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63 - Economic Development and Developers in the News

Econ dev news from 199 economic development executives and organizations in 25 states, and Canada.

Dane Carlson
Dane Carlson
13 min read
63 - Economic Development and Developers in the News
Photo by Ali Moharami / Unsplash

Table of Contents


Welcome to the 63rd weekly edition of Economic Development and Developers in the News.


Today's issue is brought to you by LocalIntel.

Arkansas

Trish Watkins, the longtime director of grants and finances at the World Trade Center Arkansas, has been promoted to the center's chief of staff. (Denise Thomas, CEO, WTC Arkansas)

California

For the first time in 14 years, the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce has a new president after Judy Kruger -- a business and economic development specialist -- assumed the post on Wednesday. (William C. “Bill” Allen, CEO & President, Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation)

Governor Gavin Newsom early last week visited Astra Space, Inc. in Alameda to highlight the economic and technological advancements California is supporting in partnership with space companies.

The City of San José Office of Economic Development and Cultural Affairs announced the extension of the application period for its Small Business Grant Program. This program is designed to help small businesses with back-due rent, as well as support local property owners. (Nanci Klein, Economic Development & Cultural Affairs Director, City of San Jose)

Vermont Slauson Economic Development Corporation received a generous $100,000 grant from Silicon Valley Bank to support underserved small businesses and entrepreneurs in South Los Angeles. The funds will go directly to the organization's CDFI revolving loan fund, which helps revitalize the South LA community by giving affordable small business loans to minority-owned small enterprises. (Joseph T. Rouzan, III, CEO, VSEDC)

The Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors will discuss the open county-funded Economic Development Director position that went vacant in April following Cole Przybyla’s resignation. The county has recently had conversations with the City of Sonora about potentially partnering again on economic development.

Canada

Alastair Baird announced his retirement as Renfrew County’s Economic Development Officer.

The newly formed Saskatchewan Indigenous Investment Finance Corporation is now accepting applications for its guaranteed loan program, aimed at stimulating and increasing Indigenous participation in the mining, energy oil and gas, forestry and value-added agriculture sectors of the economy. (Prabha Ramaswamy, CEO, Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce; Sandra Klashinsky, Interim CEO, Alberta Indigenous Opportunities Corporation; Matt Smith, CEO, SIIFC; Jason Childs, Associate Professor of Economics, University of Regina)

Merritt City Council had its first draft review of the staff’s new Economic Development Strategy, a document that will guide the City’s economic recovery and revitalization efforts until 2031. (Stephanie Moore, Economic Recovery Advisor, City of Merritt; Laurel Douglas, CEO, Economic Trust of the Southern Interior)

About a year and a half since it was formed, Sarnia’s economic development department has helped bring in $2.5 million in grants while crafting plans for things such as waterfront revitalization and the city’s airport. (Matthew Slotwinski, Senior Economic Development Officer, Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership; Kelly Provost, Director of Economic Development, City of Sarnia)

A federal PacifiCAN economic office is planned to open in Prince George. (Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of International Development and Minister)

Leigh Anne Doyle has joined the economic development department of the City of Elliot Lake. (Steve Antunes, Economic Development Manager, City Of Elliot Lake)

The Six Nations of the Grand River Economic Development Corp. made $23 million in 2021- down from the almost $30 million it took home in 2020. (Matt Jamieson, President & CEO, The Six Nations of the Grand River Economic Development Corp.)

The University of Waterloo and the Economic Developers Association of Canada hosted their 50th anniversary banquet to celebrate their partnership and accomplishments. (Penny Gardiner, CEO, EDAC; Aileen Murray, Former President, EDAC; Paul Parker, Professor and Director, EDP at Waterloo)

Colorado

The Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade announced today two new grant programs designed to accelerate pandemic recovery in Colorado tourism destinations and the state’s outdoor recreation industry. (Pat Meyers, Executive Director, OEDIT; Tim Wolfe, Director, CTO; Conor Hall, Director, OREC)

Colorado's art-focused economic development program is likely to get a financial boost. Gov. Polis is expected to sign the bill adding $20 million to the Community Revitalization Grants program.

