Back

Don Cunningham Discusses Lehigh Valley Economy on WDIY Show

By Colin McEvoy on August 4, 2017

LVEDC President & CEO Don Cunningham was the guest on WDIY's Lehigh Valley Discourse.

LVEDC President & CEO Don Cunningham was the guest on WDIY’s Lehigh Valley Discourse.

Don Cunningham, President and CEO of the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC), took to the airwaves last month to discuss the economic success story of the Lehigh Valley.

Cunningham appeared on the July 20 broadcast of Lehigh Valley Discourse, a weekly news program on WDIY that interviews major figures in the region to discuss the issues that move and shape the Lehigh Valley.

“The uniqueness of the Lehigh Valley – and I’ve been here all my life – is we’re not a suburb of anywhere,” Cunningham said.

“We have our own economy, our own culture, our own cities, and I think the key for us is to keep it that way,” he said. “We have to interconnect, obviously, with the rest of the state and country, but we have something unique and special in our region that we have to be respectful of, and we don’t want to lose as we go forward.”

A recording of the broadcast can be found online here. The hour-long interview was conducted by Sally Handlon, founder and president of Handlon Business Resources, and a past member of the LVEDC Board of Directors.

Cunningham discussed several aspects of the Lehigh Valley economy during the interview, including the region’s record-high $37 billion gross domestic product, and the fact that the manufacturing remains the top economic sector of the Lehigh Valley.

He also highlighted the fact that the Lehigh Valley was ranked by Site Selection magazine as one of the Top Five regions in the Northeast for economic development, ranking behind only the New York City, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and the Boston metropolitan areas.

Cunningham and Handlon also discussed the Lehigh Valley’s 24-page feature in the in-flight magazine for American Airlines, the largest airline in the world. Few regions are selected for the feature, which is expected to reach millions of unique readers worldwide.

“This shows that we have crossed over into being recognized nationally as a region worthy of that categorization,” Cunningham said.

Additionally, Cunningham discussed the major initiatives of LVEDC moving forward, including the efforts of the organization’s Education and Talent Supply Council.

This partnership of regional educational institutions, major employers, and economic development and workforce agencies works to develop current workforce supply and demand data, and create regional strategies that help the region maintain a workforce and talent supply.

“Workforce is basically the number one issue for us going forward,” Cunningham said.

Lehigh Valley Discourse airs every Thursday evening from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m., following NPR’s All Things Considered, and is later made available online at wdiy.org. WDIY is the Lehigh Valley’s community NPR station.

August Issue of Monthly LVstartup E-Newsletter Released

The latest issue of LVstartup, a monthly e-newsletter about entrepreneurs and startups in the Lehigh Valley, was released today. It includes such stories as a new Bethl[...]

Continue to Next Page

Lehigh ValleyQuick Facts

  • Industry Spotlight

    14.2% of Labor Force
    Employed in Professional & Business Services
    Q4 2016

  • By the Numbers
    $37 Billion

    Gross Domestic Product

  • Investor Spotlight
    City Center Lehigh Valley
  • Industry Spotlight

    10.2% of Labor Force
    Employed in Manufacturing
    Q4 2016

  • By the Numbers
    $4.3 Billion

    Exports (2015)

  • Investor Spotlight
    Air Products
  • Industry Spotlight

    1325 Total Office Buildings

  • By the Numbers
    $58,134

    Median Household Income

  • Investor Spotlight
    PPL Electric Utilities
  • Industry Spotlight

    1707 Total Industrial Buildings

  • By the Numbers
    24,400

    New Jobs Created Over Past 5 Years

  • Investor Spotlight
    National Penn
  • Industry Spotlight

    4.8% Industrial
    Vacancy Rate

  • By the Numbers
    658,477

    Population

  • Investor Spotlight
    Olympus
  • Industry Spotlight

    8.8% Office
    Vacancy Rate

  • By the Numbers
    336,100

    Labor Force

  • Investor Spotlight
    Lutron Electronics
  • Industry Spotlight

    10% of Labor Force
    Employed in Leisure & Hospitality
    Q4 2016

  • By the Numbers
    4,359

    Technology Patents from 2000-2013

  • Investor Spotlight
    Mack Trucks
  • Industry Spotlight

    1.6% of Labor Force
    Employed in Food & Beverage Manufacturing
    Q4 2016

  • By the Numbers
    25 Million

    Office Inventory (Square Feet)

  • Investor Spotlight
    UGI
  • By the Numbers
    108 Million

    Industrial Inventory (Square Feet)

  • Investor Spotlight
    NFI