Economic development professionals flock to Bethlehem
By LVEDC Staff on October 8, 2013
Economic development professionals from across the United States and from various foreign countries converged on South Side Bethlehem on October 5th to learn how the city was able to work with private developers and secure government funding to transform the former Bethlehem Steel site into a magnet to attract gamblers, shoppers, music lovers and patrons of the arts.
The bus trip that originated from the International Economic Development Council conference in Philadelphia was the brainchild of Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation President & CEO Don Cunningham.
But it took the assistance and participation of key Lehigh Valley politicians, executives, business owners and visionaries to pull off the info-packed tour and to provide the attendees insights into how the amazing transformation happened – and how they too can make history occur in their areas.
“I’d like to extend my heartfelt thanks to everyone who came out on a Saturday afternoon to greet a busload of economic development professionals from across the nation and beyond – and to talk about the remarkable renaissance of a Steel City and its rusting brownfield area,” said John McGran, LVEDC’s vice president of marketing.
“It was nice to have LVEDC board members Don Bernhard and Tom Garrity on hand at SteelStacks when the bus rolled in—and for Mayor John Callahan and Artsquest President Jeff Parks to speak to those who gathered in the Banko Theater.”
Other key stops included Ben Franklin TechVentures, where some bus riders posed next to the Ben Franklin statue before filing inside to listen as Bob Thomson detailed how his organization has launched many a company – and made the commonwealth a nice return on its investment dollars.
The bus riders from Australia, the Virgin Islands, New Zealand, Canada and the U.S. made their final stop at Sands Bethlehem where casino resort President Bob DeSalvio greeted them and took them on a tour of the hotel, retail shops and casino
Mike Gausling, co-founder and managing partner of Orasure Ventures, LVEDC Vice President of Economic Development Jarrett Witt, and Cunningham kept the tour group entertained and informed between stops with front-of-bus presentations.
Also assisting in the event were Kerry Wrobel and Justin Ryan of Lehigh Valley Industrial Park, Inc., PBS39 President Tim Fallon, LVEDC Vice president of Administration & Investor Relations Matthew Tuerk, and LVEDC staffers Katie Lynch and Laurie Demko.
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