First-Rate Economic Development Agencies in the South - Summer 2020

In the winter, spring and summer issues of Southern Business & Development, we are publishing small write-ups about what we believe are the best economic development agencies in the 15-state American South. These will include state agencies, utilities and local organizations both large and small. The first segment featured first-rate economic agencies in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia and Kentucky. The second issue featured agencies in Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina and Oklahoma. This final segment will focus on organizations in South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and
West Virginia.

The ranking is based on our knowledge of the agencies after visiting over 1,400 economic development organizations in the South over the last 26 years. It is also based on several other factors including deal activity, deal quality and the organization’s reputation among those in economic development in that state.

This section on first-rate economic development agencies will also run on all of our websites including, and



South Carolina Department of Commerce
This state economic development agency is one of the biggest buffalo hunters of all state agencies in the South. In the last three decades, South Carolina has landed these huge deals — BMW, Boeing, Volvo, Michelin, Continental, Google, Mercedes-Benz Vans and Honda. These are some of the largest projects announced in the South in 30 years.

Santee Cooper
Santee Cooper serves 2 million customers in South Carolina. That makes it the largest power provider in the state. Santee Cooper was founded more than 80 years ago as the South Carolina Public Service Authority, and generates electricity and water utility services.

Economic Development PartnershipEconomic Development Partnership
The Economic Development Partnership in Aiken, S.C., serves Aiken, Edgefield, Saluda and McCormick Counties in the western part of the state. It is located in the Augusta, Ga., MSA. Aiken’s workforce benefits from three higher education institutions — Aiken Technical College, Piedmont Technical College and the University of South Carolina Aiken. Advanced manufacturing is a large part of the area’s economy with Bridgestone, Shinsho, BAE Systems, Milliken and Owens Corning operating in the Aiken area.

North Eastern Strategic Alliance
With its offices in Florence, S.C., NESA serves the economic development needs of nine counties in Northeast South Carolina. NESA has been very successful in these industries: aerospace, agriculture, metals, distribution, plastics and chemicals. One new feature of the NESA region is Inland Port Dillon, which has direct access to the thriving Port of Charleston.

The Lancaster County Department of Economic DevelopmentThe Lancaster County Department of Economic Development
Like York County, Lancaster County is in the Charlotte MSA. Jamie Gilbert heads up the economic development agency in Lancaster and he’s got plenty of assets. The Lancaster County Department of Economic Development is located just south of Charlotte and has a population of 98,000. It is the second fastest growing county in South Carolina, the fourth fastest growing in the Carolinas and 32nd fastest in the U.S. Since 2016, the LCDED has facilitated the location and expansion of 35 business projects with 5,473 announced new jobs and $580,994,718 in new investments since 2010. Lancaster County has one of the most dynamic and diverse economies in the Southeast. It has become a center for corporate headquarters and advanced manufacturing operations, especially in the areas of life science production and metal fabrication.

Clarendon County Economic Development  
Clarendon County is centrally located, just a quick drive to Columbia (the state capital), historic Charleston and pristine beaches from the Low Country to the Grand Strand. Historic 301 makes its way through the county and is conveniently located on the I-95 corridor. The county prides itself on having a robust pro-business environment with easy access to the Port of Charleston and Interstate 95. Companies that locate in Clarendon County enjoy low taxes, land and labor cost, and have access to exceptional workforce training programs. 

The Enterprise Campus Authority
The Enterprise Campus Authority (ECA) was created in 2008 to drive economic development across the Midlands Technical College platform via two assets, a 25,000-square-foot Accelerator and 130-acre Class-A Industrial Park. In 2016, the ECA hired Chuck Whipple, a veteran economic development practitioner, to lead the ECA. The new leadership adjusted its marketing strategy and started recruiting FDI companies, in addition to domestics, to the ECA. As a result, two of the five companies in the Accelerator are FDI companies, both from the south of France; and the Industrial Park is home to one of the largest respiratory drug manufacturers in the United States. ECA continues to target domestic and FDI companies to the Enterprise Campus.

