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69 - Economic Development and Developers in the News

Econ dev news from 212 economic development executives and organizations in 37 states, Canada, and Australia.

Dane Carlson
Dane Carlson
14 min read
69 - Economic Development and Developers in the News
Photo by Zoe Schaeffer / Unsplash

Welcome to the 69th weekly edition of Economic Development and Developers in the News.  Today's issue contains news from 212 economic development executives and organizations in 37 states, Canada, and Australia.

If this is your first time reading: Welcome!

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

Alabama Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield is leading a team of economic development specialists from across Alabama at this week’s 2022 Farnborough International Airshow (UK) to push growth in the state’s economically important aerospace and defense sectors. (Bob Smith, assistant director of the Commerce Department’s Business Development Division in charge of European strategy)

Retired Troy University administrator Dr. John Schmidt will return to lead the University’s Advancement and Economic Development Division as Interim Senior Vice Chancellor, taking the reins from Walter D. Givhan, who has held the position since 2014.

Alaska

Alaska will allow municipalities to exempt economic development properties from local taxation as part of a bill that became law without the governor's signature. H.B. 411 became law without Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy's signature Monday

Arkansas

DroneUp, LLC, an American technology company that provides drone innovation solutions, today announced their Flight Services Showcase Event at Walmart's Store 100 location. (James Bell, Vice President of Economic Development, Bentonville Economic Development)

Australia

The Coffs Harbour City Council is seeking public feedback about its draft Economic Development Strategy through its ‘Have Your Say’ portal. (Fiona Barden, Section Leader, Industry and Destination Development)

California

Meghan Huber is the new Economic Development and Community Engagement Director at the city of Citrus Heights.

A site in Lathrop that was once envisioned as a competitor to Disneyland is now one of California's fastest-growing communities. (Lathrop Economic Development Administrator Shelley Burcham; Lathrop Community Development Director Mark Meissner)

Sunstone Management announced that Eric Romero, has been named Director of Economic Development. Romero previously served as the Business Development Officer for the City of Long Beach Economic Development Department.

Paul Kelley, who oversaw the city of Vallejo’s economic development division as special advisor to the city manager, left the city in late June following the conclusion of his contract. The city council will vote this week to recreate the limited-term position.

A 2020 report from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, the most recent one available, found Humboldt County’s gross domestic product fell 4.1%, more than the rest of the state, which experienced a 2.8% decrease. The county’s Economic Development Director Scott Adair said communication with local business owners is indicating pandemic losses and, more recently, the cost of fuel are continuing to “erode overall economic productivity in Humboldt County.”

A 10-year Hermosa Beach Economic Development Plan, developed over the past two years by a 22 member committee, was approved on a four to one city council vote at the Tuesday, July 12 city council meeting. Community Development Director Christy Teague, who presented the plan, told the council it would receive cost projections before any implementations. “By adopting the plan, the council is not approving implementation,” Teague said.

Canada

Helena Jaczek, the minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario, announced over $12.2 million for 33 tourism, community infrastructure, and economic development projects in Peterborough, Northumberland, and Kawartha Lakes.

When it comes to promoting yourself at the world's largest international mining exploration convention, it's almost as if the City of Greater Sudbury has an unfair advantage over other mining municipalities in Canada. That's why Greater Sudbury Economic Development is already planning to be a part of the next annual convention of the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada scheduled for next March in Toronto. (Meredith Armstrong, the GSED's director of economic development)

Connecticut

The town of Wallingford is continuing to work on finding a new economic development specialist following the retirement of Tim Ryan last month.

Florida

Mark Litten is the new Vice-President of Economic Development at the Putnam County Chamber of Commerce.

Strong investments in Florida’s 15 seaports have well-positioned Florida to answer supply chain demands, and take advantage of a realignment in global trade routes, a new report shows. The Seaport Mission Plan, Florida Ports: Open for Business, released by the Florida Seaport Transportation and Economic Development Council, provides an analysis on the health and capabilities of Florida ports, as well as trends on the horizon. (Michael Rubin, FSTED Program Administrator)

