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LVEDC Attends World’s Largest Gathering of Economic Development Professionals

By Colin McEvoy on October 17, 2019

Representatives from the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC) recently attended the largest yearly gathering of economic development professionals from across the country and around the world.

The International Economic Development Council’s (IEDC) 2019 Annual Conference was held in Indianapolis from Oct. 13 to 16, featuring distinguished keynote speakers, dozens of interactive sessions led by industry experts, networking events, and educational tours.

“It was a world-class event that allowed us to learn best practices from our industry, key economic development trends, and make invaluable connections with organizations and individuals from around the world,” said Colin McEvoy, LVEDC Director of Communications.

The event featured 13 keynote speakers from throughout the nation, 19 networking events, more than 50 exhibitor booths, and more than 70 sessions, ranging from the future of smart cities to how to embrace rural placemaking in your community.

It also featured more than 200 breakout speakers, panelists, and moderators from all corners of economic development, according to Tracye McDaniel, IEDC Chair President, and President of TIP Strategies, Inc.

“This I think is the most dynamic conference that we’ve had yet,” McDaniel said.

LVEDC was awarded two IEDC Excellence in Economic Development at the event, which included a Gold Award for its 2018 Annual Report, and a Silver Award for its Made Possible in Lehigh Valley video.

LVEDC Director of Marketing Mike Keller attended the conference, along with McEvoy.

Some of the conference session topics included workforce strategies, the role of housing in economic development, labor data and metrics, digital marketing and website best practices, ethics in economic development, international sister cities, apprenticeships for the modern economy, federal financing and resources, and more.

The conference also included walking tours of the City of Westfield and the City of Carmel Redevelopment District, among other places.

Among the speakers was Ian Steff, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Manufacturing for the U.S. Department of Commerce, who noted there have been more than 500,000 new manufacturing jobs created in the United States since January 2017.

“It is a tremendous success for these manufacturers and the economic development organizations that have enabled that growth,” Steff said. “This is a really important time for economic development across the country.”

Dan Bigman, Editor and Chief Content Officer of Chief Executive magazine, moderated a discussion among CEOs about what they look for in site selection and location decisions. Bigman noted that 95% of the time, a chief executive is either intimately involved in such decisions, or is the one single decision-maker.

Eric Holcomb, the Governor of Indiana, also spoke at the conference. He said in the last three years, foreign direct investment has tripled in the state, with 200,000 residents of the state working in nationally-owned companies from 30 different countries.

“There’s a lot of cool stuff going on in Indiana,” Holcomb said. “We act as your personal concierge, connecting you to what’s going on. We’re not just going to be there when the deal is done and then drift off. We’re in it for the long haul.”

IEDC the largest membership association serving economic and community development professionals in the world. With over 5,000 members nationwide and abroad, IEDC offers the economic development profession one source for information and professional development, one voice for the profession and one force for advocacy.

LVEDC is an accredited economic development organization through the IEDC. LVEDC was last re-accredited in 2017, which marked the third consecutive time it had received the accreditation.

“The Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation displays the professionalism, commitment, and technical expertise that is deserving of this honor,” IEDC President and CEO Jeff Finkle previously said.

Don Cunningham: When September Ends

This column, written by LVEDC President & CEO Don Cunningham, originally appeared in The Morning Call and on the newspaper's website on Oct. 17, 2019. (Click here to read [...]

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