This week on WingSpan we will be looking at the economic development of Wilmington. Our guests will include Mayor Bill Saffo, Shane Fernando, Kim Hufham, Robby Collins and Vicky Janowski. We will be discussing topics such as how the city is preparing for Wilmington's population growth, how the arts affect our local economy and tourism in the Port City.
Bill Saffo has been the Mayor of Wilmington since 2007 and is currently running uncontested for this year’s upcoming November election. He is a Wilmington native and graduated with a B.A. from University of North Carolina Wilmington. His main project for the upcoming term is to complete the Embassy Suites hotel next to the Wilmington convention center. Economy growth has always been a key component to Saffo’s platform. During his current term, voters approved a $55 million transportation bond package that will make some progress this upcoming year. Under Saffo’s administration, the city was recently selected for a development initiative, InnovateNC. This initiative will serve as a “cross-city learning collaborative” that will work to improve the state’s overall level of innovation.
Shane Fernando is a Wilmington local who graduated from University of North Carolina Wilmington in 2000, and then again with his masters in Public Administration in 2005. During his time at UNCW, Fernando was the driving force in fundraising for the clock tower. He now serves as a public arts commentator for WHQR Public Radio. He is also the Director of Cape Fear Community College’s Humanities and Fine Arts Center. This Center is very new and is part of the efforts to revitalize the north end of Downtown Wilmington. Fernando is also a member of the Screen Actors Guild.
Kim Hufham is the President/CEO at Wilmington and Beaches Convention & Visitors Bureau. She is a 25-year veteran in destination marketing. Hufham attended Miller Motte Business College and specializes in administration, budgeting and sales. She served as Executive Vice President at Wilmington Cape Fear Coast CVB from 2004-2006 and the Executive Director of Columbus County Tourism Bureau from 2003-2004.
Robby Collins is currently serving as President of the Azalea Festival Board for the year 2016. The festival’s popularity is growing, as well as the economic impact on Wilmington. This year the festival received 233 patron sponsorships, which is the most that have ever been sold for the festival. He is also a practicing Attorney at Collins & Collins Law Office PLLC.
Vicky Janowski is currently an editor of the Greater Wilmington Business Journal. She also is a co-editor of WILMA, a women’s lifestyle magazine and serves as the co-leader of Women to Watch Leadership Initiative. Janowski has past experience editing for other local Wilmington papers and has been a writer for Journal Communications Inc.
The episode will air Friday at noon on UNC-TV and will be posted here for viewing. Tune in next week as we discuss how the economic development of Wilmington affects our environment and beaches.