South Carolina Technology & Aviation Center
The SC Technology and Aviation Center is a dynamic international business park providing unparalleled services and locations for the Southeast’s booming automotive, aerospace and advanced manufacturing industries. The 2,600-acre park is strategically located along the I-85 corridor between Charlotte and Atlanta, in the heart of Upstate South Carolina just minutes from downtown Greenville. Amenities include Donaldson Field, South Carolina’s largest general aviation airport and the new home of Lockheed Martin’s global F-16 production facilities; and the International Transportation Innovation Center, South Carolina’s only public, OEM-neutral automotive testbed.

Sumter EdgeSumter Edge
Led by Jay Schwedler, Sumter County has captured some very impressive projects over the years. Some of the companies that call Sumter home include Caterpillar, Continental, Pilgrim’s, Thompson Industrial, Eaton Electrical, International Paper, and BD Diagnostics-Preanalytical Solutions. The downtown has been revitalized and the lifestyle is wonderful in the city of Sumter. How many cities like Sumter have a historic opera house, along with music venues, museums and theaters? Target industries for the Sumter Edge include aerospace (Shaw Air Force Base is located in the county), advanced manufacturing, food processing, distribution, data centers, medical and pharmaceutical.

Newberry Economic Development
Newberry is a city in the county of Newberry, located just northwest of the capital city of Columbia. Newberry County Economic Development is led by Rick Farmer, who used to work with Jay Schwedler in Sumter. Newberry is one of the counties remaining where the manufacturing sector is the largest employer. Newberry entered the spotlight when it captured Samsung Electronics in 2017, and so far, this deal is a complete winner. In just a few years, Samsung has expanded and its plant houses nearly 1,500 workers.

Upstate Alliance
This outstanding regional economic development organization based in Greenville, S.C., is led by John Lummus. Innovation in manufacturing and other sectors is all over the Upstate. The region is home to BMW, and major names in automotive, aerospace, engineered materials and the life sciences are located there. Some of those include Michelin, Fuji, GE Power and almost 2,000 other engineering and manufacturing companies.

Advantage Clinton
Economic development in this charming town in Laurens County is headed up by Marvin Moss. Its location is superb with easy access to Interstates 85, 26 and 385. There are plenty of industrial parks and greenfield sites in Laurens. Target industries for Clinton include automotive, distribution, advanced materials and food processing.

Other first-class economic development agencies in South Carolina include: Southern Carolina Regional Development Alliance; Myrtle Beach Regional EDC; Dorchester County ED;  Richland County ED; Oconee Economic Alliance; Lexington County ED; Greenwood Partnership; Central South Carolina Alliance; Chester County ED; Cherokee County Development Board; Alliance Pickens; Darlington County EDP; Charleston RDA; Laurens County ED; Cherokee County Development Board; South Carolina Power Team; Spartanburg Chamber; Charleston County ED; Berkeley County Economic Development; York County Economic Development.



Tennessee Department of Economic & Community Development
This state economic development agency always seems to have outstanding commissioners going back to Bill Baxter, Matt Kisber and Randy Boyd to today’s commissioner Bob Rolfe. Over the decades, Tennessee has landed some big buffalo. . .companies like GM, Nissan, Volkswagen, Google, Gulfstream and International Paper. The economic development assets in Tennessee are unique and plentiful. There are the Oak Ridge National Lab and the U.S. Air Force Arnold Engineering Development Complex. Of course FedEx’s hub and headquarters are located in Memphis and Eastman Chemical operates one of the largest manufacturing plants in the U.S. in Kingsport, Tenn.

