August COO Update: Staying on Top of Economic Development Trends

Saturday, August 01, 2015

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August 2015

When I think of Summer my first thoughts are 4th of July  barbecues, enjoying the lakes and lots and lots of sun. For economic developers, the Summer is also an excellent time to learn about what is going on in the industry and to experience some new cities and see first hand what they are doing. We have been busy attending some excellent industry conferences worth considering. Here is a short overview:

National Rural Economic Development Association

Golden Shovel has been members and supporters of this organization since our inception. NREDA is one of the few associations focused on the trends, challenges and successes of rural economic development from a national perspective. This association was created by economic developers working at electric and telephone cooperatives that felt there needed to be a group focused solely on the issues they faced in rural america. Twenty five years later this is still the best association for cooperative economic developers,  but also has many members from rural economic developers around the country. They have one annual conference each year, usually in the summer. Learn more about NREDA at www.

Southern Economic Development Council

This is the largest economic development association after IEDC. They represent 18 states of the south and southeast. Golden Shovel has participated the last few years and we have been thoroughly impressed with the quality of the conferences they produce. Top notch speakers from the highest ranks of government, CEO’s of major corporations and thought leaders representing the top site selection firms and consultancies. They have a great annual conference and also a ‘meet the consultants’ conference with panels of industry focused site selectors. If you are in a Southern State, SEDC should be a requirement to attend. Check them out at

Utility Economic Development Association

This is the best association available for investor owned utilities. The speakers they bring in are top notch and focused solely on the trends and challenges facing utilities. This last summer forum brought in thought leaders such as Dean Whittaker from Whittaker Associates and futurists like John McElligott CEO & Founder of 3TC Development. Each forum also includes an off site excursion which never fails to be incredibly interesting. They have a winter and summer forum each year. Learn more about them at

Pierce County Website Launches

Beyond attending these three conferences, we also launched a new website for Pierce County Economic Development Corporation. Check it out at They are located in West Central Wisconsin and are members of the Momentum West regional economic development organization that was launched earlier this year (

It has been the busiest summer Golden Shovel has had since we started. That is a great thing for the company, but hopefully we can all get a little more vitamin D before fall arrives. Till then, it’s time to get prepared for the upcoming IEDC Annual Conference in Anchorage, AK. We hope to see you all there.


Aaron Brossoit

Chief Operating Officer

Category: Blog

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