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70 - Economic Development and Developers in the News

Econ dev news from 130 economic development executives and organizations in 30 states, Canada, and Australia.

Dane Carlson
Dane Carlson
12 min read
70 - Economic Development and Developers in the News
Photo by Josh Rakower / Unsplash

Table of Contents

Welcome to the 70th weekly edition of Economic Development and Developers in the News.  Today's issue contains news from 130 economic development executives and organizations in 30 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.

Please be sure to support our sponsor Localintel, who makes this and all the rest of the weeks' newsletters possible.

Today's issue is brought to you by LocalIntel.


Justice Smyth is the new executive director of the Tuscaloosa County Economic Development Authority. Smyth most recently served in a dual role as interim director of the Alabama Mobility and Power Center and director of strategic partnerships for the Alabama Transportation Institute.

The Economic Development Partnership of Alabama announced the newly established Alabama Business Intelligence Center, today at the Economic Development Association of Alabama Conference in Point Clear, Alabama.  Lauren Hyde serves as the first Executive Director of the Alabama Business Intelligence Center.  The Alabama Business Intelligence Center generates actionable data insights for the recruitment and retention of Alabama businesses. Its initial areas of focus include industries, companies and executives that align with Alabama’s value proposition. (Greg Barker, President of the EDP; Alex Flachsbart, Founder and CEO of Opportunity Alabama)


Stockton’s mayor Kevin Lincoln highlighted Stockton's economic plan to rebrand and build. The largest city in America to declare — and successfully emerge from — bankruptcy to meet the moment has become an example for the nation on post-pandemic life. (Jordan Peterson, program manager with the city’s economic development department)

As part of the Santa Clarita Valley Economic Development Corporation's continued efforts to grow the valley’s economy and create high-quality jobs, SCVEDC launched a new webpage, “Room to Grow“.  This page will be a hub, with each section linking to various resources and information that highlight the many attributes that make Santa Clarita an ideal place to grow a lifestyle, grow a family, and grow a career.

Diversity, equity, inclusivity and accessibility are the top priorities for Sheba Person, the Seattle Regional Office Director of the U.S. Economic Development Administration, a position that covers a large portion of Western United States, including California. “I think it’s really important to look at historic disparities, look at the ways public policies may have unintentionally or intentionally played a role in that and try to rectify that,” said Person. “A big part in that is through DEIA, really about accessibility of our programs.”

The Economic Development Corporation of San Benito County announced it was awarded an $80,000 grant from the federal Economic Development Administration to prepare an update to San Benito County’s Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy for the period 2023-2028. (Renee Wells, Executive Director)


Governor Ron DeSantis awarded over $4.2 million to the Lee County Port Authority through the Florida Job Growth Grant Fund to rehabilitate Chamberlin Parkway at Southwest Florida International Airport. The project will improve travelers’ access to terminals and increase access to commercial development sites. (Secretary Dane Eagle of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity)

Sharon Hillstrom, president and chief executive officer of the Bradenton Area Economic Development Corp, is excited about what is in store for Manatee County public schools as the district roll out new initiatives that will continue to enhance education and workforce training in our community.


The terms of an economic development agreement between Hyundai Motor Group and leaders representing four counties impacted by the Bryan County mega site are settled. Hyundai Motor Group is investing about five and a half billion dollars to build their manufacturing facility at this site, that once completed, will put just over eight thousand people to work. Recognizing the massive economic boost the manufacturing plant will have on the region, members of the Savannah harbor-Interstate 16 Corridor Joint Development Authority worked out terms of an Economic Development Agreement with Hyundai Motor Group, finalizing the agreement last week.

Denkai America, the only North American manufacturer of high-quality electrodeposited copper foil used in printed electronics, will locate its new manufacturing facility and North American Headquarters in Richmond County, Georgia. The $430 million project is expected to create 250 jobs over the next five years.  Global Commerce Director of Corporate Solutions and Cyber Security Barton Lowrey represented the Georgia Department of Economic Development.


When the Covid-19 pandemic shut down Hawaii’s tourism industry for much of 2020, it renewed calls to diversify and strengthen Oahu’s economy. Now a Honolulu economic development organization is seeking public input on how to do just that. The Oahu Economic Development Board, a private nonprofit organization, is seeking community input on a proposed plan it will submit to federal economic development officials. (Luella Costales, the board’s community and resource strategy manager; Steven Bond-Smith, an economist with the University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization)


After more than 14 years of serving on Twin Falls City Council, Shawn Barigar on Monday announced he will be stepping down to pursue the position of economic development director for the city.  Barigar, who also serves as president and CEO of the Twin Falls Chamber of Commerce, has been steadily invested in the economic growth of Twin Falls.


