Nicole Radzievich Mertz Named New Vice President of Marketing & Communications at LVEDC
By LVEDC Staff on February 20, 2023
Nicole Radzievich Mertz has been named Vice President of Marketing, Communications and Research at the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corp. as part of a new, integrated marketing and communication initiative and organization succession plan.
George Lewis, the current vice president, who retired from the private sector prior to joining LVEDC, will remain with LVEDC, moving to the new position of Special Assistant to the President and CEO, and will remain part of the organization’s executive leadership team.
“We are fortunate to have a deep reservoir of talent at LVEDC,” said Don Cunningham, president and CEO of LVEDC. “Nicole has been with us for three years, learned from George and is ready to take on a major leadership role. George is a deeply experienced professional who will remain with us to support me, Nicole, and the entire organization.”
The position changes are effective Monday, Feb. 20.
“Nicole has been outstanding, taking on many leadership roles in her work at LVEDC, and developing innovative and new approaches to broadening our marketing and communication efforts,” Cunningham said. “She is smart, experienced and understands how to communicate a message.”
The LVEDC Board approved a 2023 marketing budget of about $740,000 – about 15 percent higher than last year – that integrates marketing, communications, recruitment, and retention work. It includes contract support for earned media efforts, increased targeted recruitment campaigns, quality of place marketing and stakeholder events. In 2023, LVEDC will launch an updated website and better integrate messaging across its multiple information platforms of social media, newsletters, web, paid advertising, and print.
LVEDC intends to engage private sector marketing and advertising agency support on both message and strategy development.
“We intend to increase our efforts to drive a Lehigh Valley regional brand around quality of place marketing, and to do that in conjunction with other organizations like Discover Lehigh Valley,” Cunningham said. “Our aim is to help develop a regional logo, a broad-based marketing strategy and a public-private alliance to support it.”
As growth of population – particularly that of young workers – and the availability of talent remains paramount in both the retention and recruitment of employers, broader awareness, and branding of the region’s quality of place, authenticity, livability, and growth is critical, Cunningham said.
LVEDC has been a leader among regional economic development organizations in award-winning news reporting, annual reports, communications, and data gathering operations.
“Along with Colin McEvoy, our former director of communications, George and Nicole have been a critical part of LVEDC’s success,” Cunningham said. “I’m grateful that they are both here and working together to take us to the next level in seamless transition.”
McEvoy left last month to take a position with Biography.com at Hearst Publishing in Easton. LVEDC is redefining positions in the group and will be hiring soon.
Mertz has been at LVEDC as director of market research and communications since 2020. Prior to that, she spent two decades in journalism, most recently at The Morning Call in Allentown where she covered local development issues, city government and national politics. She graduated from Pennsylvania State University with degrees in journalism and political science and completed a media studies program at The University of Manchester, U.K.
Lewis joined LVEDC in 2017 as director of research and analysis. Prior to that, he had a 30-year career in corporate communications at PPL Corp. and Talen Energy, having served as director of corporate communications for both companies. He began his career as a journalist. He also has a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from Penn State.
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