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About IEDC


About IEDC
History of IEDC
What is Economic Development?
Board of Directors
Biography of Jeff Finkle, CEcD, President & CEO
Staff

 

About IEDC

The International Economic Development Council (IEDC) is the premier membership organization dedicated to helping economic development professionals create high-quality jobs, develop vibrant communities and improve the quality of life in their regions. Serving more than 4,600 members, IEDC represents the largest network of economic development professionals in the world. IEDC provides a diverse range of services, including conferences, certification, professional development, publications, research, advisory services and legislative tracking.

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History of IEDC

In May of 2001, the Council of Urban Economic Development (CUED) and the American Economic Development Council (AEDC), the two largest national economic development organizations, decided to join forces and merge their assets and capabilities into a single, stronger organization: the International Economic Development Council (IEDC).

The International Economic Development Council (IEDC) is the premier membership organization dedicated to helping economic development professionals create high-quality jobs, develop vibrant communities and improve the quality of life in their regions. Serving more than 4,600 members, IEDC represents the largest network of economic development professionals in the world. IEDC provides a diverse range of services, including conferences, certification, professional development, publications, research, advisory services and legislative tracking.

Although IEDC is a relatively new organization, the Council for Urban Economic Development (CUED) and the American Economic Development Council (AEDC) have long, rich histories of commitment to the field of economic development.

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Council for Urban Economic Development (CUED)

In 1966, problems of urban poverty and urban distress were the subject of much national attention. A loosely-federated group of city development chiefs concerned about the flight of businesses from their cities founded the Helping Urban Businesses (HUB) Club.

On February 10, 1966, Ed DeLuca, Baltimore's director of economic development, invited 20 mayors and their development chiefs to share information at a meeting in Baltimore. The informal HUB Council, financed by DeLuca’s office, held subsequent meetings and became formally incorporated on April 20, 1967. In October of that year, the HUB sought funding from the Economic Development Administration (EDA). The resulting federal grant of $151,530 enabled the Council to hire its first executive director, John Johnson, who had been director of the Delaware League of Local Governments. From that moment on, CUED's development has been intertwined with that of the EDA.

In 1971, as more cities and urbanized counties began to join, HUB Council changed its name to the Council for Urban Economic Development (CUED) and moved its headquarters to Washington DC.

Ken Fry, Milwaukee's former commissioner of city development, became CUED's executive director in November 1972. In 1976, CUED elected Jim Peterson, EDA's Midwest Regional Director and a former Illinois state legislator, as its next executive director.

Throughout the 1970’s and mid 1980’s, CUED focused on federal policies and programs including the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program started in 1974; the Urban Development Action Grant (UDAG) Program initiated in 1978; and tax credits for investments in historic properties in the early 1980’s.

By 1986, federal economic development funding was dramatically shrinking. That year, Jeff Finkle became CUED's new executive director. Finkle’s expertise in marketing and background as a HUD official under Reagan were welcome additions to the organization. He tightened CUED's expenditures and increased emphasis on promoting the organization’s conferences, shifting CUED's financial base away from government support and towards its membership.

The Clinton Administration came into office in 1993 committed to addressing issues such as technology development, workforce training, and community reinvestment. CUED's leadership and staff worked with the National Economic Council in the White House as it developed a new enterprise zone program and established a national export strategy.

Competition from abroad made CUED increasingly aware of advances being made by other countries with economic development initiatives. In 1995, CUED founded the International Network of Economic Developers (INED), in partnership with the Economic Developers of Canada (EDAC), the European Association of Development Agencies (EURADA), and the Australia-New Zealand section of the Regional Science Association.

The closing of military installations impacted a growing number of communities and regions nationwide and thus became the subject of CUED conferences and publications. In 1996, CUED entered into an alliance with the National Association of Installation Developers (NAID) through which CUED provided management and administrative staff time, organizes conferences, and published NAID's monthly newsletter. In 2004, NAID changed its name to "NAID, an Association of Defense Communities" (NAID/ADC) to reflect the association’s diverse membership – communities redeveloping closed bases as well as communities supporting active military installations. And in 2006, the Board of Directors accepted a proposal to officially change the name from NAID/ADC to the Association of Defense Communities (ADC).

CUED, through its conferences, research, and publications, worked continually to inform and educate its members on technology issues. From 1997 until 2001, CUED provided administrative, conference planning, and newsletter publishing services to the Association of University Related Research Parks (AURRP).


