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Online Training Course: Business Retention & Expansion

Date: May 6 - 7, 2021

Time: 11:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. ET

Location: Online



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This interactive course presents the core components of a BRE program and why the concerns of local businesses need to be actively addressed. By building an understanding of business visitation techniques and survey methods, practitioners will be able to clearly gauge their community's business climate. Learn the "red flags" that may indicate a company is looking to move elsewhere, and learn how to structure an effective technical assistance program to respond to business concerns. This course helps participants understand how a BRE program relates to attraction, workforce development, small business finance, technology transfer and many other economic development activities.


Course Highlights:

• Establishing, maintaining and upgrading a BRE program
• Creating effective models for business visitations and surveys
• Customer-Relationship Management (CRM) techniques
• Marketing a BRE program
• Establishing an early warning system
• Cluster and industry-focused BRE programs
• Tracking and analyzing customer feedback and response
• Quantitative and qualitative economic development metrics



May 6


Speaker Introductions and Session Framework

Speaker introductions and a brief discussion of course objectives, desired outcomes, and overall course methodology.


Defining Economic Development and Our Customers

This session will dissect and define economic development and our customers. All businesses are not created equal. This session will help attendees identify and understand who their best customers how to utilize with for successful business retention and expansion. Various mechanisms will be examined that allow us to prioritize our BR&E focus and efforts.


Global factors and trends that impact business retention and expansion policies, programs, strategies and desired outcomes

In this session, attendees will learn about and discuss post-recession global realities and how they have fundamentally changed the private sector, economic development and business retention and expansion.




Why BR&E is Essential

This session will underscore the importance of BR&E, provide examples of objectives and outcomes and examine core elements of any best practice framework.


Multi Touch BR&E Framework

This session will examine a multi-layered, multi-touch approach to business retention and expansion.


Disaster Recovery


Multi Touch BR&E Framework (continued)/ Review of Day one: Highlights and Core Concepts

This session will examine a multi-layered, multi-touch approach to business retention and expansion.

May 7


Social Media Marketing and Promotion:

You’ve put together your BRE program, but to connect with businesses, you first need to educate them. Marketing and branding are an important part any successful business retention and expansion program. This session will also explore the important use of social media for BR&E.


Examination of BR&E Elements

This session will examine the essential role of the Resource Team in BR&E.

This session will examine the mission-critical role of the BR&E Program Manager.

The session will also touch upon the use of CRM technology for BR&E




One-to-one Database Marketing and the Correlation to Business Retention and Expansion

Key principles from one-to-one database marketing for successful business retention and expansion will be examined and discussed.


Leveraging resources and final takeaways


* Agenda subject to change

**PLEASE NOTE: In order to receive full IEDC certification credit for this course and a certificate indicating course completion, attendance at all sessions on day 1 (Thursday) and day 2 of the course (Friday), as well as your participation in the interactive course activities are required to earn full credit. Partial credit is not given.**



Colleen Bond
EDCD Consulting
Kelowna, BC, Canada

Colleen is a partner with EDCD and has over 25 years economic development experience.  She has her diploma in Economic Development from the University of Waterloo and is a certified Economic Developer.  Colleen has extensive knowledge in building economic development programs and delivering practical and realistic strategic plans.   

Colleen’s skills, practical guidance and results-oriented approach have helped clients across Canada develop innovative economic development solutions.  She has facilitated workshops on economic development essentials including strategic planning, business retention and expansion, business attraction, and economic recovery from disasters.

Economic development troubleshooting and community development strategies have become a specialty for Colleen and she specializes in providing elected officials and community leaders with the right information to make decisions for their businesses and communities to grow. 

Erik Collins
Montgomery County Community & Economic Development
Dayton, OH

Erik Collins is the Director of the Community & Economic Development Department for Montgomery County, Ohio – the state’s fourth largest county. Erik oversees various functions for Montgomery County including Building, Planning, and Community & Economic Development Divisions.

In Economic Development, Erik is responsible for overseeing business attraction, retention and the county’s incentive programs. Erik was instrumental in developing, and is now responsible for managing the County’s first countywide business retention and expansion initiative known as Business First! For A Greater Dayton Region. BusinessFirst! has expanded outside of Montgomery County with over 32 jurisdictions in a six county region containing over 100 Regional Resource Partners serving businesses; among the communities, over 7,000 large and small companies have been visited. BusinessFirst! has received several recognitions from the National Association of Counties Achievement Award as an innovative program contributing to and enhancing county government in the United States; Business Retention and Expansion International and The Ohio/City County Management Association (OCMA). He is a national trainer for the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) presenting best business retention and expansion practices across North America and for the University of Oklahoma’s Economic Development Institute (OUEDI). Erik serves on the Board of Directors for the Ohio Economic Development Association (OEDA).

In addition to business retention and expansion, Erik has played an instrumental role as part of the development team in several significant new investments in Montgomery County including: Collective Brands – now Payless Shoes, the largest shoe retailer in the western hemisphere, CAT Logistics – the second largest CAT facility in North America, the 1.8M sq. ft. P&G in the City of Union, WilmerHale – the fifth largest law firm in the U.S. in addition to many small and large development projects.

Erik’s accomplishments also include development of Montgomery County’s first Linked Deposit Program in partnership with the Montgomery County Treasurer in 1999 that was a $20 million program designed to buy-down interest rates for businesses and housing developers that create and retain jobs and improve Montgomery County neighborhoods; a Buy Local Program - ThinkTwice – Buy Montgomery County. In 2015 he jointly created a Strategic Enhanced Economic Development (SEED) program to strengthen business attraction and retention efforts by aligning resources and streamlining the development process for targeted strategic investments throughout Montgomery County. He is a member of the Leadership Dayton Class of 2010. In 2000, Erik was selected as one of the Dayton Business Journal’s 40 UNDER 40 professionals-recognizing the Miami Valley’s future leaders, and in 1999 was member of a professional exchange team through Rotary International’s Group Study Exchange Program to Sweden.