Residents and business owners in Worth Township will have access to workforce development assistance and much more thanks to an extended partnership between Worth Township and the Economic Strategies Development Corporation. (Alex Esparza, CEO and Executive Director at ESDC)

Lynne Wooden had her retirement from a four-decade career in banking planned out for a year and a half. Then came a call from Springfield Mayor Jim Langfelder. Now Wooden will become the acting director of the city's Office of Planning and Economic Development beginning next Monday. Wooden, who will make $105,000, won't go up for city council approval until after the April 4 consolidated general election. The director's office has been vacant since late March 2021 when Langfelder fired Val Yazell.


The Indiana Economic Development Corp. has named Salena Scardina executive vice president of external engagement. (Indiana Secretary of Commerce Brad Chambers)

The town of Speedway has named Todd Cook economic development director, succeeding Tim Gropp who stepped down in April to become town manager in McCordsville. Cook, who has over 25 years of community and economic development experience, previously served in a similar role in Plainfield.


The Iowa City Area Development Group is excited to announce the hiring of Sarah Thompson as the Director of Rural Development. In this position Thompson will be responsible for further development in Johnson County’s rural communities. Pursuant to a contract between Johnson County, Iowa and Iowa City Area Development Group, Thompson will consult with rural communities and unincorporated areas on issues such as grant writing, development projects, economic development programs, strategic marketing, entrepreneurship, and project management.


Governor Laura Kelly launched her statewide economic development tour, called ‘Prosperity on the Plains,’ alongside business leaders at a family-owned small business, Round Table Bookstore, in Topeka’s NOTO Arts District. The tour will focus on the importance of supporting Kansas businesses.

United States Department of Agriculture Kansas Director for Rural Development Christy Davis today announced that USDA is investing $2,268,200 toward eight community projects across the state.


During the Kentucky Capital Development Corporation's monthly board meeting on Tuesday, Terri Bradshaw, the organization's president and CEO, presented an update on KCDC's regional economic development strategy as it pertains to a group of counties in central Kentucky known as the Bluegrass Alliance. Bradshaw said that the alliance will publish a 60-page regional development strategy in August.

Jacob Edmonds is a new Business Growth Manager at Northern Kentucky Tri-ED.


Several companies are currently being courted by the Lafayette Economic Development Authority, including one that could potentially fill the helicopter facility at the Lafayette Regional Airport. As part of a report submitted to the legislature on revitalizing North Lafayette, LEDA outlined several projects it is currently working on to bring companies to Lafayette Parish. Because the projects are ongoing, much of the information is confidential. (LEDA President and CEO Mandi Mitchell)

Bercen, a division of specialty ingredients manufacturer Vertellus, is announcing a $17.5 million expansion of its Denham Springs facility that will allow the company to retain 55 jobs and create eight new jobs with an average annual salary of $75,000 plus benefits. Louisiana Economic Development estimates the expansion will result in 23 indirect jobs, for a total of 31 new jobs in Louisiana’s Capital Region. (Livingston Economic Development Council President and CEO David Bennett)


The Massachusetts legislature has advanced a $4.57 billion economic development bill for the fiscal 2023 budget. The House passed its version last week. The Senate version passed Thursday.   The bill includes money for a range of projects and initiatives, much of them related to relieving the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and upgrading the state's infrastructure to combat climate change. Sen. Eric Lesser, D-Longmeadow, chair of the Economic Development and Emerging Technologies committee and co-author of the bill.

Town Manager Michael Dutton and Community and Economic Development Director Jennifer DeBoisbriand are pleased to announce the completion of Bridgewater’s Comprehensive Master Plan, a far-reaching document that is a blueprint for the physical evolution of the community over the coming 10-20 years.


Michigan legislators who represent the Upper Peninsula have brought some of their counterparts from Lansing to the Copper Country for a two-day roundtable conference.  State Sen. Ed McBroom who is also the Natural Resources Committee Chair says he wanted to create an opportunity for his colleagues to get a crash course in what’s being done already for economic development, specifically with land-based industries like mining and forestry. The other idea is to hear and develop ideas which they can use to create policy, which will create and retain jobs in the area.

