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64 - Economic Development and Developers in the News

Econ dev news from 185 economic development executives and organizations in 37 states, Puerto Rico, and Canada.

Dane Carlson
Dane Carlson
15 min read
64 - Economic Development and Developers in the News
Photo by Pascal Bernardon / Unsplash

Welcome to the 64th weekly edition of Economic Development and Developers in the News.

If this is your first time reading: Hello!

The Econ Dev Show is a podcast, weekday email newsletter, and blog of actionable strategies, fresh news, insights, and ideas from the economic development community and your host, Dane Carlson.

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Today's issue is brought to you by LocalIntel.

Alabama

Boeing, Alabama’s largest aerospace company, commemorated its 60th year of operation in Huntsville at the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber of Commerce. (Chip Cherry, President & CEO, Huntsville/Madison County Chamber of Commerce)

Officials in Dothan have formally kicked off a project to build a 100,000-square-foot speculative building in the Sam Houston Industrial Park to better prepare the Southeast Alabama city for industrial prospects. (Greg Canfield, Secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce; Dean Mitchell, Executive Director, Dothan Area Chamber of Commerce)

Alaska

Jenna Wright joined Anchorage Economic Development Corporation as Vice President. (Bill Popp, President & CEO, AEDC)

Arizona

Wendy Bridges, Goodyear’s economic development project manager, named president of the Arizona Association for Economic Development. (Carrie Kelly, Executive Director, AAED)

Harvey Krauss has been hired as Florence’s new economic development director and senior planner. Late last year, Florence’s first economic development director Elan Vallender resigned to return to his home state of Texas. (Janine Solley, Economic Development Director, Apache Junction)

Arkansas

Jack Thomas is the new Vice President of Economic Development at the Little Rock Regional Chamber.

California

Kevin Ham has been hired as the director of RSG.

A science-backed R&D firm in West Berkeley uses fermentation to create new ingredients for beauty, wellness and personal care. (Jordan Klein, Director of Planning and Development, City of Berkeley)

Solano Economic Development Corp. hired two student fellows. Kelvin Chan, a Solano Community College graduate who will be attending the University of California, Berkeley, in the fall, and Nandi Loggins-Glover, a political science major at California State University, Sacramento, were hired. (Chris Rico, President and CEO, Solano EDC)

Thea Gast has died. In 1982, Thea was elected to two terms (8 years) to the Arcata City Council, and from 1986 to 1988 as mayor. She served on the Arcata General Plan 2020 Task Force after her tenure on the city council, and became an active and invested board member of the Humboldt Bay Housing Development Corporation. She was also involved with the Arcata Economic Development Corporation, and the Redwood Region Economic Development Commission.

The Glendale City Council adopted a 3 year plan for growing the local tea ecosystem and enhancing the arts, culture and entertainment sector. (Soua Vang, Deputy Director of Community Development - Economic Development, City of Glendale)

Tuolumne County will no longer have a department head focused on economic development, and is downgrading the position to a Senior Administrative Analyst who will be under the county administrator. The shift was recommended to the board of supervisors by CAO Tracie Riggs. The change comes after Cole Przybyla’s departure three months ago as the Director of Innovation and Business Assistance.

Shaken by the COVID-19 pandemic, growing wildfires, more volatile weather, housing scarcity, congested roads, increasing reliance on tourism, and intensifying economic disparity, community leaders convened by the Tahoe Prosperity Center delivered a “Prosperity Playbook” to diversify, insulate, and grow the Tahoe-Truckee economy. (Heidi Hill Drum, CEO, Tahoe Prosperity Center; Wendy Loomis, Executive Director, Washoe Development Corporation/the Business Enterprise of the Lake Tahoe WashoeTribe)

A six-county economic development effort aims to unite the Central Coast. (Melissa James, President & CEO, REACH; Tahra Goraya, President & CEO, Monterey Bay Economic Partnership)

The city of Gilroy formalized a $350,000 consultant services agreement with Visit Gilroy to serve as the city's tourism arm. (Jane Howard, Executive Director, Visit Gilroy)

Canada

The agency involved in the merchandise for Winnipeg’s new branding said the criticism over the price point is fair. (Dayna Spiring, President & CEO of Economic Development, Winnipeg)

Almaguin Community Economic Development is losing one of its largest community members because it's become too expensive. (David Gray, Director of Economic Development, ACED)