Brittany Harris
Senior Digital Stategist
Frazier Heiby
Jersey City, NJ

Brittany is a strategic storyteller and content creator, bringing over 10 years of experience to her role as Senior Digital Strategist. Her passion is to pair clients with their target audience through dynamic content. She has spent time working with a variety of small business clients as well as corporate and non-profit organizations. She has experience teaching clients how to enhance their social media platforms to increase audience engagement and brand awareness by staying on top of current trends and implementing creative, interactive content. As part of the FrazierHeiby team, Brittany provides strategic guidance to account teams and drives content creation for social media, email marketing and video storytelling.

Though originally from Columbus, Ohio, Brittany currently lives in New Jersey with her daughter. When not working, she can be found baking, reading or binge-watching.

Kim Ratcliff
Director, Insights and Strategy
Frazier Heiby
Columbus, OH

Kim is a dynamic leader with 25+ years of experience in marketing, organizational development and communications strategy for non-profit, public and private organizations. Her focus at FrazierHeiby is on making client impact be seen, heard and felt by the people that matter—so they take action that makes a measurable difference. Prior to joining FrazierHeiby, Kim held leadership roles with Battelle for Kids and the Ohio Department of Education, as well as public relations agencies including Paul Werth Associates.

Kim’s heart is in public service. She was a founding member and president of the John Glenn College of Public Affairs Alumni Board and teaches graduate-level policy and nonprofit communications and marketing courses at The Ohio State University. Her students have completed projects on SmartColumbus sponsored by the City of Columbus, as well as the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission. She has a U.S. Marine son and a teacher-in-training daughter.

In her spare time Kim camps, hikes and visits our wonderful state and national parks.


Laith Wardi, CEcD
ExecutivePulse, Inc.
Erie, PA

Laith Wardi, CEcD, is President and founder of ExecutivePulse, Inc. He has worked in the economic development professional for over 21 years. Laith has comprehensive experience in business retention & expansion that includes one-toone outreach to hundreds of value-added client companies, work as a resource provider, and 15 years of regional program management in his home state of Pennsylvania. During his tenure in economic development, he also worked in business incubation and provided small business mentoring services to entrepreneurs.

Laith provides skills training, technology and management consultation to clients seeking to implement systematic and sustainable business retention and expansion programs. In 1994- 95, he pioneered the first web-based system for business retention. Today, The ExecutivePulse CRM System is an industry leading technology solution for all facets of economic development and the most widely used database for business retention & expansion in North America. ExecutivePulse is now being used in Australia as well as the United States and Canada. Laith has provided training on business retention and expansion for International Economic Development Council (IEDC) since 1996. He has trained over 5,000 persons for IEDC during that timeframe. In addition to IEDC, Laith provides BR&E online instruction for the University of Oklahoma Economic Development Institute (OUEDI). He has also presented to hundreds of economic development and allied audiences throughout the United States, Canada, Europe and Mexico on customer retention, one-to-one database marketing and technology assimilation.

Laith is a graduate of Mercyhurst University and received his economic development certification through IEDC in 2002. In addition to economic development, Laith has experience in real estate management, media sales, and as a strategic planning consultant for both public and private sector clients. He currently serves on a variety of local economic development boards and committees in Northwestern Pennsylvania.

Dale Wheeldon
President and CEO
British Columbia Economic Development Association (BCEDA)
Chilliwack, BC, Canada

Dale Wheeldon brings 30+ years of knowledge and a varied background in economic development and local government.   With years of experience in both rural communities and a major city in British Columbia, Dale understands the unique challenges and opportunities differing sized communities face.  With this knowledge, he was asked to take on the role as the President and CEO of the BC Economic Development Association.  His working relationships with all levels of government and industry associations have helped to increase the profile of EDO's and the importance of the profession in BC.  Dale has a real passion in Business Retention and Expansion and in the area of Economic Disaster Recovery.  Dale first introduced in Canada the concept of structure economic disaster recovery in 2012.

Dale is also a partner with EDCD Consulting.  As an economic development consulting firm, EDCD focuses on working with local communities in overcoming challenges and focusing on opportunities.  Dale is a frequent speaker at economic development events and seminars and has been retained as an instructor by the International Economic Development Council (IEDC).   Through both EDCD and BCEDA, Dale and his business partner Colleen Bond have worked with communities throughout North America and most recently Cambodia, in helping local leaders understand the value and practice of economic development. 


  CEcD logo

This course meets the professional development requirements for the Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) exam. CEcDs earn recertification credits for participation.




By Mar 26

Mar 27 - Apr 23

After Apr 23

IEDC Member








Full Time Student**




** Copy of current transcript required.

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Individual paying by check or purchase order: Click this button to download a form (PDF) if you are paying by check or purchase order. Form must be faxed or mailed, and accompanied by payment.

Refunds less a $75 cancellation fee will be issued for all cancellations received in writing to fax: (202) 223-4745 or email: prodev@iedconline.org at least 10 business days prior to the course - please allow 3-4 weeks. All registrations regardless of payment status are subject to the $75 cancellation fee. No refunds or credit transfers to a future course will be issued for cancellations received within 10 business days of the course. Telephone cancellations are not accepted. Attendee substitutions for a course may be made at any time prior to the course.