Don Cunningham Discusses Lehigh Valley Economy on WDIY Show
By Colin McEvoy on August 4, 2017
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.
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