In partnership with Lakehead University, and the Orillia Area Community Development Corporation, the Township of Oro-Medonte is in the process of updating its existing Economic Development Strategy. (Wendy Timpano, General Manager, Orillia Area Community Development Corporation)

Connecticut

The Wallingford Town Council will consider launching an investigation into the Economic Development Commission after the EDC circulated a flyer questioning the council’s process for allocating $13.1 million in federal pandemic relief funds. (Tim Ryan, Economic Development Specialist, Wallingford Economic Development Commission)

Florida

Okaloosa approves buying more land at Shoal River Ranch economic development site. (Nathan Sparks, Executive Director, Okaloosa EDC)

The City of Lakeland is pleased to announce the promotion of Jason Willey to Assistant Director of Economic Development. The position will report directly to Brian Rewis, Director of Community & Economic Development.

Resia will invest more than $40 million to establish a new manufacturing operation in Bay County, FL. The Miami-based vertically integrated real estate company expects to create 200 new jobs at the 200,000 square-foot, state-of-the-art facility. (Ben Moorman, Vice President, Bay County Economic Development Alliance; Shane Chadwick, Business Intelligence and Marketing Manager, Florida’s Great Northwest)

Staz Guntek joined Columbia County’s economic development team. (Glenn Hunter, Director, Columbia County, Florida Economic Development Department)

The city of Cape Coral welcomed T. Sharon Woodberry to her new position as the economic and business development officer last week. Woodberry replaced Ricardo Noguera who resigned several months ago.

Georgia

Study predicts that growth in Dunwoody could compare to Buckhead. (Michael Starling, Economic Development Director, City of Dunwoody)

The Belgian Economic Mission to the United States toured the Creative Media Industries Institute in an event highlighting the video gaming industry in Belgium and Atlanta.

Idaho

Bannock Development Corp. is hosting a meeting with Stephen Van Beek, BDC airport consultant and expert. (MiaCate Kennedy, CEO, Bannock Development Corp.)

Illinois

Ryan Hvitløk is the new community and economic development director for the City of Moline.

Cesar Suarez is the new economic development director for the City of Joliet. (Cesar Suarez, Economic Development Director, Joliet; Dough Pryor, President & CEO, Will County Center for Economic Development; Kala Sorensen, Director of Investor Relations, Will County Center for Economic Development)

Indiana

Hancock County officials have identified new potential areas for incentivizing development in an effort to get ahead of a forthcoming state law that will allow the establishment of innovation development districts. (Randy Sorrell, Executive Director Economic Development, Hancock County)

Iowa

Shawn Keeper, assistant director of Forest City Economic Development was one of 91 economic development professionals to attend the Heartland Economic Development Course in Blue Springs, Missouri. (Beth Bilyeu, Executive Director, Forest City Economic Development; Drew Conrad, Director, Institute for Decision Making; Lane Till, Executive Director, Professional Developers of Iowa; Jim Fram, Executive Director, Missouri Economic Development Council; Mike Feeken, President, Nebraska Economic Developers Association
Michael Davis, Chair, Select Oklahoma; Chris Schilken, Deputy Commissioner/Business Development Director, South Dakota Governor’s Office of Economic Development)

Des Moines developer plans historic renovation the last downtown brick warehouse. (Ryan Moffatt, Economic Development Coordinator, Des Moines)

Kansas

Kansas has won Area Development magazine’s coveted 2022 Gold Shovel Award, marking the second year in a row the state has received this national recognition for excellence in economic development. (Governor Laura Kelly; David Toland, Lieutenant Governor and Commerce Secretary)

Louisiana

Economic development trade publication Area Development magazine has presented Louisiana with the 2022 Silver Shovel Award, marking the 11th time in 13 years the state has been singled out for its capital investment and job creation. (Melody Lockwood, Executive Director, LED)

Maine

A crunch for affordable housing has limited options for people of moderate means to live in downtown Bangor. (Tanya Emery, Community and Economic Development Director, City of Bangor; Betsy Lundy, Director, Downtown Bangor Partnership)

Livermore officials consider hiring a professional to assist with economic development.

Westbrook Deputy Director of Economic Development Ashley Rand has accepted a job as Portland city clerk and will start work there in early July.

