September 2, 2021

Assistant Secretary Alejandra Castillo Delivers Keynote Address to Southwest Region Economic Development Association 2021 Annual Conference; Star of the Southwest Awardees Recognized

U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Alejandra Y. Castillo today delivered virtually the keynote address to the Southwest Region Economic Development Association (SWREDA) 2021 annual conference. Held from September 1-3, 2021 in Rogers, Arkansas, the theme of the 2021 annual conference is Collaboration: The Key to Resilience.

In her remarks, presented virtually, Assistant Secretary Castillo thanked attendees, including EDA Economic Development DistrictUniversity Center, and Revolving Loan Fund grantees and Economic Development Administration (EDA) Austin Regional Office staff, for their hard work and dedication to their communities.

She also outlined the Biden Administration’s Build Back Better agenda and the six transformative programs that EDA has implemented to equitably distribute the $3 billion the bureau received under President Biden’s American Rescue Plan to assist communities nationwide in their efforts to build back better by accelerating the economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic and building local economies that will be resilient to future economic shocks.

As part of the conference, SWREDA recognized the ‘Star of the Southwest’ awardees for having made a measurable and positive impact on their regions.

The 2021 ‘Star of the Southwest’ awardees are:




  • Major improvements to the Stilwell (Oklahoma) sewage treatment facility allowed a local company to expand operations, creating 100 new positions and retaining 181 jobs. The Eastern Oklahoma Development District leveraged nearly $4 million from state, tribal, and federal funds for the project.

New Mexico


  • The Deep East Texas CCOG and EDD along with city and private investment created the DETCOG Regional Headquarters and Emergency Operations Center, allowing the DETCOG to consolidate into one facility. A $1 million EDA investment supported the project, along with $3 million leveraged from state, local, and private resources. The project created and retained 60 jobs.

SWREDA is a voluntary association of executive directors of Councils of Governments and Economic Development Districts working across EDA’s five-state Austin region. The National Association of Development Organizations facilitated the 2021 annual conference.