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53 - Economic Development and Developers in the News

Econ dev news from 144 economic development executives and organizations in 26 states, and Canada.

Dane Carlson
Dane Carlson
13 min read
53 - Economic Development and Developers in the News
Photo by Christian ter Maat / Unsplash

Welcome to the 53rd weekly edition of Economic Development and Developers in the News.

Today's issue contains economic development news from 144 economic development executives and organizations in 26 states, and Canada.


Today's issue is brought to you by LocalIntel.

Arizona

The City of Chandler is giving the University of Arizona $1M for new office space. (Micah Miranda, Economic Development Director, Chandler)

Arkansas

Unemployment continues to reach record lows in Arkansas, with state officials reporting Friday that joblessness dipped to 3.1% in February and remained significantly below the U.S. rate of 3.8%. (Michael Pakko, State Economist, [Arkansas Economic Development Institute](https://youraedi.com/);  Mike Preston, Commerce Secretary)

The Farmington City Council agreed to a proposal to pay the Farmington Area Chamber of Commerce $20,000 for economic development services for 2022. (Steve Clark, President, Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce; Josh Frye, President, Farmington Area Chamber of Commerce)

California

Two episodes focused on economic development were recently added to season three of the TehachaPod podcast. (Key Budge, Community Engagement, City of Tehachapi; Richard Chapman, President & CEO of the Kern Economic Development Corp.)

Maria Mendoza is Merced's new economic development manager. (Tom McGee, President & CEO, ICSC)

Canada

Wood Buffalo Council voted against a $4.5 million grant for the Wood Buffalo Economic Development Corporation. (Kevin Weidlich, President & CEO)

In its first decade, the Northern Ontario Exports Program has helped fund 86 projects aimed at helping companies in the region market and export their products outside of Ontario. This included $1.23 million in funding, which was matched by company investments of $2.66 million. (Jenni Myllynen, Program Director, Invest Northern Ontario)

Colorado

Pueblo’s employment picture is improving in baby steps so far this year. Colorado is reporting a statewide unemployment rate of 4% for February. Pueblo County is sitting at 6.1%, the second-highest unemployment rate in the state with 4,864 people reported as out of work. (Jeff Shaw, President and CEO of Pueblo Economic Development Corp.)

Georgia

The Cherokee Office of Economic Development announced last week the launch of Cherokee By Choice 2.0, a strategic plan that guides Cherokee's economic development efforts forward over the next five years. (Cherokee Office of Economic Development Chairman Marshall Day and President Misti Martin)

Hawaii

The Hawaii Tourism Authority has support among state senators who have restored its $60 million budget, but those same lawmakers want more control over the lead tourism agency.

The unemployment rate for Maui County dropped to 4.8% for February 2022, which is .1% lower than the rate in January but higher than the US rate of 4.1%, according to the Hawai‘i  State Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism. (Mike McCartney, Director)

Lihue officials will focus on economic diversification to improve the county’s resilience as it recovers from the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Jaclyn Kaina Director of Programs, Kauai Economic Development Board)

The county Office of Economic Development, in partnership with the Kaua‘i Economic Development Board, announced  the release of the Kaua‘i Comprehensive Economic Development Strategic Plan for 2022-26. (Jackie Kaina, Board Director, Kaua‘i Economic Development; Nalani Brun, Director, Office of Economic Development)

Illinois

Lake Land College has been awarded $98,480 for the Apprenticeship Expansion Grant from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. The grant funds will be used to hire an apprenticeship navigator for all of Economic Development Region 7. Apprenticeship navigators are an essential component to the apprenticeship Illinois framework as they work directly with businesses to cultivate and launch new US Department of Labor-registered apprenticeships. (Sylvia Garcia, Director, Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity; Jamie Corda Hadjaoui, Director of Workforce Investment, Local Workforce Innovation Board 23; Kristin Richards, Acting Director, Illinois Department of Employment Security; Courtney Yockey, President & CEO, Effingham Regional Growth Alliance; Lauren McClain, Executive Director, Richland County Development Corporation)

Indiana

Plans for the redevelopment of a portion of the former GM Stamping Plant near downtown Indianapolis are moving forward. The plan covers about 20 acres on the site where Greenfield-based Elanco Animal Health Inc. is preparing to break ground on its new $100 million global headquarters. (IEDC Senior Vice President of Community Affairs Mark Wasky; Indianapolis Department of Metropolitan Development Director Scarlett Andrews)