Georgia

The Cobb Chamber announced that registration is open for the 2022 Economic Development Summit. It will be held on Wednesday, October 5. Confirmed speakers include: Commissioner Pat Wilson, Georgia Department of Economic Development; Stacy B. Watson, Director of Economic & Industrial Development, Georgia Ports Authority; Chris Green, Director of Economic Development, University System of Georgia; Kim Menefee, Executive Director, Cumberland CID; Tracy Styf, Executive Director, Town Center CID; Caroline Whaley, Executive Director, Gateway Marietta CID. (Cobb Chamber President and CEO, Sharon Mason; Chief Operating Officer Dana Johnson)

Governor Brian Kemp's rural economic development strategy is yielding major results for hardworking Georgians in communities all across the Peach State. In a recent ranking conducted by economic development and corporate real estate magazine, Site Selection, seven rural counties (Appling, Bacon, Dodge, Elbert, Franklin, Hart, and Union) in Georgia earned a spot in the top 50 performing non-metro communities across the nation with two Georgia counties placing in the top five. Site Selection accredits this success to the spirit of collaboration between local communities and the state and the Rural Strike Team that Governor Kemp launched in 2019 and is led by Deputy Commissioner of Rural Georgia, Brian Marlowe.

Hawaii

Maui Economic Development Board will host a seminar for women-owned small businesses. (Leslie Wilkins, president and CEO of MEDB)

Illinois

Nancy Norton, President & CEO of Grundy County Economic Development, was on WCSJ’s People R Talking recently, sharing some of the GCED’s latest updates of interest with local listeners.

LaSalle City Hall has an opening for an economic development director. Leah Inman is leaving to go after other career goals. She’s going to stick around to help find her replacement. A city announcement says she’ll return to work for the city on a contract basis.

Indiana

The Greater Kokomo Economic Development Alliance's president and chief executive officer, Charlie Sparks, is retiring later this year.

During the inaugural Indiana Global Economic Summit, the Indiana Economic Development Corporation joined industry leaders and stakeholders from around the state to announce the launch of the Accelerating Microelectronics Production & Development task force. (Indiana Secretary of Commerce Brad Chambers; Jimmy Costa, senior vice president of innovation and semiconductor strategy for the Indiana Economic Development Corporation; Joe Carley, director of economic development, Indiana University)

It has been a record-setting 18 months for the city of Noblesville, with more than $1 billion in private capital investment commitments for a range of economic development projects.

Iowa

Nearly two years after many communities in Eastern Iowa were hit hard by a derecho, the Iowa Economic Development Authority on Friday announced how they intend to distribute the funds from their submitted 2020 derecho allocations in Cedar Rapids.

Kansas

Russell County community partners are collaborating to identify the need for child care services. A survey is part of the community needs assessment process to identify not only the need that may exist, but also drill down the specific needs of ages, fees and time frame of care needed. (Mike Parsons, Economic Development Director, Russell County Economic Development)

Panasonic has selected a site in Kansas as the home for a new multi-billion-dollar battery factory. The deal has been touted as the largest economic development project in the state's history and comes after Kansas beat Oklahoma to secure the deal. (Tim Cowden, President and CEO of the Kansas City Area Development Council; Sara R. Ritter, Executive Director, De Soto Economic Development Council)

Kentucky

The Northern Kentucky Tri-County Economic Development Corporation has announced Jacob Edmonds has been promoted to Business Growth Manager, a newly created role in the company.

Louisiana

ASH Industries, a custom molding manufacturer that produces specialized products ranging from surgical devices to laser light show components, will invest $5 million to expand its Lafayette Parish facility. To secure ASH’s expansion in Lafayette, the State of Louisiana offered the company a competitive incentive package that includes the services of LED FastStart. The company is also expected to participate in the state’s Enterprise Zone and Industrial Tax Exemption programs. (Lafayette Economic Development Authority president and CEO Mandi D. Mitchell)

Maryland

The Cumberland Mayor and City Council and the Cumberland Economic Development Corporation received a glowing report Tuesday on a number of projects under development. (CEDC executive director Matt Miller)

A total of $10 million in state grants is available for Western Maryland via the Rural Maryland Economic Development Fund for projects benefiting the region. The RMEF Fund seeks to fund infrastructure projects that will support economic development activity, stimulate private investment, and grow jobs in the state’s rural counties.

After 30 years with Frederick County government, Helen Propheter is set to start work at Hood College in August. Propheter, who became the county's economic development director in 2011 and remained in the role until June, will become the college's director of corporate and government relations.

