From The Ground Up: Feat. Andrea Schruijer of Valdosta-Lowndes County Industrial Authority

Andrea Schruijer is the executive director for the Valdosta-Lowndes County Development Authority (VLCDA). Before joining the VLCDA, Andrea was senior vice president for the Albany- Dougherty County Economic Development Commission. Andrea’s primary responsibilities were business retention and expansion, operations and development of industrial parks.

Andrea also spent ten years with The Ritz-Carlton Company LLC, serving in different roles. Andrea completed several levels of training including: The Ritz-Carlton Leadership Course, Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Mastering Sales and Presentations and customer service training. Andrea was part of the Malcolm Baldridge Quality Award Team and Sales Team of the Year and she was nominated for Leader of the Year.

Andrea has been a long standing member of Georgia Economic Developers Association (GEDA) and served as GEDA’s chair for the Special Awards Committee. Andrea was appointed to the GEDA Board of Directors and is currently serving a three year term. Andrea is an alumnus of Leadership Lowndes and is currently participating in the program Leadership Georgia.

Andrea received her Bachelor’s degree from Georgia Southern University.

From The Ground Up: Feat. Ronnie Bryant of the Charlotte Regional Partnership

Ronnie Bryant is currently the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Charlotte Regional Partnership. Ronnie leads the team that promotes the 16-county Charlotte USA region throughout the world as a premier location for businesses considering expansion or relocation. Additionally, Ron works closely with partnership investors who provide the funding necessary to bring jobs and capital to the region.

Bryant has more than 20 years of technical, managerial and economic development expertise, and a proven track record of establishing and implementing successful economic development programs. He specializes in existing industry expansion and retention, with a strong emphasis on regionalism and marketing.

As a member of the North Carolina Economic Development Board and other professional and civic organizations, Ronnie ensures that the region plays a prominent role regionally and nationally.

Ron is a graduate of Louisiana State University in Shreveport and the Economic Development Institute at the University .of Oklahoma in Norman where he currently serves as dean. Ron is also a certified Economic Developer

From The Ground Up: Feat. Rachel Pierson Delamain of the Baton Rouge Area Chamber

Rachel serves as director of business development (consultant recruitment) at the Baton Rouge Area Chamber (BRAC) by driving business attraction initiatives and working with state and local officials, utilities and community foundations to communicate strengths and resources to companies and consultants seeking locations for new facilities within the nine-parish Capital Region. Prior to working at BRAC, Rachel was an account executive at KTAL News Channel 6-NBC in Shreveport, LA.

Rachel is among North America’s Top 50 Economic Developers of 2015. Rachel is also a member of the Southern Economic Development Council, Louisiana Industrial Executives Association and the Commercial Investment Division of the Greater Baton Rouge Association of Realtors.

Rachel earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in marketing from Louisiana Tech University. Rachel is also a graduate of Donaldson Real Estate School and earned her certification for Economic Development Finance Professional from the National Development Council.

From The Ground Up: Feat. Tracye McDaniel of the Texas Economic Development Corporation

Tracye McDaniel

Tracye McDanielTracye McDaniel is the President and CEO of Texas Economic Development Corporation, Inc., an independently funded and operated 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, whose mission is dedicated to economic development, business recruitment, and job creation in the State of Texas. Texas Economic Development Corporation operates the TexasOne™ Program which coordinates efforts with the Office of the Governor for strategic marketing and lead generation activities.

Formerly with Choose New Jersey, Inc., Tracye led global promotion, lead generation and project management for economic growth and job creation in the Garden State and is part of the state’s award-winning economic development organization: The New Jersey Partnership for Action (PFA). Under the leadership of Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno, the Partnership serves as the starting point for all initiatives, policies and efforts related to growing New Jersey’s economy and creating quality, sustainable jobs. In 2007, Tracye served as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the Greater Houston Partnership (GHP), Houston, TX, regarded as a top global location for business.

Tracye holds leadership positions in numerous professional and industry organizations and sits on the Board of Directors of the International Economic Development Council (IEDC). Tracye was also named by NJBIZ among New Jersey’s 2014 Best 50 Women in Business, as well as the 100 Most Powerful People in New Jersey Business. Tracye was appointed by Governor Chris Christie to both the Council on Innovation and the New Jersey Military installation Growth and Development Task Force during her time in New Jersey.

Tracye is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, and is a Ford Foundation Regional Sustainable Development (RSD) Fellow, a program of American Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE).

From The Ground Up: Feat. Michael Langley of Minneapolis Saint Paul Regional Economic Development Partnership

Michael Langley is the founding CEO of GREATER MSP, the Minneapolis Saint Paul Regional Economic Development Partnership. GREATER MSP leads global promotion, regional strategy, and project management for economic growth and job creation in the Minneapolis Saint Paul region, with 3.5 million residents and a Gross Metropolitan Product of over $230 Billion. He brings years of experience to the role as a widely recognized  economic  development  strategist  who  has  also  led  successful  regional economic  development organizations in Florida and Pennsylvania.

Prior to becoming an economic development practitioner, Michael led a successful corporate career, spent primarily in the technology sector working in leadership positions for a number of Westinghouse/CBS  divisions, including  serving  as  President  and  CEO  of  Westinghouse  Audio  Intelligence Devices, Inc., a world leader in wireless surveillance technology.