Tennessee Valley Authority
TVA has an outstanding economic development department led by John Bradley and Heidi Smith. It was the first utility to launch certified megasites in the South. Huge employers have picked many of those certified megasites, such as Volkswagen in Chattanooga, Mazda Toyota in Huntsville, Steel Dynamics in Columbus, Miss., and Yokohama Tire Manufacturing Mississippi in West Point, Miss. TVA Economic Development serves the seven states that make up the TVA service area — almost all of Tennessee and parts of Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia and Kentucky. Through its partnerships with other economic development organizations, TVA helps foster capital investment and job growth in the area. Site Selection magazine has named TVA one of the top 10 utilities in economic development for the fourteenth straight year.

Northeast Tennessee Valley RIDA
The Northeast Tennessee Valley Regional Industrial Development Association (NETVRIDA), led by Alan Bridwell, covers 13 counties — 10 in Northeast Tennessee, and three in Southwest Virginia. The region is located with access to three major Interstates — I-26, I-40 and I-81 — and is within a day’s drive of 70 percent of the U.S. markets. Containing a total population of over 791,000, the area has a healthy inventory of industrial parks, sites and buildings to fit the needs of business prospects. The largest markets are Johnson City, Kingsport and Bristol. The entire 13-county region is one of the largest manufacturing regions in the South. 

Jackson Chamber
Jackson-Madison County, Tenn., has captured a large cluster of Japanese companies, and has emerged as one of the state’s leading industrial and distribution centers. The area serves as the hub for medical, retail and service jobs in the West Tennessee area. With a goal of attracting quality companies that recognize their employees as their greatest resource, Madison County has successfully attracted tens of thousands of new jobs for West Tennesseans. Jackson’s effective labor draw area includes Madison and the surrounding eight counties. More than one half of the current Madison County employees commute from outside of Madison County, complementing the strong transportation and service draw from the West Tennessee region. This number is significantly higher in the manufacturing sector.

Memphis Regional Chamber of Commerce
Distribution, logistics, health care, headquarters and manufacturing rule the roost in the Memphis region. Memphis, now a cultural mecca, is the economic hub of a three-state region that includes Tennessee, Arkansas and Mississippi. Home to FedEx, International Paper, AutoZone and ServiceMaster, Memphis features all modes of transportation with a large inland port and, of course, the largest FedEx cargo hub in the world. More than 1.35 million people live in the Memphis MSA and nearly 5 million people live in the three-state region known as the Mid-South.

Nashville Area Chamber
For several years now Nashville has been the “it” city in the United States. Nashville, like Memphis, is a cultural mecca in the South. The Nashville Chamber, which is the economic development source for a region of nearly 2 million, is one of the largest chambers of commerce in the South. The Middle Tennessee economy is experiencing tremendous growth and prosperity. One of the Chamber’s key priorities is to work to balance the talent needs of employers with the availability of a skilled workforce. Nissan and other global companies are headquartered in the Nashville MSA.

Clarksville Montgomery County EDC
Frank Tate is the Executive Director of the Montgomery County Industrial Development Board, a position he has held since July 2018. Clarksville/Montgomery County has won many large projects over the years including LG Electronics, Google, Hankook, Bridgestone and Jostens. Because of its recent economic growth, Clarksville is one of the fastest growing cities in the U.S.

Northeast Tennessee Regional EDP
Washington County, the fastest growing county east of Knoxville, has a lot going for it — affordable cost of living, strong cultural heritage, low taxes and a business friendly environment. Washington County is home to East Tennessee State University, with an enrollment of over 16,000 students. With its colleges of medicine, nursing, pharmacy and public health, ETSU has played a major role in developing the top-flight healthcare services that make Washington County an attractive destination for everyone from retirees to young professionals with families. Northeast Tennessee Regional EDP is run by CEO Mitch Miller.
The economy of Johnson City employs 88,900 people with about 12,000 of those in the manufacturing sector. Washington County’s population is just over 200,000.