InvestUP has received an allocation of $15 million for Upper Peninsula economic development as part of the 2022-2023 Michigan budget bills. The state Legislature passed it on July. Pursuant to the award, the funds can be used for any of four critical challenges facing the region: housing development, childcare, broadband and talent attraction. (InvestUP CEO Marty Fittante)


The city of Becker is looking for an Economic Development Coordinator. At Tuesday night's meeting, the Becker city council approved the job description and advertising budget for a new Economic Development Coordinator. City Administrator Greg Lerud explained that the new position will be the point of contact for new business in the city.


The Montana Bank Building, under Sky Point in downtown Billings, will get $50,000 toward a facelift as Big Sky Economic Development prepares to reopen the building for entrepreneur development, incubation and acceleration.The $50,000 comes from the Downtown Urban Renewal Tax Increment Finance District and was approved unanimously by Billings City Council Monday night. (Steve Arveschoug, executive director of Big Sky Economic Development; Mehmet Casey, development director with Downtown Billings Alliance)

New Jersey

The Raritan of today doesn’t have a lot in common with Somerville, its lively neighbor to the east over Route 206. Someone can drive from one downtown to the other in less than five minutes and both boroughs are nearly the same size. But there are no car shows, tree lightings, outdoor movie showings, outdoor live music or beer festivals in Raritan, which has less than half the restaurants that Somerville boasts. However, in time, that picture might look vastly different – if the Raritan Economic Development Committee, has anything to do with it.

New York

The Massena Town Board has voted to eliminate all of its funding for the Massena  Business Development Corporation. James A. Murphy’s last day as full-time executive director of the Business Development Corporation in Massena was Friday. He will then be working on a per diem basis to wrap up any remaining projects.

Two potential economic development projects in Cattaraugus County are under consideration for funding from casino settlement money. (Crystal J. Abers, Director of Economic Development, Planning & Tourism, Cattaraugus County)

The City of Niagara Falls is getting an economic boost, in the form of a $40 million rejuvenation plan, which is a joint effort by Empire State Development, its USA Niagara Development Corporation subsidiary, and the City of Niagara Falls. The funding is in place to enhance walkability, create new businesses, attract tourists, leverage investments in the waterfront and city anchors, and ultimately enhance neighborhoods. (Hope Knight, President & CEO, Empire State Development; Thomas Tedesco, Director of Business Development, City of Niagara Falls)

North Carolina

VinFast has signed a deal to build a $4 billion electric SUV facility in Moncure. (Machelle Baker Sanders, Secretary of Commerce, North Carolina)

Chris Platé is the new president of the N.C. Economic Development Association.

Catawba County has had strong economic growth recently, but leaders must remain focused on ensuring businesses have what they need in order to bring business here. That was the message leaders of the Catawba County Economic Development Corp. had for Catawba County officials gathered for the organization’s annual meeting Wednesday. (Mick Berry, the retired Catawba County manager who is now working as a development manager for the corporation)

North Dakota

It has already been a big year for childcare development in Williston, and now Williston Economic Development has announced more opportunities for existing operators. This month, the Williston City Commission approved the use of STAR Fund grants to be used for licensed providers who are interested in expanding. Eligible businesses can receive a maximum of $17,050 for adding to their capacity. Executive Director Shawn Wenko says improving services will bring in more families and workers to the city.


Swanton Mayor told Village Council last week that he had prepared a draft of an economic development commission ordinance. (Mike Jay, Vice President, Regional Growth Partnership)


The Claremore Industrial and Economic Development Authority has started an online job portal that allows Rogers County businesses and job seekers to advertise and search for open positions at no cost. It is called Career Portals on, and CIEDA piloted the program with its manufacturing partners in Claremore Industrial Park. (Caitlyn Ngare, CIEDA talent development specialist)

Last week, Oklahoma lost out again on a major economic development project, despite having ponied up more than $700 million in incentives. Panasonic announced that a town near the Kansas City metropolitan area (on the Kansas side) will be the new home of the massive battery plant expected to support a growing electrical vehicle industry.


