Harry Whalen, formerly with the Caldwell County, North Carolina Economic Development Commission, has been named the new Executive Director for the Allen Economic Development Corporation. Whalen will begin his position with AEDC on Monday, April 16.
Whalen has worked in all aspects of economic development for more than 37 years. In his most recent position with Caldwell County EDC, he was instrumental in the identification of new targeted industry sectors, a new website, and in the application to designate Caldwell County as an EB-5 Regional Center status to attract international investment. Whalen’s direction included an aggressive search for new business park locations, the establishment of a Caldwell Plant Managers Association to network existing industry for expansion and retention, and support for numerous new investments leading to over 600 new jobs in one year.
Prior to Caldwell County, Whalen served as the Director of International Development for the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), responsible for defining markets for target industry sectors, and new international development with investment missions to Asia, Europe, India, and Canada. He chaired the Michigan Global Partnership, a public-private initiative comprised of EDC organizations and private sector service providers focused on investments from Asia and Canada. The MEDC has been recognized as one of the top economic development organizations in the United States.
“Harry’s expansive network of national and international contacts will give Allen the opportunity to reach that next level of economic development,” stated Allen EDC Board Chairman Tim Wood. “We have grown into a desirable destination to relocate and have the infrastructure in place to accommodate a wide variety of developments.”
Whalen’s previous experience also includes positions with the Fayetteville Area Economic Development Corporation, the Salisbury-Rowan Economic Development Commission, and ten years as an international representative with the South Carolina State Development Board. He has served as chairman of a School-to-Work Council, on Workforce Development Boards and as a state level representative to the National Association of State Development Agencies.
Whalen earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Advertising Design from the University of South Carolina in addition to taking graduate studies in journalism. He is also a graduate of the Industrial Development Institute at the University of Oklahoma. He retains membership in the International Economic Development Council and the Southern Economic Developers Association.
“I am excited about the economic development opportunity in Allen,” said Whalen. “Allen is an already growing area with the DFW metroplex as a nearby asset. I look forward to the creative challenge to advance Allen to the next level of business development by bringing my enthusiasm and extensive contacts to Allen as we innovate positive growth.”