Massachusetts

Corporate headquarters ribbon-cuttings attract headlines and VIP appearances, but developers in Burlington say the key to expanding Boston suburbs’ newest life science cluster will be providing a landing pad for early-stage biotechs. (Melisa Tintocalis, Burlington’s economic development coordinator)

The Massachusetts House is preparing to vote on an economic development bill that contains a tax relief package of more than $1 billion.T his bill, endorsed by the Democratic leadership of the House, includes spending $2.55 billion in budget surplus and American Rescue Plan funds. Many of the permanent tax changes in the bill are similar to what Republican Gov. Charlie Baker proposed back in January although some of the tax breaks are smaller.

Acton Town Manager John Mangiaratti is pleased to announce that the Economic Development Office will be hosting a free webinar for working artists in collaboration with the 495 MetroWest Partnership.

Michigan

Southwest Michigan economic development officials are hoping to lure new employers to the region to help offset the job losses from the retirement of the Palisades nuclear power plant along Lake Michigan. (Zachary Morris, executive director of economic development agency Market Van Buren)

Muskegon Heights leaders plan to convert the vacant storefronts, run-down historic theater and barren park in the city’s downtown into a thriving corridor reminiscent of past decades before population and revenue loss. Last month, the city’s downtown development authority approved the “Reaching New Heights” vision plan, which was created after 18 months of gathering feedback from residents and business owners. (Marla Schneider, President & CEO, Greater Muskegon Economic Development)

Minnesota

Amplio Economic Development Corp., an Arden Hills-based organization focused on funding small-business entrepreneurship, announced three new board members. (Jonathan Sage-Martinson, CEO)

At a meeting held on Thursday, July 14, the Blue Earth Economic Development Authority discussed what comes next after a tough blow to the community. (Specialist Amy Schaefer)

Mississippi

Hannah Grace Crain was crowned Mississippi Miss Hospitality 2022 on Saturday in the 73rd annual competition at the Saenger Theater in Hattiesburg. Crain will attend the University of Mississippi in the fall as a member of the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, working on her studies while serving as the state's ambassador for economic development and tourism.

Nebraska

The North Platte Area Chamber is seeking $250,000 to purchase the Greenbrier facility. This property is essential to two economic development plans. “This is a significant step in the eventual partnership with the inland port and Lincoln County,” said Gary Person, President of North Platte Area Chamber. The purchase of the Greenbrier facility makes Lincoln County more attractive to state officials to become one of the five Inland Port Authorities throughout the state.

Troy Anderson the Omaha Deputy Chief of Staff for Economic Development and Development Services is resigning to become the Assistant City Manager in Wichita, Kansas.

New Jersey

The Hamilton Township Economic Development Advisory Commission announced that six local businesses and entrepreneurs will be honored at the 46th annual Hamilton Township Economic Development Distinguished Business Achievement Awards Dinner. (Fred Dumont, Community and Economic Development director)

New Mexico

South Valley Economic Development Center spurs economic growth. The cooperative has a long-standing partnership with the Rio Grande Community Development Corp. — the organization that oversees SVEDC and other initiatives focused on food insecurity and business incubation. (Josue Olivares, Executive Director, Rio Grande Community Development Corp.)

New York

The future of the Massena Business Development Corporation is in limbo. Thursday’s meeting was likely the last for the BDC, and Executive Director James A. Murphy. He will continue in his role as full-time executive director until July 22, and then move to a per diem contract.

The City of Geneva is planning to hire an economic development director.

The city and three business-aligned agencies agree: Geneva needs an economic development specialist. (Tracy Verrier, Executive Director, Geneva Industrial Development Agency; Dave Linger, Geneva Local Development Corp.; John Brennan, Geneva Business Improvement District; Liz Toner, Event Coordinator, City of Geneva)

Seneca Nation Casino settlement will help fund Cattaraugus County economic development. (Crystal Abers, Director of Economic Development, Planning and Tourism, Cattaraugus County)

Empire State Development is holding a public update on the Niagara Falls Strategic Economic Development Initiative. (Hope Knight, President & CEO and Commissioner, Empire State Development)

North Carolina

The North Carolina Main Street and Rural Planning Center, awarded the Town of Manteo the prestigious Main Street designation. (Liz Parham, Director, NC Main Street & Rural Planning Center)

Governor Cooper announced 125 jobs in Hickory as Merchants Distributors begins a new expansion. (Machelle Baker Sanders, North Carolina Commerce Secretary; Christopher Chung, CEO, Economic Development Partnership of N.C.; Brian Frazier, Planning and Development Director, City of Hickory; Deborah Murray, Executive Director, Economic Development Commission of Caldwell County)

A steady stream of potential "mega projects" is keeping economic developers in North Carolina busy despite talk of an economic slowdown.

