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48 - Economic Development and Developers in the News

Econ dev news from 87 economic development executives and organizations in 36 states, Canada and Mexico.

Dane Carlson
Dane Carlson
14 min read
48 - Economic Development and Developers in the News
Photo by Thom Holmes / Unsplash

Welcome to the 48th weekly edition of Economic Development and Developers in the News.

Today's issue contains economic development news from 87 economic development executives and organizations in 36 states, Canada, and Mexico.


Today's issue is brought to you by LocalIntel.

Alabama

Economic development director Don Hopper has been selling Calhoun County as a destination for 20 years.

Alaska

Brian Holst, Executive Director, Juneau Economic Development Council gave a preview of the JEDC Innovation Summit.

Arizona

The Navajo Nation is hosting the leader of the  Small Business Administration for her first visit to the largest reservation in the United States. Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman will meet with Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and other tribal officials.

The Mohave County Board of Supervisors is set to consider updating the Economic Development website and a new logo for the Mohave County Fairgrounds this week. (Tami Ursenbach, Economic Development Director)

California

Pasadena's economic team expressed optimism on Tuesday that the travel and tourism industries in Pasadena will bounce back this 2022 as the continued impact of COVID-19 pandemic lessens. During the meeting of the Economic Development Technology Committee, David Klug, Acting Economic Development Manager of the city’s Office of Economic Development said that although the travel industry experts had said that full recovery is not expected until 2024, there are reasons for optimism for the recovery of the city’s tourism sector. (Jeffrey Hernandez, Pasadena Real Estate Manager; Ruth Martinez-Baenen, Project Manager - Economic Development)

The Yuba-Sutter Economic Development Corporation announced Thursday that it was awarded $210,000 from the California Wellness Foundation. (Brynda Stranix, president)

California child care workers struggle to survive: The pandemic has only worsened matters, driving many to leave the field of education in search of higher wages in the fast-food industry or retail sector. Those who stick to child care despite the obstacles often feel crushed by their circumstances. “People do not live siloed lives,” said Jhumpa Bhattacharya, vice president of programs and strategy at the Insight Center for Community Economic Development, a research and advocacy group.

Richard Chapman president & CEO of the Kern Economic Development Corporation: Kern’s energy industry continues to power the region’s economic growth.

Canada

British Columbia’s new economic development plan lacks meaningful actions to attract investment. “Prosperity must first be generated before it can be effectively shared and sustainably provide the supports and services our society and families rely upon,” said Greg D’Avignon, President and CEO, Business Council of BC. “In our opinion, this plan provides an attractive vision of what British Columbia can become, but it does not contain the material actions required or send a strong enough signal to either the domestic or international business community that the government can provide the certainty necessary for new investments.

The City of Windsor has named the corporation'€™s first Commissioner of Economic Development and Innovation, overseeing the Economic Development, Land Use Planning, Information Technology and Building Services departments. Jelena Payne will take up the role effective April 2022.

The governments of Canada and Quebec are granting a total of $22.8 million in financial support to the NPO Halles d'Innovation et de Formation Avancée to build an innovation centre specializing in next-generation packaging and manufacturing intelligence. This centre of excellence will enable SMEs in the manufacturing sector to accelerate their digital transformation and SMEs in the agri-food sector to help reduce food waste. The Minister of Sport and Minister responsible for Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions, the Honourable Pascale St-Onge, the Minister of Economy and Innovation and Minister Responsible for Regional Economic Development, Pierre Fitzgibbon, and the Minister of Tourism and Minister Responsible for the Lanaudière and Bas-Saint-Laurent Regions, Caroline Proulx, made the announcement.

Colorado

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock on Thursday appointed the city’s first female economic development director, Jen Morris. Morris has served as interim director of the Denver Economic Development & Opportunity department since November, when former executive director Eric Hiraga stepped down after leading the agency through the first year-and-a-half of the coronavirus pandemic.

Trinidad City Council heard two updates at a work session Monday night including an economic development update and an outdoor recreation update. Wally Wallace, Trinidad’s economic development director, provided an update on what his office accomplished in 2021 and upcoming projects.

