Creating an environment where people want to invest, work and live-the York County VA Economic Development Authority (EDA) works tirelessly to maintain a diverse economic base and bring new additions to York County. Its two latest additions? Mark Carter and Leslie Henderson Schultz, whom the Board of Supervisors appointed this month to serve on the EDA. Each brings a significant skill set and wealth of experience that will strengthen the EDA’s impact.
Carter, while a new face to the EDA, is a familiar one to the County-having just retired from his position of Deputy County Administrator after 41 years. Schultz is also well-known in the local business community, as President of Henderson, Inc. She has worked and lived in the County her entire life, and she said the EDA is a natural next step for giving back.
Members of this seven-member body are appointed to an initial four-year term, beginning July 1. They help the County attract and retain businesses, and provide businesses with grants, connections, resources, and planning assistance.
“The Economic Development Authority has been around since 1972, but a lot of people still don’t realize what a resource it is-especially smaller businesses,” said Jim Noel, Director of York County Economic Development. “A big part of our value is in our contacts. We can address local ordinances that negatively impact their business, talk to their legislators, connect them with financial resources, help them with a zoning issue…. we are a conduit to making a significant difference.”
Those contacts will be stronger than ever with Schultz on board. Her third-generation family-owned construction company has assisted the County many times over the years, pro bono, when a business is considering moving to the area.
“Henderson, Inc., has been a real ally when we’re trying to woo a new investment,”
said Noel. “I often need to give the prospective company an understanding of the cost and timing to move a project forward in York County, with issues like permit approval from VDOT. Leslie has that on-the-ground information that will be a real asset to the EDA.”
Schultz said she is excited to continue enhancing the County with innovative industries and to create new, high-paying jobs for its residents. But just as important, she wants to focus on existing businesses.
“As a company, you’re always looking for new clients, but one key factor is taking care of the clients you already have. It’s a metaphor for York County. How do we make sure businesses stay here? I’m also focused on ways we can redevelop some outdated or underperforming properties,”
Schultz lives in York County with her husband, who is a County employee, and three daughters. When asked why she thinks York County is a great place to live and do business, she cited its geographic centrality to other cities, as well as its historical and tourism value.
No stranger himself to the value of York County, Mark Carter is excited to be involved wearing a different hat than as a staff member–explaining that “it’s hard to leave completely!”
“Having come from a planning background and my role as Deputy County Administrator,” he said,
“I’m hoping to bring some of that perspective to the discussions in the EDA. I always enjoyed working with EDA members on various projects.”
The feeling is apparently mutual. Jim Noel, Director of York County Economic Development, said the EDA is eager for Carter’s guidance, especially regarding development issues.
“Mark is brilliant when it comes to that, and he has been one of our biggest allies over the years in figuring out how we can make projects work within the guidelines. He’s a really creative guy,” said Noel. “He not only gets something built-he can make it happen in a cost-effective way.”
Carter has lived in York County since 1979 with his wife, a retired preschool teacher and legal assistant, and son, who is finishing graduate school at UVA. He said a big attractor for businesses to move to the County is the highly educated workforce available, not to mention the excellent school system and recreation system for their employees. Given his past interactions, Carter is fully prepared for the challenges that come with his new role.
“People often don’t understand how economic development works. We can’t just call up a national corporation and say, ‘Build something here!’ It’s not quite that easy. The EDA works hard to promote business in the County and recruit quality companies.” said Noel.
224 Ballard Street, Yorktown, Virginia 23690 | 757-890-3317 | www.yesyorkcounty.com