There’s no doubt the pandemic has taught us that business travel isn’t always as important as it used to be. Plenty of business can be conducted by Zoom, but virtual connections still can’t totally replace the face-to-face meetings, handshakes and in-person trust building that usually needs to occur to land new clients, establish long-standing relationships and close big deals. That’s why Indianapolis Airport Authority officials are working with Delta Air Lines to re-establish the direct Indianapolis-to-Paris flight lost during the pandemic, or maybe even another direct destination such as London. (Mickey Shuey, Indianapolis Airport Authority)

Rumors and speculation have led the Boone County Commissioners to have a town-hall-style forum to talk about a development project that no one can confirm even exists. People in Thorntown say they would like see some new development, but some straight answers would go a long way. (Molly Whitehead, Executive Director, Boone County EDC; Chassity Neckers, Director of Marketing and Communications, Boone County EDC)

Beginning this weekend, Gov. Holcomb, Adjutant General R. Dale Lyles, and Secretary of Commerce Brad Chambers are traveling to Slovakia and later Israel. The goal is to increase Indiana's international engagement and cultivate new business relationships in central Europe and the Middle East.

Kansas

During the first months of 2022, economic news has painted a bleak future, fraught with ever-rising costs, rapidly growing inflation and a shaky supply chain. But while it is easy to see the negative benchmarks as a sign of an economy quickly turning sour, one prominent Kansas economist recently said he sees many indications that economic strife in the U.S. is likely temporary and sees many positives in the area economy and beyond. (Jeremy Hill, Director of the Center for Economic Development and Business Research)

Kentucky

Leadership Kentucky has been awarded $500,000 by the Appalachian Regional Commission through the POWER Initiative to expand BRIGHT Kentucky through alumni networking while ensuring future growth and sustainability of the program. (Brandon McBride, Executive Director, Appalachian Regional Commission)

Jessie Schook is the new Vice President of Workforce and Economic Development for the Kentucky Community and Technical College System. Before her new position, Schook was the KCTCS director of Workforce Solutions.

Michigan

Last year, economists talked about the Great Recovery. This year innovation was the buzzword that fueled the conversation at the well attended Chamber Alliance of Macomb County’s Economic Forecast Friday at the Palazzo Grande in Shelby Township. “We have bounced back,” said Vicky Rowsinski, director of Macomb County Planning and Economic Development.

The Great Lakes Boat Building School in Cedarville is currently planning a massive expansion that will more than double its graduation rate. Earlier this month, the Great Lakes Boat Building School received a grant of $2.7 million from the Economic Development Administration's CARES act. Because the demand for these trained professionals is so high, the school said 100 percent of graduates have had successful job placement in their field before they graduate.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, the Michigan unemployment rate moved down in February by two-tenths of a percentage point to 4.7 percent, according to data released today by the Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget. Michigan’s labor market indicators showed continued signs of improvement in February,” said Wayne Rourke, associate director of the Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives.

Minnesota

The Department of Employment and Economic Development recently announced Carla Vita as the director of its new Energy Transition Office. Vita’s leadership includes a variety of government positions at the local, regional and state levels, as well as extensive project management experience. Vita previously worked for the city of North Branch as their Community Development Director where she managed data and policies for various projects and programs.

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development announced Friday the recipients of the Targeted Community Capital Project grants, one being Rochester. According to DEED, the 2021 Minnesota legislature authorized $18 million for DEED to administer the competitive grant program, after the statewide impacts of COVID-19, natural disasters, and the civil unrest that occurred the last two years. Projects utilizing these funds must result in providing, increasing, and/or expanding access to economic development, education, or workforce development programs or services to underserved communities or economically disadvantaged persons or groups. (DEED Commissioner Steve Grove)

Mississippi

Janel Carothers has earned her Certified Economic Developer designation.

Missouri

Local governments and organizations from across the state have identified more than $2 billion worth of projects that could potentially be funded with federal COVID-19 relief dollars. The Missouri Department of Economic Development collected information from community partners through March 18 to learn more about what projects local planners would use American Rescue Plan Act funding on. (Shad Burner, director of federal initiatives with Missouri Department of Economic Development)

A new hyperscale data center is expected to be operational in Kansas City by 2024 — bringing global social media and tech giant Meta to the metro and making good on promises that a Northland development could be the next great national technology hub. The Kansas City Area Development Council and its partners announced the news this week at Union Station, detailing plans for the nearly 1 million-square-foot Meta facility at the Golden Plains Technology Park — a 5.5 million-square-foot data center campus at the corner of Interstate 435 and U.S. 169 in Kansas City, Missouri (east of Kansas City International Airport). (Darcy Nothnagle, director of community and economic development, Meta; Tim Cowden, president and CEO of the KCADC)

Nebraska

After Duncan Aviation asked for and received $3.35 million in city economic development funds for a $36.6 million project to build a new hanger, other local Lincoln businesses reached out for assistance from the city fund many had forgotten existed. Former Mayor Chris Beutler created the fund in 2009 when he set aside $6 million from a surplus in special assessments to promote economic development, but the fund has rarely been used and many of the current council members were unaware of its existence until Duncan applied for the money.

