The Region C Economic Development Plan can be found at:
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August 25, 2017
Contact: Scott Dadson, Executive Director
828-287-2281, ext. 250

IPDC Board Meeting and Roll out of Region C Economic Development Plan

The IPDC Board of Directors will hold its scheduled meeting for September on the  11th, which is a change of date from the normal meeting time. In addition to the change of date, will be a change of time, from an envening meeing to a lunch time meeting, with a start time of 11:45 for lunch and a meeting start time of  12:15pm.  The IPDC Board has been moving the meetings around the Region to allow for the membership to better participate and to show off our wonderful Region.  These suggestions for time changes and changes of venue came from the SERDI Organziational Evaluation done in 2016.  We have been to Rutherfordton, the LeGrande Center in Shelby and now will be at the Universal Center in Marion.

The Universal Center is McDowell Countys and McDowell Technical Colleges Advanced Manufacturing Center (see:  As with our dinners, there is a $5 per person charge for lunch. The Tenative Agenda includes the roll out of the Regional Economic Development Plan for Isothermal Region C.  This agenda is subject to some slight changes as we have working on an invitation to NC Commerce to be part of the agenda.  As such, we are widening our invite list to include Econoimic Development Boards and Staff, Main Streets and Chambers in our four county Region.  Below is the agenda thus far:

I. Lunch
II. Call to Order, Welcome, Pledge of Allegiance,
III. Overview of the SET V Process- Walter Dalton, ICC and Scott Dadson, IPDC
IV. The SET Plan to a Regional Economic Development Plan for Region C- Scott Dadson
 V. 10 Minute Highlight- McDowell County
VI. IPDC Business meeting

We will be sending out a poll the week of August 28th for the purposes of a headcount for lunch and the meeting.  This will come out in a newsletter and by email.  Please be on the lookout for this.   
LUCA Instructions for Folks Using IPDC as their proxy: 

For our folks who are considering employing IPDC for the LUCA Census process, we have added some addtional language and instructions:

After choosing IPDC for 2020 LUCA assistance, you need to let the Feds know. Within the envelope sent by the Census Bureau, you will find a set of instructions.  Section 1.3 contains the instructions for designating your regional council of governments as your LUCA liaison, stating the following:
“1.3 If you are designating a Regional Planning Agency, Council of Governments, or other organization as your LUCA liaison:
  • In section A.1, mark X, “YES our government is registering for LUCA.”  Complete Sections B and C.
  • The Tribal Chair or Highest Elected/Appointed Official completes and signs section B. 
  • In section C, the Highest Elected/Appointed Official designates the LUCA liaison.
  • The LUCA Liaison is required to complete and sign the Confidentiality/Agreement Form, Product Preference Form, and Self-Assessment Checklist. 
  • Please return all four forms to the Census Bureau in the postage-paid, preaddressed envelope, or you may scan your completed forms and email them to”
Send any questions you may have about LUCA to IPDC’s Project Manager, Ben Farmer at or (828)-351-2338.
The Aspen Institute and the Rural Development Innovation Group invite you to
our fifth lunch panel and discussion in our six-part 2017 series:

Rural-Grown, Local-Owned Manufacturing

September 8, 11:30-1:30 ET
The Aspen Institute
1 Dupont Circle NW, Suite 700
Washington, DC
Register to Attend
Register to Watch
More than 3.5 million rural Americans work in manufacturing. As rural America’s second largest sector, manufacturing employs 14% of rural civilian employees and produces 15% of total rural earnings – that exceeds the retail sector, and is more than double agriculture’s presence in our rural economy.

After an era of marked decline, rural manufacturing is on the upswing. Local businesses and nonprofit innovators are re-shaping how manufacturing – and its higher quality jobs so important to family and community prosperity – can stabilize, grow and become a driver in their rural regions. Some rural manufacturers producing new, highly specialized world-class products are also finding it in their self-interest to invest in their workers and community revitalization. Others are creating new corporate structures and regional networks – with worker-owners gaining more stake in business success – to increase the likelihood that businesses will grow locally and not move away. In every case, partnerships with government, philanthropy and other manufacturers are critical to success. 

ARO’s September panel will highlight how several rural-grown and local-owned businesses and networks are making manufacturing work in rural America.

The Moderator

Deb Markley
Senior Vice President, LOCUS Impact Investing
Co-Director, Center for Rural Entrepreneurship
Deb leads a social enterprise launched by Virginia Community Capital and the Center for Rural Entrepreneurship to empower place-focused foundations to invest their capital locally to build prosperous, vibrant communities. She also co-directs the work of the Center for Rural Entrepreneurship, supporting the Center's entrepreneurial communities and community development philanthropy work. 

Incubating Pathogens – and Community Enterprise

Brad Goskowicz CEO
St. Cloud, Minnesota
Wouldn’t you feel better knowing that someone is in business to “provide the highest quality biomaterials for a safer, healthier world”?  Well, someone is: Microbiologics, smack dab in the middle of rural central Minnesota. The firm found its niche: producing 900 strains of ready-to-use microorganisms for quality-control testing in the clinical, pharmaceutical, food, water and educational industries worldwide – for example, to make sure that when your lab tests for anthrax, you have high confidence they will detect it accurately, and not get a “false positive.” In addition, they deliver this unusual product to clients in unusual situations, like dropping samples from military helicopters in Afghanistan, and getting it safely to African regions with limited refrigeration. Add to that, when Microbiologics expanded recently, its leaders passed by easier expansion locations to locate in – and help revitalize – a challenged St. Cloud neighborhood.