Greenville County Partnership
Tom Ferguson was the President and CEO of the Greene County Partnership for years. Now Jeff Taylor runs the organization. Like decades ago, Greene County is still a significant manufacturing county, especially in the automotive sector. John Deere lawnmowers, Meco grills, American Greetings gift wrapping paper, Ford locking systems, Toyota engine mounts, SumiRiko engine mounts and BTL Industries’ transformer parts all have one thing in common; they are all made in Greene County. Greene County is located in Northeast Tennessee and has a population of about 70,000.

Unicoi County
Strategically located along the I-26 corridor linking East Tennessee and Western North Carolina, Unicoi County lies within a 250-mile radius of nine major interstate highways and eight states, and a 500-mile radius of over 65 percent of the United States population stretching from Memphis to the East Coast. Five fully developed exits lie along I-26 as it passes through Unicoi County with many opportunities for industrial, retail and other commercial development. Unicoi County’s industries are diverse and include large agricultural concerns, transportation logistics, mechanical and chemical production facilities and nuclear fuel production. The available workforce in the county can provide professional, skilled and unskilled employees that are dedicated to succeeding and growing with their employers. Tyler Engle is the Executive Director of the Unicoi County EDB.

Knoxville Area Chamber Partnership
The Knoxville Chamber’s Path to Prosperity, a five-year strategic vision for the Knoxville Chamber, prioritizes a progressive, sustainable economic ecosystem that fuels growth for existing industry and prepares the region for future employment opportunities. By prioritizing support for existing businesses and startups, Path to Prosperity creates an environment that allows companies to start, grow and remain in Knoxville. Oak Ridge, which is located near Knoxville, is home to the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) is the largest U.S. Department of Energy science and energy lab, conducting basic and applied research to deliver transformative solutions to compelling problems in energy and security. ORNL’s diverse capabilities span a broad range of scientific and engineering disciplines, enabling the Laboratory to explore fundamental science challenges and to carry out the research needed to accelerate the delivery of solutions to the marketplace.

Other first-class economic development agencies in Tennessee include: Sevier County EDC; Obion County JEDC; Carroll County Chamber; Bristol Chamber; City of Mount Pleasant; Joint ECD Board of Wilson County; Maury County Chamber; Bristol Tennessee Essential Services; Oak Ridge Economic Partnership; The Roane Alliance; Cleveland Bradley Chamber; Giles County EDC; Dyersburg Chamber of Commerce; HTL Advantage; Town of Collierville; NETWORKS Sullivan Partnership; Williamson County ED; Rutherford County Chamber; Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce; Cookeville Putnam Chamber; Anderson County EDA; Blount Partnership; Morristown Chamber.



Texas Economic Development Office of the Governor
The Texas state economic development department has a new Executive Director in Adriana Cruz. Everything is bigger in Texas, including the economy. If Texas was a country, it would rank as the ninth largest economy among nations of the world. Thanks to a pro-business environment, a diverse and talented workforce, low taxes and reasonable regulatory environment, Texas continues to attract expanding and relocating companies from across the U.S. and abroad. The Governor’s Economic Development & Tourism (EDT) Office works in close collaboration with community and industry partners to promote Texas globally as the premier place for business, travel and trade.

Texas Economic Development Office of the Governor

Irving-Las Colinas Chamber of Commerce
Irving-Las Colinas, Texas, is an international business hub in the heart of North Texas. Irving-Las Colinas’ robust and diverse economy supports 8,500 businesses — more private and public companies than any other city in North Texas except Dallas. Seven Fortune 500 companies chose Irving-Las Colinas for their global headquarters, and five Fortune 1000 companies have their headquarters there. In addition, more than 100 foreign-owned companies operate subsidiaries in
Irving-Las Colinas, giving Irving the distinction of being one of the leading cities in Texas for foreign business investment. In fact, headquarter operations are a huge target industry for Beth Bowman and her team at the Irving-Las Colinas Chamber.

