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62 - Economic Development and Developers in the News

Econ dev news from 175 economic development executives and organizations in 33 states, Puerto Rico, and Canada.

Dane Carlson
Dane Carlson
14 min read
62 - Economic Development and Developers in the News
Photo by David Dibert / Unsplash

Table of Contents

Welcome to the 62nd weekly edition of Economic Development and Developers in the News.


Today's issue is brought to you by LocalIntel.

Alabama

Darryl Washington has been named economic development director of Montgomery. Washington has spent 25 years in development, most recently as Director of District Development for Urban Impact in Birmingham’s Historic Civil Rights District. (Ivan W. Holloway, Executive Director, Urban Impact)

Arizona

More than 15 years after Phoenix voters approved bonds to finance ASU’s construction downtown, the city will take control of several university-used parking lots. (Christine Mackay, Economic Development Director, City of Phoenix)

Arkansas

Northwest Arkansas population growth continues. Bentonville was the fastest-growing in the state and the 28th fastest-growing in the nation; growing by nearly 5% in 2021.

California

The Pasadena City Council’s Economic Development and Technology Committee will discuss new sidewalk, alley and on-street dining permit fees that are proposed to be included in the City’s General Fee Schedule. The proposed outdoor dining permit fees will range from $11 to $14 per square foot per year for sidewalks and alleys, and from $7 to $8.50 for on-street dining in the BID zones. Non-BID zones could charge $4.25 per square foot per year for sidewalks and alley permit fees, and $4 for on-street fees.

The Tahoe Prosperity Center is hosting the 5th annual Tahoe Economic Summit, after a one year hiatus. The theme for 2022 is “Envision Tahoe.” (Sheba Person-Whitley, Regional Director, U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration; Elmy Bermejo, Region IX Sdministrator, SBA)

Santa Barbara is leaning toward a possible commercial vacancy tax on property owners who neglect their buildings.

Canada

Coast Funds welcomes Patricia Sayer as their new Manager of Economic Development. Patricia will work with First Nations to identify opportunities, create business plans, manage risks, and evaluate the impacts of their economic investments with Coast Funds.

Kitsumkalum First Nation held its annual joint venture round-up, which saw several stakeholders come together to discuss economic development. (Diane Collins, General Manager, Kitsumkalum Economic Development Group)

The City of Victoria received $750,000 in funding to retrofit the streetscape of Government Street North in downtown Victoria. (Federal Minister Harjit Sajjan)

Here's 14 things you should know about Oakville's 2021 Economic Development Report. (Rebekah Stormes, Director, Economic Development, Invest Oakville)

Colorado

OEDIT will promote Colorado companies at Hannover Messe industrial technology trade show. (Samantha Albert,
Deputy Director, OEDIT)

Rural businesses in Colorado will soon take part in a unique competition. Business owners will pitch their ideas, with the best one winning funding for the execution of their vision. Think “Shark Tank” meets rural America. (Don Albrecht, Director of the Western Rural Development Center, Utah State University; Don Macke, Vice President, e2 Entrepreneurial Ecosystems)

Naked Wines picked Denver over Seattle for its second headquarters. The California Bay Area wine subscription service was looking for a lower-cost market to expand. (Patrick Meyers, Executive Director, Denver Economic Development)

Montezuma County Administrator Shak Powers has resigned to take a job with Region 9 Economic Development District. Powers recently received an award from Region 9 for Economic Development Leader of the Year.

Connecticut

Derby struggles to hire an Economic Development Director. A lack of funds to advertise job openings is being blamed for the seeming lack of interest in the vacant position. The city has not had a full-time economic development director since Sheila O’Malley left to take on the same position in Ansonia in 2013.

The Southbury Economic Development Commission is pleased to announce the launch of its Makers Spotlight – a free monthly digital newsletter dedicated to highlighting a different local artist or artisan from within the community.(Kevin Bielmeier, Director, Southbury Economic Development)

Florida

Bradenton Area EDC applauds Bradenton city officials for planning substantial capital investment in essential infrastructure and more. (Sharon Hillstrom, President & CEO, Bradenton Area Economic Development Corp.)

