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AED: Uptick in business recruitment, expansion

Danielle Casey

Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

Recruitment of new businesses and the expansion of existing ones continue at a fairly steady clip despite the pandemic, Albuquerque Economic Development President Danielle Casey told about 125 participants at a quarterly investors meeting Thursday.

It was the third online quarterly event since the pandemic started in March, and the first led by Casey, who became president in October. She replaced Gary Tonjes, who stepped down over summer after leading AED for 25 years.

“We did experience some slowing down (earlier in the year) due to COVID-19, as did all economic development organizations around the country,” Casey said. “But we’re on track in the fourth quarter to exceed our achievements in fourth-quarter 2019. There’s been an uptick in activity.”

Nearly 50 potential recruitment projects are now in the pipeline, including companies involved in professional services, renewable energy, aerospace and information technology, Casey said. In addition, local business expansions are up 22%, creating 875 net new jobs and $30 million in new investment.

“Our in-person visits are down, but we’ve been successful in conducting activities on a virtual basis,” Casey said. “One bright spot is the expansion of local businesses in the Albuquerque area.”

In fact, three new major announcements have occurred since September, including Netflix’s decision to expand its local operations with $1.15 billion in additional spending on infrastructure and film projects, creating 1,000 new jobs over the next decade. The Orion Group aerospace company also unveiled plans for a major manufacturing center here, and Albuquerque made the U.S. Space Command’s short list of potential cities for its new headquarters.

Going forward, AED is launching a new strategic planning initiative, and it’s beefing up online events.

“We’ll launch a series of virtual programs starting in January, including fireside chats, think-tank discussions and more networking,” Casey said.

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