LVEDC’s Top 20 Ranking is Testament to All Lehigh Valley’s Stakeholders

By Andrew Kleiner on April 25, 2019

The Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation hosted its annual meeting at the ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks in Bethlehem on March 19, 2019.

The Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation hosted its annual meeting at the ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks in Bethlehem on March 19, 2019.

This article originally appeared in the May 9, 2019 issue of “Quarterly Connections,” a quarterly newsletter LVEDC distributes to municipal officials in the Lehigh Valley.

The Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC) has been recognized as one of the Top 20 economic development organizations in the United States, according to Site Selection magazine.

LVEDC was the only economic development organization in the state of Pennsylvania to receive the recognition, and one of only two in the entire Northeastern United States, along with the Washington DC Economic Partnership.

This is a testament not only to LVEDC itself, but to the region’s record-breaking economic growth in recent years, and to the collaborative efforts of the stakeholders of the entire Lehigh Valley. The partnerships that LVEDC has cultivated with both its private sector and public sector partners are key to the success of the organization.

LVEDC’s program of municipal outreach has enabled a unique connection to be cultivated between the economic development pipeline and the individuals on the ground who make the decisions that allow for growth to occur as designed by each sovereign municipality.

Understanding the goals and challenges of our municipalities allows LVEDC to help site selectors successfully navigate throughout the Lehigh Valley until a location is chosen for a business to come, start, or grow here, according to LVEDC President & CEO Don Cunningham.

“It’s an honor to be recognized as one of the United States top economic development organization,” Cunningham said, “but this is really a Lehigh Valley award. It takes a village to grow a region’s economy and the Lehigh Valley gets it done because of our incredible partnerships.”

LVEDC has received one of Site Selection’s Mac Conway Awards for Excellence in Economic Development, which are awarded annually to 20 local and regional economic development agencies across the nation for their roles in helping to deliver prosperity to their communities.

Most of the other winners are from metropolitan areas much larger than the Lehigh Valley, such as Atlanta, Austin, Charlotte, Dallas, Nashville, and Phoenix.

“Locations throughout the U.S. and in every region of the world compete aggressively for direct investment at home and from abroad,” says Editor in Chief Mark Arend of Site Selection, one of the nation’s leading real estate industry economic development publications. “Those appearing on these rankings have demonstrated with actual project numbers and other measures that they have the location attributes most in demand by capital investors.”

LVEDC serves the Lehigh Valley, the third largest metropolitan area in Pennsylvania. The eastern region of 670,000 people encompasses Lehigh and Northampton counties, which includes 62 municipalities and three cities: Allentown, Bethlehem, and Easton. The regional GDP last year reached a record-high $40.1 billion.

“With its robust labor supply, logistics assets and favorable business climate, Lehigh Valley is squarely at the center of Site Selection’s radar,” said Gary Daughters, Senior Editor of Site Selection.

“Economic success never occurs in a vacuum, and a crucial factor in any region’s growth is an aggressive and well-funded economic development agency,” Daughters said. “This recognition is testament to the vital contribution of the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation.”

Site Selection’s announcement comes just as LVEDC has launched its new Made Possible in Lehigh Valley marketing campaign, which is seeking to tell the success stories of regional employers and people alike, increase outside awareness of Lehigh Valley, and let everyone know the amazing things made possible here.

“Awards are nice, but the importance of this is that Site Selection is read by the critical people making location recommendations and decisions,” Cunningham said. “As it should be, the Lehigh Valley is mentioned as part of the country’s best markets to live and locate a business.”

This Top 20 designation is not the first time the Lehigh Valley has been recognized by Site Selection. In March, the magazine recognized the region as one of the top five fastest-growing metropolitan areas of its population size in the United States.

The Mac Conway Award winners have been determined by an index that examines 2018 corporate facility investment projects in U.S. metro areas as tracked by Site Selection’s proprietary Conway Projects database, Daughters said.

Scores are awarded based on six criteria: total projects, total investment associated with those projects and jobs associated with those projects. The remaining three criteria represent a per capita calculation of those same metrics, he said.

The 20 winners of the Mac Conway Awards were not ranked by Site Selection.

Published by Conway Data, Site Selection is the senior publication in the corporate real estate and economic development fields and is the official publication of the Industrial Asset Management Council. It has a circulation base of 48,000 subscribers, most of whom are involved in corporate site selection decisions at the CEO/President/COO level.

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