Intensive Economic Development Training Course
Week 1: July 12-16, 2021 (Auburn, AL)
Week 2: September 20-23, 2021 (Auburn, AL)

A two-week course introducing participants to all phases of economic development.

The Intensive Economic Development Training Course is an annual two-week course presented by the Government & Economic Development Institute (GEDI).

The course is divided into two one-week sessions and introduces participants to all phases of economic development. Program leaders and faculty have proven success in economic development practices and techniques. Instructors represent the field’s most effective practitioners from throughout the state and nation.

The first week of the Intensive Course is accredited by the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) and fulfills one of the prerequisites for those who wish to take the exam for the Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) designation. It provides an intensive overview of general economic development concepts and principles.

International Economic Development Council

The second week focuses on important issues and resources and is especially valuable to economic developers and community leaders practicing in Alabama.

With 35 years of experience, GEDI is the state’s leading provider of economic development education and training.

The first week of the 2021 Intensive Course will be held on July 12-16, 2021 at The Hotel at Auburn University & Dixon Conference Center, located at 241 South College Street in Auburn. The second week will be conducted September 20-23, 2021, also at The Hotel at Auburn University & Dixon Conference Center.



Who Should Attend
  • Local, Regional, and State-Level Economic Development Professionals
  • Economic / Industrial Development Board Members
  • Chamber of Commerce Officials
  • State / Local Elected Officials
  • Community Leaders
  • County Commissioners
  • Utility Company Representatives
  • Community / Regional Planners

Course Curriculum

Session I Topics

  • Trends in Economic Development
  • Workforce Development and Training
  • Community Development Fundamentals and Success Models
  • Marketing and Business Attraction
  • Business Retention and Expansion
  • Web and Social Media Marketing Strategies
  • Strategic Planning for Economic Development
  • Real Estate Development and Reuse
  • Small Business and Entrepreneurship Development
  • Economic Development Finance
  • Site Selection Case Study Exercise
  • Economic Development Ethics
  • Building and Managing Economic Development Organization

Session II Topics

  • The History of Economic Development in Alabama
  • Alabama Government and Economic Development
  • Economic Development from the Company’s Perspective
  • Alabama Education and Workforce Development
  • Recruiting Hyundai: The Montgomery Experience
  • Retail as an Essential Economic Development Strategy
  • International Trade and Investment
  • Rural Development Strategies
  • Alabama Programs and Resources to Support Economic Development
  • Alabama Economic Development Roundtable
Agenda - Week 2: September 20-23, 2021

*Click on the date to expand each panel to see the full agenda for that day.

8:00 - 8:15 AM

Welcome Back

8:15 - 9:15 AM

The History of Economic Development in Alabama
Edwin C. Bridges, Ph.D., Director Emeritus, Alabama Department of Archives and History

9:15 - 9:30 AM Break
9:30 - 10:45 AM

Alabama Government and Economic Development
Joe A. Sumners, Ph.D., Executive Director Emeritus, AU Government & Economic Development Institute

10:45 - 11:00 AM Break (Sponsored by Spire)
11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Economic Development and Alabama's Changing Image
Steve Sewell, Executive Vice President, Economic Development Partnership of Alabama

12:00 - 1:15 PM

Lunch (On Your Own)

1:15 - 2:15 PM

Alabama Workforce Development: Programs and Planning
Ed Castile, Executive Director, AIDT, Alabama Department of Commerce
Nicholas Moore, Governor's Education Policy Advisor, Alabama Governor's Office of Education and Workforce

2:15 - 2:30 PM Break and Class Photo
2:30 - 3:30 PM

K-12 Education and Alabama Economic Development
Eric G. Mackey, PhD, Superintendent of Education, State of Alabama

3:30 - 3:45 PM Break (Sponsored by Spire)
3:45 - 5:00 PM

PK-12 Education and Workforce: Making the Connection (Panel)

Panel Members:
Barbara J. Cooper, Ph.D., Secretary of Early Childhood Education, State of Alabama
Audrey Marshall, Coordinator, Work-Based Education, Auburn City Schools
Heather Brothers New, IOM, TMP, AACE President & CEO The Chamber, Gadsden and Etowah County

5:00 PM Welcome Reception (Terrace Room)
Sponsored by Alabama Power & Alabama Municipal Electric Authority (AMEA)
  • Special appearance by Aubie the Tiger
8:00 - 8:30 AM

Alabama Office of Apprenticeship
Josh Laney, Director, Alabama Office of Apprenticeship

8:30 - 9:00 AM

Alabama Small Business Commission
Rosemary Elebash, Alabama State Director, National Federation of Independent Businesses

9:00 - 9:15 AM Break
9:15 - 10:15 AM

Placemaking as an Economic Development Tool
Nathan Norris, J.D., Founding Principal, CityBuilding Partnership

10:15 - 10:30 AM Break (Sponsored by PowerSouth)
10:30 - 11:30 AM

Placemaking Resources (Panel)

