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46 - Economic Development and Developers in the News

Econ dev news from 77 economic development executives and organizations in 30 states, Canada, and The Bahamas.

Dane Carlson
Dane Carlson
14 min read
46 - Economic Development and Developers in the News
Photo by Laura Ockel / Unsplash

Welcome to the 46th weekly edition of Economic Development and Developers in the News.

💖 Happy early Valentine's Day to all the economic development-lovers out there.

Today's issue contains economic development news from 77 economic development executives and organizations in 30 states, Canada, and The Bahamas.

Today's issue is brought to you by LocalIntel.

Alabama

Preliminary numbers show Alabama’s economic development efforts added $5.3 billion in capital investment and more than 9,000 jobs in 2021 despite a year disrupted by a global pandemic, supply chain breaks and other issues. Alabama Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield delivered the news Monday to kick off the Economic Development Association of Alabama’s 2022 Winter Conference in Montgomery.

Arkansas

The Prescott-Nevada County Economic Development Council has elected leadership for 2022-2024.

The Bahamas

The Organization for Responsible Governance has appointed Hubert Edwards as head of its Economic Committee. The managing consultant at Next Level Solutions, Edwards is a former senior bank executive, senior auditor and regulatory consulting manager with one of the leading public accounting firms in the country, as well as senior bank examiner with the Central Bank of The Bahamas.

California

After a competitive, open recruitment process, the city of Ventura has hired Meredith Hart as its new economic development manager. (Kevin Clerici, Executive Director, Downtown Ventura)

Anthony Sims is the new economic development director for the City of Ceres. (👦 Dane's hometown!)

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted unanimously today to approve Stephanie Cajina to serve on the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency Board of Directors. Cajina, who was nominated by Mayor London Breed in December 2021, brings city planning experience and years advocating for underrepresented communities to the Board.  Cajina currently serves as a Senior Economic Development Specialist for the City of Napa, where she shapes and implements workforce development policies, small business financial and technical assistance, business retention and attraction, and placemaking programming.

Canada

The National Indigenous Economic Development Board appointed a new vice-chairperson and board members. Victoria LaBillois, who has been on the board since 2018, was promoted to vice chair person.

All of the housing, population and economic data for 39 non-metro communities in BC is now publicly available thanks to the Community Development Institute at UNBC. The new website includes a detailed data report along with webinar recordings that highlight the data by region: Northeast, Northwest, Central, East Kootenays, West Kootenays, Okanagan, and Vancouver Island. “The data will be of significant interest to local government, planners, developers, builders, and the provincial government,” said CDI Co-Director Marleen Morris, who led the study for the CDI. “We highlight the strong links between housing and economic development potential in non-metropolitan B.C. We need to focus on housing if we want to realize non-metropolitan B.C.’s economic potential.”

Tecumseh and Lakeshore are hoping to join forces when it comes to economic development. As the two municipalities share a border, an Inter-Municipal Committee was formed in 2019 to look into ways to pool resources and partner on initiatives to benefit both communities. The Tecumseh-Lakeshore Shared Economic Development Strategy is up for discussion Tuesday night at Lakeshore council.

The Salmon Arm Economic Development Society received a $300k government grant. The money is set to be used for community signage, interactive visitor kiosk and community outreach. (Melanie Mark, Minister of Tourism)

Colorado

Stacy Miller, Windsor economic development director, will chair the Economic Development Council of Colorado in 2022.

Conor Hall takes over as the Colorado Outdoor Recreation Industry Office director.

Connecticut

Residents will have an opportunity to share their thoughts on recommendations to make Thames Street in the City of Groton a more vibrant, walkable, and welcoming corridor. (Cierra Patrick, Economic Development Specialist, City of Groton)

Florida

For the next 18 months, the Economic Development Commission of Florida's Space Coast will be asking that question as part of a community branding effort that officials hope will make it easier to sell Brevard to potential employees and employers. The ultimate goal is to come up with a logo or slogan for Brevard. “A quality brand will give us a location identity apart from central Florida, and the world, and an awareness that will reflect our heritage, business and unique assets,” said Lynda Weatherman, EDC president and CEO.