Connecticut

The city of Debry's effort to hire an economic development director is inching along through the bureaucratic process. Derby hasn’t had a full-time economic director or grant writer since 2013. The last person to hold the jobs full time was Sheila O’Malley, who now holds the titles in Ansonia, a city that has been receiving lots of grants for projects ranging from riverwalk construction to environmental cleanups of old industrial properties.

Gov. Ned Lamont will visit Israel next month as part of a Connecticut economic development mission to promote as a welcoming place for start-up companies and to strengthen relations between the two regions.

Delaware

Bryan Mack has joined Delaware Prosperity Partnership in the role of business development manager. The University of Delaware graduate most recently served as community relations coordinator at Delaware Technical Community College. He previously served as director of scheduling in the Washington, D.C., office of U.S. Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del.

Georgia

The Community Foundation of Coffee County recently announced that its Douglas-Coffee County Economic Development Fund is being renamed the Francis Lott Community Economic Development Fund. This change will preserve the legacy of a man who is a tireless champion for Douglas‐Coffee County and continues to be personally committed to the future of his community. (Kathryn Dennis, president of CFCG)

Pat Wilson, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development, predicts another record-breaking year. In the last six months, more than 24,400 jobs were created and $9.8 million invested into the state of Georgia.

Stonecrest leaders held a lengthy town hall last week to discuss all the ways they’re trying to attract business to the city recently embroiled in scandal. During the 90-minute virtual event on Feb. 8, the Stonecrest Development Authority wasn’t mentioned at all. The authority was the focus of an in-depth article published by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in January which found the SDA had no records for prior bond deals and was effectively defunct. Since then, city leaders have made it clear they’re leaving the floundering authority to fend for itself.

Hawaii

Maui Economic Opportunity Business Development Center’s next series of the Core Four Business Planning Course will be starting Tuesday, March 1. All classes will be held online via the Zoom. The Core Four Business Planning Course is a five-class series on how to write a business plan, which will provide the information you need to start, operate and grow your business. The course is perfect for those who are thinking of starting a business or are just starting out and need further direction. (Lianne Peros-Busch, MEO Business Development Center)

Idaho

Meta, formerly Facebook, will invest $800 million to build a new data center in Kuna, Idaho. The project is expected to create 100 jobs. “We are thrilled to be breaking ground on our newest data center in Kuna, Idaho. Thank you to all of our partners who helped us move this project forward,” said Darcy Nothnagle, director of community and economic development at Meta. "“We are excited to welcome Meta to Idaho and the Treasure Valley,” said Tom Kealey, Director of Idaho Department of Commerce.

Illinois

Engineering consultant Rod Tonelli will step in as Joliet’s interim economic development director until the city fills the job. Joliet Economic Development Director Derek Conley leaves Friday to take the same job in St. Charles. Tonelli, who is president of Reuttiger, Tonelli & Associates Inc., said he will have a transitional role only, something he has done previously in Shorewood and Lockport when those municipalities were looking for economic development directors. “The interim’s role is just to provide continuity for projects in the department until a new director comes in,” Tonelli said.

Former Bloomington-Normal Economic Development Council CEO Kyle Ham is running for state representative.

Departing Economic Development Director Derek Conley looked back at four years in Joliet and speculated on a future for the city that he thinks will include more electric vehicle manufacturing and a Jefferson Street revival.

Iowa

Later this month, Albert Liu, Director of the U.S. Export Assistance Center in Iowa, will lead an interactive panel of Iowa exporters in a discussion of tips and tricks for post-pandemic international business travels.

The Iowa Economic Development Authority Board on Friday approved tax benefits for the soybean crushing plant that is being developed in Buena Vista County.

Kansas

With its first five-year cycle complete, Dickinson County Economic Development Corporation’s administrative assistant Courtney Dixon can look back on the large changes made during the five-year cycle and what still needs the work. Before the year’s closing, former DKEDC Director Chuck Scott left the position and the board needed to start the process of finding a new director. The board hired a company to help with the search and has heard back from some good applicants “Hopefully within the next couple months, there has been lots of interest and it’s been a good search so far,” Dixon said.

Kentucky

Vine Grove officials want to make sure the city is prepared for a population increase. To that end, Vine Grove City Councilwoman Selena Hudson formed the Vine Grove Economic Development Advisory Committee.