Greater Austin Chamber
The Greater Austin Chamber promotes Austin and technology in general for the Austin region. And they are very good at it. Just about every major technology company, including Indeed, Apple, Oracle, LegalZoom, Charles Schwab, IBM and Dell, has an office in Austin. This year, Tesla announced and broke ground on its newest facility near the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. Tesla will be a gamechanger for Austin. In addition to Tesla’s 5,000 jobs, officials at the Austin chamber believe the plant will generate another 4,000 jobs in suppliers to the facility.

Plano Economic Development
Plano is a city on the move. The Plano Economic Development organization captured the ultimate project in 2014 when Toyota announced it was relocating its North American headquarters and about 4,000 jobs to Plano from Southern California. But Toyota, while huge, is not the only major player in Plano. Here are some companies that employ 1,000 or more there: Capital One Finance; Bank of America; JP Morgan Chase; Hewlett Packard and, of course, Toyota. There are 18 companies that each employ over 1,000 people in Plano. Plano is a wonderful place to live and work.

Greater Houston Partnership
This is a large economic development agency and it has helped diversify the Houston economy. Once almost completely reliant on the oil industry,  the nation’s fourth largest city has become a diverse, vibrant metro filled with talented people who have an undeniable spirit. Houston’s economy is strong, its cultures are many, and its quality of life is second to none. Houston has one of the youngest, fastest-growing and most diverse populations anywhere in the world.

McAllen EDC
Keith Patridge has been the President and CEO of the McAllen EDC for years. McAllen is located on the border between the United States and Reynosa, Mexico, creating a bi-national/international metro. McAllen’s central location in the Rio Grande Valley has allowed it to become an economic powerhouse. Its industries are diverse, including automotive, advanced manufacturing, aerospace and food processing.

Wichita Falls Chamber of Commerce
Led by Henry Florsheim, the Wichita Falls Chamber is a powerful organization with some very talented people. Wichita Falls is located in North Texas about two hours from Dallas and Oklahoma City. Its population is just over 150,000. It is an outstanding aerospace market with over 22,000 people working at Sheppard Air Force Base. Some of the incentives you will find in Wichita Falls include free or low-cost land and forgivable loans.

Corpus Christi Regional EDC
Here is another outstanding economic development agency, this one in Southeast Texas. Corpus Christi is a heavy manufacturing, energy area with a dynamic port. Two industries that have remained healthy during this pandemic are metals (steel and pipe) and aerospace. Oil is shaky at the moment, but the Port of Corpus Christi is the largest oil export port in the U.S. The region is also home to the largest helicopter repair facility in the world. The area Naval aviation bases have large civilian workforces performing maintenance on high tech aircraft. 

Dallas Regional Chamber
Dallas-Fort Worth is one of the most vibrant economies in the world and the Dallas Regional Chamber is one reason why. Dallas and the entire MSA is a hotbed of innovation with a vibrant quality of life for all who live there. The region’s size and diversity means there is something for every person and every industry. And even with its size, DFW is a low cost place to live. Toyota moved to Plano (which is within the DFW MSA) for one primary reason — housing. When Toyota had its headquarters in Southern California, employees couldn’t afford the housing. By moving to DFW, employees could have a second home for the price of one in California.

Frisco EDC
As the fastest growing city in the U.S., Frisco is at the forefront of innovative approaches to solve mobility challenges and meet the future needs of the community and businesses. Frisco fosters a collaborative business climate forging strong public-private partnerships that enable and unlock future business and economic value. The Frisco EDC’s primary focus is to recruit headquarters to its many outstanding Class A mixed-use developments and business parks. Sure, the EDC recruits other sectors, but headquarter relocations is king there, many of which come from other cities in the DFW metro area.

The Woodlands EDP
The Woodlands is a phenomenal city north of Houston that is home to much mixed-use development with outstanding Class A office space. The Woodlands Area, including the cities of Shenandoah and Oak Ridge North, as well as the master-planned community of The Woodlands, has enjoyed unprecedented commercial growth in the last several years. The area’s economic base is diversified with over 4,000 employers. Over 5,000 of this master-planned community’s 28,000 acres are dedicated to commercial development in several distinctly different development areas.