Florida

Miami-Dade County has hired Fernando Casamayor as the county’s new chief innovation and economic development officer, and Michaeljohn Green, as deputy director of economic development.

Beth Cicchetti, Executive Director of the Florida Economic Development Council, shares her love for economic development, cultivating cross-industry teams dedicated to regional improvement, and her excitement about Florida's plan for the future.

Indiantown's dilemma: Planning for expected growth with scarce existing revenue.

Palm Beach County's shortage of affordable housing has started to affect the growth of its economy, to the point where its recent expansion is in jeopardy. (Kelly Smallridge, Chief Executive, Palm Beach County Economic Development Board; Clinton Forbes, Executive Director, Palm Tran)

Meghan DiGiacomo is a new Senior Site Selection Consultant at Global Location Strategies.

Georgia

Leadership Southeast Georgia, a professional development and leadership program throughout 10 coastal counties, continued its 2022 programming in Bryan and Effingham counties. LSEGA is a five-month course of ongoing personal and professional growth to build connections and learn collaboration skills that empower the participants to improve the region. (Jessica Hood, Vice President, Effingham County Industrial Development Authority; Justin Farquhar, Vice President, Development Authority of Bryan County; Stacy Watson, Director Economic & Industrial Development of the Georgia Ports Authority; Brent Stubbs, Vice President for Economic Development, Savannah Technical College; Justin Farquhar, Vice President, Development Authority of Bryan County; Brandt Herndon, CEO, Effingham County Industrial Development Authority; Erin Phillips, Community Development Director, City of Springfield; Kathryn Johnson, CEO, Richmond Hill-Bryan County Chamber of Commerce)

A new shopping center anchored by a Publix will hold a grand opened Saturday in Dunwoody. Named “Perimeter Marketplace,” the $38 million development includes the 25,000-square-foot grocery store in addition to several shops and restaurants. As part of the project’s financing, the city approved a $2.3 million tax abatement in early 2020. (Michael Starling, Economic Development Director, City of Dunwoody)

Roswell has hired Darryl Connelly as economic development director to help attract commercial businesses. (Andrew Kimball, President & CEO, New York Economic Development Corporation)

Illinois

Chicago is the latest to approve plans for a casino in the heart of the city, with an eye toward its revenue, jobs, and equity benefits. (Brett Theodos, Director of the Community Economic Development Hub, Urban Institute)

Indiana

Evonik announced a $220 million lipid production facility for mRNA-based therapies in Lafayette. Investment in the facility is driven by up to $150 million from the US Government through the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority. (Dana Higgs, Creative Director, Indiana Economic Development Corporation; Scott Walker, President & CEO, Greater Lafayette Commerce)

Iowa

Mia Reed will serve as creative economic development advisor to assist the Oskaloosa community in the development of a creative economic community.

Kentucky

A groundbreaking will be held for a new multi-use tourist attraction and economic development project in Irvine. (Joe Crawford, Executive Director, Estill Development Alliance)

Fruehauf North America celebrated its grand opening of the company’s new $15 million, 290-job operation in Bowling Green, signifying the semi-trailer manufacturer’s return to production in the United States. (Jeff Noel, Secretary, Cabinet for Economic Development in Kentucky)

Three Kentucky leaders have joined the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship. (Alejandra Y. Castillo, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development, U.S. Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration; Byron G. Auguste, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Opportunity@Work; Melissa Bradley, Founder, Managing Partner, & General Partner, 1863 Ventures; Christopher Chung, CEO, Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina; Orin Herskowitz, Executive Director, Columbia Technology Ventures; Neil Kane, Director, Curriculum and Capstone Advising, ESTEEM Graduate Program, University of Notre Dame; David Kenney, President & Executive Director, VertueLab; Wendy Lea, Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer, Energize Colorado; Ian McClure, Associate Vice President for Research, Innovation and Economic Impact, University of Kentucky; Bill Provine, CEO, Delaware Innovation Space; Liz Shuler, President, American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations; Grace Simrall, Chief of Civic Innovation & Technology, Louisville Metro Government)