Panel Members:
Carrie Banks, Chair, Alabama Communities of Excellence
Tami Reist, President & CEO, Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association
Mary Helmer Wirth, President & State Coordinator, Main Street Alabama

11:30 - 12:15 PM

Alabama Department of Commerce
Greg Canfield, Secretary, Alabama Department of Commerce

12:15 - 1:30 PM Lunch (On Your Own)
1:30 - 2:00 PM

Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs
Kenneth Boswell, Director, ADECA

2:00 - 3:00 PM

The Role of Local Elected Officials in Alabama Economic Development (Panel)

Panel Members:
Jim Byard, Jr., Founder, Byard Associates, LLC
Leigh Dollar, Mayor, City of Guntersville
Ray Long, Chairman, Morgan County Commission

3:00 - 3:15 PM Break (Sponsored by Chambless King Architects)
3:15 - 3:45 PM

Alabama Capital Network, Joshua Jones, Chief Executive Officer, Alabama Capital Network

3:45 - 5:00 PM

Retail as an Economic Development Strategy
Lacey Bacchus, Business Developer, Retail Strategies
Madeline Farr, Director of Retail Academy, Retail Strategies

8:00 - 9:00 AM

Infrastructure and Economic Development
Joe Meads, Principal and Owner, Sain Associates, Inc.

9:00 - 9:15 AM Break
9:15 - 9:45 AM

Broadband: Essential Economic Development Infrastructure
Tom Stackhouse, President and CEO, Central Alabama Electric Cooperative

9:45 - 10:45 AM

The Role of Utilities in Alabama Economic Development (Panel)

Panel Members:
Leigh Davis, Vice President of Economic & Community Development, Alabama Power Company
Warren Hicks, Project Manager, Economic Development AL Region, Tennessee Valley Authority
Horace H. Horn, Jr., Vice President of External Affairs, PowerSouth Energy Cooperative
Mike Swinson, Director of Economic Development, Spire

10:45 - 11:00 AM Break (Sponsored by Sain Associates, Inc.)
11:00 AM – 12:00 PM

International Trade and Development
Brian Davis, Director, Alabama International Trade Center
Hilda Lockhart Director, International Trade Division, Alabama Department of Commerce

12:00 - 1:00 PM Lunch (On Your Own)
1:00 - 1:30 PM

Site Selection: A Local Perspective
Arndt Siepmann, Deputy Director of Economic Development, City of Auburn
Martin Hartl, President, ID Plastics LP

1:30 - 2:30 PM

Rural Development: Best Practices from Across Alabama (Panel)

Panel Members:
Whitney H. Barlow, J.D., Executive Director, Chilton County Industrial Development Authority
David Padgett, Economic Developer, Bullock County Development Authority
Bryant Whaley, Executive Director, Randolph County Economic Development Authority

2:30 - 2:45 pm Break (Sponsored by NextSite)
2:45 - 3:45 PM

Rural Development Partners and Resources (Panel)

Panel Members:
Allen Bowen, Acting State Director, USDA Rural Development
Bevin Tomlin, Community Development Manager, Alabama Power Company
Brenda Tuck, Rural Development Manager, Alabama Department of Commerce

3:45 - 4:00 PM Break (Sponsored by Southeast Gas)
4:00 - 5:00 PM

Economic Development Partnership of Alabama & Alabama Innovation and Entrepreneurship
Greg Barker, President, EDPA

7:30 - 8:15 AM

Graduation Breakfast (Terrace Room)
Sponsored by Spire

8:15 - 9:15 AM

The Role of Public Policy in Economic Development
Martha Roby, Senior Advisor for Government Affairs & Economic Development, Bradley
Sheron Rose, Senior Vice President of External Affairs, Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce

9:15 - 9:30 AM Break
9:30 - 10:30 AM

State and Federal Incentives
Alex Flachsbart, President and CEO, Opportunity Alabama
Angela Smith, Incentives Manager, Alabama Department of Commerce

10:30 AM - 10:45 AM Break (Sponsored by Spire)
10:45 - 11:15 AM

Economic Development Association of Alabama
Jim Searcy, Executive Director, EDAA

11:15 - 11:45 AM

Business Retention and Expansion: A Local Perspective
John Sweatman, Project Manager, City of Opelika
Todd Shackett, Former Director of Operational Excellence, Baxter International, Inc. and President, Southern Union State Community College

