Palestine Economic Development Corporation Receives an IEDC Website Award
Saturday, October 19, 2019
The Palestine Economic Development Corporation was recognized by the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) during their 2019 Annual Meeting in Indianapolis on October 14th. Palestine EDC received an IEDC Excellence in Economic Development Award for the EDC’s website, in particular, for the online tools that allow site selectors and business executives to easily search for properties, obtain demographic data and gather the information necessary to evaluate the benefits of locating in Palestine, Texas.
IEDC is the largest organization of economic development professionals in the world. As an organization, IEDC is known for being an industry thought-leader and go-to source for information on economic development best practices and trends. The IEDC's Annual Conference is the largest yearly gathering of economic development professionals from across the country and around the world. The conference features distinguished keynote speakers, dozens of interactive sessions led by industry experts, networking events, and educational tours. With over 480 communities submitting to receive an IEDC award, the selection of Palestine is a significant accomplishment that our community should be proud of.
At the INDY IEDC 2019 Conference, Palestine Economic Development Corporation received the Bronze Award for Internet & New Media, General Purpose Website. “We are proud of our much improved and informative website, and the national recognition it has brought to our community,” said Terry Johnson, who accepted the award on behalf of Palestine EDC.
Palestine Economic Development Corporation’s Website Project
The EDC decided to embark on the process of building a new website in order to present the information and tools that site selectors and business executives would need to seriously consider a move to Palestine. “When site selectors, executives and investors are looking at an area, they need to be able to evaluate it for the things that matter most to their business model. Palestine offers incredible opportunities, major highway access, a strong infrastructure and available land. We needed to tell that story online, since that’s the first place site selectors go to conduct research. Our new website presents valuable information, tells our story and incorporates useful tools,” said Terry Johnson, Palestine EDC.
The new website was designed and developed by Golden Shovel Agency, an economic development communications firm. The company specializes in working with economic development agencies, chambers of commerce and state agencies, so they were chosen for their expertise in this niche industry. Through their partnership with GIS Planning, Golden Shovel incorporated key tools into the website that make it easy for site selectors and executives to conduct a property search at a much deeper level than traditional real estate websites offer. For example, a site selector can identify properties that are close to rail access or the interstate, identify nearby utilities and view demographic data to determine which site would work best based on business needs. The ability to view heat maps, local layers and compare properties, makes the tool even more robust. Simultaneously, site selectors can view demographic data for the entire community and pull reports directly from the website. By making it easier for site selectors and executives to obtain information about Palestine, the EDC can have conversations about the community that are for more detailed. “Our websites incorporate the latest technologies to empower economic developers to have meaningful conversations, present their community in the best light and be more efficient in their business attraction and retention activities,” said Aaron Brossoit, CEO of Golden Shovel Agency.
In addition to incorporating comprehensive tools, the website helps to tell Palestine’s story. As a beautiful and charming East Texas community, Palestine can be surprising. People who haven’t been to the area often don’t realize how beautiful, convenient or active the city is. The website is helping to tell that story, both visually and through updated content. “Palestine has an incredible story to tell and we are proud to be sharing it. The interviews we have conducted with local entrepreneurs like Sloan Shuffler, of Sloan CPA, have allowed us to use success stories to showcase the best of what Palestine has to offer and we look forward to continuing to share those stories,” said Bethany Quinn, Director of Content for Golden Shovel Agency.
Palestine EDC has additional plans for how to leverage the website. According to Terry Johnson, the EDC will add and update local employer listings and offer information about their Workforce Development Program, now in its second year.