AJF News

Press Release: Michael Southard Receives Designation of Certified Economic Developer from the International Economic Development Council

4/5/2016 by Jessika Leatherbury
Tags: International Economic Development Council, Michael Southard, CEcD, Certified Economic Developer

Michael Southard
Receives Designation of Certified Economic Developer from the International Economic Development Council

Joins the over 1,100 active CEcDs in the United States and seven in Oklahoma

Arlington, Virginia – Michael Southard, President and CEO of the Ada Jobs Foundation in Ada, Oklahoma recently earned the designation of Certified Economic Developer (CEcD), a national recognition that denotes a mastery of principal skills in economic development, professional attainment and a commitment to personal and professional growth. The CEcD exam was administered by the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) on April 3, 2016 in Arlington, VA at the new Renaissance Capitol View Hotel. With 23 years of economic development experience, Southard has implemented many programs around the State. Mike came to Ada after leading the community development efforts in Shawnee and Muskogee and serving as a city planner in Oklahoma City. He led efforts to enhance community appearance and pioneered revitalization processes to revitalize blighted neighborhoods, provide workforce housing, and create the first rehabilitation code in the state.

The CEcD designation recognizes qualified and dedicated practitioners in the economic development field and sets the standard of excellence within the profession. Candidates must pass a rigorous and comprehensive three-part, two-day examination, which tests a practitioner’s knowledge, proficiency and judgment in the key areas of economic development, including business retention and expansion, marketing, finance, workforce development, community development, real estate, strategic planning, tech-led economic development, and management.

“Only 30% of those who sit for the CEcD exam pass, resulting in very few communities in the United States or internationally being able to boast of having a Certified Economic Developer on their team.” said Lucas Clark, Chairman of the Ada Jobs Foundation Board of Directors, “Ada is fortunate to have Mike Southard, who is now newly certified as a CEcD, leading our community’s economic development efforts. This is just one more accolade to put Ada on the map for those looking to invest and grow their business.”

As highly competent economic development practitioners, Certified Economic Developers work with public officials, business leaders and community members to create leadership to build upon and maximize the economic development sector. Excellence in the economic development profession improves the well-being, quality of life and opportunities for individuals, businesses and communities. There are currently over 1,100 active CEcDs in the United States and seven in Oklahoma.

About IEDC
The International Economic Development Council (IEDC) is a non-profit, nonpartisan membership organization serving economic developers. With more than 4,500 members, IEDC is the largest organization of its kind. Economic developers promote economic well-being and quality of life for their communities, by creating, retaining and expanding jobs that facilitate growth, enhance wealth and provide a stable tax base. From public to private, rural to urban and local to international, IEDC’s members are engaged in the full range of economic development experience. Given the breadth of economic development work, our members are employed in a wide variety of settings including local, state, provincial and federal governments, public-private partnerships, chambers of commerce, universities and a variety of other institutions. When we succeed, our members create high-quality jobs, develop vibrant communities, and improve the quality of life in their regions. www.iedconline.org

About the Ada Jobs Foundation
The Ada Jobs Foundation (AJF) contracts with the City of Ada to promote and recommend economic development opportunities with the city. AJF was established in 1998 to create and retain quality jobs for the Ada area. AJF serves as a "one-stop-shop"for economic development by coordinating with the city and other entities for Ada, Oklahoma's benefit. The Ada Jobs Foundation is a non-profit organization, funded in part by membership dues and tax deductible contributions. In addition to membership dues, funding is provided by a contract with the City of Ada. www.adaworks.org