Scott Maynard, economic development director for the St. Johns County Chamber of Commerce, talks about growing the economy in a booming county.

Denise Bevan, interim city manager of Palm Coast, was recognized recently for her contributions while serving on the Northeast Florida Economic Resilience Task Force on the development of the Northeast Florida COVID-19 Economic Recovery Plan.

The Bartow Economic Development Council has announced  its president, Robert E. Clancey, has retired.

For the next 18 months, the Economic Development Commission of Florida's Space Coast will be asking that question as part of a community branding effort that officials hope will make it easier to sell Brevard to potential employees and employers. (Lynda Weatherman, EDC president and CEO; Brian Baluta, Vice President of Communications and Partner Relations at the EDC; Michael Ayers, President and CEO, Melbourne Regional Chamber)

Illinois

After a several month process, the Christian County Economic Development Corporation has a new Executive Director to succeed Mary Renner who is retiring today after 17 years of service. Dick Adams becomes the new Executive Director after servicing the Taylorville and Christian County community.  Adams in November of last year retired after being the first facilitator for the Christian County CEO, or "Creating Entreprenturial Opportunities" program for 7 years.

Derek Conley, the economic development director for Joliet is set to become St. Charles’ new economic development director. (Bryan Gay, President & CEO, Invest Aurora)

Indiana

Indiana wants to lure more mega economic development projects—from electric vehicle battery plants to high-end advanced manufacturing—and officials see a new tool proposed in a Senate bill as one way to do it. Senate Bill 361 would create Innovation Development Districts, which the Indiana Economic Development Corp. could establish across the state to capture sites for large-scale economic development projects. (Mark Wasky, IEDC senior vice president of community affairs, Larry Gigerich, executive managing director of Indianapolis-based site selection firm Ginovus; Lee Lewellen, CEO of the Indiana Economic Development Association)

The Veridus Group, an Indianapolis-based firm that specializes in owner’s technical representation, civil engineering, building forensics, community and economic development, and facilities management services has announced several new hires. Alaina Shonkwiler is a Project Executive on the Community and Economic Development team. Shonkwiler’s experience includes Workforce Development Coordinator for the Noblesville School District and working in local government as the City of Noblesville’s Assistant Director of Economic Development.

Iowa

A new Economic Development District (EDD) that includes Polk and six other central Iowa counties was approved last week. (Mid-Iowa Planning Alliance for Community Development: Greg Piklapp, Boone County; Alex Lynch, Dallas County; Carla Eysink, Marion County; Jeff Davidson, Jasper County; Clyde Evans, Polk County; Brenda Dryer, Story County; Rachel Gocken, Warren County)

Louisiana

Louisiana Economic Development remains the only state agency in the U.S. to be accredited by the International Economic Development Council, following its renewed accreditation, according to an LED announcement.  This week, the international council again approved the LED’s status as an accredited economic development organization after a yearlong review process. LED joins just 69 other development groups worldwide with the title, which it first obtained in 2018.

Massachusetts

A business development program aimed at small business owners is now taking applications for their next round of training programs. “Rise Up Springfield” is a partnership between the City of Springfield’s Office of Planning and Economic Development, Valley Venture Mentors and Interise. They will offer a six-month intensive program that teaches business owners how to advance their business operations, financial management, marketing and sales, human resources tactics, business strategy development, access to capital and contract development using. The program uses the StreetWise MBA™ curriculum designed specifically for established small business owners to achieve growth-orientated goals. (CDO Tim Sheehan; Deputy Director Brian Connors; Hope Ross Gibaldi, Executive Director of Valley Venture Mentors; Bernard Johnson, Director of Programs at Interise)

A mixed-use development near Lakeway Commons in Shrewsbury is moving forward after it was approved by the Planning Board last month.  (Shrewsbury’s Director of Planning and Economic Development Bernie Cahill)

Michigan

A former Wayne County director of development has taken on a new role leading economic initiatives for a philanthropic organization in southeast Michigan. Wafa Dinaro, who has worked for Wayne County for the last three years, will serve as executive director of New Economy Initiative, a philanthropic project of the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan. Dinaro starts Monday and replaces Pamela Lewis, who served in the nationally recognized program for six years but is leaving for another opportunity, the foundation announced Friday.