Maryland

The Cumberland Economic Development Corporation is pleased to announce that Dustin Freas and Jeffrey Silka have joined the Board of Directors. (Matt Miller, Executive Director, Cumberland Economic Development Corporation)

The Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation was named as the ninth and newest fund manager in the Maryland Small, Minority and Women-Owned Business Program. (Ben Wu, President & CEO, MCEDC; Emi Reyes, CEO, Latino Economic Development Center)

Massachusetts

Fall River wants to revitalize its downtown. Local leaders are in the early stages of exploring the creation of a Business Improvement District that would enhance services and other programs. (Michael O'Sullivan, Co-CEO, One SouthCoast Chamber; Rick Kidder, Co-CEO, One SouthCoast Chamber; Patti Rego, District Director, Viva Fall River; Jim McKeag, TDI Fellow at MassDevelopment)

MassMutual is due $100M in tax breaks, but they didn't deliver on promised jobs. Of 98 firms with a hiring target last year, 55 did not reach that number. (Eileen McAnneny, President, Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation; Phineas Baxandall, Senior Analyst, Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center)

What is the right vision for economic development in Lancaster?

Michigan

Cornerstone Alliance has been selected to be part of the Equity in Economic Development Fellowship Program, organized by the International Economic Development Council. Cornerstone says this means six young people will serve as fellows at economic development organizations around the country for a ten week period this summer. (Rob Cleveland, President & CEO, Cornerstone Alliance)

Christopher Germain is the new CEO of the Lake Superior Community Partnership.

Missouri

St. Louis Development Corporation will pause the sale of LRA properties in July 2022 as it proactively evaluates the incentive process against economic justice. (Neal Richardson, Executive Director, St. Louis Development Corporation)

Nebraska

Beatrice City officials have put in place an economic development plan beginning in 2023, approved recently by voters during the May Primary Election. The program uses part of the city’s local sales tax and will allow up to $300,000 annually for use in economic development over a six-year period.

New Mexico

The Roswell-Chaves County Economic Development Corp. will act as a “professional brokerage firm” to move funds between the city of Roswell and Ascent Aviation Services as the company constructs a hangar at the Roswell Air Center.

New York

The New York State Economic Development Council, a nonprofit membership organization that represents public, private and nonprofit economic development professionals, has named Sarah Lee, the CEO of Think Dutchess and executive director of the Dutchess County Industrial Development Agency as the Economic Developer of the Year.

The Westchester County Office of Economic Development today announced a partnership with leading accelerator group Cela Innovation to amplify and enhance the Element 46 incubator program. The new program will be known as the Element 46 Tech Accelerator Powered by Cela. (Bridget Gibbons, Westchester County Director of Economic Development; Deborah Novick, Westchester County Director of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, John Lynn, Co-Founder, Cela Innovation)

North Carolina

The Charlotte Regional Business Alliance is pleased to announce Jeremiah Anderson has joined the organization as the managing director of business recruitment. In his role, Jeremiah will focus on developing and executing the regional marketing and recruitment plan. (Chief Business Recruitment Officer Danny Chavez)

McKinley Perkinson has had a front-row seat to the struggles and successes of the counties north of the Triangle. Perkinson grew up in Granville County, married a man from Warren County and worked in the economic development office of Franklin County. Now, she’s spearheading growth for another community in that area – Vance County. “Due to its location, Franklin County has really taken off, being right next to Wake County,” says Perkinson, who took over as director of the Henderson-Vance Economic Development Commission in November.

While prices are on the rise, new businesses may be underestimating their startup costs. A new study from business.org found that 53% of businesses say they underestimated costs for their first year in business. (Will Gaskins, VP of Economic Development and Planning for the Downtown Raleigh Alliance)

Late last month, Wilmington Downtown Inc. accepted the resignation of its president and CEO Holly Childs, effective immediately. Childs had spent 16 months at the helm of the organization, which shifted its focus to economic development to coincide with her hiring.

Ohio

Harrison Crume is a new Economic Development Manager at The Montrose Group.

Dan Evers has died. He was instrumental in leading the way to boosting its economy and making it a better place to live — all the while ensuring that everyone he encountered shared a smile and a laugh. Evers served as Executive Director of the Clinton County Port Authority since fall of 2015.

The Union County-Marysville Economic Development Partnership (EDP) wants to better understand what is driving the county’s population growth in order to better forecast, plan, and prepare for future growth. (Eric Phillips, Executive Director)

Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz abruptly announced his resignation Friday afternoon after holding office for more than a decade. After finishing his final weeks as mayor, Mr. Montz will begin a new position July 5 as the president and chief executive of the Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership.

