The Southern Economic Development Council (SEDC) has announced the recipients of its annual Community Economic Development Awards (CEDA). Athens Economic Development Corporation submitted a process which transformed the loss of a biotech operation into an opportunity for growth and investment. The entry was the winner in the category of Communities with 5,001—15,000 in Population. Winners were recognized at an awards luncheon held in their honor Monday, August 21, at SEDC’s annual conference in Charlotte, NC.
“Economic Developers in the South are some of the best in the business,” said SEDC 2017 Chairman Robert E. Leak, Jr. “This award goes to communities that exemplify the highest level of economic development professionalism. We are proud to have them in the SEDC region.”
The projects/programs submitted were recognized in the categories of business retention and expansion, business recruitment, community development and community involvement. Entries were evaluated on their innovativeness, transferability, community commitment and leverage, measured objectives and secondary benefits.
The Athens Economic Development Corporation won for undertaking a complex series of negotiations with local, state and federal agencies, as well as local educational institutions to prevent a biotech firm’s dissolution from causing the loss of jobs, training opportunities, physical plant facilities and federal EDA grant funds. The result was the expansion of an existing industry, with increased employment and educational opportunities. The process showed how strong community ties and business retention plans are critical for economic development agencies.
“The CEDA program not only recognizes excellence, but allows SEDC to promote successful, results proven programs that can be shared with other communities,” said SEDC President, Gene Stinson. “We look for and encourage replicability as a key measure of success.”
SEDC is the oldest and largest regional economic development association in North America, with more than 1,100 members representing a variety of backgrounds. From local, regional and state economic development agencies, chambers of commerce, business and industry, utilities, transportation, finance and education, members share a common interest: the promotion and enhancement of the economic development profession. To find out more about SEDC, please visit www.sedc.org.