Georgia

The City of Roswell has hired Darryl Connelly as the city’s new Economic Development Director. Connelly is the first person to hold this new position in the City. He comes to Roswell from New York City, where he has spent the last 11 years working as senior vice president of asset management for the New York Economic Development Corporation. (Peter Vanstrom, Economic Development Liaison, Roswell; Andrew Kimball, President & CEO, New York Economic Development Corporation)

Qcells, one of the largest and most-recognized renewable energy solutions providers, will invest $171 million in a new solar module manufacturing facility in Dalton, creating 470 new jobs in Whitfield County. (Yoonie Kim, Director of Korean Investment, GDEcD; Carl Campbell, Executive Director, Dalton-Whitfield Joint Development Authority; Steve Daniel, Executive Director, Georgia Quick Start; Pat Wilson, Commissioner, GDEcD)

Hawaii

A total of 818,268 visitors came to the Hawaiian Islands in April 2022, representing a 96.3 percent recovery from April 2019 and the highest recovery rate since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in Hawai‘i. Visitors spent $1.6 billion in the islands in April, an increase of 21 percent compared to the $1.32 billion reported for April 2019. (Mike McCartney, Director, DBEDT;  John De Fries, President & CEO, HTA; Charlene Chan, DBEDT)

Illinois

Illinois is rethinking economic development. (Elliot Richardson, Co-Founder & president, Small Business Advocacy Council)

The City of Freeport hopes a $75,000 grant will create a path toward economic development and recovery. (Wayne Duckmann, Community and Economic Development Director, City of Freeport)

Indiana

Eli Lilly and Company plans to expand its manufacturing footprint in Indiana by investing $2.1bn in two new manufacturing sites at Indiana's LEAP Lebanon Innovation and Research District in Boone County. (Molly Whitehead, Executive Director, Boone County EDC)

Indiana wants to take a lead role in the semiconductor industry and help alleviate lingering effects of the global microchip shortage. As part of the effort, the Indiana Economic Development Corp. has formed the Accelerating Microelectronics Production & Development Task Force. (Brad Chambers, Indiana Secretary of Commerce; Jimmy Costa, Senior Vice President of Innovation and Semiconductor Strategy, IEDC; Dave Roberts, Executive Vice President of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, IEDC; Joe Carley, Director of Economic Development, Indiana University; Mark Lewis, Executive Director, Emerging Technology Institute)

Iowa

The old Cooper's Mill site along the Cedar River in the northwest quadrant of downtown is now the proposed site of a long-sought casino, city officials tell Iowa's News Now. The plan calls for a $250 million gaming center built on the site of the old hotel, which was demolished several years ago. (Caleb Mason, Economic Development Manager, Cedar Rapids Economic Development)

Debi Durham, Director of the Iowa Economic Development Authority visited Audubon County. (Laurie Gilbert, Administrator, Audubon County Tourism)

Kentucky

Kentucky economic development officials have signed off on a plan that will allow Covington to set up a $45.5 million tax-increment financing district that includes the site of a former Internal Revenue Service facility. (Tom West, Director, Covington Economic Development)

The Northern Kentucky Area Development District has announced the appointment of Tara Johnson-Noem as its new executive director. Johnson-Noem replaces Lisa Cooper, who will retire from NKADD as Executive Director in August.

Ian McClure, J.D., the University of Kentucky’s associate vice president for research, innovation and economic impact and executive director of UK Innovate, has been appointed to serve on the National Advisory Council on Innovation & Entrepreneurship by U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo.

Louisiana

When the railroad line shut down, it meant a rapid economic decline for the Concordia Parish. Now a new Railroad Development District seeks to open a new railway to economic development opportunities. The parish recently adopted a new ordinance creating the Northeast Louisiana Railroad Development District. (Bryant Killen, Deputy Director, Lake Providence Port Commission)

LSU’s Stephenson National Center for Security Research and Training, or SNCSRT, has a new executive director, James Olson. (Samuel J. Bentley, Vice President of Research & Economic Development, LSU)

The Lafayette Economic Development Authority is working with local oil and gas companies to engage in the energy transition as part of the organization's strategy for growing the parish's economy. (Mandi Mitchell, President & CEO, LEDA)

Maine

News Center Maine reported on a survey by the Maine Film Association and the University of Maine School of Economics professor Todd Gabe that shows Maine’s film production industry has driven an annual $64 million economic impact for the state.