The Cuyahoga County Community Improvement Corporation recommended two economic development loans Thursday to support new business in Ohio City and East Cleveland. (Anthony Stella with the Department of Development)

It’s a team sport that can take years to score and bring big business with it. Economic Development partners working together to promote region.

After serving more than 20 years as the City of Lancaster’s Director of Economic Development, R. Michael Pettit’s last day will be June 30.

Economic Development partners working together to promote West Central Ohio: Economic Development is not done by one source. It’s a collaboration of many entities working toward a common goal of finishing the deal. The Regional Growth Partnership is one of those groups that is working to bring development to the region. (Regional Talent Manager for RGP, Charlene Paige)

Oklahoma

A $300 million tax increment financing district approved by Mayes County commissioners in late April could be headed to a general election Nov. 8. The 12-year TIF district inside MidAmerica Industrial Park, will be used to lure what has been deemed the largest proposed economic development project in Oklahoma history. Hoping to attract at least a $3 billion investment from an unnamed company, Gov. Kevin Stitt signed a bill this spring to provide the firm up to $698 million in rebates based on capital investment and job creation. (MAIP Chief Administrative Officer David Stewart)

Oregon

Jon Stark is the new Chief Executive Officer at Economic Development for Central Oregon.

Pennsylvania

The 10-county region appears to be rebounding to pre-pandemic levels as far as economic development is concerned. That was one of the key takeaways from the 15th annual Pittsburgh Region Business Investment Scorecard, released last week by the Allegheny Conference on Community Development and its affiliate the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance. This year’s scorecard details business investment activity that was announced in 2021 – including capital investment and new and retained jobs. (Jim Futrell, vice president of market research for the Allegheny Conference)

Puerto Rico

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration is awarding a $3.9 million grant to the Instituto de Formación Democrática, San Juan, Puerto Rico, to support a recovery coordinator position and related staff to develop the framework for establishing the new Recovery Innovation Coordination and Center of Excellence. This grant is funded by the American Rescue Plan.

South Carolina

Taylor Brittan Dietz has joined Quest Site Solutions as a consultant.

Greenville real estate executive Caroline Schroder received the 2022 Chairman’s Award during the [Greenville Area Development Corporation](https://www. greenvilleeconomicdevelopment.com/) annual meeting and luncheon on June 6. Don Erickson, the outgoing chairman of the GADC, presented Schroder with the award, noting she has been “an invaluable asset to the GADC for multiple years.”

Greenville City Council will consider approval of two economic development agreements supporting a local pharmaceutical manufacturer’s expansion plans this week.

South Dakota

The team at the Sioux Metro Growth Alliance is growing once again. Meet Lisa Zens, the newest member, whose focus will be on helping manage and attract growth in the communities of Harrisburg and Worthing.

Tennessee

Congressman Steve Cohen today announced that the Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration (EDA) will invest $3,731,439 for the construction of the Tailout Trail along the Mississippi River waterfront in Tom Lee Park. The grant will go to the Riverfront Development Corporation and the City of Memphis.

Gov. Bill Lee Tuesday, June 7, appointed Stuart McWhorter to serve as the next commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development, as Bob Rolfe, the current commissioner announced his departure for the private sector.

Texas

The City of Wilmer was recently recognized in the 2022/2023 Texas Economic Development Guide by Site Selection Magazine.

Downtown Bowie was the highlight of this week’s downtown assessment tour made by Catherine Sak and Shelly Hargrove of Texas Downtown Association along with Jasmine Amo with Nortex Regional Planning Commission.

The Wichita Falls Economic Development Corporation on Monday signed off on an incentive package for a new plant to be built in the city's business park. Winfield Solutions/Land O' Lakes intends to build a 100,000-square-foot building in the park at a cost of $14.2 million.

The San Marcos City Council has approved amd Economic Development Agreement to support a film production studio project. (Jason Giulietti, president of the Greater San Marcos Partnership)

The City of Killeen has been working to bring a grocery store since before October of last year, but those plans fell through. The Killeen Economic Development Corporation and Killeen Chamber of Commerce had been in communication with the owner and developer of the land, but ultimately the deal fell through. (KEDC Vice President Tad Dorroh)

The Fort Bend County Commissioners Court is dabbling with the idea of creating a new department to help in the county’s economic development. While a budget has been created, Fort Bend EDC President Jeff Wiley is urging elected officials from the cities and the county to take a pause on the proposed economic development department, commission a professional, in-depth study by outside consultants, which the EDC would help facilitate, instead of rushing to any hasty conclusion.