A report from the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce indicates the state is 22,000 workers short of where it was when the pandemic began. However, this comes at a time when Kentucky's economy seems to be doing better than ever. (Charles Aull, Senior Policy Analyst, Kentucky Chamber of Commerce; Ashli Watts, President & CEO, Kentucky Chamber of Commerce)

Louisiana

The YMCA of Northwest Louisiana is hosting a panel to discuss and highlight local economic development. (John George, President and CEO of Biomedical Research Foundation of Northwest Louisiana Justyn Dixon, President and CEO of North Louisiana Economic Partnership; Eric England, Executive Port Director at Port of Shreveport-Bossier; Rocky Rockett, Executive and President of the Greater Bossier Economic Development Foundation; Drew Mouton, Director, Office of Economic Development, City of Shreveport)

Michigan

Ford will invest more than $2 billion across the company’s plants in Michigan, and will create more than 3,200 manufacturing jobs. (Quentin Messer Jr., CEO, MEDC; Tim Lake, President & CEO, Monroe County Business Development Corporation)

Coastal Container, a packaging supplier will spend $25 million to expand in the City of Holland and create at least 62 jobs. (Amy Lebednick, Business Solutions Director, West Michigan Works!)

Minnesota

As labor market tightens, the new frontier for many employers is workers they’ve overlooked. Experts say workers struggling with barriers to employment, such as skills gaps or child care burdens, can bring value to employers willing to adapt. (Mary Myers, Director of Business Development, Lake Superior Community Partnership)

Former Community & Economic Development Director for the City of Victoria, Marty Doll, has been hired by AE2S as a Strategic Communications Consultant. (Jenn Brewington
Community & Economic Development Director, City of Victoria)

Missouri

Chariton County gets creative to drive economic development. (David Gaines, Community & Economic Development Director, City of Brunswick)

New Jersey

Parsippany Troy-Hills Economic Development Committee welcomed Mexican Antojitos restaurant with a grand opening ribbon-cutting celebration. (Robert Peluso, President, Parsippany Area Chamber of Commerce)

New Mexico

The New Mexico Economic Development Department will be hosting an online webinar, “Is Business Incubation Right for Your Community?” to help communities to determine if a business incubator facility is the right investment. (Marie Longserre, President & CEO, Santa Fe Business Incubator; Josue Olivares, Executive Director, South Valley Economic Development Center; Agnes Noonan, President, WESST; Shani Harvie, Director of EDD’s Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Office)

New York

The Westchester County Office of Economic Development came into 2022 confident that the programs in place would help support existing businesses operating in the county, attract new businesses in priority sectors to the region and continue to spur the economy. Halfway through the year, the Office is pleased with the success that these programs have seen thus far and is looking forward to expanding these programs where possible and exploring new opportunities to support the county’s businesses, nonprofits and entrepreneurs. (Bridget Gibbons, Westchester County Director of Economic Development

Six community leaders with diverse backgrounds and ideas are being sought for the new Community Economic Development Fund program committee in Lewis County. (Naturally Lewis Executive Director Brittany Davis)

Area Development, the leading publication covering site selection and facility planning, recognizes 18 states with its Annual Shovel Awards, which are presented annually to the states that have achieved the most success in terms of new job creation and company capital investment. States in five population categories — Texas, Virginia, Arizona, Kentucky, and Kansas — are being awarded Gold Shovels in overall recognition of job-creating/investment projects begun in 2021. And, in recognition of the fact that two states — North Carolina and Tennessee — went beyond the Gold Shovel standard, they are being recognized for their achievements with our new Platinum Shovel awards.

