On May 25th, the Economic Development Coalition (EDC) hosted its monthly board meeting at the Asheville Chamber of Commerce. These board meetings happen on the last Friday of each month at 8 a.m. and are free and open to the public.*
With Chairwoman Janice Brumit presiding over the discussion, topics included: new preliminary data on manufacturing, the recent NextGen conference, the upcoming vote on the I-26 connector, the E3 Spring Meeting, and Clark Duncan’s appointment as the new Executive Director of the EDC.
Here’s a breakdown of key data and details from this chipper May morning:
This April, according to preliminary data, the manufacturing sector is up 1,100 jobs compared to the same point last year. It was the leading sector for Y-Y job growth and is the only sector to expand over 1,000 jobs. Moreover, this marks the third consecutive month where manufacturing led job growth, tying with other sectors in February and March as a leader.
Using the same preliminary data, Professional and Business services are also up 700 jobs from last April, which includes Computer and Engineering Services industries.
This month, the EDC hosted the #NextGenTalks in Asheville as a platinum sponsor. NextGen Talks is an educational conference for site selectors and economic developers. Clark Duncan, VP of Economic Development, shared new trends shaping the industry and how the Asheville area fits into them. Topics include talent development, speed to market, weather risk factors, workplace diversity, and rise of big data.
In partnership with the Chamber, the EDC pushed civic engagement and outreach in regards to the upcoming I-26 Connector Vote, which plays a significant role in economic development and will take place on June 28th.
“The I-26 connector is a key part of a regional interstate that affects all of us, a spine that runs through our region, and our major transportation mechanism,” said Kit Cramer, President & CEO for the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce. “There comes a time when you have to move forward. This has been a top public policy initiative since I’ve been here and far before that. It’s imperative that we don’t miss this opportunity.”
April Brown, Economic Development Project Manager, reported that 30+ manufacturers gathered at the E3 Sustainable Manufacturing meeting and shared continued enthusiasm for its activities.
Ben Teague, Executive Director of the EDC and Chief Operating Officer of the Chamber, received a standing ovation for ten years of excellent service. Starting July 1st, Ben will join Biltmore Farms, LLC as Vice President for Strategic Development.
He will be replaced by Clark Duncan, who has been the Chamber’s Vice President of Economic Development since 2008. In his new role, Duncan will oversee the Chamber’s company retention and recruitment efforts; Venture Asheville, the Chamber’s high-growth entrepreneurship initiative; execution of the AVL 5×5 economic development strategy; and research.
The Economic Development Coalition (EDC) for Asheville-Buncombe County is a public-private partnership committed to: creating and retaining high quality jobs, community leadership, and being a resource for better business decisions. The EDC accomplishes this mission through its four core services: business retention and expansion, small business and entrepreneurship, research, and marketing and recruitment. The EDC is funded by Buncombe County, the City of Asheville, the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce and over 80 private investors through AVL 5×5: Vision 2020. Learn more about AVL 5×5: Vision 2020 at www.asheville5x5.com.
The Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce is a member organization with over 1,700 member businesses and organizations. Chamber members collaborate with community organizations and coalitions to support the community and each other with the mission of building community through business. The Chamber is home to the Asheville Visitor Center that welcomes over 200,000 visitors per year. To get active in the Chamber, visit ashevillechamber.org.
*With the exception of the closed session portion of the meeting, which is open to staff and board members only.