Table of Contents
Welcome to the 58th weekly edition of Economic Development and Developers in the News.
Today's issue contains economic development news from 107 economic development executives and organizations in 35 states, and Canada.
A 25-year resident of the Golden Heart City, Jomo Stewart took over as president and CEO of the Fairbanks Economic Development Corporation in January after previously serving as FEDC’s energy, military and mining specialist and senior project manager. He succeeded former CEO Jim Dodson, who served for more than 15 years.
Export leader Jonathan Bricker sees opportunity for Arkansas agriculture and aircraft. (Becca Caldwell, Director Of Rural Services, Arkansas Economic Development Commission; Denise Thomas, CEO, Arkansas World Trade Center)
Solano EDC breakfast highlights post-pandemic challenges. (Chris Rico, Director, Solano EDC; William C. “Bill” Allen, CEO & President, Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation)
The Chukchansi Economic Development Authority, operator of the Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino, today announced the repayment of the remaining balance of $26.2 million to Western Alliance Bank, which will fully retire its obligations under its bank loan.
Paso Robles was recently awarded a $2.8 million grant from the Economic Development Agency to improve broadband internet access by installing fiber optic cable throughout the city. (Paul Sloan, Economic Development Manager, Paso Robles; Loreli Cappel, Deputy Director of Economic Development, Atascadero)
The arrival of the first cruise ship to the Humboldt Bay port in two years and its disembarking passengers is likely to have a positive economic impact, but the magnitude is hard to determine. (Swan Asbury, Economic Development Manager, Eureka; Julie Benbow, Executive Director, Humboldt County Visitors and Tourism Bureau)
Only 35 percent of jobs in Stanislaus County, Calif., are considered "quality jobs" that allow for economic mobility, according to a new report. But Stanislaus 2030, a countywide economic development initiative, wants to change that. (Dillon Olvera, Co-Chair, Stanislaus 2030; Catherine Larsen, Marketing & Communications, Stanislaus 2030)
The National Aboriginal Capital Corporations Association announced Sakitawak Development Corporation won this year’s Indigenous Community Owned Business Award of Excellence. (Tyler Morin, CEO)
On this week’s segment of Road to Recovery with Douglas Magazine, CHEK’s Hannah Lepine chats with George Hanson, president of Vancouver Island Economic Alliance. Vancouver Island Economic Alliance is best known for incubating the ‘Island Good‘ buy-local initiative, their advocacy work in designating the Island as an official Foreign Trade Zone, their work growing the forestry industry and their annual Economic Summit.
The City of Terrace has been recognized for its economic development initiatives by the British Columbia Economic Development Association. The city won a BCEDA award in the category of economic development and marketing innovation for its ‘northwest BC workforce and resident attraction initiative’. (Dale Wheeldon, President & CEO, British Columbia Economic Development Association; Katerina Anastasiadis, CEO, Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce; Arthur Mercer, Director of Community Initiatives, NCIED)
The Regional District of Central Kootenay was recognized for achieving excellence in economic development, winning two British Columbia Economic Development Association awards for its community economic development strategy Coordinated Leadership: Community Led Economies of Scale. (Eric Burton, President & CEO, Factor 5 Group; Pat Desmeules, Administrator, Kaslo & Area Chamber of Commerce)
The future looks good for tourism in Salmon Arm, if 2021 is an indication. There were more visitors to city in 2021 than before pandemic. (Lana Fitt, Manager, Salmon Arm Economic Development Society; Kate Watson, Marketing Coordinator, SAEDS; Caitlin Thompson, Projects Coordinator, SAEDS)
The Colorado Small Business Development Center TechSource: Commercialization Program has opened applications for its virtual Tech Venture Accelerator for Women. This highly-focused 10-part cohort series is designed to help emerging companies in Colorado's advanced industries overcome hurdles to accelerate growth and development. (Sharon King, Program Lead)
The Annapolis City Council approved funding for an economic development pilot program that offers free consulting services to help five maritime businesses grow their sales and hire more workers. (Alan Christensen, National Center for Economic Gardening)
The Global Business Development division of the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade and four Colorado-based composites companies will attend the JEC World trade show in Paris, France. The only global exhibition trade show of its kind, this opportunity will showcase Colorado’s cutting-edge commitment to making composite materials processes, products, and services more accessible, affordable and secure. (Martín González, Business Development Manager, Global Business Development Division, OEDIT)
Jeff Flynn, the city’s longest-tenured economic development official, has left his post after more than two decades with the Wilmington government to become vice president at Applied Bank. In this role, Flynn is responsible for commercial and real estate lending.
The Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast in collaboration with the US Chamber Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes launched the Space Coast Military Spouse Economic Empowerment Zone. The Space Coast MSEEZ was created to tackle military spouse un- and underemployment and connect this talented group with career opportunities. (Lynda L. Weatherman, President & CEO, Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast)
The Southern Economic Development Council Board of Directors announced Matthew Tackett as the new president. Tackett replaces retiring president Gene Stinson. (Will Williams, President & CEO, South Carolina Economic Development Partnership; Clay Snowden, Manager of Membership Operations, Kentucky Association for Economic Development; Will Williams, President/CEO, Economic Development Partnership, Aiken, SC.)
Carroll Tomorrow’s leadership has chosen Travis Haggard to serve as vice president of economic development. The announcement was made this week by Karen Handel, president and chief executive officer of the public-private partnership.
Mahi Pono and the Maui Economic Development Board announced the winners of its 2022 STEMworks Solutions Agriculture Challenge. Students from King Kekaulike and Baldwin high schools secured top honors and were awarded cash prizes. (Britney James, Program Specialist, Maui Economic Development Board)
It's been two months since Joliet's economic development director Derek Conley left to take a similar job in west suburban St. Charles. On Monday night, the Joliet City Manager informed the City Council that he's hired a new economic development director for City Hall. Cesar Suarez, the city of Peoria's senior business development specialist, has been hired to fill Conley's vacancy, Capparelli announced at Monday's pre-council meeting.
Revitalizing North Lawndale will require more stores and education to keep dollars in the community. (Richard Townsell, Executive Director, Lawndale Christian Development Corp.; Daphne Williams, COO, North Lawndale Employment Network)
National Small Business Week is being celebrated by the Small Business Administration the first week of May. Whiteside County Economic Development is joining in support of small businesses by promoting a new, online program the county economic development office uses to help small businesses. (Gary Camarano, Director, Whiteside County Economic Development)
Moline has announced the hiring of a new community and economic development director. The city said Ryan Hvitløk accepted an offer to be Moline’s new community and economic development director, a post that has been vacant since 2019. Hvitløk will come from Hutchinson, Kan., where he was director of planning and development.
Greg Wathen, president of the Evansville Regional Economic Partnership plans to retire in the fall after over 15 years of work in the Evansville Region and 36 years in economic development. (Jenna Richardt, Vice President for Community and Economic Development, Evansville Regional Economic Partnership)
A longtime leader in the economic development community of southern Indiana has announced retirement plans. Greg Wathen, president of the Evansville Regional Economic Partnership, says he will retire this fall after more than 36 years in economic development.
Duke Energy has promoted Noblesville resident Katy Preidt as the company’s newest economic development manager with a focus on recruiting and supporting companies in Duke Energy’s Indiana service territory.
Starke County Economic Development Foundation Executive Director Lisa Dan gave an update to both the Starke County Commissioners and the Starke County Council members last week on activities of the Foundation.
The transformation of a former department store building into an arena for hockey, concerts and other events will help pump new life into an aged Douglas Avenue corridor, Urbandale city officials and others say. (Curtis Brown, Economic Development Director)
Recognizing the desire of Ogden to accelerate its housing interests, the Ames Economic Development Commission has come to an agreement with the City of Ogden for an enhanced level of support beyond those that would generally be expected. The agreement comes as a result of the City of Ogden’s annual membership investment in the Boone County Economic Growth Corporation, which entered a partnership with the AEDC earlier this year. The overall goal of this agreement is for the sustained, planned, and coordinated growth of housing in the Ogden area. (Dan Culhane, President and CEO of the Ames Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Commission)
The City of El Dorado announced it was among the first round of awardees for the Building a Stronger Economy economic development grant program. The City received $3 million for water infrastructure and industrial development. The Strengthening People and Revitalizing Kansas Executive Committee allocated $100 million in COVID-19 relief funds to the BASE program.
