Business Facilities Economic Development Organization Awards

Business Facilities recognizes EDOs for innovative or impactful programs and initiatives aimed at improving the communities they serve.

Economic Development Organization Awards

Chester County Economic Development

Small Team, Big Results: With a population just under 33,000, Chester County (SC) has attracted some generational projects. Operating with a staff of three, Chester County Economic Development landed its first major project in 2021 when E&J Gallo Winery announced its East Coast operations in Chester County. That project brought an investment of $423 million with 496 jobs. In 2023 to date, the county has announced over $1.6 billion. Roofing materials manufacturer IKO announced its new location in there, which will invest $365 million and create 180 jobs. In March, Albemarle announced the largest North American lithium hydroxide processing facility in Chester County, investing $1.3 billion and creating 307 jobs. Chester County is a Tier IV County in South Carolina. In the history of South Carolina’s economic development, the Albemarle project is the largest single investment in a Tier IV or Tier III county. The Chester County Economic Development team leverages economic development partners and allies. Prior to this team being formed in 2021, the county worked on 63 projects in 2020. This team increased that number to 101 projects in 2021, and 109 in 2022. So far in 2023, they are on pace to beat their 2022 record.

Town of Flower Mound, TX

Workforce Development: In 2022, the Town of Flower Mound partnered with the Lewisville Independent School District (LISD), and Flower Mound Chamber of Commerce to launch its first Junior Leadership Program to give juniors and seniors attending LISD’s Flower Mound high schools the opportunity to learn leadership concepts. Students applied for one of the 30 spots in the inaugural cohort. This 8-month program meets once a month, and each meeting focuses on an essential leadership skill. The town works to identify local businesses willing to host a cohort, giving students the ability to meet with some of the area’s leaders in fields such as business, government, healthcare, and more. By engaging the business community, the town is able to show students an inside look at the business operations, and what kind of jobs they offer. Local business leaders are guest speakers for each session during the program. As part of the program, students also secured their spot in LISD’s spring job shadowing program, and they have opportunities to intern with local businesses in the summer of 2023. An important goal is to show students that job training and career opportunities can be found right in their own backyard.

Said Melody Eby, Senior Economic Development Specialist, Town of Flower Mound: “This was the first year of the Junior Leadership Flower Mound program, and a total of 28 students graduated in the inaugural class. We are looking forward to incorporating this program into our ongoing economic development initiatives and fostering our partnership with the local school district.”

Village of Gurnee, IL

Small Business Support: The Village of Gurnee, IL works diligently to support new and existing businesses there. Economic development efforts and achievements include a Small Business Capital Investment Grant program, through which 42 awards totaling $352,966 have occurred. These awards have contributed to over $2.3 million in capital investment from the small business community. New business coming to the Village include: Coopers Hawk, The ATC, Crumble Cookie, US Bank, a remodeled Top Shelf Ice Arena/Beyond the Edge, Caribana Grill, Kiefer USA (supplier of athletic flooring), Restaurant Depot, Launch Gurnee (which is pioneering virtual reality and will be the first in the state), Discount Tire, and Pips Meadery (a craft producer). Manufacturing is also part of the economy here. The Village of Gurnee team worked to retain AZ Polymers (United Plastics), which constructed a 90,000-square-foot polycarbonate and acrylic plastics manufacturing facility there. The team focuses on workforce education and training through the nearby College of Lake County, where a 70,000-square-foot Advanced Technology Center (retrofit of former Lowe’s) is located.

Economic Development Organization Awards

Cheyenne LEADS

Business Park Development: Cheyenne LEADS was founded in 1986, by a group of businessmen who knew that Cheyenne and Laramie County (WY) needed a professional organization that focused on diversifying the economy through business attraction. It was quickly learned that without available shovel-ready property, businesses looking to relocate would quickly discount a move to Wyoming. With that knowledge gained, a capital campaign deemed “Progress & Prosperity,” Cheyenne LEADS acquired its first shovel-ready business park in 1996, the Cheyenne Business Parkway. Now 2023, this 900-acre park is nearing capacity and is home to Lowe’s Distribution Facility, Sierra, Dish/EchoStar, and many others. In 2004, Cheyenne LEADS acquired its second business park, the North Range Business Park. This 620-acre park has allowed the community to attract a Microsoft data center, the National Center for Atmospheric Research, and a Walmart distribution center. As a result of that original data center locating in the park, Microsoft has found Cheyenne to be a location of choice and is in the process of building two additional data centers in the community.

Pflugerville Community Development Corp.

Infrastructure Development: State Highway 130 toll road, the first major highway in Pflugerville, TX was completed in 2007 and opened the door for significant growth. Seizing opportunity, the Pflugerville Community Development Corp. purchased 167 acres to develop its first Industrial Park at Pecan Street and SH 130. Over the next 10 years, the PCDC developed the One Thirty Business Park bringing centralized drainage, wet and dry utilities along two roads, Helios Way and Impact Way. The project made a significant impact on the local tax base with each recruitment project and land sale. However, the extension of Impact Way was stubbed out 1200 feet short of the back property line because the remaining 24-acres were undevelopable. A proactive approach to development spurred a community interest to acquire an additional 17-acre tract contiguous to this industrial park from the Texas DOT. This took five years, but this is now budgeted for purchase this year and with the acquisition will extend the One Thirty Business Park to the south. Finally, the remaining 120 acres south of the extended park will also have access to the road and utilities. The PCDC’s determination and creativity paved the way, despite an “undevelopable” verdict.

Economic Development Organization Awards

Mississippi County Economic Development

Steel Industry Growth: Northeast Arkansas has a thriving steel industry built around the area’s infrastructure and workforce. In January 2022, the state unveiled the biggest economic development deal by capital investment in its history ($3 billion): U.S. Steel’s announcement that its “steel mill of the future” would be built in Osceola, Mississippi County. The 6.3-million-ton mega mill will have 3 million tons of annual steelmaking capability. In February 2022, U.S. Steel broke ground and is expected to bring 900 new jobs. Big River Steel has also made its mark in the area. The company, now owned by U.S. Steel, broke ground in 2014 and started production in 2016. This mill became the first steel production process to achieve LEED Certification. In November 2022, Highbar LLC, a scrap metal recycling and steel production company, chose a greenfield site in Osceola to build the first of two rebar steel mini mills. The mills are designed to be leaders in energy and water efficiency, productivity, and carbon emission reductions. Highbar plans to invest $500 million and create 200 direct and indirect jobs. Arkansas Northeastern College partners with Mississippi County Economic Development to provide customized training for the industry.


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