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LVEDC earns AEDO designation for the second time

By LVEDC Staff on December 10, 2013

BETHLEHEM (December 10, 2013) –  The International Economic Development Council (IEDC) has again recognized the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC) as one of just 38 economic development organizations in America to earn the designation Accredited Economic Development Organization (AEDO).

banner“LVEDC submitted a comprehensive reaccreditation application and the site visit confirmed the organization’s value to the region,” according to the IEDC report. “LVEDC’s new leadership and staff are extremely focused on the organization’s mission. The region’s stakeholders spoke highly of LVEDC and strongly believe their leadership and professionalism will take LVEDC to a new level of success.”

LVEDC submitted a reaccreditation application in July 2013 and hosted the IEDC officials during an official visit. LVEDC was judged on a range of criteria including strategic planning, staff development, support of regional stakeholders, major accomplishments and adherence to best practices.

“The designation is recognized among economic development organizations across the world who uphold professionalism, accountability and results as standards,” said LVEDC President and CEO Don Cunningham. “IEDC found a high level of support for LVEDC from the Lehigh Valley’s public sector, economic development partners and business community. I want to thank the IEDC for acknowledging our accomplishments in selecting our organization for the second time.” LVEDC was originally accredited on Sept. 28, 2010; reaccreditation occur every three years.

Since Cunningham took over as president on July 9, 2012, his agenda included a stronger focus on data collection and research and marketing the region. This includes pursuing the attraction of industries in carefully targeted industry clusters, developing and implementing a comprehensive marketing and communications plan with a focus of growing, retaining and attracting new businesses to the Lehigh Valley and reinvigorating efforts to retain established businesses and facilitate expansion of those ready to grow.

“When I served as LVEDC’s chairman a goal of mine was to raise the creditability and national profile of LVEDC and the AEDO designation was a part of that process,” said Donald Bernhard, former LVEDC chairman of the board. “The reaccreditation again affirms LVEDC’s accomplishment of its mission to lead economic prosperity in the Lehigh Valley by ensuring national best practices in economic development.”

Moving forward LVEDC has engaged the services of Garner Economics, LLC to develop a regional organizational strategy which will be presented to the board of directors in January with feedback from the region after that time. Upon its completion it will serve as the primary document for developing a three-year strategy commencing in the final quarter of 2014.

“The recent re-accreditation process with IEDC has reinforced our decision to invest in people and systems that better capture data and provide meaningful insights to our investors and business prospects,” said Tom Garrity, LVEDC chairman of the board. “We will also continue to develop our staff and encourage their on-going professional development to insure that we deliver results that will help our customers and stakeholders be successful. And we will continue to broaden our marketing outreach to attract, retain and start new companies.”

Over the past three years LVEDC’s business development efforts have led to 28 attraction projects that have resulted in more than 2,800 full-time jobs and more than $400 million in total direct investment. Those projected include pharmaceutical company Daiichi Sankyo, food and beverage manufacturers Ocean Spray and Bimbo Bakeries, parts and equipment manufacturer Westport Axle and corporate headquarters for United Bank card and other firms.

The AEDO program is a comprehensive peer review process that measures economic development organizations against commonly-held standards in the profession. The program consists of two phases: documentation review and an onsite visit. Each phase is designed to evaluate information about the structure, organization, funding, programs, and staff of the candidate economic development organization. The report on LVEDC was issued by Jerry Stewart, CEcD, vice chairman of AEDO, and Lara Fitts, CEcD, president and CEO of the Annapolis Economic Development Corporation. The IEDC has more than 4,400 members.

Maintenance of the AEDO status is required every three years and is accomplished through documentation submission and/or onsite visits by a team of the AEDO subcommittee.

The LVEDC Interview: Interim Lehigh County DCED Director Frank Kane

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