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Don Cunningham Appears on Lehigh Valley Discourse Radio Show on WDIY

By Colin McEvoy on February 23, 2018

LVEDC President & CEO Don Cunningham (right) and Sally Handlon (left), host of Lehigh Valley Discourse, a weekly news program on WDIY.

LVEDC President & CEO Don Cunningham (right) and Sally Handlon (left), host of Lehigh Valley Discourse, a weekly news program on WDIY.

Don Cunningham, President & CEO of the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC), gave an update on the regional economy during a radio appearance last week.

Cunningham appeared on the Feb. 15 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 last several years have been really strong for the Lehigh Valley,” Cunningham said. “Sometimes you don’t realize it when you’re living here, but for those who are outside the Lehigh Valley looking in, I think it’s obvious that the place is changing and growing.”

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 $39.1 billion gross domestic product, and the fact that the manufacturing makes up $6.9 billion  or nearly 18 percent – of the total regional GDP.

He specifically cited recent expansion projects by such major regional manufacturers as Mack Trucks, which announced the addition of 400 workers to its Lower Macungie Township plant; and Victaulic, which is investing tens of millions of dollars to increase its manufacturing operations in the region.

Cunningham also discussed the region’s booming e-commerce sector, which currently employs about 28,000 people in the Lehigh Valley, compared to about 17,000 five years ago.

“We’ve had phenomenal job growth in that area, but that pace cannot continue, just because you don’t have enough people, first of all, and with what automation and robotics will do to that down the road,” he said.

Cunningham also discussed LVEDC’s new three-year strategic plan, its ongoing education and talent supply initiative, and proposal the organization made to try to win the second Amazon headquarters.

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.

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