tom Wolf announced today that Department of Community and Economic Development Secretary Dennis M. Davin will resign from his position with the Commonwealth on Feb. 11.  The governor also announced that he plans to name Department of Community and Economic Development Executive Deputy Secretary Neil Weaver as acting secretary.

With the two-decade-old question of what is happening at Great Stream Commons seemingly now answered, county leaders, developers and real estate agents are shifting to what future economic development will look like in Union County and in the Valley. The focus now moves back to developing existing locations across the county and region, which is what many developers have been looking for all along. Focus Central Pennsylvania, an economic development organization covering seven regional counties, shows 42 commercial properties available, a mix of land for development and existing structures ready to be reoccupied. (Shawn McLaughlin, Union County’s director of planning and economic development)

Penn Community Bank announces an exclusive partnership with Startup Bucks to support and grow the Buck County startup ecosystem. “This collaboration brings together the largest mutual banks in eastern Pennsylvania and Doylestown-based nonprofits, entrepreneurs and small businesses to scale up and create local jobs, economically both inside and outside the region."

Rhode Island

Property taxes are the largest source of local revenue in Rhode Island, but yet, are causing imbalances in municipal services, like the construction of affordable housing, K-12 education, and economic development, according to a newly released report by the Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council.

South Dakota

Tim Reed has been appointed chief executive officer and chief economic development director of the Brookings Economic Development Corporation, the organization announced Wednesday. Reed will assume responsibilities on Feb. 1. Reed is a District 7 state representative and previously served as Brookings mayor for eight years. He has been serving as interim director/CEO since October.

Texas

After than more than three months without one, the Port Arthur Economic Development Corporation now has a permanent CEO. Jessica Carpenter, who was chosen by the EDC Board of Directors in December to lead the entity, was approved Tuesday night by a majority of the Port Arthur City Council.

At January's meeting of the Bryan city council included an economic development recruiting update from the president of the Brazos Valley Economic Development Corporation. Matt Prochaska said during the 2021 calendar year, 11 business and industrial prospects made commitments to locate in the Bryan/College Station area. Prochaska also said there was more interest in 2021 by prospective businesses and industries. And he broke down prospect interest in the city of Bryan during 2021.

Aransas County commissioners, at their regular meeting Monday, Jan. 24, approved and adopted an Aransas County Economic Development Policy. The EDP includes guidelines and criteria for tax abatement as authorized by Chapter 312 of the Tax Code; guidelines and criteria for tax rebate agreements and other incentives as authorized by Chapter 381 of the Local Government Code; the creation of the Economic Development Evaluation Committee; the adoption of forms; and providing for severability, repealer and savings; and effective date.

In an effort to increase foreign-domestic investment, the Texas Economic Development and Tourism Office and the Tokyo Bureau of Industrial and Labor Affairs signed an agreement Wednesday that would set up a framework to bring greater business opportunities to both entities.

Lance LaCour has changed titles three times in the last 82 days. Since his arrival as president of Economic Development for the Partnership Lake Houston chamber, LaCour was surprised when former CEO Jenna Armstrong resigned her position for a new career move, was appointed as interim CEO on Dec. 15, and was named as the new CEO on Jan. 21.

The economic indicators for Fort Worth are all trending positive with a few caveats regarding inflation, labor and public health, according to speakers and panelists at the Tarrant County Real Estate Forecast on Jan. 27. Despite the solid economic fundamentals, Fort Worth Mayor Mattie Parker made it clear changes are coming to the city's economic development strategies.

President and CEO of the Amarillo Economic Development Corporation Kevin Carter provided an update on two businesses that are coming to Amarillo this year. Carter said both Amazon and Cacique are on track to open this year. Cacique is aiming for an operational date in the fourth quarter.

The Copperas Cove Economic Development Corporation has selected Fred Welch to be its new executive director. Johnson & Associates, a government executive search firm based in Austin, conducted the nationwide executive director search.

The Laredo Economic Development Corporation Board of Directors has selected Mr. Ignacio Urrabazo, Jr. as Chairman of the Board for 2022.

ExxonMobil plans to relocate its corporate headquarters to its Houston campus from Irving, Texas. “We are thrilled with today’s news," said Partnership President and CEO Bob Harvey. "ExxonMobil’s move further solidifies Houston’s position as the Energy Capital of the World. ExxonMobil is a key participant in our Houston Energy Transition Initiative, and we look forward to working with the company as we continue to position Houston to lead the energy transition to a low-carbon future.

Vermont

Governor Phil Scott, the Department of Housing and Community Development, the Vermont Department of Health, the Vermont Community Foundation, and Patronicity announced today the launch of Better Places, a statewide program that empowers Vermonters to create and build vibrant and inclusive public places in the hearts of Vermont communities. This innovative partnership provides residents the opportunity to use crowdfunding to develop strategic, locally led projects in their communities and be supported with a 2:1 matching grant from the State. “At the heart of economic development is creating places where people want to be, spend time, belong, and thrive,” said Agency of Commerce and Community Development Secretary Lindsay Kurrle.

Virginia

Over the years, Petersburg has become accustomed to bad economic news. But after undertaking some draconian financial measures that slashed the municipal budget, Petersburg now has reason for hope. And now work is underway to make this city of 33,458 residents a pharmaceutical manufacturing hub and ingredient reserve, bringing economic investment, jobs and ancillary investment to the long-distressed area. (Keith Boswell, president and CEO of Virginia’s Gateway Region)

Washington

The San Juan County Economic Development Council has partnered with the Washington Small Business Development Center to offer a free workshop on financial discipline. The workshop will introduce small business owners to a system that can be used for financial success. This workshop will be led by Steve Burke, Western Regional Manager with the WSBDC and Certified Business Advisor.

The Economic Development Alliance of Skagit County announced Thursday that Aaron Weinberg will take on the role of economic development and external relations manager. For three years, Weinberg served as communications manager for EDASC, and he said he is excited to begin working closely with local businesses as the economic development manager. The job change for Weinberg follows the resignation of Economic Development Manager Tamsin Bell.


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


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