EDGE and Greater Memphis Chamber Named as Top 25 Economic Development Partnership in the Nation

Memphis, TN (May 3, 2021) For the second year in a row, the economic development efforts of EDGE and the Greater Memphis Chamber have been recognized as a one of the nation's top 25 economic development partnerships receiving the prestigious Mac Conway Award for Excellence in Economic Development.

Site Selection magazine released its Mac Conway Award for Excellence in Economic Development, named in honor of Site Selection founding publisher H. McKinley "Mac" Conway, and is awarded to the top 25 local and regional U.S. economic development groups based on an index of corporate job creation and facility-related capital investment data calculated both cumulatively and per capita. 

“There may never have been a more challenging year than was 2020 for those who work in the vital field of economic development. As businesses reeled and supply chains shuddered, this singular group of professionals stepped forward to help steer communities through the pandemic, the battle against which remains unfinished,” said Site Selection Senior Editor Gary Daughters.

In 2020, EDGE provided financial assistance to companies either moving to or making significant corporate expansions in Memphis and Shelby County. These projects are anticipated to create or retain nearly 1,900 jobs with an average wage of nearly $51,000. Generating $650 million dollars of capital investment and more than $183 million of local tax revenue. Approved PILOT job generating projects committed to spending $92 million with City/County-certified Minority and Woman-owned businesses.

“To be among the top 25 economic development organizations in the nation for the second year in a row is an honor and highlights EDGE’s commitment to Memphis and Shelby County. Our board and partners worked diligently in 2020 to ensure that we did not lose the momentum in 2019,” said Reid Dulberger, President and CEO EDGE.

"In Memphis, Economic Development is a team sport," said Beverly Robertson, President & CEO, Greater Memphis Chamber.  "In a year that was filled with so many hard challenges, the Mac Conway award recognizes how this team fought hard for Memphis to be the choice city for businesses to grow and expand.  More importantly, we worked together to bring jobs to the citizens of Memphis and Shelby County, ultimately improving the quality of life for over 3,000 families."

In 2020, the Greater Memphis Chamber assisted local and new companies in retaining over 580 jobs and securing almost 2,700 new jobs, with new capital investment reaching over $858 million.  Additionally, the Greater Memphis Chamber participated in Virtual Visits with Site Selection Consultants from around the country hosting 86 virtual meetings last year.  In the Fall, the Chamber hosted the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Select USA, a virtual event that was designed to attract Foreign Direct Investment to Memphis and Shelby County. The team met with representatives from Healthcare companies and Advanced Manufacturing companies from 6 countries including: Canada, United Kingdom, Denmark, Germany and Japan.  Finally, Ted Townsend joined the team as Chief Economic Development Officer for the Greater Memphis Chamber.

Over the past year, the local partnership recruited a broad range of large and small businesses that offered employment opportunities in key economic growth areas like life sciences and more traditional distribution and logistics operations.

Among those recruited, there were four medical services companies that received PILOT incentives, with two entities Cognate Bioservices and Pristex Cognate committing a combined 1,000 net new jobs averaging almost $51,000/year for Memphis and Shelby County.  Cognate, a contract developer and manufacturer of advanced cell and gene therapies secured at 15-year PILOT to enable the company to renovate three properties for cell-therapy operations, investing over $212 million. Pristex Medical was formed in 2020 to connect personal protective equipment manufacturers with high volume buyers however as demand increased so did their need to increase their manufacturing capacity and the company formed Pristex Solutions to focus on the increased demand.  Pristex Solutions, LLC. was approved for a 13-year Jobs PILOT to encourage the company to invest almost $12 million to create a production facility with an initial production capacity of approximately three million units (canisters) of household cleaning products and disinfecting wipes per month. Aesthetic Management Partners, which provides support services to medical device companies, received a 12-year Jobs PILOT to relocate its headquarters from California and create 26 net new jobs averaging over $120,000/year. Crown World, Inc. will utilize its 10-year Fast Track PILOT to purchase and renovate a long-vacant facility to expand its dental production capacity including accommodating onsite shipping and receiving, creation of new dental labs, a production facility and a call center.

"One thing is for sure, we all want our community to win," said Eddie Jones, Chairman, Shelby County Commission.  "That is why we continue to look for ways to better promote the advantages of locating businesses within the borders of Shelby County and land those 'game-changer' types of companies.  At the end of the day, it is all about ensuring our citizens have access to good jobs. "

City Brewing Company headquartered in La Crosse, Wisconsin, established a local presence with its Blue City Brewing facility in 2011, receiving a 15-year PILOT from the Industrial Development Board. Blues City Brewery has exceeded its initial PILOT commitments with 516 existing employees and over $51 million in capital investment.  In 2020, the company was awarded a Jobs PILOT to help it invest another $49 million to modernize and expand its production capacity, affording Memphis and Shelby County the ability to retain an existing business while supporting its growth.

"Our bench is deep when it comes to our economic development team," said Frank Colvett, Chairman, Memphis City Council.  "Our competition can be as close to us as the state line, so, it is extremely important for us to be competitive and fight for those jobs and companies to grow in our community.  After all, there is no place better to grow your business than Memphis, Tennessee."

The Mac Conway Award for Excellence in Economic Development, winners have been determined by an index that examines 2020 corporate facility investment projects in U.S. metro areas as tracked by Site Selection’s proprietary Conway Projects database. 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.  Other award recipients include Austin Chamber of Commerce, Charlotte Regional Business Alliance, Dallas Regional Chamber and Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce, Greater Houston Partnership, Indy Chamber, World Business Chicago and another Tennessee partnership, Greater Chattanooga Economic Partnership.

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