Economic Development Director Tracy Dodson shares insight into her team's experience in helping increase business opportunities in Charlotte and nurturing local talent. Dodson and team have been instrumental in developing programs that strengthen Charlotte's workforce and recruit large companies to the Queen City.

The WNC: MADE X MTNS Partnership is launching a new outdoor-driven community economic development initiative, Building Outdoor Communities, spanning 25 Western North Carolina counties and the Qualla Boundary. (Matt Raker, Executive Director, Mountain BizWorks; Noah Wilson, Director of Sector Development, Mountain BizWorks; Olivia Collier, NC ARC Program Director)

North Dakota

A North Dakota City attracted a corn mill. Then came questions about its Chinese owners. (Keith Lund, President & CEO, Grand Forks Region Economic Development)

Ohio

Clark County economic development sees results. (Ethan Harris, Director, Community and Economic Development, Clark County)

For nearly 20 years, local investors have laid the foundation for an economic development in Springfield and surrounding areas, working to attract High-Tech companies and a strong workforce. But a key component to the city’s economic resurgence is to ensure that there’s enough quality housing for families. (Horton Hobbs,Vice President of Economic Development, Greater Springfield Partnership; Ethan Harris, Executive Director, Clark County Landbank; Mike McDorman, President & CEO, Springfield Partnership; Tom Franzen, Development Director, Springfield)

An appeal for more time to start construction on a $1.2 billion power plant in Lordstown has the endorsement of the village’s mayor, who earlier this year opposed the extension. (Kellie Bordner, Economic Development Director, Lordstown)

Officials from Lordstown village and Jackson Township are reviewing the idea of forming a joint economic development district that includes property in both communities. (Randy Gonzalez, Economic Development Director, Jackson Township; Lydia L. Mihalik, Director, Ohio Department of Development)

But a key component to the city’s economic resurgence is to ensure that there’s enough quality housing for families

More than a hundred economic development professionals from across the Midwest gathered in Springfield for The Mid America Economic Development Council 2022 Best Practices Conference. (Tracey Hogan, Managing Director, Mid America EDC)

Aurora Plastics in Streetsboro received a tax abatement for expansion. (Patrick O'Malia, Economic Development Director, City of Streetsboro; Brad Ehrhart, President, Portage County Port Authority; JP Nauseef, President & CEO, JobsOhio)

Oklahoma

After nearly 27 years as Economic Development Manager at OGE Energy Corp, Richard Cornelisonis retiring August 1.

A 72,000-square-foot PepsiCo distribution center opened in June at the Lawton Airport Industrial Park, bringing welcomed jobs and investment to the community. (Brad Cooksey, President, Lawton-Fort Sill Economic Development Corporation)

Oregon

A statewide effort is underway to improve internet access by engaging Columbia County residents and those across the state. Oregon Economic Development Districts, Onward Eugene, SpeedUpAmerica and Link Oregon has partnered to launch the initiative, called Faster Internet Oregon. (Matt Sayre, Managing Director, Onward Eugene; Steve Corbató, Executive Director, Link Oregon; Jenna Cusimano, Interim Economic Development Manager, Lane County; Ayreann Colombo, Columbia Pacific Economic Development District; Scott Aycock, Community & Economic Development Director, Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council; Susan Christensen, Executive Director, Greater Eastern Oregon Development Corporation; Jessica Metta, Executive Director, Mid-Columbia Economic Development District; Renata Wakeley, Community Development Director, Mid-Willamette Valley Council of Governments; Lisa Dawson, Executive Director, Northeast Oregon Economic Development District; Jenny Glass, Oregon Cascades West Council of Governments; Colleen Padilla, Executive Director, SOREDI Foundation; Denise Stillwell, Executive Director, South Central Oregon Economic Development District)

South Dakota

The South Dakota Board of Economic Development approved a reinvestment payment to Maguire Iron. The reinvestment payment will be up to 50% of the state sales and use tax paid on eligible project costs, up to $184,500. (Steve Westra, Commissioner of Economic Development)

Lisa Zens is the new economic development specialist at Sioux Metro Growth Alliance. (Gianna Schieffer, Executive Director, Grow Spink)

Tennessee

Matt Wiltshire, Nashvilles's former economic development chief, officially entered the 2023 mayoral race.

