Updated: Apr 27, 2021
"Bluefield is at the epicenter of progress in the region, with the city’s Jim Spencer at its heart."
Bluefield, WV – BEDA Executive Director Jim Spencer was recently recognized for his revitalization efforts for the City of Bluefield, WV by the Bluefield Daily Telegraph. Spencer shared how former Mayor Tom Cole asked him to create the City of Bluefield Department of Community & Economic Development in 2015, which then formed the Bluefield WV Economic Development Authority to spearhead the Intuit/Alorica Project in 2019.
During his interview, Spencer reflected on the Intuit/Alorica project and shared what has since "been the rebirth of Bluefield." Alorica currently occupies the 500 Federal Street building downtown and has 200+ employees working remotely due to COVID-19.
Spencer shared the "secret sauce" is the department's "three-prong approach to economic development":
Support existing business and industry by helping them diversify and grow through a Business Retention and Expansion Program (BR&E)
Cultivate entrepreneurship and Innovation and
Attract new industry, especially in the “TEAM” sectors: Technology, Energy, and Advanced Manufacturing.
“That is the basis of everything we do on a daily basis,” he said. “Every program we offer falls into one of those three categories.”
Spencer said his staff, Savannah Carabin and Faith Blackwell, and members of the BEDA board, including Cole, former State Sen. Bill Cole and Mayor Ron Martin, focus squarely on economic development.
Spencer mentioned upcoming projects such as:
The Small Business Success Center
The Commercialization Station
The development of Exit 1 on I-77 into "shovel-ready pads"
Utilizing the Opportunity Zone designation
A Thoroughbred Bulk Terminal facility
The Bluestone Health Inc.'s Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) coming to downtown Bluefield
To learn about the projects the BEDA board, Spencer, and his staff (Savannah Carabin and Faith Blackwell) have been doing, check out the Bluefield Daily Telegraph Article: "Driving force: Spencer key to city’s economic successes"
For questions regarding this post, please contact Business Operations & Marketing Coordinator Savannah Carabin at firstname.lastname@example.org.