News & Rankings

Ashley Cagle Named to Consultant Connect North America’s Top 50 Economic Developers of 2021

Ashley Cagle, Assistant Executive Director of Wake County Economic Development and Vice President of the Raleigh Chamber was named to the top 50 economic developers of 2021. The economic development professionals selected for this list were nominated by their colleagues in both the economic development industry and the site location consulting industry for excellent practices, innovation and success in building the communities they serve.

This annual list recognizing North America’s Top 50 Economic Developers is designed to acknowledge the hard work of the top leaders in this field and elevate the conversation around economic development and job creation. 

While Ashley has had direct involvement with projects wins creating approximately 13,000 jobs and over $920 million in investments for Wake County over the last five years, she hopes her impact goes beyond the numbers. 

“I want our economic development team to be remembered as the team that truly leaned in to ‘prosperity for all,’ and made major strides for our community,” She said. “We are at such a defining moment in our community's history. Our profile is growing, more companies want to locate here, more people are moving here and ensuring that none of our population is left behind is critically important.”

Ryan Combs, Executive Director or the Research Triangle Regional Partnership, was also named one of North America’s Top 50 Economic Developers this year. Ashley and Ryan work closely to position the Triangle as a vibrant and growing economy.

“Our community was literally built on partnership and collaboration across county lines with the birth of the Research Triangle Park,” Ashley said. “That collaborative spirit has never let up and we see its uniqueness as we interact with other communities and work with businesses from all over the world. It's a strategic advantage that can't be duplicated.”

This recognition comes on the heels of North Carolina being named State of the Year by Business Facilities and Raleigh being recognized by Wallet Hub as one of the top state capitals in the country. 

The complete list of North America’s Top 50 Economic Developers of 2021 includes:

Adam Hess, CSX

Andrew Carty, Indiana State Department of Agriculture

Ashley Cagle, Wake County Economic Development

Barry Broome, Greater Sacramento Economic Council

Betsy Markey, Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade

Brandon Simmons, REDI Cincinnati

Brian Sillitto, Greater Columbus Georgia Chamber of Commerce

Cal Wray, Augusta Economic Development Authority

Carolyn Rowley, Lubbock Economic Development Alliance

Cathy Knapp, Southwest Michigan First

Cristina Paredes, Tallahassee-Leon County Office of Economic Vitality

Chris Camacho, Greater Phoenix Economic Council

Chris Strayer, Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce

Christine Mackay, City of Phoenix

Courtland Robinson, Virginia Economic Development Partnership

Daniel Silverman, Investissement Québec International

Danny Chavez, McKinney Economic Development Corporation

David Leezer, Wichita Falls (TX) Chamber of Commerce

Eileen Cai, Charlotte Regional Business Alliance

Emily Jerkins, Birmingham Business Alliance

FJ "Josh" Fenn, Henry County Development Authority

Gilberto Salinas, Kerr Economic Development Corporation

Janel Carothers, Hancock County Port & Harbor Commission

Jayson Knott, Maryland Department of Commerce

Jennifer Conoley, Florida’s Great Northwest

Jill Marasa, Economic Development Council of St. Lucie County

Jonathan Coleman, Laurens County Development Corporation (SC)

Karla Moran, Salt River Project

Kenny McDonald, One Columbus

Kimm Lauterbach, REDI Cincinnati

Kurt Foreman, Delaware Prosperity Partnership

Lenora Fisher, Greater Peoria Economic Development Council

Liana Hovakimyan, Toronto Global

Lora Steele, The Hendricks County Economic Development Partnership

Matt McQuade, One Columbus

Matthew Slotwinski, Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership

Meghan DiGiacomo, Highlands County Economic Development

Michael Harvey, Northwest Arkansas Council

Michael Looney, San Angelo Chamber of Commerce

Mitch Stringer, Cooperative Energy

Quentin Messer, New Orleans Business Alliance

RJ Ball, Empire State Development

Ryan Combs, Research Triangle Regional Partnership

Sean M. Maguire, Town of Colonie (NY)

Tammy Fields, Colorado Springs Chamber & EDC

Taylor Kielty, Georgia Department of Economic Development

Tim Allen, Fort Smith Regional Chamber of Commerce

Tom Ryan, Pasco Economic Development Council

Tony Ramirez, The Borderplex Alliance

Will Williams, Western South Carolina Economic Development Partnership



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