About 130 community leaders from Lawrence and Topeka will be in Northwest Arkansas today through Friday as part of an economic development and community-building program that is jointly hosted by the Lawrence chamber of commerce and the Greater Topeka Partnership, which is a conglomeration of Topeka’s economic development, visitor and business organizations. (Bonnie Lowe, president and CEO of the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce)
Frank McCrady, chairman of the SEDC Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer of the East Montgomery County (Texas) Improvement District, is pleased to announce that Matthew Tackett will be the new President of SEDC.
A robust lineup of speakers has been announced for the Stand Up Rural America Summit, a national economic development conference coming to Somerset-Pulaski County in July. (Chris Girdler, President & CEO, Somerset-Pulaski Economic Development Authority; Michelle Allen, Executive Director, Lake Cumberland Tourism; James Chavez, President & CEO, South Carolina Power Team)
Greater Louisville Inc. has received a national award for economic development in the city. This is the eighth consecutive year Louisville Forward, the city’s economic and development sector, has received the Mac Conway Award. Site selection magazine handles the awards. (GLI President Sarah Davasher-Wisdom)
Kentucky will never again be a flyover state, Gov. Andy Beshear told the Kentucky Association for Economic Development on Thursday at the Owensboro Convention Center. “We have arrived,” he said, referring to two of the largest investments in state history. “If they make fun of our accents, we’ll take their jobs.”
The Baton Rouge Area Chamber received the 2021 Mac Conway Award for Excellence in Economic Development by Site Selection magazine. Other groups amongst the honorees include Opportunity Austin (TX), Charleston Regional Development Alliance, Nashville Chamber of Commerce (TN) and One Columbus.
Piscataquis County Commissioners, frustrated with the county’s economic development council’s former leader and his focus on broadband, debated this week whether to cut the group’s funding. The commissioners’ frustration stemmed from the actions of John Shea, former executive director of the Piscataquis County Economic Development Council, who resigned in March after leading the group for two years. He became head of a nonprofit organization in Kansas.
Eastern Maine Development Corporation is pleased to name Amy Collinsworth as Katahdin Region economic development director. Collinsworth will provide direct services to the region, acting as a catalyst for coordination and economic development, working with local, state, federal partners, and community stakeholders.
Marriott International’s new Bethesda, Maryland, headquarters and adjacent hotel has been named Maryland Economic Development Project of the Year by the Maryland Economic Development Association. One of the largest developments in Montgomery County in years, the combination headquarters and hotel at 7707 Woodmont Ave. in downtown Bethesda, is a $600 million project. The Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation nominated Marriott for the award.
A Baltimore County official who was at the center of an inspector general investigation remains on the county payroll nearly a year after he stopped working. County Executive Johnny Olszewski Jr.’s administration told reporters last summer that William “Chris” McCollum resigned from his six-figure post as deputy director of the county’s economic development department.
After 30 years with Frederick County government, Helen Propheter is unsure what’s next. Propheter, the county’s economic and workforce development executive director, has worked for the county government since graduating college. She said she hopes to work for a local business after she retires on June 22.
Transportation is one of the major reasons for economic inequality, according to county leaders throughout the region who participated last Thursday in the United Way of Central Maryland’s virtual Realities of Inequity Series. Leonard Parrish, director of community and economic development for Harford County joined other local experts as they discussed the transportation challenges for people living in both urban and rural areas, as well as solutions to break down transportation barriers.
Montcalm County commissioners quizzed the new director of the Montcalm Economic Alliance about the city of Greenville’s lack of participation with the organization. MEA Executive Director Olivia Blomstrom appeared before the Montcalm County Board of Commissioners on Monday to provide an update about the MEA, which she was hired to lead last December. The MEA partners with The Right Place, a regional economic development organization based in Grand Rapids, with the MEA paying The Right Place about $100,000 annually for its services and for Blomstrom’s position.
US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo announced that the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians will receive a $1 million grant from the department’s Economic Development Administration to support economic diversification strategies. The grant is funded by the American Rescue Plan Indigenous Communities program.
