Celebrating Economic Development Week

May 11, 2021

Celebrating Economic Development Week

TWENTY-FIVE years ago, I earned my CEcD (Certified Economic Development) designation from the American Economic Development Council, now the IEDC (International Economic Development Council. Back in 1996, I already had a going career in community economic development, including coordinating a Small Business Development Center, working closely with many small businesses, entrepreneurs and students at Joliet Jr. College and Governors State University in northern Illinois throughout the 1980’s.

But then in 1993, a couple of things happened. I was now the President of the Mid-America Economic Development Council, and I accepted the then new position of Director of the Grundy County (IL) Economic Development Council (GEDC). I was now using my past experience and education in Public Policy and Administration, but this new role at the GEDC required more economic development training, both technical and administrative skills.

Two of my mentors, David A. Leezer CEcD (now with the Wichita Falls (TX) Chamber of Commerce) and Dr. Robert Koepke of Southern Illinois University – Edwardsville, convinced me it was time to earn my certification. The CEcD designation gave me not only a credential accepted nationwide, but the best practices training I needed, and still need, to tackle the challenges of community development.

Combined with my SBDC, higher education and public policy backgrounds, being a CEcD has gave me the confidence to have tackled challenges, particularly with assisting small communities, both rural and suburban. Now in retirement, I direct the Illinois Basic Economic Development Course and assist a couple of small communities with community development and small business assistance in our COVID-19 environment.