Texas

Jerod Potts is the new Economic Development Manager at City of Sachse.

Paris Economic Development Corp board of directors will meet in executive session to discuss economic development negotiations with prospective business clients known as Project Rocket X and Project Red Oak. (Maureen Hammond, Executive Director, Paris Economic Development Corp.)

The New Braunfels Economic Development Corporation, the Seguin Economic Development Corporation, and the Schertz Economic Development Corporation are again excited to team for this year’s Regional Job Fair. (Michele Boggs, Vice President of Economic Development, New Braunfels Economic Development Corporation; Josh Schneuker, Executive Director, Seguin Economic Development Corporation; Adrian G. Perez, Executive Director, Schertz Economic Development Corporation)

The Greater New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce provided an update on July 11 to the New Braunfels City Council on the 2023-2027 Economic Development Strategic Plan, highlighting the extreme population growth in the area and its influence on the local economy. (Jonathan Packer, President & CEO, GNBCC)

Celina's Development Services Report provided in July reported 7,796 construction inspections for June 2022. (Alexis Jackson, Executive Director, Celina Economic Development Corporation)

The Texas Governor has named Arun Agarwal, Indian American philanthropist and CEO of Dallas-based home textile company NEXTT, to the Texas Economic Development Corporation's Board of Directors. (Robert Allen, President & CEO, Texas Economic Development Corporation; Adriana Cruz, Executive Director, Texas Economic Development and Tourism Office)

Director of Economic Development Scott Livingston gave a presentation on League City’s employment status, economy and development projects.

Virginia

Arlington’s office vacancy rate reached 20.8% this month. That’s up from 16.6% at the beginning of 2020. (Shannon Flanagan-Watson, Acting Director, Arlington Economic Development)

Applicants are sought for the Loudoun Economic Development Advisory Commission. Buddy Rizer, Executive Director, Loudoun Economic Development)

Prince George hired Yoti Jabri to lead its Economic Development department. (Rita McClenny, President & CEO, Virginia Tourism Corporation)

Washington

Todd Tatum is the new City of Edmonds Community Services and Economic Development director. Patrick Doherty retired at the end of last year and Doug Merriman has been serving as the interim director.

Washington DC

This week, the Bowser Administration convened community, business, and research representatives, along with District government officials, to kick off the process for updating Washington DC’s economic development strategy. (Sybongile Cook, Director of Business Development and Strategy, Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development)

West Virginia

Pendleton County’s Economic Development Authority is launching a campaign, "Pendleton Rocks" to boost tourism in the area by attracting more rock climbers and other outdoor enthusiasts. (Laura Brown, Director, Pendleton County Economic Development Authority; Ciara Lambert, Executive Director, Pendleton County Convention and Visitors Bureau)

Ray Smith is the new director of the Lewis County Economic Development Authority.

Greenbrier Valley is ready to celebrate economic successes at their annual dinner after a two-year hiatus. (Ruthana Beezley, Executive Director, Greenbrier Valley EDC; Dr. John Deskins, Director of WVU’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research)

Wisconsin

Drew Pennington has been named interim economic development director and interim president and CEO of the Greater Beloit Economic Development Corporation.

Whisker, a self-cleaning litter box manufacturer, is responding to spiking product demand by expanding its facility in Juneau–a $10.7 million project expected to create 150 jobs over the next two years. (Missy Hughes, CEO, Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation)

The City of Janesville approved a Tax Increment Financing Developing Agreement with GEA Mechanical Equipment U.S. for property development. The City of Janesville expects 74 full-time positions to be offered at the 85,000-square-foot facility. (Jimsi Kuborn, Economic Development Director, City of Janesville)

Wyoming

Recently, the Sheridan Economic Development Taskforce, in conjunction with the Wyoming Business Council, has announced it is sponsoring a community review of the Sheridan area. It will be called “Sheridan Thrive 2035." (Josh Dorrell, CEO, Wyoming Business Council)


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