The City of Cheboygan is looking into an impact analysis to determine the feasibility and impact of running infrastructure — such as sewer and water utilities — outside the city limits to help foster economic development. (Dave Emmel, president of the Northern Lakes Economic Alliance)
Pontiac officials want to hear from small business owners, new and old, and entrepreneurs at any point in their business development. City officials are convening a town hall for that purpose on Saturday, May 14. Speakers listed include Linnette Phillips, the city’s economic development director, and business consultant Tameka Ramsey.
The Michigan Economic Development Corporation is violating the Freedom of Information Act by refusing to release documents related to its Pure Michigan tourism program, according to a lawsuit filed by the Mackinac Center Legal Foundation.
The Duluth Economic Development Authority voted Wednesday to spend up to $65,000 to have EntryPoint LLC to advise it on the prospects for a publicly owned fiber-optic system. Chris Fleege, director of Duluth's planning and economic development department, explained that the city is considering the possibility of building an open-access broadband system.
The Golden Triangle Development LINK is pleased to announce the following staff additions and changes: Leah Howard has been hired as the Director of Finance. Maggie Wilson will assume the new role of Economic Development Administrative Support, as well as remain the Executive Assistant to the CEO. Meryl Fisackerly has been promoted to Chief Operating Officer. She will be charged with organizational operations in her new role and will continue her work with economic development projects. Betsy Young has been promoted to Vice President of Economic Development. “When you hire good people, change is easy,” said Joe Max Higgins, CEO of the Golden Triangle Development LINK.
Governor Phil Murphy, alongside Choose New Jersey President & CEO Wesley Mathews, today celebrated the signing of three Memorandums of Understanding between New Jersey academic and real estate entities with top Irish tech universities and a prominent startup accelerator. The MOUs aim to create mutually beneficial opportunities and forge collaboration in innovative projects that foster entrepreneurship, business development, career development, and international education.
Cayuga County has a new economic development leader. Bradly Broadwell, an Oswego County native who has worked in business development positions in the public and private sectors for more than 30 years, will start this week as the chief executive officer of Cayuga Strategic Solutions.
The Rowan EDC says the opening of Chewy’s 700,000 square foot distribution center at exit 81 was perhaps the first domino to fall along the Interstate-85 corridor, while Macy’s recent announcement of a 1.4 million sf facility at exit 68 has been the biggest. Another large domino fell recently as Nucor Corporation, the largest producer of steel in the country, will invest $350 million in a new facility in Lexington off exit 96, just north of Rowan County.
JobsOhio was recognized as the Nonprofit Organization of the Year this week based on the evaluation of more than 3,500 organizations by a team of 230 business leaders across the US The competition is part of the prestigious Stevie Awards, known as the world's premier business recognition program of the American Business Awards. (JP Nauseef, President & Chief Executive Officer)
The long-ago abandoned Allen County Home will be demolished and the land cleared for redevelopment thanks to the Ohio Brownfield Remediation Program. Lydia Mihalik, Director of the Ohio Department of Development, made a stop in the area this week to announce projects awarded in the first round of funding through the $350 million statewide program.
Salem’s economic development head spearheaded a meeting in Houston for the South Central Missouri region, bringing together heads from across Dent and Texas counties and others as well as representatives from the Meramec Regional Planning Commission, Rep. Jason Smith’s office, and Intercounty Electric. (Sally Burbridge, Economic Development Director for the City of Salem and Dent County)
As the city of Oregon looks to its economic future, the Oregon Economic Development Foundation is welcoming two new faces who hope to help bring the city new growth and success. Alec Thompson is the foundation’s new executive director, and Heidi Coughlin is the new director of communications.
Middletown’s economic development director has quit after she was suspended from her job with pay nearly a month ago “pending further investigation into matters relating to her employment,” city records show. The resignation of Chris Xeil Lyons, who held the job since April 2020, is the latest in a string of departing top administrators for this southwestern Ohio city.
Ohio Southeast Economic Development and JobsOhio came together Tuesday to announce an investment of just under $5 million for an industrial park. It’s a project that’s been a long time coming for Noble County. “It’s a testament to the local leadership here in the county,” JobsOhio President/CEO JP Nauseff said.