Maryland

Transportation is a critical need for Maryland workers in underserved communities. (Mike Kelly, Executive Director, Baltimore Metropolitan Council; Leonard Parrish, Director, Harford County Community and Economic Development)

Massachusetts

Mayflower Wind announced a $120 million economic development investment. (Leonard M. Lee, President and CEO of the SouthCoast Community Foundation; James D. Oliveira, Executive Director, MassHire Greater New Bedford Workforce Board; Bob Rio, Senior Vice President at Associated Industries of MA)

$3.3 million in funding is being made available to support local businesses and entrepreneurs in New Bedford. The funding will be distributed under two separate initiatives: NBForward!, which will provide funding to businesses negatively affected by the pandemic, and NB100!, which will focus on assisting early-stage entrepreneurs affected because of their industry or location. (Anthony Sapienza, President, New Bedford Economic Development Council; David Parker, CEO, EforAll; Jennifer Downing, Executive Director, New Bedford Ocean Cluster)

Michigan

A natural children’s playscape in the works for two years in downtown Kalamazoo could be open this July if crowdfunding goals are met. (Michele Wildman, Executive Vice President of Economic Development Incentives, MEDC)

Minnesota

The Association for Black Economic Power, a Minneapolis-based community economic development organization, announced its new board members. (Debra Hurston, Executive Director)

Mississippi

Amazon's newest fulfillment center in Mississippi is set to open in mid-July, 18 months after the company announced the project. The 700,000-square-foot (65,000-square-meter) facility at the Madison County Mega Site in Canton is expected to bring more than 1,000 full-time jobs to the area. (Joey Deason, Executive Director, Madison County Economic Development Authority)

Missouri

To provide infrastructure to Missouri’s largest soybean producing region, Cargill has unveiled plans to build a new soybean processing facility in Pemiscot County, near Hayti and Caruthersville, to support growing domestic and global demand for oilseeds driven by food, feed, and fuel markets.

One of Kansas City’s biggest tourist draws, the salvaged steamboat, is poised to depart the City Market when its lease expires in 2026. (Mike Klinghammer, Director of Economic Development, City of St. Charles)

Nebraska

Pierce County's Susan Norris was named the 2022 Nebraska Economic Developers Association Professional of the Year in the community category. (Susan Norris, Director, Plainview and Pierce County)

New Mexico

Meet Jessica Priego, communications pro for the Albuquerque Regional Economic Alliance.

Michael Espiritu, president, Roswell-Chaves County Economic Development Corporation, recently completed the Advanced Economic Development Leadership executive education program and was awarded the Master Economic Development Practitioner certificate.

New York

The Lewis County Development Corporation is seeking up to six community leaders to serve on the Community Economic Development Fund program committee. (Brittany Davis, Executive Director of Economic Development, Lewis County Development Corporation)

John Murphy, the former owner of The Snowman in Lansingburgh, will be joining the Rensselaer County to serve as deputy director of economic development.

Batavia Development Corporation Board of Directors has hired Tammy Hathaway as the organization’s new economic development director.

The Village of Lake Placid, Town of North Elba and Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism have joined together to write a destination management plan for their communities.

A motel to housing conversion is planned in Kingston. Special emphasis will be placed on moving homeless families and individuals out of long-term stays in hotels or motels in Ulster County and into permanent supportive housing. (Tim Weidemann, Director, Ulster County Department of Economic Development)

Tammy Hathaway has about a week and a half before she officially leaves the United Way to become economic development director for the Batavia Development Corporation. The BDC Board of Directors hired her Thursday to replace Brett Frank, who left in late March to become the city’s director of public works.

North Carolina

Nash County set for economic expansion as Raleigh-based SinnovaTek buys, builds facility – with others on the way. (Andy Hagy, Nash County Director of Economic Development.)

Nineteen rural North Carolina communities will participate in a new program to boost their economic development capacity, under a pilot initiative from the state’s Department of Commerce. The initiative, known as Rural Community Capacity or RC2, welcomes its first cohort of participants today, on site in Boone.

Ohio

The Ohio Capital Journal took a deep dive into JobsOhio. Their concern: a lack of transparency.