A bill meant to strengthen oversight of economic development spending in New York is heading to Gov. Kathy Hochul's desk for her consideration.

North Carolina

D’Artagnan, Inc., a specialty food company distributor, will create 23 new jobs in Granville County, Governor Roy Cooper announced today. The company will invest more than $4 million to locate a warehouse and distribution facility in the City of Oxford.

Currituck County will eliminate its Economic Development Department on July 1. It’s a move that caught Economic Development Director Larry Lombardi by surprise. Lombardi, who has been the director for five years, will be out of a job at the end of the month.

The Jacksonville Onslow Economic Development says it has been awarded $1 million from the SITE Program, a program that supports communities in identifying potential sites for economic development.

In partnership with the Rowan Chamber of Commerce, Miller Davis and RoleCall, the Rowan Economic Development Commission is unveiling its talent attraction campaign. The Choose Rowan talent attraction hub provides a look into what life would be like in Rowan to prospective residents. “This talent attraction effort is more than a year in the making and we’re excited to launch our campaign,” said Rod Crider, Rowan EDC President.

Bertie and Hertford counties are among the 19 rural communities chosen for a new, state-led initiative to help increase planning, implementing and managing economic development programs and opportunities. The Rural Community Capacity, or RC2, program, is a pilot effort by the North Carolina Commerce Department involving Appalachian State University’s Walker College of Business, the state announced last week.

Stokes and Surry counties are getting help in developing industrial sites from the organization that oversees much of the funds from North Carolina’s tobacco-settlement money. The Golden Leaf Board of Directors voted Thursday to approve an allocation of $39,650 for the Westwood Industrial Park in Surry County. The funding helps complete eligible due-diligence work to make sure the sites are ready for development, such as environmental assessments, archaeological analysis, and mapping.

Haywood County may have found a buyer for a county-owned 22-acre plot off Jonathan Creek, as long as everything goes smoothly during the lengthy due diligence period. If the sale goes through, it would return the property to the tax rolls after a 15-year absence, provide badly-needed housing and earn the county a small profit on its investment. (Community and Economic Development Director David Francis)

Ohio

Just outside Cleveland Thursday Gov. Mike DeWine announced Ford will expand its Avon Lake assembly plant to build a new commercial electric vehicle. They plan to invest $1.5 billion in the project and create 1,800 new jobs in Ohio. The state’s business development arm, JobsOhio, is offering incentives, but is not releasing the details publicly yet.

Brenda Latanza, director of the Preble County Development Partnership, has announced her retirement effective July 1. Latanza has led Preble County's development efforts, including retention and expansion of existing businesses, business recruitment, workforce development, regional and national marketing, and community development activities since February 2015. At its board of directors meeting Tuesday, the Preble County Development Partnership approved the hiring of Justin Sommer as the organization's new director.

Oregon

Pendleton’s drone testing hub has boosted economic activity at the airport, but so far there’s been no spike in local jobs. Local leaders hope growing a skilled workforce will attract manufacturers. (Steve Chrisman, Economic Development Director)

Economic Development for Central Oregon Board of Directors’ Executive Committee is pleased to announce the appointment of Jon Stark as CEO, effective June 1st. Stark has been with EDCO and Redmond Economic Development Inc. for 13 years and took over as Interim CEO of the organization on January 3rd.

Pennsylvania

A municipal economic summit was held in Lawrence County. Representatives in attendance are dissatisfied with the current economic development structure in the county and might consider forming a new entity.

Tennessee

HR&A Advisors Inc. has been chosen to create the "first strategic plan for economic development" for Metro Nashville. The creation of a city-specific economic development strategy will lay the foundation for how Courtney Pogue, director of the Mayor's Office of Economic and Community Development, wants to remake that office and its mission.