Other first-class economic development agencies in Texas include: Greater San Marcos Partnership; Sherman EDC; Victoria EDC; Paris EDC; City of Sugar Land; Mission EDC; Midlothian ED; Longview EDC; Seguin EDC; AEP Texas; Odessa Development Corp.; Pflugerville CDC; Laredo DF; Amarillo EDC; Brownsville EDC; Midland Development Corp.; McKinney EDC; Farmers Branch ED; Allen Economic Development; Addison ED; City of Grand Prairie ED; Garland EDP; Greenville ED; Katy EDC; Baytown West Chambers EDF; Greater Conroe EDC; Pearland EDC; Taylor EDC; Hutto EDC; Round Rock Chamber; Bastrop EDC; Waco Chamber; Borderplex Alliance; Brazos Valley EDC; New Braunfels Chamber; Lubbock EDA; Fort Worth Chamber; San Antonio EDF; Temple EDC; Richardson EDP.



Virginia Economic Development Partnership
VEDP has been a very talented economic development organization for three decades. In November of 2016, VEDP hired a new President and CEO in Stephen Moret. Previously, Moret was the Secretary of Louisiana Economic Development. Virginia is a diverse state with rural markets to its west and center, and dynamic large markets like Hampton Roads, Richmond and Northern Virginia. Virginia is also home to the South’s largest single project ever announced in Amazon’s H2Q project in Arlington near D.C.

Old Dominion Electric Cooperatives
David Hudgins heads the economic development division of Old Dominion Electric Cooperative based in the Richmond MSA in Glen Allen, Va. Electric cooperatives are consumer-owned membership corporations originally formed in the 1930s and ’40s to provide electric service to rural sections of the country. Today there are over 900 electric cooperatives throughout 47 states that serve over 42 million people. Hudgins has done an exceptional job in economic development and assisting the members of the cooperative.

Loudoun County Economic Development
Loudoun Va., is located 25 miles west of Washington, D.C., and the Pentagon. As the home of Washington Dulles International Airport, this East Coast hub provides easy access to the world. Over the past decade, Loudoun has been one of the fastest growing job markets in the U.S., and today 11,900 businesses employ more than 166,000 people. There are over 230 businesses employing 100 or more people. Industries that call Loudoun home include aerospace and defense, cybersecurity, data centers, federal government contracting, and health innovation and technology to name a few.

Loudoun County Economic Development

Greater Richmond Partnership
Recognized as the modern cultural capital of the South, Greater Richmond is a strategic business destination for the 21st century. Just two hours from quality amenities such as the nation’s capital, the Blue Ridge Mountains and Atlantic beaches, companies seeking to distribute goods can easily access 55 percent of the U.S. population within two days drive. Key industries in Greater Richmond include advanced manufacturing, supply chain, middle office, software development, data centers, and food and beverage.

Fairfax County EDA
Long led by Dr. Jerry Gordon, who retired in 2018, the Fairfax County EDA’s new President and CEO is Victor Hoskins. Victor was the CEO of Arlington Economic Development when Amazon chose Arlington for its 25,000-job HQ2. Fairfax has it all, including outstanding public schools, colleges and universities. There you will find a dynamic network of technology firms, a multi-modal transportation network and access to international airports and Washington, D.C.

Martinsville-Henry County EDC
Led by one of the finest minds in economic development in the South, Mark Heath, Martinsville was hammered 20 to 30 years ago when its apparel and textiles industry collapsed. Martinsville over the years has won “Small Market of the Year” by SB&D seven out of the last 27 years. This market targets automotive, aerospace, food processing and advanced film. Martinsville-Henry County also has a new industrial park called Commonwealth Crossing that is an outstanding site. Commonwealth Crossing is a pad-ready industrial site offering virtually everything you want for your organization’s future — workforce, training facilities, utilities (including broadband) are all there.