American Economic Development Council (AEDC)

The economic development profession has evolved over time. From its humble beginnings in 1926 as a meeting of Chamber of Commerce professionals dedicated to industrial development, to the diverse, multi-focused profession economic development has become, the AEDC represented and nurtured the economic development field for decades.

In 1926, F. Stuart Fitzpatrick of the Chamber of Commerce of the United States and his staff met with H. Findlay French from the Industrial Bureau of the Baltimore Association of Commerce to develop a conference that brings together all Chamber staff tasked with the job of industrial development. The Chamber had two reasons to hold this meeting: to improve the general understanding of the work of industrial bureau managers, and bring their work to a higher proficiency.

In 1926, the first conference among Chamber industrial development managers was launched in Washington, D.C. George Smith was elected Conference Chairman, a position he would hold for the next five conferences, leading the group from a meeting of Chamber officials to the launch of a new organization. At the fourth conference, the discussion focused on establishing a formal organizations for industrial development managers, and at the fifth conference in 1930, the American Industrial Development Council (AIDC, which would be the pre-cursor to AEDC) was born.

Until 1949, AIDC meetings remained highly informal. Chairs were elected the opening day of each conference and participants met around U-shaped tables. In 1949, AIDC started distributing verbatim meeting reports. In 1953, AIDC established a permanent assistant secretary within the Chamber of Commerce of the United States. In 1957, the National Chamber of Commerce changed its internal policies and decided not to service other professional and trade organizations, so AIDC moved from Washington to set up office in Newark, Delaware. In 1958, AIDC incorporated as a non-profit organization in the State of Maryland. In 1960, AIDC had grown its membership from 22 conference attendees in 1926 to 817 members in 1960.

From 1960 onwards, the evolution of AIDC as an organization was linked to the development of the Economic Development Institute (EDI). The focus of the organization was on training and development, as a way of nurturing economic development as a profession. EDI, formerly the Industrial Development Institute, began in 1962 in Norman, Oklahoma, as did the Continuing Education Center at the University of Oklahoma.

In 1971, AIDC took additional steps to further professionalize economic development with the first Certified Industrial developer (CID) exam administered in Denver, CO, resulting in the certification of 58 people. In 1980 the executive committee voted to change the name from the American Industrial Development Council (AIDC) to the American Economic Development Council (AEDC),

In 1971, AEDC took additional steps to further professionalize economic development with the first Certified Industrial Developer (CID) exam administered in Denver, Colorado, resulting in the certification of 58 people. Renamed the Certified Economic Developer (CEcD), over 1,000 individuals currently carry the CEcD designation. AEDC also implemented basic training courses. Changing names from Basic Industrial Development Course to Basic Economic Development Course, this initiative not only introduced budding economic development professionals to the basic tools of economic development, but also served a wider audience of community leaders, elected officials, and other leaders involved in economic development.

 

What is Economic Development?

Economic development aims to influence the growth and restructuring of a community’s economy to enhance its well being. This is achieved through:

• Job creation and retention,
• Wealth creation for individuals and businesses,
• Tax base enhancements, and
• Improving the quality of life.

Economic development as it is practiced in the U.S. today originated in the mid-twentieth century as communities began recruiting manufacturing plants. The field has diversified significantly since that time. As firms became more mobile, communities recognized that strengthening existing businesses, helping them expand, and helping new businesses start up were more effective and sustainable growth strategies.

The profession also has broadened its scope in recognition that job quality – rather than quantity – is key to providing individual opportunity, maintaining a strong middle class and strengthening a community’s economic competitiveness. In addition, the practice of economic development has adapted over time to:

• Reflect structural changes to the economy – including corporate and industrial models – and the role of innovation and entrepreneurship in driving economic growth;
• Respond to the challenges and opportunities presented by an increasingly interconnected, global economy; and
• Recognize the connection between environmental sustainability and economic competitiveness.

While the private sector ultimately creates the jobs, the role of economic development organizations – through the core activities of business recruitment, retention and expansion, and business creation/entrepreneurship – is to create the conditions that better enable businesses to compete and thrive.

Those conditions have changed dramatically over time, from a focus on a low-cost business climate to the skilled workers and technologies that enable innovation; financial tools that enable businesses to expand or start up; community quality of life, which attracts and retains both businesses and people; and much more.