Asheville’s Sam Powers earns 2012 Economic Developer of the Year

from the North Carolina Economic Developers Association

The North Carolina Economic Developers Association selected Sam Powers, Director of Economic Development for the City of Asheville, as the 2012 Economic Developer of the Year in recognition of his outstanding achievement.

“Sam Powers’ tremendous work ethic has resulted in significant revenue and job creation throughout the greater Asheville area,” stated Bonnie Renfro, NCEDA president. “This award is a small recognition compared to the impact he has made in his community and throughout our state.”

As indicated in his nomination and numerous letters of recommendation from his peers, Powers overcame obstacles and worked tirelessly over the past year to create a clear and innovative vision for economic development. Powers played a critical role in bringing new projects to the City of Asheville. He was instrumental in negotiating a Site Location Agreement with Lionsgate Productions to allow filming of the blockbuster film, Hunger Games at Asheville’s North Folk Reservoir. The project has brought more than $5 million in direct economic impact.

Powers also represented the City in regional efforts to bring new business ventures to the Asheville area, including Linamar Corporations, creating 175 jobs within five years. Because of Powers’ strategic partnership with city and county officials, Asheville was chosen to host the Southern Conference Basketball Championships, bringing a $4 million impact, as well as national publicity, to the area.

Over the past few years, Powers has worked to renovate and establish a Naming Rights Agreement for the Asheville Civic Center. He is responsible for securing funding for the renovation including the new Naming Rights Agreement with U.S. Cellular Corporation. These partnerships have led to a successful $10 million renovation for the newly named U.S. Cellular Center.

Powers is also an active leader in the economic development industry. He co-chaired the Local Organizing Committee for the Southern Economic Development Council and helped plan the association’s 2011 Annual Conference in Asheville. He also served on the steering committee to develop a regional sports commission in the Asheville area.

“I greatly appreciate this recognition,” said Powers as he received the award at NCEDA’s Annual Conference. “It is all about having great teammates. We have great teammates within the city and great partnerships throughout Asheville and Buncombe County.”

PHOTO OPPORTUNITY: Photos of the award recipient are available upon request.

The North Carolina Economic Developers Association is the leading statewide association of professional economic developers and their allies in North Carolina. The nearly 600 members promote the state and its communities as places for new economic activity. They are on the front line of economic development in North Carolina. Based in Raleigh, NCEDA provides professional development, advocacy and information services for its members. For more information, visit NCEDA’s website,

About Margaret Williams
Editor Margaret Williams first wrote for Xpress in 1994. An Alabama native, she has lived in Western North Carolina since 1987 and completed her Masters of Liberal Arts & Sciences from UNC-Asheville in 2016. Follow me @mvwilliams

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