Flint & Genesee Economic Alliance, a division of the Flint & Genesee Group, has a new resource in its business attraction and retention toolbelt. The alliance introduced DevelopFlintandGenesee.org, a dedicated website for marketing Genesee County to companies -- locally, nationally and internationally -- as an ideal place to invest and grow their businesses. (Tyler Rossmaessler, Economic Alliance’s executive director)

The Lake Superior Community Partnership and the City of Ishpeming are pleased to announce the signing of a formal collaborative agreement between the two entities that will have the LSCP providing economic development, marketing, and administrative support to the City of Ishpeming. (Sarah Lucas, CEO of LSCP)

Minnesota

The Cook County/Grand Marais Economic Development Authority had some ups and downs in January, with the resignation of a board member and the disappointing news that a grant to assist with the ongoing childcare shortage in the county will not be coming to the county. At the January meeting, Director Beth Drost shared some good news regarding a Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development grant to help the community deal with the ongoing childcare shortage. It was thought that the Cook County/Grand Portage Child Care Initiative would receive a grant of $140,000. However, the good news was short-lived. A few days later, Drost learned that there was an error on the part of the granting agency and the money will not be coming to the county.

Mississippi

Calhoun County business and industry leaders will get an update on economic development in the area, during an annual meeting. The Calhoun Economic Development Association is holding its annual membership banquet this evening, and there’s a lot of excitement about the past and the future. It has been a strong year for economic development in Calhoun County and Sheila Freely (director of the Calhoun Economic Development Association) is ready to salute those who have helped make it all possible.

Missouri

Corey Mehaffy, executive director of the Hannibal Regional Economic Development Council announced Friday that the Board of Directors of the Hannibal Industrial Development Company has officially adopted a new Revolving Loan Fund Program in support of small business. According to Mehaffy, as a part of the economic development efforts to support small businesses in Marion and Ralls counties, area businesses and citizens have purchased stock in HIDC. “Those cash contributions are used to establish a Revolving Loan Fund for gap financing. The HIDC disburses money in the form of loans at interest rates, which are at or below market rate to small businesses or to businesses that cannot otherwise borrow capital,” Mehaffy said. “As the loans are repaid, the grantee uses a portion of the interest earned to pay administrative expenses and adds remaining principal and interest repayments to the RLF’s capital base to make new loans.

Nevada

Northern Nevada business startups big and small had their best overall year in 2021 as the sector raised $1.4 billion in external funding — a 15-fold increase over the previous year led by a pair of large battery technology projects. (Bryan McArdle, Vice President of Entrepreneurial Development for the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada; Mike Kazmierski, President and CEO, Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada)

The Northeastern Nevada Regional Development Authority has been notified by the U. S. Department of Commerce that Lander, Eureka, Elko and White Pine counties have been designated as the Economic Development Administration’s newest Economic Development District. EDDs are multi-jurisdictional entities, commonly composed of multiple counties that help lead the locally based, regionally driven economic development planning process through participation and involvement of the public, private, and nonprofit sectors to establish a strategic blueprint for regional collaboration. Aside from planning, the designation enhances a region’s ability to secure funding from the EDA for various public works and infrastructure-related projects. “We began this process back in 2019 with the development of a regional Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy, which to our knowledge was the first to be completed in Northeastern Nevada,” said NNRDA Board Chair Terri Clark.  (Northeastern Nevada Regional Development Authority Executive Director Sheldon Mudd)

New Jersey

Craig Schlosser is the vice president of economic development with the Morris County Economic Development Corporation, a division of the Morris County Chamber of Commerce. Along with overseeing economic development, Schlosser is also working to spearhead the Economic Development Alliance, a 501(C)(3) that the Economic Development Corporation is starting.