Printable Agenda 2021 Intensive Week Two

Greg Barker
Greg Barker
Executive VP of Customer Services, Alabama Power Company
Phillis Belcher
Phillis Belcher
Executive Director, Greene County IDA
Tedra Cheatam
Tedra Cheatam
Director of Business Development, Robinson College of Business, Georgia State University
Mo Collins
Mo Collins
New Economy Specialist
Sheldon Day
Sheldon Day
Mayor, City of Thomasville, Alabama
Phillip Dunlap
Phillip Dunlap
Economic Development Director, City of Auburn
Haitham Eletrabi
Haitham Eletrabi
Founder & Chief Executive Officer, Tennibot
Jay Garner
Jay Garner
President and Founder, Garner Economics, LLC
Randy George
Randy George
Former President, Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce
Waymond Jackson
Waymond Jackson
Senior Vice President of Public Policy, Birmingham Business Alliance (BBA)
Sandra Koblas
Sandra Koblas
Director of Human Resources, Austal USA in Mobile, AL
David Mixson
David Mixson
Associate Director, Government & Economic Development Institute (GEDI), Auburn University
David Rumbarger
David Rumbarger
President/CEO, Community Development Foundation
Jennifer Ryan
Jennifer Ryan
Communications Manager, Government & Economic Development Institute (GEDI), Auburn University
Jim Searcy
Jim Searcy
Executive Director, Economic Development Association of Alabama (EDAA)
Steve Sewell
Steve Sewell
Executive Vice President, Economic Development Partnership of Alabama (EDPA)
Deborah McGill Smith
Deborah McGill Smith
Vice President, Industrial Brokerage & Consulting Cushman & Wakefield/EGS Commercial Real Estate
Amelia Hall Stehouwer
Amelia Hall Stehouwer
Research Manager, Government & Economic Development Institute (GEDI), Auburn University
Amy Sturdivant
Amy Sturdivant
Director of Business Recruitment, HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology
Joe Sumners
Joe Sumners
Executive Director, Government & Economic Development Institute (GEDI), Auburn University
Mike Swinson
Mike Swinson
Director of Economic Development, Spire
Galen Thackston
Galen Thackston
Regional President, Goodwyn, Mills & Cawood (GMC) South
Laith Wardi
Laith Wardi
President, ExecutivePulse, Inc.
Jason Wilson
Jason Wilson
Founder and CEO, Back Forty Beer Company
Tess Winningham
Tess Winningham
CEO and Co-Founder, Alignment Simple Solutions
Sharon Younger
Sharon Younger
President and Founder, Younger Associates, LLC

Registration Fees:

  • Early Bird Fee: Week 1 only $650; Both weeks $850 - If paid on or before June 18, 2021.
  • Regular Fee: Week 1 only $700; Both Weeks $900 - If payment received after June 18, 2021.
  • NOTE: We MUST RECEIVE payment on or before June 18, 2021 or else you will need to pay the full price.
  • Final deadline to register for Week 1 is July 7, 2021.

Intensive Economic Development Training Course – Week One

  • Dates: July 12-16, 2021
  • Location: The Hotel at Auburn University, Auburn, AL – Map/Directions
  • Hotel Reservations: Summer 2021

Intensive Economic Development Training Course – Week Two

  • Dates: September 20-23, 2021
  • Location: The Hotel at Auburn University, Auburn, AL – Map/Directions
  • Hotel Reservations: Fall 2021

We recommend you reserve your room early as the hotel room block may fill up quickly.

Online Course Registration


Attendance and Participation: It is the policy of the Government and Economic Development Institute (GEDI) and IEDC that the entire course must be taken in order to receive full credit and/or qualify to take the exam at the end of the class. All program attendees are encouraged to benefit fully from the course by asking questions, relating experiences and thoughts, and otherwise ensure that they understand and can apply techniques and ideas offered by the instructors.


Registration/Cancellation Rule:

Provided that space is available, receipt of the registration form, email or online enrollment constitutes registration. Written cancellations, received fifteen (15) working days prior to the beginning of the program will be honored with a partial refund of the registration fee, but will be assessed a $50 administrative charge. Due to commitments to instructors and meeting facilities, late cancellations or non-attendance will not be refunded, and full payment is required. Substitutions for registered participants may be made at any time.

If you have questions about enrollment, invoices or payments, or cancellations for the Intensive Course , please email GEDI@auburn.edu, or call 334-844-4782. Thank you.

Certificates and Attendance Policy:

Session I participants will receive a certificate of completion for the IEDC-accredited Auburn University Basic Economic Development Course. Participants who attend both Sessions I and II will receive a certificate of completion for the Intensive Economic Development Training Course. Only illness, a family emergency, or a business emergency constitute an excused absence.

Attendance and Participation: It is the policy of the Government and Economic Development Institute (GEDI) and IEDC that the entire course must be taken in order to receive full credit and/or qualify to take the exam at the end of the class. All program attendees are encouraged to benefit fully from the course by asking questions, relating experiences and thoughts, and otherwise ensure that they understand and can apply techniques and ideas offered by the instructors.

Thanks to our Partners:

Spire Gas logo

40 years, Alabama Municipal Electric Authority
Alabama Power
AMEA_40years_logosm.jpg


Break Sponsors:

CKA Chambless King Architects
Next Site
PowerSouth Energy Cooperative - A Touchstone Energy Cooperative
Sain Associates
Southeast Gas

For more information about the course, please contact:

Email: gedi@auburn.edu
Phone: 334-844-4782
Fax: 334-844-4709

Last Updated: September 16, 2021