Seneca County commissioners heard a 2021 annual report from Fostoria Economic Development Corp. President Renee Smith at a meeting Thursday morning. “In 2021, Fostoria received $51.6 million in new investments, created 230 jobs and retained 832 jobs,” Smith said.

Oklahoma

Norman and national economic development experts say the city needs to better position itself for growth by leveraging advantages like the University of Oklahoma and a sizable healthcare system while improving in other areas. OU ranks in the top 7.9% in total research expenditures, according to the university website. The Norman Regional Healthcare System is one of the last independent health systems in the country. Both companies combined employ more than 18,000 people, according to their respective websites. In order to attract more jobs like these to the area and further grow the economy, Lawrence McKinney, president and CEO of the Norman Economic Development Coalition, said Norman must embrace economic policy.

The city of Tulsa’s chief community and economic development organization has a new name: PartnerTulsa. The rebranding of the Tulsa Authority for Economic Opportunity was announced at a Thursday news conference in north Tulsa. (Kian Kamas, executive director of PartnerTulsa)

Pennsylvania

The former UPMC Sunbury hospital campus has been donated to DRIVE, an economic development entity serving five counties in central Pennsylvania. (Jennifer Wakeman, DRIVE executive director)

More than 1,000 people are set to arrive in Johnstown in the next few days for the 31st Showcase for Commerce, a nationally renowned business and industry trade show and defense contracting exhibition. Government and defense industry leadership are set to converge on Johnstown for the Showcase as federal planning for the next fiscal year develops. (Cambria Regional Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Amy Bradley; David Norquist, president and CEO of the National Defense Industrial Association)

A proposed bill, HB2265, would enhance oversight for Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority loans; it passed unanimously in the House of Representatives on May 25 and awaits action in the Senate.

Puerto Rico

The Department of Economic Development and Commerce unveiled the strategic framework of sustainable economic development for Puerto Rico that proposes that the island “becomes the ideal place to live and do business.” The “PRopósito” plan is described as an integrated and collaborative project, which is implemented in conjunction with private companies, nonprofit organizations, business associations and government entities. (DDEC Secretary Manuel Cidre)

South Carolina

Taylor Brittan Dietz is a new consultant at Quest Site Solutions.

The S.C. Economic Developers’ Association awarded Jim Cook, executive director of the Cherokee County Development Board, its Local Developer of the Year award during the 2022 SCEDA annual conference.

South Dakota

The Watertown Development Company has named Michelle Kakacek as the WDC’s new Executive Director effective immediately.  The announcement comes after an extensive national search with an executive search firm, DDA Human Resources Inc.

Texas

Richardson Texas City Manager Don Magner announced the appointment of two assistant city managers today, concluding a search that attracted more than 170 applicants from across the nation. The new appointees are Michaela Dollar from the City of Georgetown, in the Austin area, and Charles Goff from the Town of Sunnyvale, located in North Texas. Their appointment to the two vacant assistant city manager positions completes the makeup of the City Manager’s Office leadership team and is the first time the office has been fully staffed since before COVID impacted municipal staffing levels in early 2020. “I am very excited about adding Michaela and Charles to our team” said Magner. “Each possesses a unique set of skills and experience that will help further our economic development strategic plan, enhance our efforts in special redevelopment areas, and bring creativity to our master planning initiatives.

Officials from the Amarillo Economic Development Corporation, along with the Amarillo City Council, expressed numerous times how historic Tuesday’s regular meeting was, with the council passing five economic development-related measures that could bring in billions of dollars in economic impact if two new companies choose to call Amarillo home. “This might be a grand slam,” Amarillo Mayor Ginger Nelson said during the meeting. “Thirty-three years the EDC has been in existence, looking for projects to incentivize similar to this… This is a tremendous and unique impact. We’re very grateful to have this in our community. We don’t have to vote for it. We get to vote for it and what a privilege.” (Kevin Carter, the president and chief executive officer of the Amarillo EDC)

The Round Rock City Council approved an economic development agreement May 26 that will bring 75 new jobs and more than $12 million in capital investment to Round Rock over five years.

The Port Arthur Economic Development Corporation now has an interim CEO to serve as the board looks for a permanent leader. The PAEDC board appointed Krystle Villareal Muller, who is the corporation’s contract compliance manager.