New York

New York City Mayor Eric Adams today announced two new appointments to fill out his economic development team and deliver on his vision for uplifting and protecting working New Yorkers. Vilda Vera Mayuga will serve as commissioner of the Department of Consumer and Worker Protection. Jose Ortiz, Jr. will serve as senior advisor for workforce development.

The Village of Ballston Spa released its Economic Development Plan in 2020, as well as the final version of its Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plan in January 2022. Mayor Christine Fitzpatrick said they are working on implementing both plans to improve the village overall.

North Carolina

It would seem business is booming Burke County, based on the agenda for this week's meeting of the Morganton City Council. The council is expected to call for public hearings about three new economic development projects, which together could bring nearly 200 new jobs to the area.

The Transylvania Economic Alliance has announced that Burton Hodges has been selected as its new executive director. Hodges comes to the position in Transylvania County with economic development experience in the region and personal ties to Brevard College and the county, according to a news release“We are excited that Burton will be leading the economic development efforts of Transylvania County,” said Alliance Chair Amber Webb.

Ohio

The Sugar Bush Foundation announced the appointment of Erin Rennich as its first director on Jan. 18.  The Sugar Bush Foundation, a supporting organization to The Ohio University Foundation, funds sustainable economic development projects in the areas of environmental restoration and renewable energy, zero waste, and food security. Jointly designed by Ohio University faculty and students with community non-profits, these projects often evolve into business opportunities.

Bringing new businesses to Delaware City and helping existing businesses often is a case of helping them meet specific needs, said Cody Hatten, the newest member of the city government's economic-development department. "Each business is unique and has many different needs. Whether it’s a manufacturer seeking workforce training programs for their employees or the local restaurant owner outgrowing a current space and needing to expand, we work to serve as that intermediary and connect them with the resources that they need," said Hatten, who joined the city in early January as economic-development coordinator. He joins economic-development director Sean Hughes and Courtney Hendershot, who has been promoted to economic-development project manager.

One of the city's newest housing developments is on track to have sales of 12 to 15 new homes in 2022, as Fremont officials hope to continue last year's local momentum with housing construction.

Oklahoma

Brent Kisling has been doing some form of economic development since his college days. The Northwest Oklahoma native started working for U. S. Sen. Jim Inhofe on agriculture and rural economic development issues while he was a student at Oklahoma State University.
That experience led him to an appointment by President George W. Bush to support rural development. After eight years with the Bush administration, the city of Enid came calling when it established the Enid Regional Development Alliance to assure the economic prosperity of Enid and the surrounding area. Kisling served as the director of ERDA for 10 years. Then, when Kevin Stitt was elected Oklahoma governor in 2018, Kisling was appointed as the executive director of the Oklahoma Department of Commerce, a position he holds today. He took all the experiences of college, national politics and ERDA to the state level. “We have a strategic plan that follows almost exactly what we tried to do in Enid for economic growth,” Kisling said.

Two southwest Oklahoma towns are looking forward to furthering economic development with grants from the Department of Commerce. Lawton and Duncan are two of 28 communities across the state set to receive about $24,000 each for economic development. Officials said they’ll use it to make industrial parks more attractive to prospective businesses. Along with the money, a consultant will provide leaders with specific recommendations on how to improve properties. President of the Duncan Area Economic Development Foundation Lyle Roggow said having a professional look at it can help identify areas they may need to adjust.

Pennsylvania

James Medaglio is the new Director of Business Attraction & Expansion at The Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia.

Business owners in Columbia have until April 1 to apply for a $750 grant from the Columbia Economic Development Corporation to help create a website or for advertising.Two businesses will be selected to each receive the grant, which must be used by Aug. 1. Creating the business grant program has long been a goal of the CEDC, said its president, Keith Lutz.