Arlington Economic Development
After a nationwide search, Arlington is where Amazon decided to build its HQ2 with its 25,000 employees. This year, Arlington was named No.1 “Best Cities to Live in America” and No 1 “Best School Districts in Virginia” by Key industries in Arlington include aerospace and defense, headquarters, cybersecurity, government contracting, IT and media and digital content. Arlington Economic Development (AED) is dedicated to the preservation and enhancement of an economically competitive and sustainable community, and the creation of exciting, diverse and amenity-rich places. AED provides visionary leadership and superior services to Arlington’s business community, its tourism industry and its real estate development.

Other first-class economic development agencies in Virginia include: Botetourt County ED; Roanoke Regional Partnership; Roanoke County OED; Chesterfield County ED; City of Danville; Emporia-Greensville County; Alleghany Highlands EDC; Virginia’s Gateway Region; City of Newport News; Culpeper DED; Hampton Roads EDA; Mecklenburg County; Virginia Growth Alliance; Pittsylvania County ED; Dominion Virginia Power; Southern Virginia Regional Alliance; Virginia Beach ED; Prince George County ED; Augusta County ED; Pittsylvania County ED; Scott County ED; Frederick County EDA; Montgomery County ED; Rockingham County ED; Harrisonburg ED; Henrico County EDA; Prince William County ED; Hanover County ED; Isle of Wight County ED; City of Lynchburg; Front Royal Warren County EDA; Campbell County ED; AEP; Prince William County DED; Alexandria EDP; Chesapeake ED; Dominion Virginia Power; JIDA of Wythe County.



West Virginia Development Office/West Virginia Department of Commerce
Target industries for these state agencies are aerospace and defense, automotive, chemicals, building products, energy, distribution, IT and metals. But manufacturing in general stands out in West Virginia.. Everything from the base polymers in cosmetics and window seals to finished goods such as spark plugs, tableware, charcoal and kitchen cabinets are made in West Virginia. The state’s diverse manufacturing sector includes chemicals, biotech/pharmaceuticals, primary metals, automotive components, fabricated products, wood products and more. West Virginia’s workforce ranks first in the U.S. for the lowest turnover rate in manufacturing-specific jobs. West Virginia was No. 1 in GDP growth in the U.S. in 2019, according to

Charleston Area Alliance
The Charleston Area Alliance works to create a more vibrant community and prosperous economy. The Charleston Area Alliance is focused on local business growth, job creation, innovation and attracting industry to the region and fostering an enhanced quality of life for all. Target industries include automotive, chemicals, energy and business services.

Putnam County Development Authority
Located on the I-64 corridor just northeast of the capital, Putnam County has a long track record of successfully attracting global business and industry leaders, and continues to remain the top choice for a wide variety of world-class companies such as Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Multicoat Corporation, Diamond Electric Manufacturing Corp., Alpha Technologies, Eagle Research Corp., Appalachian Power Company and many others.

Huntington Area Development Council
Huntington, W.Va., has proudly claimed the title of America’s Best Community after being named the Grand Prize winner in the America’s Best Communities competition, a $10 million community revitalization campaign. Located on the Ohio River and home to Marshall University, lots of steel is still made in Huntington. Applied Card Systems and CSX are also large employers, as well as Alcon Surgical.

Morgantown Area Economic Partnership
Home to West Virginia University, health care and biosciences are a big deal in Morgantown. So are education and research, manufacturing, government contracting and advanced business services.

Other first-class economic development agencies in West Virginia include: Morgan County EDA; Harrison County EDC; Red Partnership; Wood County Economic Development;
Upshur County Development Authority; Mineral County Development Authority; Development Authority of Berkeley County; Greenbrier Valley Partnership; New River Gorge RDA; Jackson County Development Authority; BDC of the Northern Panhandle; Mason County EDA.

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