Lisa Riggs, a former president of both the Lancaster Barnstormers baseball club and the former James Street Improvement District, today was named president of both the Economic Development Co. of Lancaster County and its sister organization, the EDC Finance Corp., effective July 14.
David K. Nikoloff, who formerly held both roles and was with the organizations for several decades, resigned in January for unspecified reasons.
Riggs, described in EDC's news release as "a tenacious and energetic coalition builder of business leaders, elected officials and community leaders," was vice president of economic development for seven years for the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore before joining the JSID.
“Lisa’s experience in leading economic and community development make her the optimal choice to continue our tradition of promoting business development and expansion,” John Cox, chairman of the EDC board of directors and president of Turkey Hill Dairy, said in a news release.
The EDC board also thanked John Biemiller, EDC’s executive vice president, for serving as EDC’s interim leader following Nikoloff's departure. Biemiller will continue serving as EDC’s EVP.
“John provided essential leadership during a transitional time for EDC,” Cox said. “His experience managing the daily operations at EDC and EDC Finance, and its various economic development projects, ensured both organizations never skipped a beat.”
Riggs, who has two school-age children, said that since leaving the Barnstormers last year, she has been devoting more time to her family and volunteer and board roles, along with doing some part-time work for Lancaster on its new CRIZ plans. The City Revitalization & Improvement Zone is a state-funded program aimed at stimulating an estimated $210 million in economic development over 130 urban acres.
"This to me is a very natural step in my professional career in the economic development world," Riggs said. "These are two organizations that have played a very strong and vital role in the community for many, many years, sometimes doing work very quietly that many people in the community didn’t know was being done. But if you look at the economy here and the strength and diversity of it, EDC has a long history of playing an important role."
Riggs noted that the EDC boards have put a lot of effort over the past six to nine months in planning the organizations' futures. The result is a new marketing initiative designed to attract business here, particularly live-event staging, food processing and pharmaceuticals.
"I want to hear from the members what their ideas are, and connect with the board and staff," Riggs said. "This is a good organization. It's got a lot of talent, it has done a lot of good work."
A private, nonprofit organization, EDC brings together business resources, capital and government to support sustainable economic growth in Lancaster County’s commercial, industrial and agricultural communities. Along with EDC Finance Corp., EDC actively works with community development and urban investment projects. It markets aggressively to retain existing, and attract new, business to the region.
Before leading the Barnstormers, Riggs joined the James Street Investment District in March 2003 and served nine years as its first president. The nonprofit community organization strengthened neighborhoods and fostered economic development in the city’s downtown and northwest; today it is part of the Lancaster City Alliance.
The news release notes that Riggs and JSID played key roles in the completion of Clipper Magazine Stadium, revitalization of neighborhoods between JSID founders Lancaster General Health and Franklin & Marshall College, and redevelopment of the former Armstrong World Industries flooring plant in the city’s northwest.