New Jersey

Invest Newark, the City of Newark’s Economic Development Corporation, has received a $500,000 investment from JPMorgan Chase. Through this support, Invest Newark intends to grow its current customized lending, technical assistance and business development programming. This grant will also allow Invest Newark to continue providing education, capacity building and loan funds to small business, infrastructure, real estate and innovation projects through its Invest Newark Small Business Fund, Invest Newark Infrastructure Fund, and its Invest Newark Real Estate Fund. (Invest Newark Interim President and CEO Roy Southerland)

New Mexico

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and company officials announced today that Curia, formerly AMRI, a leading contract research, development, and manufacturing organization, is expanding its operational facilities in New Mexico and plans to add substantially to its workforce. The company is set to add up to 274 employees in Albuquerque with an average salary over $50,000. The State of New Mexico is contributing up to $5 million to support the expansion through assistance from the Local Economic Development Act job-creation fund. (Economic Development Department Cabinet Secretary Alicia J. Keyes)

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Wednesday announced the delivery of over 60 million dollars for infrastructure investments in New Mexico’s Borderplex, further supporting economic development and global trade in New Mexico and building on prior investments in the Santa Teresa area. (Economic Development Department Secretary Alicia J. Keyes; Jerry Pacheco, President and CEO of the New Mexico Border Industrial Association)

New York

New York progressives take aim at wasteful ‘economic development’: Pointing to a series of boondoggles, legislators are pushing for more transparency on economic development programs to fund a social spending wishlist. A spokesperson for Empire State Development, which is charged by the state with overseeing many such projects, disputed how the report characterized its track record. “ESD will continue to make smart, strategic investments – with built-in mechanisms for transparency and accountability,” spokesperson Kristin Devoe said in an email, citing the organization's existing database of economic incentives.

A coalition of Democratic state lawmakers and advocacy groups today lambasted New York state’s economic development efforts and released a list of what they called the 12 worst deals of the past decade.

Lee E. Koppelman, a planning visionary who during four decades fought to impose a regional agenda for economic development and environmental conservation across Long Island, died on March 21 in Stony Brook, N.Y. He was 94.

North Carolina

Historically, Rowan County’s proximity to transportation routes like Yadkin River and the N.C. Railroad has played a major role in its economic viability. Today, interstate expansion in Rowan and Cabarrus counties continues to factor into the county’s ongoing economic prosperity. (Rowan Economic Development Council President Rod Crider)

The Cary Town Council unanimously approved a new 5-story development in downtown Cary called Meridian East Chatham. (Cary’s economic development director Ted Boyd)

There’s a new source of funding support for rural economic development, and the program is now accepting applications, the North Carolina Department of Commerce announced today. The $48 million fund, known as the Rural Transformation Grant Fund, is administered through the Rural Economic Development Division. (North Carolina Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders)

Ohio

A decade after the opening of the Seasons Road-state Route 8 interchange, more economic development is occurring in the corridor as businesses take advantage of available land and easy access to the highway. The wave of new economic activity stands to benefit the cities of Stow, Hudson and Cuyahoga Falls, with growth boosting the potential for more jobs and income tax revenue. (Diana Colavecchio, community development director for the city of Cuyahoga Falls.)

Oregon

After taking several years off due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Snake River Economic Development Alliance, the Oregon Small Business Development Center and the Ontario Area Chamber of Commerce will host the Western Treasure Valley Economic Breakfast. (Matt Borud, Marketing and Innovation Administrator, Idaho Department of Commerce; Kristen Nieskens, Executive Director, Snake River Economic Development Alliance; Mark Gregory, State Director, Oregon Small Business Development Center; John Breidenbach, President & CEO, Ontario Area Chamber of Commerce)

Pennsylvania

Ask many people in Elk County or any of the six counties that the North Central Pennsylvania Regional Planning and Development Commission (North Central) serves exactly what North Central does, and you will get a variety of answers. Most know North Central as giving out business loans throughout the six-county region under their umbrella (Cameron, Clearfield, Elk, Jefferson, McKean, and Potter Counties.). If they have been in local government, they might tell you how North Central serves as the CEDO (Certified Economic Development Organization) for the area or how they also oversee the WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) supplemental nutrition program. Others might know that North Central is the local representative for the Appalachian Regional Commission, which is an economic development partnership agency of the federal government and 13 state governments focusing on 423 counties across the Appalachian Region. As new board members appointed by county governments throughout the region found out on Wednesday, North Central is all of those things and more.

