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Economic Development and Developers in the News # 135

Econ dev news from 72 economic development executives and organizations in 20 states and Canada.

Dane Carlson
Dane Carlson
5 min read
Economic Development and Developers in the News # 135

Table of Contents

Welcome to the 135th weekly edition of Economic Development and Developers in the News.

Today's issue contains news from 72 economic development executives and organizations in 22 states and Canada.

If this is your first time reading: Hello!

The Econ Dev Show is a podcastweekday 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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Like the image of the economic developer from South Carolina at the top? It's part of our 51 Economic Developers as Imagined By AI.


Greg Canfield, who is stepping down as Alabama’s Secretary of Commerce after 12 years, will join Burr & Forman as the Birmingham law firm’s managing director of economic development in 2024.

Meghan Richardson, West Point's Economic Development Director, returned to school after a decade in her field. She finished the Advanced Economic Development Leadership executive education program, which selects mid and senior-level economic developers nationwide. In this one-week intensive course at the Kauffman Center in Missouri, Richardson joined 35 industry peers.


The residents and business owners of Calaveras County were urged to participate in a survey as part of the county's strategic planning process. This initiative was put together by the Calaveras Economic and Community Development office. They wanted to understand the opportunities and hurdles in growing and enhancing the local economy.

UC Davis has named George Baxter to the new position of Chief Innovation and Economic Development Officer. Baxter currently serves as CEO of Edinburgh Innovations Ltd., or EI, the innovation management company of the University of Edinburgh, a position he’s held since 2016.


The Island Coastal Economic Trust announced that the town of Comox was drafting a new economic development plan. The plan focuses on infrastructural requirements, economic policies, development applications, and addressing key sectors such as air and marine transport, food and beverage, tech, tourism, arts, culture and events.

At the 2023 Cornwall Economic Development Year in Review, Bob Peters, called 2023 the year of the entrepreneur.


Dan Smolnik, in an op-ed, explained how increasing the number of housing units in Connecticut towns helps to keep local property tax rates low. This part of his research aimed to promote the cycle of housing and local economic development. Additionally, Smolnik was elected to the Board of Directors for the Connecticut Economic Development Association during their annual meeting held.


Antranette Forbes, the Economic Development Director of St. Cloud, earned her Florida Redevelopment Academy Redevelopment Professional certification.


David Weindorf, Ph.D., was chosen as the new Vice President for Research and Economic Development at Georgia Southern University. Previously from Central Michigan University, Weindorf led the institution to significant growth in grants, scholarly output, and research impact.


Des Plaines hired Jeff Rogers as its new community and economic development director. Rogers, who previously served as deputy director of community development in Glenview, looked forward to contributing to Des Plaines' growth and prosperity.


The Portage City Council finalized a pair of property tax abatements for the company. The Portage Economic Development Corporation's executive director, Andy Maletta, pointed out that the project, even with abatement, would still generate $7.5 million in tax revenue over the next decade.

Angela Smith Jones, former deputy mayor of economic development for Indianapolis and vice president of diversity and inclusion at the Health & Hospital Corporation of Marion County, was appointed as Indiana University’s associate vice president for state relations.


The Enhance Iowa Board delivered over $1.9 million in Community Attraction and Tourism and Sports Tourism grants. The board, part of the Iowa Economic Development Authority, offers incentives to communities for the construction of recreational, cultural, educational or entertainment facilities.

The former mayor of Fairfield, Ed Malloy, was named the new executive director of Fairfield Economic Development Association, also known as Grow Fairfield.

Peter Tokar III was named the new president and CEO of the Quad Cities Chamber.


Chris Girdler, CEO of Somerset-Pulaski Economic Development Authority, was part of a panel discussion on the Kentucky Educational Television to talk about building competitive business communities. The discussion, "Building Up Kentucky," also included Senator Max Wise, Haley McCoy, CEO of Kentucky Association for Economic Development, and other economic leaders.


Members of the Lake County community gathered to discuss the economic future of the area. (Executive director Jodi Nichols)

Randy Thelen, the President and CEO of The Right Place, a Grand Rapids-based regional economic development group, stated that West Michigan has recovered from the pandemic economy.

General Motors announced that it had appointed David Massaron as its new chief economic development and real estate officer. Massaron previously served in several roles with the City of Detroit.


The Rochester Area Economic Development Incorporation celebrated its first anniversary. The center which is supported by organizations like Collider, Black Entrepreneurship, and Southeast Minnesota SCORE, served over 600 budding entrepreneurs since its establishment. (John Ward, RAEDI's president)


Governor Mike Parson of Missouri appointed Lesley Rone as the state's designee to the Delta Regional Authority. Rone, who was the Southeast Regional Manager for the Division of Regional Engagement, was recognized for her work in promoting business development in southeast Missouri.


Gary Person, the President of the North Platte Area Chamber and Development Corporation, spoke at the National Association of Rural Economic Development Professionals annual meeting about Sustainable Beef, LLC North Platte’s soon-to-be state-of-the-art meat packing plant.

New York

A state appellate court ruled on Thursday that the Saratoga Economic Development Corp. is a local authority subject to state financial reporting guidelines. It's a label the 45-year-old economic development group has been fighting for years.

The New York State Economic Development Council has appointed Kyle Strober to its board of directors. Strober is the executive director of Association for a Better Long Island.

North Carolina

The Wilson Economic Development Council unveiled their new office, which has been fully renovated with modern features. The WEDC Director, Jennifer Lantz, expressed her satisfaction with the office's size and equipment.


Delaware County introduced a new five-year Economic Development Strategic Plan. Monica Conners, the county's Economic Development Director, unveiled the plan at a gathering sponsored by One Columbus and Jobs Ohio. The plan, developed with consulting firm AECOM, will help the county compete for new advanced manufacturing opportunities and suppliers, spurred by major regional investments from companies such as Intel, Honda, and the LGES/Honda EV Battery Plant. Chris Brewer, AECOM's Vice President of Economic Development and Planning, and Matt McCollister from One Columbus highlighted strategic planning's importance during the presentation.


Cheney Gamboa is the new Director of Economic Development at the City of Hutto.

The University of Texas at San Antonio announced David Brown as the new executive director for the National Security Collaboration Center, Texas' largest hub for government, university, and industry collaborations in national security.

Gil Staley, CEO of The Woodlands Area Economic Development Partnership, presented an annual business report at a meeting of The Woodlands Township board of directors.


The Fauquier County Department of Economic Development had started accepting applications for Façade Improvement Grants. (Lauren Perez)

GO Virginia economic development initiative is likely improving regional collaboration and having positive economic impacts, but those can’t be reliably determined, according to a Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission report.


Tumwater City Council approved a new contract with Thurston Economic Development Council to provide the city with economic development services. The EDC currently provides the city with business retention, recruitment, and marketing activities, as well as provides several support programs for business owners. The EDC also helps conduct economic analysis and market research and supports the city in the redevelopment of the Brewery District.

Washington Department of Commerce Director, Mike Fong, announced that former Pierce County Auditor Julie Anderson and former Seattle PNNL Director Dr. Joseph Williams were named to key economic development posts. Anderson returned to the agency as the Agricultural Innovation Sector Lead and is in charge of recruitment, retention, and expansion of the state's agricultural technology, forest, and cannabis product industries. Dr. Williams rejoined as the Information and Communication Technology Sector Lead, tasked with developing new partnerships to secure federal funding opportunities.


The St. Croix Economic Development Corporation is accepting nominations for its 2023 Business of the Year awards. (Nita Dusek)

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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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