Cassandra Vanhooser, director of the Talbot County Department of Economic Development and Tourism, recently accepted a 2022 Excellence in Economic Development silver award from the International Economic Development Council on behalf of the team that developed the Eastern Shore Economic Resiliency Toolkit.
The Excellence in Economic Development awards recognize the world’s best economic development programs and partnerships, marketing materials, and the year’s most influential leaders. IEDC honors organizations and individuals for their efforts in creating positive change in urban, suburban, and rural communities, with winners recognized at its annual conference in Oklahoma City, Okla.
“This year’s awards selection process was especially competitive,” according to IEDC Awards Advisory Committee Chairman Christina Winn. “We are honored to recognize the more than 100 communities whose marketing submissions, projects, and partnerships have improved regional quality of life.”
The Eastern Shore project partners were recognized for the regionalism and cross-border collaboration that helped create the data visualization tools featured in the newly created Economic Resiliency Toolkit.
Partners include the Mid-Shore Regional Council, Tri-County Council of the Lower Eastern Shore of Maryland, Salisbury University’s Eastern Shore Regional GIS Cooperative, the Upper Shore Workforce Investment Board, the Lower Shore Workforce Alliance, and the economic development offices for Caroline, Dorchester, and Talbot counties. The project was funded by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration.
The tools created for the Eastern Shore Economic Recovery Toolkit give decision-makers a way to track the status of the local economy, and it gives them the information they need to understand long-term trends and anticipate challenges. The toolkit can also be used for community planning and the response to crisis situations, from natural disasters to public health emergencies.
“Collaborating with our regional economic development partners has enabled us to build a suite of tools that help us understand and communicate the strength and resiliency of the Eastern Shore economy,” Vanhooser said. “We have pulled together many sources of data and housed them in a single web portal so they can be easily found and used. Perhaps most important, these data mapping and resiliency tools are free and accessible to the public.”
The Eastern Shore Economic Recovery Toolkit is now a part of the Delmarva Index, a tool the ESRGC has developed as a centralized repository that provides streamlined access to data and visualization of information about the Delmarva Peninsula, including Delaware, the Eastern Shore of Maryland, and the Eastern Shore of Virginia.
The Talbot County Department of Economic Development and Tourism’s mission is to enhance and promote a business-friendly environment for current and prospective enterprises and to advocate for policies that support and strengthen the economic vitality of Talbot County. The department’s vision for Talbot County is built on the principles of strong communities, empowered businesses, and innovative solutions.
Business owners and managers are encouraged to register to receive the Department of Economic Development and Tourism’s monthly newsletter and breaking news at www.talbotworks.org. The department can also be reached at 410-770-8058 or by visiting their office at 11. S. Harrison Street, Easton, Md.