Land for industrial development is hard to find in Daviess County because so much of the county is in a flood plain. (Brittaney Johnson, President, Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corp.)

Louisiana

A California company plans to spend $750 million to build a facility in Ascension Parish that will manufacture plant-based material for packaging, textiles and other uses. The facility will hire 200 workers at an average salary of $99,100, according to Louisiana Economic Development. The state’s incentive package for Origin Materials includes a $6 million performance-based award based on job creation to reimburse the company for site infrastructure costs. (Don Pierson, Secretary of Economic Development)

Maine

As Waterville City Manager Steve Daly sees it, the city’s decision this year to rejoin the Kennebec Valley Council of Governments was a no-brainer. The regional planning and economic development agency offers a range of services and benefits, not the least of which is a collective purchasing program for materials, including road salt, that enables member communities to qualify for better prices. But for Daly, who worked at a regional planning agency for 14 years, there was a more critical reason for rejoining KVCOG than just to save money. (Ole Amundsen, KVCOG’s executive director)

Maryland

Governor Hogan announced they would be investing $50 million into rural Maryland to develop the economy. He says 10 million will go to the tri-county councils, for the five districts, and be made possible through the Rural Maryland Economic Development Fund.

Massachusetts

MassWorks provided grant funding for community-focused economic development and affordable housing in Nubian Square, Jamaica Plain, and Charlestown. (Mike Kennealy, Secretary, Housing and Economic Development; Brian Golden, Director, BPDA;)

Mexico

Mexico needs a "comprehensive reform agenda" to boost investment and economic growth, said the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. (Mathias Cormann, Secretary-General, OECD; Rogelio Ramirez de la O, Mexican Finance Minister)

Michigan

Grand Traverse County Commissioners approved a development contract focused on the manufacturing and skilled trades industry in Traverse City. (Warren Call, President and CEO, Traverse Connect)

Michigan's new Office Of Rural Development will focus on all rural matters, provide guidance on pressing issues in rural Michigan, and offer insight on how the Whitmer-Gilchrist Administration can invest in thriving rural communities. (Gary McDowell, Director, MDARD)

Minnesota

Governor Walz promotes ice fishing as a 'way of life' in Minnesota. (Steve Grove, Commissioner, Minnesota Department of Economic Development; Sarah Strommen, Commissioner, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources)

Mississippi

A $60 million economic development project is coming to north Fondren. Residents say they couldn't be more thrilled. (Rebecca Garrison, Executive Director, Fondren Renaissance Foundation)

The current state of the Popp's Ferrty Road Bridge in Biloxi is an impediment to economic growth. (Adele Lyons, CEO, Mississippi Gulf Coast Chamber of Commerce)

Missouri

The Missouri Technology Corporation released a report recommending strategies to drive innovation and entrepreneurship statewide. MTC engaged TEConomy Partners, LLC, a leader in economic development research, to undertake the data-driven analysis and develop recommendations. (Maggie Kost, Acting Director, Missouri Department of Economic Development; Dr. Jack Scatizzi, Executive Director, Missouri Technology Corporation; Deborah Cummings, TEConomy)

Nebraska

The Custer Board of County Commissioners voted unanimously to scrap going ahead with an application for a $1 million grant to fund six towers to provide high-speed broadband service to the county. The Custer County Economic Development Corporation has been working for seven years to provide free technical consultation to the county on how to develop the broadband tower project, from site selection to engineering to grant-writing. All that effort is now effectively wasted. (Keith Ellis, Executive Director, Custer County Economic Development Corporation; Sharon Hueftle, Executive Director, South Central Economic Development District) Some in the community have commented that there is no need for expanded broadband coverage in the mountains because of the new Starlink Satellite network that is being launched by Space X.

Nevada

Grace Chou is strengthening entrepreneurship and economic development in Nevada. As Chief Innovation & Commercialization Officer, Grace Chou leads the overall advancement of the University of Nevada's technology commercialization activities and its Innevation Center, a hub of entrepreneurship, collaboration and job creation in downtown Reno and an anchor to the regional innovation ecosystem.