Michael served as a Navy pilot with more than 5,000 hours of flight and crew time on surveillance and intelligence missions worldwide and as a technology analyst on the staff of the Chief of Naval Operations. Michael’s community service includes leadership on the Board of the Minnesota Orchestra, the Metropolitan State University Foundation Board of Trustees, the Super Bowl LII Host Committee Executive Board, the NAIOP Board of Directors, and the Board of the International Economic Development Council (IEDC).

A graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Mike earned a MS in information systems from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterrey, California. He has also been awarded an honorary doctorate in Humanities by American Intercontinental University for his work in community improvement.

From The Ground Up: Feat. Jim Staton of Indiana Economic Development Corporation

Jim Staton has been involved with Indiana’s business community for over 25 years. He is responsible for promoting the State of Indiana and its economic development incentive programs to companies looking to establish or expand their presence in the state.

Jim currently serves as Director of the Central Region for the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC), which focuses on thirty-three counties in central Indiana. In addition to developing and maintaining partnerships with businesses and community organizations, Staton collaborates with local economic development officials, consultants and utilities on economic development projects. He facilitates the delivery of IEDC services and programs, including business development and small business programs. Prior to leading the Central Region, Jim served as Director of IEDC’s Northwest Office and as Business Recruitment Director, North America. During his tenure with IEDC Staton has logged over 250 accepted deals that resulted in several thousand job commitments and well over $7 billion in capital investment.

Prior to his arrival at IEDC, Staton was President and Chief Operating Officer of the Jasper County Industrial Foundation in Rensselaer, Ind. During his time there, the organization developed five industrial parks, attracted 11 major employers and processed 20 expansion projects which resulted in over $300 million in new private investment and the creation of over 1,700 jobs. He served his then home town of DeMotte, Ind., where he held positions of Town Councilman, Street Commissioner, Police Commissioner and Plan Commission and BZA Member. Staton began his formal economic development career with the Kankakee-Iroquois Regional Planning Commission as an Economic Development Planner/Grants Specialist.

In addition to his responsibilities at IEDC, Staton has been active in a variety of community activities including sitting on the boards of several economic development organizations, including the Northwest Indiana Forum and the Regional Development Company. Additionally, Staton has served in a variety of community activities including; Junior Achievement, Rotary, local Chambers of Commerce, Jasper County Library Board, and several local sports leagues.

Staton, a native of Hartford City, Ind., earned dual Bachelor’s Degrees in Environmental Design and Urban Planning from Ball State University.

From The Ground Up: Feat. Charisse Bodisch of Austin Chamber of Commerce

Charisse Bodisch is a Senior Vice President of Economic Development for the Austin Chamber of Commerce. Charisse is an experienced Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) specializing in the recruitment and expansion of companies to the Greater Austin, Texas Region. Charisse has over 27 years of experience in economic development and is able to provide all economic development services including assistance with site selection and guidance with potential incentives through local and state entities.

Prior to assuming this role, Charisse was a Vice President with the Austin Chamber, executive director and chief executive officer of the Allen Economic Development Corporation and also held a position as the vice president of marketing for the McKinney Economic Development Corporation.

Charisse holds a Bachelor degree from Kilgore College.

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From The Ground Up: Feat. Becca Hardin of Bay County Economic Development Alliance

Becca Hardin is the President at the Bay County Economic Development Alliance(EDA). Becca joined the Bay EDA in October, of 2014, as Senior Vice President and was named Interim President in November when it was announced that then Executive Director, Neal Wade, had accepted an opportunity with the University of Alabama.

Becca moved to Bay County from Columbus, Georgia where she gained over 14 years of experience in economic development, with 13 of those years as Executive Vice President of the Greater Columbus Georgia Chamber of Commerce.

Becca has a B.S. degree from Troy University with a double major in Broadcast Journalism and Public Relations.

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From The Ground Up: Feat. Chris Camacho of Greater Phoenix Economic Council

Chris Camacho is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council where he manages the organizations domestic and international strategies to build a more diverse economy in Metropolitan Phoenix.

Prior to becoming President, Chris was the executive Vice President of business development where he oversaw business development efforts with particular expertise in renewable energy, emerging technology, tax policy and international economic development. Chris managed the domestic and international strategies in attracting new industry to the market.

Chris has held leadership roles in several strategic councils within the Greater Phoenix Economic Council. Chris also served as president of the Arizona Association of Economic Development (AAED) and has been named Economic Developer of the Year. He is involved in community non-profits including Chicanos Por La Casa, and sits on the boards for the Arizona Business Education Coalition, the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Valley of the Sun United Way and the International Economic Development Council.

Chris received his Bachelor of Science degree in psychology from Southern Illinois University and his Masters in Public Administration, Public Policy, and Tax Analysis. Chris also obtained his Economic Development Certification from the University of Oklahoma.

From The Ground Up: Feat. Laura Brandt of Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation

Laura is the Director of Economic Development for the Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation. Laura assists with prospects, research and business recruitment and retention.

Since joining the Metro Denver EDC, Laura has worked on a variety of office and industrial projects including Vestas, DaVita, Lockheed Martin, Fidelity, Ardent Mills and Panasonic Enterprise Solutions Company. Prior to joining the Metro Denver EDC, Laura was an Economic Development Specialist for the City of Lakewood for six years. While at Lakewood, Laura coordinated the creation of two urban renewal districts and the relocation of more than 50 businesses that were displaced by the $750 million Belmar redevelopment. Laura brings more than 30 years’ experience in economic development, community organization, and marketing to the Metro Denver EDC.

Laura received her undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin – Platteville.