May 18, 2021

CVEP Celebrates National Economic Development Week with Inaugural Economic Development Week Awards

By Bob Marra

Palm Springs, California – The Coachella Valley Economic Partnership (CVEP) celebrated Economic Development Week from May 9-15, 2021, in part, with the creation of its inaugural Economic Development Week Awards to local companies and organizations for their significant contributions to economic development in the Greater Palm Springs region.

Winners are in three categories:

  • Economic Development Champion, Jan Harnik

Criteria for this award: The individual is a champion of regionalism in economic development, he / she is an outspoken and vocal advocate for new economic development initiatives, possesses and projects a long-term vision for the Coachella Valley economy; and takes appropriate action to work towards realizing that vision.

Ms. Harnik is a leader in regional transportation and economic development efforts, including service on: Coachella Valley Association of Governments (CVAG) Transportation Committee; Second Vice President of the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG); SCAG’s Regional Council, Transportation Committee, Audit Committee, Executive Administration Committee, Legislative/Communications and Membership Committee, Emerging Technologies Committee, and on the Special Committee on Equity and Social Justice; CVEP Board of Directors and Executive Committee; Riverside County Transportation Commission (RCTC) as chair, and as chair of RCTC’s Executive Committee.

  • Outstanding Business or Organization, College of the Desert

Criteria for this award: Be a business or organization of any size which directly and positively impacts the Greater Palm Springs economy through such means as: a policy or group of policies; job creation or retention; workforce development; direct business assistance; or marketing and promotion of economic development initiatives.

College of the Desert (COD) received this award for its dedication to making relevant education affordable and accessible throughout Greater Palm Springs. COD has satellite campuses in Desert Hot Springs, Mecca/Thermal, Indio, and Palm Springs, a main campus in Palm Desert, and an in-progress state-of-the-art campus at the site of the former Palm Springs Mall. Upcoming and innovative projects such as Roadrunner Motors in Cathedral City, a joint architecture program with Cal Poly Pomona, and a boutique hotel for hands-on hospitality management training are but a few examples of why COD is a major economic and workforce driver in Greater Palm Springs.

  •  Together in Partnership. Coachella Valley Economic Recovery Team (CVERT)

Criteria for this award: Two or more organizations which have collaborated on a single economic development-related project or initiative.

Along with CVEP, the Coachella Valley Economic Recovery Team founding organizations were Greater Palm Springs Convention and Visitors Bureau (GPSCVB), Riverside County Office of Economic Development (RCOED), and Greater Coachella Valley Chamber of Commerce (GCVCC).  GPSCVB, RCOED, and GCVCC received this award for their leadership in creating the Coachella Valley Economic Recovery Team, an informal collective of leaders from business, government, and industry. For more than a year, CVERT hosted weekly meetings during which critical health, business, and economic updates – as well as economic recovery initiatives and ideas – were shared.

Economic Development Week is also the time for economic development organizations like CVEP to highlight the role they plan in:

  • Government policies to meet broad economic objectives including inflation control, high employment, and sustainable growth;
  • Fostering robust innovation ecosystems to encourage local entrepreneurship, and to attract new innovators to the region;
  • Policies and programs explicitly directed at improving the business climate through business finance, marketing, neighborhood development, business retention and expansion, technology transfer, real estate development and others.

Now in its sixth year, Economic Development Week was created by the International Economic Development Council in 2016, to recognize the unique role that economic development has in creating vibrant communities with strong economies. As the largest professional membership organization of economic developers, in the first five years, more than 450 economic development campaigns have been created throughout the United States and Canada.

“We are proud to bring recognition to individuals and organizations like our winners,” says Laura James, Vice President of Innovation at CVEP. “Their efforts highlight the importance of rigorous economic development initiatives to sustain our existing economy while we develop a more diverse business base to economically lift our region for the future.”

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