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Becoming Accredited: A Conversation on the AEDO Program

Date: November 21, 2019

Time:  2:30 pm - 4:00 pm ET

Price:  Free

Registration Deadline: November 21 at 11:00 am ET

Instructions will be emailed on Tuesday, November 19

Questions? Please contact webinar@iedconline.org


Does your organization have what it takes to become an accredited economic development organization (AEDO)? Is your organization considering submitting an application to join the elite group of accredited economic development organizations?

The International Economic Development Council (IEDC) is holding a free informational webinar regarding the Accredited Economic Development Organization (AEDO) on Thursday, November 21, 2019 from 2:30 – 4:00pm EST. The webinar will feature a conversation from representatives of AEDO organizations.

The presenters will speak to their experiences preparing an application, navigating the documentation review process, and hosting an AEDO site visit. In addition, they will discuss the impact of accreditation on their organizations and the benefits afforded by the AEDO program. Attendees will have the opportunity to ask their questions to the presenters.

This free webinar is a great opportunity to learn more about the AEDO program by speaking directly to accredited organizations and program leaders.

Learn more about the AEDO program.




Lara Fritts
President and CEO
Greater Richmond Partnership (GRP)
Richmond, VA

Lara is the President and CEO of the Greater Richmond Partnership (GRP), the national and international sales team which serves as the lead regional economic development organization. GRP is a public/private, non-profit that represents the city of Richmond and counties of Chesterfield, Hanover and Henrico in the 1.3 million population of the Richmond MSA in Virginia.

Prior to her role with GRP, she was the Director of Salt Lake City’s Department of Economic Development (SLC DED) where she oversaw three divisions – Business Development, the Redevelopment Agency of Salt Lake City and the Salt Lake City Arts Council. Under her leadership, she worked to bring more than 30 new companies to Salt Lake City including UPS, Amazon, Stadler Rail, and others totaling over 9,000 jobs and nearly a billion dollars in capital investment.

Before relocating to Salt Lake City, Lara managed several economic development organizations in the DC/Maryland/Virginia regions over the last three decades including President and CEO of the Annapolis Economic Development Corporation; Executive Director of the Southeast Fairfax Development Corporation (SFDC); Executive Director of the Greater Rockville Partnership; and the President and CEO of the Washington, D.C., Technology Council.

Known for her strengths in strategic planning, collaboration, marketing, and leadership, Lara serves on the board of the International Economic Development Council (IEDC). Lara has a Master’s in Urban Studies from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, and a Bachelor’s degree in Regional Analysis from the University of Wisconsin, Green Bay.

Dan Henderson
Gilbert, Arizona Office of Economic Development
Gilbert, Arizona

Mr. Dan Henderson is currently the Director for the Gilbert, Arizona Office of Economic Development and is responsible for attracting, growing and expanding business and industry. In this executive leadership role with Gilbert, he oversees the administration of a $2.2 million dollar departmental budget and a $5 million dollar reserve fund for deal closing. The Gilbert Office of Economic Development earned the Accredited Economic Development Organization (AEDO) status through the International Economic Development Council (IEDC), and ended Fiscal Year 2018 as the State of Arizona Economic Development Organization of the Year with transactional activity exceeding $300,000,000. Prior to his employment with Gilbert he was employed by the City of Tempe for six years as an Economic Development Specialist where he was responsible for implementing projects and programs that support commercial, office, and industrial expansion. In that role, he provided financial and economic information to existing businesses including the availability of state and local incentive programs, workforce/job training initiatives, and financial assistance programs. Prior to his employment with the City of Tempe, Dan was employed by Raymond James Consulting, a national technology and solution delivery consulting group where he provided pre/post technical expertise, positioning strategies, requirements definition, market and business analysis, project management, application development and data warehousing/business intelligence solutions. Dan has served as a contract consultant with IBM Global Business Services and other national services firms where he acted as a Business Analyst and Project Manager on various business intelligence and facility acquisition projects. He started his career as the Manager of Foreign Direct Investment for the World Trade Center and was accountable for program development activities targeting European markets and international trade. Mr. Henderson is a Certified Economic Developer and holds an undergraduate degree in Management and Finance and a Master of Business Administration with a concentration in Computer Information Systems. He is an Adjunct Faculty member for Chandler-Gilbert Community College in the Business and Computer Studies Division and is a graduate of Tempe Leadership.

