Intensive Economic Development Training Course

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 over 30 years of experience, GEDI is the state’s leading provider of economic development education and training.

The first week of the 2018 Intensive Course will be held on July 9-13, 2018. The second week will be conducted September 10-13, 2018 at The Hotel at Auburn University & Dixon Conference Center, located at 241 South College Street in Auburn.

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

The course will be moderated by GEDI Executive Director Dr. Joe A. Sumners.

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
  • Field Trip: Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama
Agenda - Week 2: September 10-13, 2018

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

8:00 AM Welcome and Introductions
8:30 - 9:30 AM

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

9:30 - 9:45 AM Break
9:45 - 11:15 AM

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

11:15 AM - 12:30 PM Lunch
12:30 - 1:15 PM

Alabama’s Infrastructure: How Are We Doing?
Joe Meads, P.E., Principal, Owner, Sain Associates

1:15 - 1:30 PM Break
1:30 - 3:00 PM

Alabama Workforce Recruitment, Training, & Development
Ed Castille, Deputy Secretary, Department of Commerce

Gary Weaver, Regional Workforce Director, Workforce and Economic Development, Alabama Community College System

3:00 - 3:15 PM Break
3:15 - 3:45 PM

Career and Technical Education/Workforce Development
Tommy Glascock, Deputy State Superintendent, Education, Career and Technical Education,Workforce Development Division

3:45 - 4:45 PM

Panel: Career and Technical Education/Workforce Development
Seth Stehouwer
Chambers County, Career Tech Center

Audrey Marshall
Coordinator, Work-Based Education

Laura Anglin
Career Coach, Chambers County

Cary Cox
Workforce Director, City of Auburn

5:00 PM

Sponsored by Alabama Power

8:00 - 8:15 AM Load Bus (Breakfast provided)
8:15 AM Depart Auburn University
9:15 AM - 3:00 PM Arrive in Montgomery, Alabama
9:30 AM - 1:00 PM

Tour of Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama Facility
Led by HMMA Staff

9:30 AM - 1:00 PM

Tour of Montgomery Revitalized Historical Sites
Led by I Am More Tours

1:00 - 2:00 PM Lunch (and walk to Escapeology)
2:00 - 3:00 PM

Recruiting Hyundai: The Montgomery Experience
Ellen G. McNair, CEcD
Senior Vice President, Economic Development, Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce

2:45 - 3:00 PM Break (and load bus for Auburn)
3:00 - 4:10 PM Travel to Auburn
4:10 - 5:25 PM

Tour of Auburn Industrial Parks and Park Development Overview
T. Phillip Dunlap
Director, Economic Development, City of Auburn

5:30 - 7:30 PM

Reception in Opelika
Sponsored by Opelika Chamber

8:00 - 9:00 AM

Retail as an Essential Economic Development Strategy
Wiley Blankenship
President/CEO, Coastal Alabama Partnership

Tucson Roberts
President, Tucson Atlantic Consulting

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

Trends in Retail Development
Jeff Rouzie
Portfolio Director, Retail Strategies

10:00 - 10:15 AM Break
10:15 - 11:15 AM

International Trade and Investment
Brian K. Davis
Director, Alabama International Trade Center, University of Alabama

Hilda Lockhart
International Trade Division, Alabama Department of Commerce

11:15 AM - 12:30 PM Lunch
12:30 - 1:00 PM

Alabama Department of Commerce
Ted Clem
Director of Business Development, Alabama Department of Commerce

1:00 - 1:30 PM

Economic Development Partnership of Alabama (EDPA)
Steve R. Spencer
President, EDPA

1:30 - 2:00 PM

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

2:00 - 2:15 PM Break
2:15 - 3:15 PM

Panel: Building Support for Small Businesses
Howard Wills
Unit Chief, ADECA, SSBCI

Yolanda Johnson
Business Consultant, AL Small Business Dev. Center

Scott Stewart
Director, ADECA, OMBE

3:15 - 3:30 PM Break
3:30 - 4:30 PM

Panel: The Role of Utilities in Alabama Economic Development
Caleb Goodwyn
Representative, PowerSouth Energy Coop

Patrick Murphy
Senior Project Manager, Alabama Power Company

Mike Swinson
Director, Spire Energy

8:00 - 8:30 AM

Community & Economic Development: What it Takes to Build Strong Communities
Nisa Miranda
Executive Director, The University of Alabama

8:30 - 9:30 AM

Panel: Building Strong Communities
Ben Wieseman
Board Member, Your Town Alabama

Bea Forniss
Marketing Ambassador, Goodwyn, Mills & Caywood

Sidney Hoover
Executive Director, Alabama Communities of Excellence (ACE)

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

Panel: Rural Development
Valerie Gray
Executive Director, Chambers County, Development Authority

David Thronell
President & CEO, C3 of Northwest Alabama, Economic Development Alliance