Chester County Economic Development has selected new leadership for the Council’s Ideas x Innovation Network. i2n is a public-private partnership that has served hundreds of entrepreneurs and early-stage companies resulting in more than 2,000 direct jobs created, $16.3 million in grants and innovation tax credits, and $257 million in startup capital raised. (Patrick Hayakawa, Director, Chester County Economic Development Council's i2n; Gary Smith, President & CEO, Chester County EDC)

SEDA-COG recently welcomed Brooks Luzier as a loan officer within the business finance department.

Lawrence County, Commissioner Morgan Boyd feels the current economic structure and leadership in the county is failing, and called for the resignations of the leaders of the Lawrence County Regional Chamber Foundation, Lawrence County Economic Development Corporation and the Lawrence County Regional Chamber of Commerce. (Linda Nitch, Director, Lawrence County Economic Development; Bill Dingus, Executive Director, Lawrence County Economic Development Corporation)

South Carolina

Claflin University has received a $548,000 grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration's University Center Economic Development Program. The grant will allow the university to launch a University Center, which will work closely with the region's rural and underserved minority populations that have limited access to economic and business development resources and regional commercialization efforts.


Covid-19 hurt Elvis Presley's Graceland so much that Tennessee state-issued bonds tied to tourist revenue have gone into default. (John Lawrence, Senior Economic Development Specialist, EDGE; Mark Ezell, Commissioner, Tennessee Department of Tourist Development)


The Rockwall Economic Development Corporation has successfully recruited Chewters Chocolates to open a state-of-the-art chocolate manufacturing facility in the Rockwall Technology Park. (Phil Wagner, President)

City and Richardson Chamber of Commerce staff joined consultant AECOM to present plans for Richardson’s future economic development initiatives at Monday’s City Council work session.  (Kim Quirk, Interim President, Richardson Chamber of Commerce; Beth Kolman, Economic Development Director, Richardson Chamber of Commerce)

Jon Barela, CEO of the Borderplex Alliance shared about economic development, offshoring and, more recently, new-shoring. The Borderplex Alliance is an award-winning economic development and policy advocacy organization.

Ryan Cramer is a new Consultant at Deloitte.

Josh Mejia, the new president and CEO of the McAllen Chamber of Commerce, wants to hear from businesses in the city.  (Cori Peña, President & CEO, Brownsville Community Improvement Corporation)

The Round Rock Chamber announced that Brad Napp will join the organization as their new Vice President of Investor Engagement.  (Charisse Bodisch, Senior Vice President, Economic Development, Austin Chamber)


Pain at the pumps in southwestern Utah is not only driving motorists to fill up at the Shivwits Band of Paiutes’ lone convenience store, but it is also fueling economic development on the reservation nine miles west of St. George. (Cameron Echo Hawk, Economic Development Coordinator, Shivwits Band)


The City of Roanoke is crafting an Economic Development Strategic Plan it says will be a first – with input from outside consultants – and the general public.


Thurston Economic Development Council held an old-fashioned BBQ and Hootenanny! Awards were given to organizations that have shown "Economic Courage," including fortitude, perseverance and success in an ever-changing business climate. (Michael Cade, Executive Director, Thurston EDC)

West Virginia

Jennifer M. Tanner-Bostian is the new executive director of Upshur County Development Authority.


Mukwonago is creating a Community & Economic Development Department.


Resource-rich Wyoming presents challenges and opportunities. (Phil Christopherson, CEO, Energy Capital Economic Development)


At Wednesday's council meeting, Councillors unanimously endorsed placing the Dungog Shire 2022-2026 Economic Development Plan on public exhibition. The EDP is the result of six months of research, reflection and conversation with the community.


The Thunder Bay Community Economic Development Commission has its new chief executive officer. The organization’s board of directors on Wednesday announced Jamie Taylor has been hired to fill the role, following the announcement of current CEO Eric Zakrewski’s decision to retire.

The Slocan Valley Economic Development Partnership is planning for the future – even as funding for the program begins to wind down this fall. The partnership, consisting of representatives from the Villages of New Denver, Silverton and Slocan, and RDCK Area H Director Walter Popoff, has directed the group’s economic development officer to do an update of its economic development strategy, and report back in September. (Ron Leblanc, co-ordinator)

Maxim Nevzorov is a new Senior Project Manager, FDI - Canada & New England at Invest Québec International.

Thanks for reading. Be sure to send errors, corrections, and news updates to [email protected].

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Dane Carlson Twitter

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

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