William (Bill) J. Jabjiniak
Director of Economic Development
City of Mesa
Mesa, AZ

With more than 30 years of results-driven vision and leadership in revitalization strategies, public/private partnership opportunities, project financing and business recruitment, William Jabjiniak currently serves as the Director of Economic Development for the City of Mesa, Arizona. His mission is to grow the local economy, primarily through the strategic expansion of Mesa’s industries of opportunity – Healthcare, Education, Aerospace and Tourism/Technology (HEAT). Under Jabjiniak’s leadership, his team attracted five new higher education institutions; successfully implemented an entrepreneurship program which includes LAUNCHPOINT, Mesa’s Technology Accelerator; retained the Chicago Cubs and Oakland A’s spring training operations; and led the adaptive reuse of the Air Force Research Laboratory, converting it to the Arizona Laboratories for Security and Defense (AZLabs) – a cyber security, aerospace and defense center of excellence – all while maintaining the high security protocols.

Other accomplishments include the creation of the Elliot Road Technology Corridor which has everything high-tech manufacturers need, including a streamlined entitlement process, plenty of power and infrastructure and creating the East, West, and Southwest Mesa Redevelopment Areas (RDA). In 2017, the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) recognized Mesa’s Office of Economic Development as one of the first 60 Accredited Economic Development Organizations (AEDO) in North America.

Prior to the City of Mesa, Jabjiniak served as Director of Economic Development for the City of Richmond, Virginia and served as Destination Manchester Coordinator in the Office of the Mayor for the City of Manchester, New Hampshire.

Jabjiniak received a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Franklin Pierce University and holds both a Master of Science in Community Economic Development and a Master of Business Administration from Southern New Hampshire University.

Bev Thornton
Executive Director
Alberta SouthWest Regional Economic Development Alliance
Pincher Creek, AB

Bev Thornton is the Executive Director of Alberta SouthWest Regional Economic Development Alliance, a partnership of 16 rural municipalities. She has worked with this group since its inception “at the turn of the century” and is proud of the strong community commitment to advance economic development in key regional industry sectors: agriculture, renewable energy, clean technology and tourism.

The organization became an AEDO in 2018 and has received over 30 provincial, national and international awards, including
• 2012 EDAC Cup the highest recognition from Economic Developers Association of Canada;
• 2013 Alex Metcalf Project Award from Economic Developers Alberta;
• 2019 Top 100 Sustainable Global Tourism Destination designation for Alberta SouthWest Crown of the Continent.

Bev serves as Chair of the Crown of the Continent Transboundary Geotourism Council, bringing together partners in Alberta, British Columbia and Montana. She is a Past President of Economic Developers Alberta (EDA), was named 2013 Economic Developer of the Year for leadership in regional collaboration, and in 2017 became the first Canadian to receive the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) Jeffrey A. Finkle Award for Organizational Leadership.

Bev has a Bachelor of Education from the University of Saskatchewan and began her career as a high school teacher. She has experience as an elected official, career consultant, contract manager and Government of Alberta regional director for economic development. Bev is an enthusiastic cheerleader for the region and is excited about the opportunities and potential in rural communities.


Instructions and Technology

Instructions and dial-in information will be sent up to three days in advance and a minimum of two times. If you do not receive an email from IEDC or GoToWebinar 24 hours prior to the start of the web seminar, it is your responsibility to email webinar@iedconline.org. No refunds or credits will be given for not receiving the dial-in information for the webinar.


• Using a telephone: A touch-tone telephone
• Using Desktop VoIP: A computer equipped with the following:
-- a supported sound card
-- speakers or headphones
-- a microphone (for speaking during the conference)


• Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0, Mozilla Firefox 1.5 for Windows/Mac/Linux, or Safari 2.0 for Macintosh
• Broadband Internet connection

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