Texas

Jeff Sjostrom, who helped found the Galveston Economic Development Partnership more than 20 years ago, is stepping down to take a new job, the group announced Thursday. Sjostrom is the partnership’s founding president, a post he has held since May 1999. Later, the Aransas County Partnership Economic Development Corporation has announced Jeffrey Sjostrom has accepted the Executive Director position for the EDC beginning July 1.

Weslaco city officials see rapid growth in the city’s economy. Executive director of the Weslaco Economic Development Corporation, Stephen Valdez, said that there are five commercial sites being built concurrently along Expressway 83.

The McAllen Chamber of Commerce Board has named Josh Mejia as President and Chief Executive Officer effective June 29th, 2022.

Dallas County is weighing the merits of a government for southern Dallas’ inland port. (City of Hutchins’ / Hutchins EDC's economic development director Guy Brown; Inland Port Transportation Management Association, Executive Director Laura Freeland)

Once concentrated in just a few areas of the country, in the past several years tech hubs have begun popping up in new and unexpected places, including San Antonio, Texas. Business Facilities recently sat down with Sarah Carabias Rush, the group’s Chief Economic Development Officer, to learn more about the burgeoning tech industry in San Antonio and the future implications for the Lone Star State.

The search for a firm to help find the next leader of the city’s economic development corporation is coming to a close. A total of six firms submitted info in the Port Arthur Economic Development Corporation’s Request For Proposals by the May 27 deadline. According to information from the city, the firms that submitted proposals are: Johnson & Associates, Mike Barnes Group, Next Move Group, Strategic Government Resources, Logan Development Group, and The Pace Group.

Goldstone Consulting Group, a Site Selection and Economic Development consulting firm just became stronger with the addition of a veteran business leader to the team. Traci Anderson, a seasoned business consultant and economic developer has joined the Goldstone Consulting team as Manager of Consulting Services. Most recently she led the economic development efforts in Buda, Texas as the Executive Director of the Buda Economic Development Corporation. (David Gaines, Managing Director)

"We're running out of real estate," said Jessica Hill, director of the Orange County Economic Development Corporation, said.

Virginia

Governor Glenn Youngkin today announced that Axxor, a global leader in paper honeycomb development and production, will invest $3.5 million to expand its manufacturing capacity in Ringgold East Industrial Park in Pittsylvania County. (Linda Green, Executive Director of the Southern Virginia Regional Alliance)

Interim Deputy City Manager Robert Moore, who previously led the city’s economic development department, resigned Wednesday. Moore began his tenure with the city in September 2016 and took over directing economic development for Portsmouth in 2017 following Mallory Butler’s departure. Before that, Moore was a planner in Suffolk and served as a business development manager in Chesapeake.

The nonprofit Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation has announced it has secured a grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration to enhance tourism, outdoor recreation and overall economic development in Virginia. (Carolyn Ward, chief executive officer of the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation)

During a recent visit to India, representatives of Fairfax County Economic Development Authority connected with 32 companies to highlight business opportunities in Fairfax County, Virginia, (Juhi Naithani, Assistant Director of International Business Investment)

The Wise County Industrial Development Authority purchased a vacant office building in the Lonesome Pine Regional Business and Technology Park with a $1.2 million loan from the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority, officials announced Wednesday. (Wise County IDA Executive Director Brian Falin)

Washington

With the hiring of Emilie Cameron last month to the position of president at Downtown Spokane Partnership, three Spokane major economic development organizations — Downtown Spokane Partnership, Greater Spokane Inc., and Visit Spokane — now are led by women. (Alisha Benson, CEO of GSI; Meg Winchester, CEO of Visit Spokane)

Seattle small businesses can now apply for the Digital Sales Access Program. Originally launched in 2021, the Digital Sales Access Program will provide a free point of sale system that allows small businesses — particularly those operating as “cash-only” — to expand their operations to accept debit, credit and other digital forms of payment. (Markham McIntyre, Interim Director of the Seattle Office of Economic Development)


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Founder/Host of Econ Dev Show. By day: Economic developer in Galveston County, Texas.


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