I think we’re in a golden era of economic development,” Jonas Titas, president of the Victoria Economic Development Corp., said in a recent interview discussing the possibility of satellite launches originating from a refurbished runway at Victoria Regional Airport and other proposals in the works. It’s not science fiction, either. A number of economic ventures may come to town which could mean increased use of the port and rail lines. Titas said he saw the Port of Victoria as key to the economic future of the community with at least half of the economic inquiries his agency fields involving the port.

Thirty-eight local businesses participated in Market Lubbock’s downtown grant program in the past two years, and the organization says those businesses collectively invested $24,197,172 to revitalize the spaces for their businesses. “Each investment continues to improve buildings making it possible for new residences, restaurants, headquarters, and office buildings to open, which attracts more people and visitors to the area,” said Lubbock Economic Development Alliance and Visit Lubbock. (Jorge Quirino, director of downtown and special projects for Market Lubbock, Inc.)

The Andrews Economic Development Corp. is set to receive $1.5 million for infrastructure for a business park. The Commerce Department in Washington, D.C., reported this week that its Economic Development Administration will award the grant to the economic development corporation in Andrews to support a new business park. This grant is funded by the American Rescue Plan.

Brazos County leaders met Tuesday morning to approve an economic development agreement between the county and Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies. This new agreement matches a previous one from 2015 and provides additional tax incentives for Fujifilm Diosynth with the hopes to spur new economic development in the county.

Miriam Castillo has been appointed as the City of Laredo's interim economic development director.

Brownsville Community Improvement Corporation President and CEO Josh Mejia has taken a job with another economic development organization in the Rio Grande Valley and will be stepping down from the BCIC post he’s held since Nov. 4, 2016. The organization he’s joining, which is not in Brownsville, will make an announcement on June 1, he said.

Friday was William Myers last day as VP of Business Development for Denison Development Alliance and Denison Development Foundation after 8+ years.  He is joining the Gainesville Economic Development Corporation as Executive Director.

Friday was David Leezer's last day as the VP of Business Attraction for the Wichita Falls Chamber of Commerce. He will be returning to the St. Louis region.

United States

The International Economic Development Council announced the launch of its IEDC Equity in Economic Development Fellowship Program. Starting this month, six deserving diverse young people will serve as Fellows at economic development organizations across the country and Canada for a 10-week time span. They will gain important hands-on experience while advancing substantive and impactful projects in their communities.

Virginia

Success and disappointment for York County’s economic development program are woven in among the highlights of the nearly 29-year career of county official James W. “Jim” Noel Jr., who is retiring this week.

Although the nation’s commercial real estate market is still lagging for the most part, that isn’t the case in Charlottesville, where fresh new multiuse projects have perked up interest in workspaces. They’re “a big chunk of space,” says the city’s economic development director, Chris Engel.

Jim Spore, president and CEO of Reinvent Hampton Roads, will retire June 15, the regional economic development organization announced. Nancy L. Grden, executive director of the Hampton Roads Maritime Collaborative for Growth & Innovation and associate vice president of Old Dominion University’s Institute for Innovation & Entrepreneurship, will replace Spore.

The Shenandoah County Tourism and Economic Development is on the hunt for a business retention and expansion coordinator. Jenna French, the county’s tourism and economic development director, said the position will be “an important part of moving our office and our efforts in economic development forward.”

Washington

It has been two years since any licensed day care service were available in this city, according to community leaders. “It is a crisis,” said Belinda Larsen, Dayton Chamber of Commerce executive director. “It’s a need — not a want, and the community needs to address this crisis.” A public forum addressing the utter lack of child care in Columbia County took place last week about what steps are being taken to solve the economic development problem.

Wisconsin

A first-in-the-nation Hmong economic development conference is coming to Eau Claire in September.  The inaugural Hmong Economic Advancement, Research and Equity Conference, known as the HERE Conference, is scheduled Sept. 14-16. The conference, created by the Hmong American Leadership & Economic Development, is intended to offer entrepreneurs, business professionals and policymakers the opportunity to explore strategies to build wealth equity for Hmong and other ethnic entrepreneurs. (Mai Xiong, president of HALED)


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Founder/Host of Econ Dev Show. Also: Sitehunt CEO and economic development consultant in Greater Houston, Texas.


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