Sheldon Day
Mayor, City of Thomasville

11:00 AM - 12:15 PM

Graduation Luncheon
Sponsored by Spire Energy

Download PDF of Agenda


Intensive Economic Development Training Course – Week One

  • Dates: July 9-13, 2018
  • Location: The Hotel at Auburn University, Auburn, AL – Map/Directions
  • Recommended IEDC Textbook:"Introduction to Economic Development
  • Note: The Registration Fee of $650 is for both Week One and Week Two. Those who enroll in Week One will automatically be enrolled in Week Two. If you are making up Week One from a prior year and have already paid for this course, please contact Leslie Hamby to be enrolled manually in order to avoid double billing at or call 334-844-4782. The Recommended Textbook is optional and can be ordered at any time for an additional $35.

Online Registration

Intensive Economic Development Training Course – Week Two

  • Dates: September 10-13, 2018
  • Location: The Hotel at Auburn University, Auburn, AL – Map/Directions
  • Note: Those who enroll in Week One will automatically be enrolled in Week Two. If you are making up Week Two from a prior year, please email to request a link to enroll in Week Two Only.

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 contact Leslie Hamby at, or call 334-844-4782. Thank you.

Hotel Accomodations

A room block is available with a special room rate of $129 per night, plus applicable taxes.

You can make your room reservations by phone at (800) 228-2876 and reference the GEDI Intensive Economic Development program.

Week 1: Hotel Reservations    Week 2: Hotel Reservations

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. Students must be present for 90% of the course in order to receive a course certificate. Only illness, a family emergency, or a business emergency constitute an excused absence.

Alumni Comments

What Others Are Saying

  • "This course provides a comprehensive overview of of the economic development process for anyone involved or interested in economic development. It provides access to resources and contacts that will prove helpful to participants for years to come."
    Greg Barker, Senior Vice President, Marketing and Economic Development, Alabama Power Company
  • "Auburn’s Intensive Economic Development Training Course is the starting place – whether you’re new to the economic development profession, or coming to Alabama from another economic development community, or a newly–elected local official who needs to understand the process and the contacts. I think it’s the most valuable training in the basics and the contacts you gain are icing on the cake."
    Linda Swann, Former Assistant Secretary, Alabama Department of Commerce
  • "The Auburn Intensive Course is the essential economic development primer if you are involved in community and economic development in Alabama. I continually promote this ECDI course to the counties and communities where I work, because I want them to understand the various avenues to prosperity, and I want them to be prepared for opportunities."
    Nisa Miranda, Director, University Center for Economic Development, The University of Alabama
  • "The ECDI Intensive Course at AU is a major component of the AIDT professional development plans for myself and many of my staff. As a course faculty member, I know the interaction between participants and presenters is an incredible learning exercise."
    Ed Castile, Director, AIDT; Deputy Secretary of Commerce,Workforce Development, Alabama Department of Commerce

Other Alumni Comments

  • "Outstanding course! All material was relevant and provided by first–class faculty. I appreciate the many contacts I made."
  • "Great information, so glad all presentations will be on a Google site for us to download and refer back to. Really enjoyed the entire conference."
  • "This has been a tremendous learning opportunity…This experience has infused me with enthusiasm and a new confidence in where Alabama is headed. Thank you for providing this and for keeping it fresh and dynamic."
  • "Excellent; best program I have attended; experts on the agenda; well–planned and organized; great networking."
  • "This course was very effective in giving a strong foundation to a career in economic development. The speakers were both highly-qualified and passionate about their work, and this was reflected in their lectures."
  • "I am fairly new in my position, and this course really helped me understand the process of economic development. I wish this course was mandatory for all community leaders."
  • "This course has tremendous value for all Alabama citizens. The course material is well–chosen and targeted to the goal of economic development education."
  • "Thank you for a wonderful program; I will recommend it to others."
  • "Great class. Everyone who works in economic development needs to come to this."
  • "Course was very helpful for me as a young person just entering the profession. I especially enjoyed hearing from practitioners in direct project management, financing, marketing, and site selection. Overall, GREAT week with GREAT people!"
  • "Outstanding presenters, excellent 'take home' information participants may put to good use."
  • "I could not have gotten these resources anywhere else."
  • "The materials presented will be a valuable resource to use in the future. Very good overview and in–depth look at the various topics."
  • "Excellent. Networking was a wonderful opportunity."
  • "The course will serve as a valuable asset to my professional development."
  • "I have really enjoyed this course. It has provided me with many tools, ideas and examples that will help me in my quest to become more productive in my community."
  • "Great information all around. Very useful."

For more information about the course, please contact:

Morgan Saintjones
Education & Training
Government & Economic Development Institute
24 Extension Hall
Auburn University, AL 36849
Phone: (334) 844-1901

Last Updated: August 15, 2018