New Jersey

Paterson officials unveiled plans for the construction of a $6 million food distribution center at a 7-acre site. GroMex is expected to construct a 96,800 square foot industrial building with a loading dock and a 10,800 square foot mezzanine to be used in the applicant’s wholesale fresh and frozen food distribution business. (Mike Powell, Director, Paterson Economic Development)

The Morris County Chamber of Commerce has named Craig Schlosser vice president of economic development. In this position he will direct growth-based initiatives and oversee the operations, programs and projects of the Morris County Economic Development Corporation and Morris County Economic Development Alliance. Schlosser comes to the Morris County Chamber from the Middlesex County Regional Chamber of Commerce and Convention and Visitors Bureau, where he was responsible for growth and development initiatives, key partnerships, committee management, program management and membership.

New York

Representatives from nearly every economic development group in Cattaraugus County gathered at the county Economic Development Agency meeting to discuss needs in the county, as well as services offered and past successes. (Donald Rychnowsk, Director, Southern Tier West; Dan Border, Cattaraugus/Allegany Workforce Investment Board; Bret Marvin, Manager, Cattaraugus One-Stop Career Center; Thomas Livak, Director, Cattaraugus County Economic Development, Planning and Tourism; John Sayegh, Director, Greater Olean Chamber of Commerce; Tim Flanigan, Chairman, Salamanca Industrial Development Agency; Hope Knight, President & CEO, Empire State Development)

A Virtual Plan Forward Public Workshop will be held March 1 to elicit public input on the Plan Forward comprehensive plan initiative — the county’s first comprehensive plan update in more than 40 years. What makes Monroe County a great place to live? What kinds of businesses, services, opportunities and infrastructure would you like to see more of here? Will your children want to live here? What should Monroe County look like for future generations? These are among the questions Monroe County Executive Adam Bello invites the community to consider during upcoming Plan Forward comprehensive plan community workshops.

Sean Lanning recently joined Tioga County Economic Development and Planning as an education-workforce coordinator.In this role, Lanning will work with Tioga County schools and businesses to enhance workforce opportunities for local students. (LeeAnn Tinney, Director, Tioga County Economic Development and Planning)

The New York City Economic Development Corporation — the city’s arm for managing its 66 million square feet of property — is losing its leader, Rachel Loeb. Loeb has worked at the EDC since 2018, when she joined the nonprofit as COO, overseeing the organization’s real estate, asset management and neighborhood planning initiatives. She took over as CEO from James Patchett after he left the EDC in February 2021. Two of her biggest projects were an assembly and maintenance site for wind turbines at the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal and partnering with Steiner Studios to develop a television and production hub in Sunset Park, Brooklyn.

Congratulations to Westminster Economic Development Initiative of Buffalo, a nonprofit and a winner of the 2022 Buffalo Business First IDEA Awards. (Carolynn Welch, Executive Director, Westminster Economic Development Initiative of Buffalo)

Andrew Kimball -- longtime chief executive of Industry City, South Brooklyn’s shipping, manufacturing and small-business complex -- is expected to be named as the next president and CEO of the EDC. Kimball’s appointment by Mayor Eric Adams comes after Carlo Scissura, head of the New York Building Congress advocacy group, withdrew his name from consideration this month.

As more solar projects are proposed in the area, county officials are providing municipalities a tool to help them properly plan for them when they’re no longer working. The Chautauqua County Agricultural and Farmland Protection Board, along with the county Planning Department, announced it has created a template of recommendations for developing and/or updating local municipal laws specific to decommissioning utility-scale solar facilities. According to Rebecca Wurster with the county Planning Department, they’ve also created a mapping tool that can allow municipalities to identify property and look at the surrounding infrastructure related with that site.

The Westchester Innovation Network, was formed in December by the Business Council of Westchester to help in economic development along with business innovation and growth in the county. (Marsha Gordon, President & CEO, Business Council of Westchester; Bridget Gibbons, Director, Westchester County Office of Economic Development)

North Carolina

The Burke County Board of Commissioners took action on three economic development incentive projects during its meeting Tuesday night. The three projects — It’s About Time, Bravo and Highlander — together are expected to add almost 200 new jobs, according to information presented to the board by Alan Wood, president and CEO of Burke Development Inc.

