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Three U.S. Cabinet Officials Address More Than 300 Economic Development Professionals at FED Forum

Wilbur Ross, Secretary of Commerce , Dr. Ben Carson, U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and Linda McMahon, Small Business Administrator, addressed attendees of IEDC’s FED Forum last week.

FED Forum, the only annual conference focused exclusively on federal economic development programs and policies, was held April 9-11 at the Washington Court Hotel in Washington, D.C. All three Cabinet members spoke on Monday, April 10, to a crowd of more than 300 economic development professionals.

At the keynote luncheon, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross discussed his goals and plans for his term, as well as challenges the economy may face in the future and how to overcome them.

“In current months, I look forward getting your assistance as we develop policies that put American workers and businesses first.” commented Ross.

Dr. Ben Carson, a surprise guest, spoke of the need for civic servants and economic developers to work together to ensure prosperity for all groups, saying, “We have to think in a broad, holistic way, recognizing that when one of us succeeds, we all succeed.”

U.S. Small Business Administrator and former CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment Linda McMahon was also a surprise guest to attendees, and spoke briefly about her desire to engage with economic developers throughout her term.

“I just want to give all of you the assurance that SBA wants to be your partner in any way that we can,” McMahon said. “Any ideas that you can bring to us and help us understand a bit more how we can help with the economic development and growth that all of you are part of, please do reach out and let us be even better partners to all of you.”

In addition to plenary sessions and breakout sessions, attendees were able to attend several special events throughout the conference. One group volunteered their time for a service project at the Three Part Harmony Farm in Northeast D.C. Saturday afternoon. Saturday evening, attendees were able to register for a performance by the Capitol Steps, a musical troupe that performs political satire.

Monday evening, attendees were invited to a networking reception at the Capitol. Both economic development professionals and Congressional staffers were in attendance.