Toboggans to the Local (and Global) Rescue

Dana Jordan – President and CEO
Cascade Rescue Company
Sandpoint, Idaho

In the Idaho panhandle once known for mining, forestry and agriculture, a group of innovative manufacturers has taken root and flourished. One of these companies, Cascade Rescue, manufactures rescue toboggans used by leading ski areas in the U.S. and around the globe. Cascade has a history of innovation, improving the rescue toboggan design to start, and developing new products as the rescue industry needs them. But the company doesn’t stop at product innovation; their approach to hiring and developing talent is a potential model for other rural manufacturers facing workforce challenges. 

From Threads to Fabric: New Trends in the Making

Molly Hemstreet – Founder & General Manager, Opportunity Threads  
Tanya Wade – Intake Administrator and Project Specialist, Carolina Textile District
Western North Carolina – and surrounding states

In western North Carolina, a robust textile manufacturing industry once supported generations of artisans and their communities. But the last few decades of outsourcing and industry changes have seen mills close, jobs leave and lives change. Today, a unique collaboration among a worker-owned cut-and-sew business (Opportunity Threads), a county economic development organization, an innovation center, and local mills and makers has emerged as a regional value chain that is meeting growing demand for domestic, environmentally friendly textile production, bringing new hope to small manufacturers in a multi-state rural region.

Perspective from the Rural Development Innovation Group

John Molinaro – President and CEO
Appalachian Partnership for Economic Growth

John Molinaro has a solid record of strengthening rural manufacturing, both as founding President and CEO of the Appalachian Partnership for Economic Growth (APEG) and in his prior position as Vice President at West Central Initiative (WCI). APEG collaborates with Ohio's 32 Appalachian-designated counties to advance economic development by serving as the local job creation partner in the JobsOhio Network and providing support to manufacturing companies through an agreement with the local Manufacturing Extension Partnership and a Small Business Administration Innovation Cluster. In his 20 years at WCI, a community foundation/community development corporation in Minnesota, he helped lead successful efforts with manufacturers in a nine-county rural region that more than doubled manufacturing employment and reversed decades of population loss.
Work Wellness Program

Good things going on in McDowell County and the Work Wellness Program ( ) Late last year, the CDC, the Dept of Health and Human Services and their film crew reached out to me about filming a video of a successful worksite utilizing the CDC ScoreCard. In the McDowell Work Wellness program, the ScoreCard serves as the comprehensive cornerstone assessment from which we build our wellness strategies.
The McDowell Work Wellness Program  chose to do the filming at Metal Industries, so this short infomercial will also be starrring Amy Stroud, HR Director of Metal Industries! The first year of the program was successful, but was also full of many barriers and opportunities to learn! It is extremely humbling that the CDC saw the McDowell  program and thought it was innovative enough to be included within their literature and resources. 
Here is the link to the video:
If you are interested in learning more about the program's first year of operation or the exciting direction we are heading, please feel free to reach out! We are still holding slots open for prospective worksites to join in on our pilot project we will be launching in January of 2018, so please send this to any of your partners or worksites that could benefit from on-site healthcare and case management!

Nick Byrd, Workplace Wellness Advisor
 Phone: 828-442-6030   E-mail:
McDowell County Health Coalition
408 Spaulding Rd
Marion, NC 28752

Rail in Western North Carolina

On Friday, September 22nd, you can join WNC Rail Committee, Inc., North Carolina DOT Rail Division, and Asheville Chamber of Commerce for the Railroads and Regional Economic Development Conference at the US Cellular Center Banquet Hall in downtown Asheville! Click here for an agenda and registration details.

Economic Development Articles

Here are several articals that deal with some regional perspective issues as well as some mis perceptions about robotics and thier place in the world of work. Enjoy!

Job Hubs and Regional Comptetivness:

Where the Robots in Manufacturing Exist:

Housing as Part of the Workforce Conversation:  

A recent survey by DCI ( Development Counselors International ) reflects that affordable housing cost and availability is one of the biggest factors that people consider when evaluating jobs and locations.  See the report Called the "Talent Wars" at  

Creating a Culture of Health in Appalachia – Disparities and Bright Spots

On Wednesday, August 23rd, IPDC staff participated in the Appalachian Regional Commission’s “Creating a Culture of Health in Appalachia – Disparities and Bright Spots” briefing call.  ARC’s research goes beyond the toll opioids are having on the Region to explore the vast array of health metrics in Appalachia including chronic diseases, mortality, mental health, and dozens of other health indicators.

Their research shows that the ARC region has a myriad of profound health challenges which are clearly impacting workforce and the Region’s ability to reach its full economic potential.  It also provides insight about future strategic investment approaches for the Commission and its partners.  Follow the links below for the briefing materials:

Key Findings — Creating a Culture of Health in Appalachia

Creating a Culture of Health in Appalachia — PPT

Appalachian Region Endures Dramatic Health Challenges Compared to Nation, New Research Shows — Press Release 8/24/2017

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Isothermal Planning and Development Commission
111 West Court Street Rutherfordton, NC 28139
Phone: (828) 287-2281
Fax: (828) 287-2735

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Isothermal Planning and Development Commission · 111 West Court Street · Post Office Box 841 · Rutherfordton, NC 28139 · USA

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