With little fanfare, Gov. Kevin Stitt on Monday signed into law a $698 million economic incentive package designed to reel in an electric vehicle battery manufacturing plant to Pryor. Stitt and lawmakers are hoping that package along with existing state incentives coupled with more from the Cherokee Nation and local and county officials will be enough to land a company that they say could create up to 70,000 direct and indirect jobs across Oklahoma, including in construction, hospitality and related areas. (Scott Mueller, Oklahoma’s secretary of commerce)
The Schuylkill County Industrial Development Authority is receiving $750,000 for a development project at the Highridge Business Park. The county-approved authority, formed to bring industrial and economic development, was awarded the grant funding from the state’s Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program. (Frank Zukas, president)
The Pierre Economic Development Corporation has renewed its commitment for a second year to provide scholarship support for students taking the Learn & Earn program through Capital City Campus. (PEDCO board chairman Andy Hubbart)
The city of Worthing has entered into an economic development partnership with Sioux Metro Growth Alliance. A new economic development specialist being hired by SMGA will support the communities of Worthing and Harrisburg, which are contributing to fund the position. (Jesse Fonkert, president and CEO)
What happens when you put Downtown Memphis Commission staff and members of the organization’s five boards on a bus tour of Downtown Memphis? A lot of laughter and a lot of talk about economic development. (DMC President Paul Young)
Director of Strategic Planning/Research Analyst Kathrine Bailey of Austin Peay State University recently graduated as part of the 15th class through The University of Tennessee Center for Industrial Services’ Tennessee Certified Economic Developer Program. This cohort brings the total number of Tennessee certified economic developers to 86.
For 31 years in a row, the Nashville metro has hired the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce to spearhead the work of recruiting companies to Nashville and enticing businesses already here to double-down on their investments. Today, the relationship between the chamber and the mayor's office has sunk to "an all-time low … in the history of Metro," in the assessment of At-large Councilman Bob Mendes. That chill casts rare doubt on what once seemed like a given — the chamber and city entering into another annual six-figure contract. "We've seen it in many, many places where the city and the chamber are not on the same page. When that relationship becomes dysfunctional, economic development suffers," said Angelos Angelou, founder and CEO of Austin-based AngelouEconomics. The 26-year-old firm does site selection and crafts economic development strategies for public-sector clients.
Galveston is considering expanding its use of Chapter 380 agreements, a development incentive that the city traditionally has restricted to redevelopment of historic buildings. Instead of using the tool only as a way to renovate historic structures, city leaders also hope to attract new business and companies that will bring jobs and growth. (Michele Hay, city economic development coordinator)
One of the Austin EDC’s main roles is to manage the financing and deal-making for public works projects that would be paid for through a proposed tax increment reinvestment zone. The TIRZ, which would channel increases in property tax revenues in the zone toward infrastructure throughout the area, is still being discussed by City Council, with the next progress not expected until July. (CEO Theresa Alvarez)
The Pflugerville City Council approved an economic development performance agreement between the Pflugerville Community Development Corporation Board of Directors and MoboTrex, Inc., a leading manufacturer of traffic control systems headquartered in Davenport, Iowa. The agreement, previously approved by the PCDC. offers a relocation grant of up to $150,000 based on MoboTrex investing $13 million, expanding into a 130,000-square-foot facility, and relocating or employing a total of 110 full-time jobs within the five-year term. (Amy Madison, executive director)
A Fort Worth Report analysis of Dallas Regional Chamber data compiled from news articles shows 44 corporations have either expanded operations, added new facilities or relocated their headquarters to Fort Worth since 2010. Compared with the total number for North Texas, that accounts for 8.3% of all announcements since 2010. “That is a little bit of a concern if Fort Worth isn’t really capturing its share of business expansion projects,” said John Karras, vice president of business development for TIP Strategies, a strategic consulting firm hired by the city in 2017.