Ohio

Business leaders were spotlighted during the annual Richland Area Chamber and Economic Development dinner at the Mid-Ohio Conference Center. (Jodie A. Perry, President & CEO, Richland Area Chamber and Economic Development)

Oregon City Council approved an agreement with Oregon on the Bay Regional Economic Development to allow the city to assign its land lease interests to the Oregon Economic Development Foundation as a first step to develop the former Kmart site as part of the city’s Downtown Center project. (Sommer Vriezelaar, Executive Director)

Oklahoma

The Claremore Area Chamber of Commerce will host a Hot Topic Lunch this week. A panel of experts will address the audience on the City of Claremore’s newly adopted Unified Development Code, which is a document that consolidates all development-related regulations including zoning and land use, subdivisions, design and development standards, and review procedures. (Jill Ferenc, former Claremore Planning Director/current Planning and Development Manager, City of Broken Arrow; Kyle Clifton, Claremore Director of Urban Design and Long Range Planning; Meggie Froman-Knight, Executive Director, Claremore Industrial & Economic Development Authority; Brad Lonberger and Ivan Gonzalez, Partners, Place Strategies)

Oregon

Jason Moos is the new director for the Columbia County Business Resource & Small Business Development Center.

Pennsylvania

Bette Slayton, president and CEO of the Bedford County Development Association, was recently named 2021 Economic Developer of the Year by the Pennsylvania Economic Development Association. (James Becker, Executive Director, Economic Progress Alliance of Crawford County)

Construction in the Clarion Borough rebounded in 2021. A check into the progress made by Clarion Borough Council over the past year brought good news and bad news. (Jarred Heuer, Executive Director, Clarion County EDC; Jess Funk, Economic Development Specialist, Clarion County EDC)

South Carolina

Tressa Gardner provided an overview of the Southeastern Institute of Manufacturing and Technology, the business incubator and other programs that it operates, and its role in supporting economic development in northeastern South Carolina.

Tennessee

The Memphis Medical District Collaborative has received almost $3 million from the Hyde Family Foundation to grow the organization's existing programming and foster further economic development in the neighborhood. (Rory Thomas, President, MMDC)

Texas

The Denton Economic Development Partnership has named Dan Rosenfield as the new director of strategic partnerships. Rosenfield has worked for the city for the past year-and-a-half, where he oversaw inbound development interest. (Erin Carter, President, Denton Chamber of Commerce)

The Liberty Hill Economic Development Corporation may soon have a physical location to work in downtown Liberty Hill at the Stubblefield Visitors Center. (Matt Powell, Director, Liberty Hill EDC)

Amarillo ranks as the sixteenth largest city in the state of Texas. The city is experiencing its most economic development in decades. As the population and number of new businesses increase there are some challenges as the exodus of businesses leaving the east coast and west coast to relocate or expand in Amarillo. (Kevin Carter, President & CEO, Amarillo EDC)

The medical care business is booming in Texarkana. Wadley Regional Medical Center broke ground for its new $227 million hospital facility at West Park Boulevard in September of 2021, while CHRISTUS St. Michael announced it is building a second hospital and will break ground on the $50 million project early this year. (Mike Malone, President & CEO of the Texarkana Chamber of Commerce; Rob Sitterley, President & CEO at AR-TX Regional Economic Development Inc.)

The Odessa Development Corporation said goodbye to ousted board member Jeff Russell earlier this month, presenting him with a plaque. Russell thanked them and then offered harsh words of criticism for the city. (Tom Manskey, Director of Economic Development, Odessa Development Corporation; Reneé Earls, President & CEO, Odessa Chamber of Commerce)

Virginia

The city of Chesapeake has leased 7,760 square feet of office space at Summit Pointe to house its economic development department. (Steven Wright, Chesapeake’s Economic Development Director)

Wisconsin

The Sheboygan County Economic Development Corporation and Small Business Development Center at UW-Green Bay aim to provide a wide range of services, resources, and expertise to encourage entrepreneurial opportunities in Sheboygan County, including changes in business ownership that carry on the traditions of some of the county’s best and most cherished businesses. (Brian Doudna, SCEDC executive director)


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