The Giddings Economic Development Corporation has named its new director. David Stedman was hired to fill the role formerly held by Tonya Britton, following her retirement in February. Stedman, who currently lives in Grayson, Georgia, has over 25 years of experience in advertising and marketing. Since 2010, he has been the CEO of Stedman & Associates.

The Tomball Economic Development Corp. created 240 jobs and approved nine project grants in fiscal year 2021-22, according to Executive Director Kelly Violette during her annual report presentation to Tomball City Council at the June 6 regular City Council meeting.

United States

At the opening ceremony of the Summit of the Americas, President Biden announced the Americas Partnership for Economic Prosperity, a historic new agreement to drive our hemisphere’s economy recovery and growth, and deliver for our working people.

Utah

Utah has awarded up to $69 million in future tax breaks to a Logan company, Electric Power Systems, that plans to produce batteries for flying cars and other aerospace applications at a new factory that will hire as many as 3,100 new employees over the next nine years. The company plans to build a 700,000-square-foot manufacturing plant in the Logan-North Logan area. “This is a real difference maker for Cache Valley,” said Kirk Jensen, economic development director for Logan.

Vermont

Governor Phil Scott signed into law S.11, An act relating to economic and workforce development, which contains a comprehensive package of workforce and economic development initiatives first proposed by the Scott Administration and passed by the Legislature this session. The bill invests $84.5 million of both state and federal American Rescue Plan Act funding to address Vermont’s workforce shortage and provide local businesses and municipalities with resources to grow in the years ahead. (Agency of Commerce and Community Development Secretary Lindsay Kurrle; Department of Labor Commissioner Michael Harrington)

Virginia

In April, Tommy Miller was tapped to serve as Salem’s new economic development director, bringing with him 15 years of experience working to bolster business communities at both the local and state level. He most recently served for the past five years as a senior business investment manager for the Virginia Economic Development Partnership. Miller also previously worked as the economic development director for Orange County in Central Virginia.

Virginia Regional Ballet has been named the recipient of the 2022 Business Appreciation Award by the Williamsburg Economic Development Authority.

Arlington Economic Development is proud to announce a new workforce development program, the Arlington Talent Pilot Program, supporting Arlington residents and businesses. The Program provides companies with an increase of local talent by offering Arlington residents experiential opportunities in the tech industry. (Marian Marquez, director of business investment; Conor Courtney, strategic initiatives manager)

Washington

The EDC of San Juan County is pleased to announce that Marti McConnell and Jillian Urbach have joined their staff as Trades Training Coordinator and Tech Training Coordinator. (Victoria Compton, Executive Director; Gail Schnee, Business Programs Coordinator)

Jorge Estefan, a longtime Skagit County resident and the managing broker at his own real estate business, is looking forward to helping the business community in his new role with the Economic Development Alliance of Skagit County. Estefan, who began in his position as bilingual business adviser on May 23, is tasked with advising Spanish-speaking business owners and those of low socioeconomic status. (EDASC Economic Development and External Relations Manager Aaron Weinberg)

Emilie Cameron says she’s always had a calling for downtown development and urban placemaking. Cameron, a Sacramento native, joined the Downtown Spokane Partnership last month as its new president and CEO, succeeding Mark Richard, who left the organization for a senior position with the United Soccer League. Cameron said she’s thrilled to be part of the Spokane community.

West Virginia

West Virginia Economic Development Secretary Mitch Carmichael said a South Korean company’s plans to manufacture insulin in West Virginia show the state’s economic potential.

Wisconsin

On June 7 James Wood from Competitive Wisconsin Inc. gave a presentation at the St. Croix Valley Business Innovation Center. The presentation was focused on securing Wisconsin’s economic future. The event was attended by business owners who gained information on growing their businesses within the community. The event was hosted by the St. Croix Economic Development Corporation.

Greater Beloit Economic Development Corporation launched a new logo and website, created by Golden Shovel Agency to strengthen the corporation’s online presence and foster economic growth. GBEDC President and CEO Jennifer Hall says as with all websites, they need updating once in a while and it was time for them to get theirs updated.

A new partnership has been announced in Sheboygan County which aims to help future entrepreneurs. The Sheboygan County Economic Development Corporation and Lakeland University have joined forces to create the Sheboygan County Innovation Council, which will advise and guide innovation-based programming and services. (Brian Doudna, Executive Director; Ray York, Entrepreneurship Specialist)


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


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