French pharmaceutical corporation Gattefosse’ has chosen Lufkin as their first development site outside their native country. The Lyon-based company has said it intends to build a nearly $60 million research and development facility in the Lufkin Business Park. (Lufkin Economic Development Director Bob Samford )
The Regional Development Corporations of Vermont announced their collective support for prioritizing investment in an early childhood care and education system that meets the needs of all Vermonters. The 12 Regional Development Corporations of Vermont are private, non-profit organizations that are key players in driving economic growth in our state. Through their work in each region, the RDCs improve the economy, the standard of living, and the quality of life for Vermonters. The RDCs of VT represent thousands of businesses of every size, and from all sectors and backgrounds. (Fred Kenney, President of the RDCs of Vermont; Erika Hoffman-Kiess, Executive Director of the Green Mountain Economic Development Corp.)
Telly Tucker, Arlington County’s economic development director since 2020, will become the first president of the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research on May 31, the Danville-based institute announced Tuesday.
It’s not just Telly Tucker who’s leaving Arlington Economic Development. But Tucker is not the only impending high-level departure from AED. Cynthia Richmond, the Arlington’s Deputy Director of Economic Development, is retiring,
Beth Simms, director of economic development for Franklin County, and Mary Zirkle, director of planning and community development at the Town of Bedford, graduated from the University of Oklahoma Economic Development Institute on April 7 at the OU EDI spring session.
Along the waterfront in downtown Port Angeles, a new community space is taking shape. Field Arts & Events Hall will provide a world-class home for arts and events that provides access to cultural and educational experiences, and sparks economic activity throughout the region. First Fed Bank has pledged $2 million to Field Hall to bolster economic development and support businesses in downtown Port Angeles. “Field Hall will be the anchor for the downtown business district in Port Angeles,” said Mark Abshire, executive director of the Port Angeles Chamber of Commerce. “It will have a huge economic and cultural impact in the greater region.”
Focused on the motto, “Where business feels at home,” the Jefferson County Development Authority is proud to be a part of a “flourishing, thriving community,” said JCDA Executive Director Dennis Jarvis.
During their April interim meeting on Sunday, members of the West Virginia Legislative Joint Commission on Economic Development heard policy recommendations that, if put into place, may help continue to attract business and grow the state’s economy. Of those recommendations, provided by West Virginia Department of Economic Development Secretary Mitch Carmichael and Executive Director Michael Graney, speciality program funding and site readiness were at the top of the list.
A bill passed on day two of the governor’s called special session is expected to attract more high-impact economic development to West Virginia. House Bill 201 establishes funds for infrastructure and economic development projects. Gov. Jim Justice has proposed putting up to $600 million in the fund at the end of the fiscal year. The bill swiftly passed in the senate, but was laden with debate in the house.
During a meeting of the Joint Committee on Economic Development, members of the West Virginia Legislature heard about a number of economic successes in the state, as well as a wish list for the future. Mitch Carmichael, the secretary of the West Virginia Department of Economic Development, talked about new projects coming to the state like the Nucor Steel plant in Wayne County. He explained that investments from the $34 million “Close The Deal” fund had brought nearly 1,200 jobs to the state with a net cost of less than $17,000 per job, but more money is needed. (Carmichael and Economic Development Executive Director Mike Graney)
The board of directors of the Door County Economic Development Corporation has selected Michelle Lawrie to be the organization’s next executive director, following a search throughout Wisconsin. Lawrie will replace Steve Jenkins, who resigned earlier this year. She will start her new position May 9.
Barron County Economic Development Corporation held its 25th Annual Business Awards Banquet at Das Lach Haus in Cumberland. BCEDC Executive Director Dave Armstrong shared successes of its business consulting program and current efforts in the areas of workforce, housing and childcare. He also highlighted immigration successes to address workforce shortages.
Jon Conrad has been welcomed as the Wyoming Economic Development Association’s newest board member. Conrad currently serves on the Uinta County Economic Development Commission and as the Chairman of the Wyoming Mining Association’s Regulatory Affairs Committee. He has been in Soda Ash manufacturing, holding various leadership positions for over 27 years.
The Sweetwater Economic Development Coalition marks the week of May 9 to May 13, 2022, as the next Economic Development Week. They have an exciting week planned for Economic Development Week; this week is all about educating and celebrating the business community of Sweetwater County. Our local business community is the heart and soul of our County. We have coordinated several free networking and educational opportunities to help them grow and sustain their businesses,” said Kayla McDonald, Economic Development Specialist for the Sweetwater Economic Development Coalition.
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