Tennessee

Diversity and inclusion will be key themes as Nashville develops its first economic and community development plan, Metro Economic and Community Development Director Courtney Pogue said Monday. Metro Council members approved $1.1 million in federal American Rescue Plan funding to develop an economic development plan last week. To be developed over the next 12 months, the plan will be Nashville’s first.

Nashville Metro approves a $20M small business fund and money for city's first strategic plan for economic development. (Courtney Pogue, Director of the Mayor's Office of Economic and Community Development)

Texas

Bill Sproull is leaving after 17 years with the chamber, Tech Titans and Richardson Economic Development Partnership to pursue other opportunities.

Charles "Chuck" Martinez will be the new CEO and president of the Katy Area Economic Development Council. (Matt Prochaska, President/CEO, Brazos Valley Economic Development Corporation)

Wichita Falls’ economic strength declined over the past year, according to a company that ranks the economic health of U. S. cities. Policom reported Thursday the Wichita Falls Metropolitan Statistical Area ranks 379th among the nation’s 384 MSAs. That’s a slight drop from 377th in 2021. (Henry Florsheim, President of the Wichita Falls Chamber of Commerce)

Construction of a 70-acre mixed-use waterfront development in League City is expected to start soon now that an agreement between the city and the developer has been signed. (Scott Livingston, Director of Economic Development; Devin DePascal, Economic Development coordinator)

Virginia

Warren County’s current Planning Director Joe Petty is also the new Economic Development Director. Petty will coordinate several groups to promote tourism and economic development throughout Warren County.

Patrick Kinsman, former CEO and commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Norfolk District, has been hired as the Port of Virginia’s new vice president of offshore wind development. Kinsman will oversee Portsmouth Marine Terminal’s conversion to a logistics hub.

The City of Petersburg has decided to fill a long vacant, role with a familiar face. Former Mayor, Brian A. Moore, was selected as the Director of Economic development. He began work under that capacity for the first-time last week. Growing businesses has been a major priority over the past three years. Even through the pandemic, economic development was listed as the city’s top priority in both 2020 and 2021. That work had to be done by an office which has been short staffed for over a year. He replaces predecessor Carthan Currin III who left Petersburg in Oct. 2020, just six months after he was hired. The job has been handled since then on an interim basis by Reggie Tabor, who also works in Department of Planning.

The City of Virginia Beach is announcing a new program called the Virginia Beach Small Business Capital Access Program, which provides $400,000 to qualifying small businesses in the form of zero interest loans. The program was created to support the entrepreneurial ecosystem of Virginia Beach and is the result of a collaborative effort between the Department of Economic Development and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation of Hampton Roads. (Taylor Adams, Deputy City Manager/Director Of Economic Development)

Washington

Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell announced the appointment of three new members of his Cabinet. Markham McIntyre will serve in the Office of Economic Development, leading the agency with a focus on small business support, workforce development, and equity initiatives – specifically focused on growing contracting opportunities, improving access to capital, and removing barriers to success.

Washington DC

Nathan Ohle had his first day as the new President and CEO of International Economic Development Council on Monday.

West Virginia

Tim Liebrecht has joined the Fairmont State Foundation staff as the new Director of Development. Liebrecht holds more than a decade of experience in development roles. In recent years, he has been actively partnering with organizations throughout north central West Virginia to promote change and growth in the region. His experience is in areas including fundraising, community and economic development.

Wisconsin

Using funds from Wisconsin’s Workforce Innovation Grant, the city of Kenosha is partnering with a nationally-ranked accelerator program to help more potential entrepreneurs. “Creating economic prosperity for everyone requires making smart investments in people and their dreams,” said Missy Hughes, secretary and CEO of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation. “The state’s investment in this partnership between the city of Kenosha and gener8tor will pay off in new diversely-owned businesses and more opportunities for all. ”

Wyoming

The Carbon County Economic Development Corporation is getting a new website. (Yvonne Johnson, Director of CCEDC)


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


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