Jeffrey K. Box, president/CEO of the NEPA Alliance, was recently appointed as chairperson of the Development District Association of Appalachia.

Lawrence County and New Castle airport officials are spreading the word to businesses and industries, that the skies over New Castle are friendly and open for business. This seemingly quiet hub of an airport serves many purposes, and in fact, sees nearly 45,000 take-offs and landings a year, from recreational to privately owned planes to small corporate jets. On rare occasions, it serves an important purpose as a hub for transporting donated organs for transplants. “It’s not so common that it happens all the time, but enough that it’s significant,” James Farris, chairman of the New Castle Airport Authority, explained.

The Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation is proud to welcome new members to the organization’s Board of Directors, as well as to recognize incumbent board members who have begun new terms this year. The newest members to join the board since LVEDC’s 2021 annual meeting program were welcomed to the organization during the LVEDC 2022 Annual Meeting virtual program on March 22. (LVEDC President & CEO Don Cunningham)

South Dakota

Brookings Economic Development Corporation recently launched a newly designed website, created by Golden Shovel Agency, to further strengthen its online presence and economic growth for the region. (Leigha Dempsey Voegeli, Marketing and Admin Specialist BEDC; Aaron Brossoit, CEO of Golden Shovel Agency)

Texas

The Katy Economic Development Council has a new president and CEO with a renewed vision for helping businesses in the Katy area flourish. Chuck Martinez has been in his new position for a month, and he’s already established a clear path for the EDC to bolster and grow the area moving forward.

On Wednesday, the Amarillo Economic Development Corporation hosted its annual “State of the Economy” event, touting the steady growth that occurred in the city over the last year. AEDC President Kevin Carter pointed out that the city of Amarillo was able to make significant economic growth in 2021 coming out of the pandemic.“We’re the only city over 50,000 with 20 months of continuous sales tax growth. That’s a huge indication of how well our economy is doing,” Carter said.According to the AEDC, Amarillo saw $91,925,630 in sales tax collection and $8,717,588 in hotel/motel tax collection in 2021.

The Frisco Economic Development Corporation announced that Jasmin Brand is the organization’s first Director of Innovation, according to a news release. Brand, who began her role on March 14, brings more than 16 years of digital media, entrepreneurship, strategic collaboration and partnership development to her new role. “Jasmin brings an incredible background of sales and marketing, entrepreneurial, tech and innovation experience to this new role,” Jason Ford, president of Frisco EDC, said in the release.

A group of young entrepreneurs gathered Saturday for a Copperas Cove Chamber of Commerce workshop designed to help them create and build their own businesses in preparation for next week’s inaugural Oscar’s Market at Ogletree Gap Park. A joint effort between the Chamber and the Cove Economic Development Corp., the Aspiring Professionals program is the brainchild of Michelle Rocha, a past chair of the Cove Chamber’s board of directors.

Mesquite’s economic development is continuing its upward trend. Kim Buttram, Mesquite’s executive director of economic development, told City Council at a Monday meeting that sales tax revenue has increased between the first quarter of 2021 and the first quarter of 2022.

Recruiting logistics, distribution and warehousing businesses is the key for the area’s growth, according to the [Orange County Economic Development Corporation](https://orangecountyedc.com/). In an announcement made this week, EDC Executive Director Jessica Hill said a partnership with VisionFirst Advisors and Foremost Quality Logistics will help make the plan a reality.

Virginia

Dennis Bickmeier has been appointed as Executive Director of Henrico’s Sports and Entertainment Authority.

The Front Royal-Warren County Economic Development Authority Board of Directors has extended leases and talked about focusing on its more marketable properties. (Board Chairman Jeff Browne)

The data center industry brings $1.2 billion in tax revenue into the Virginia economy annually, including $1 billion to local municipalities and $174 million to the state, according to a new study from the Northern Virginia Technology Council. (Jennifer Taylor, NVTC president and CEO)

Wisconsin

Once vowed to be ‘Eighth Wonder of the World,’ Foxconn survives as a spec development: Regional economic officials say they’re hopeful about the site’s future, however. Jim Paetsch, senior vice president and executive director of the Milwaukee 7 Regional Economic Development Partnership, told board members Wisconn Valley can still attract manufacturers.

Ray French, regional economic development director for the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., won Young Professional of the Year from Momentum West.

Wyoming

Parag Chitnis has been chosen as the University of Wyoming’s new vice president for research and economic development.


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


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