Basic Economic Development Course Celebrates 45 Years of Service

For 45 years, economic developers have taken their first career steps at the Georgia Institute of Technology. The Basic Economic Development Course (BEDC), presented by the Georgia Tech Enterprise Innovation Institute and accredited by the International Economic Development Council, began in 1967 as the first course of its kind in the country. The nearly 100 participants expected for this year’s course will join a list of more than 2,800 graduates.

“We are proud to be celebrating the 45th anniversary of the Basic Economic Development Course here at Georgia Tech,” said Alfie Meek, director of Community Innovation Services at the Enterprise Innovation Institute. “Georgia Tech was founded in the 1880s to promote the economic development of the state of Georgia, and that gives the Basic Course even more credibility as we continue to advance economic developers’ careers and communities nationwide.”

Participants will explore a number of core topics during the four-day course, which is scheduled for March 20-23 at the Georgia Tech Global Learning and Conference Center. Topics will include community development, strategic planning, marketing and attraction, business retention and expansion, workforce development, organizational management, finance, real estate development and reuse, strategic planning, marketing, workforce development, economic development ethics, development of entrepreneurs, and trends in economic development. The program is especially designed for new professionals with public and private agencies, chamber of commerce staff, public utilities personnel, local elected officials and volunteers supporting economic development.

The economic development profession has changed over time, and those in the profession today must have a broad expertise to succeed, said Jay A. Garner, CEcD, president and founder of Garner Economics, LLC, an economic development and site location consulting firm headquartered in Atlanta. Garner will serve as the keynote speaker for the 2012 BEDC.

“In today’s global economy, successful economic development practitioners must be a jack of all trades and a master of all.” he said.  “That means that with scarce funding resources and staffing, yet fierce global competition in the marketplace, economic developers must be more than proficient in everything from reading and analyzing a complex financial statement to navigating the complexities of land use planning, to understating the marketing nuances of promoting a state, region or community. We all must get used to doing more with less.”

The 2012 BEDC event will be dedicated to the late Bob Cassell, a pioneer in modern economic development who served as director of Georgia Tech’s Basic Economic Development Course from its inception in 1967 until 1993. Cassell served as a principal research scientist at Georgia Tech’s Economic Development Laboratory (EDL), where he authored numerous economic analyses and edited the Georgia Development News for 15 years. EDL was a predecessor organization to the Enterprise Innovation Institute.

For more information on this course and other professional development services offered by Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute, contact Hortense Jackson (229-430-4327); Email: (; or visit

About Enterprise Innovation Institute:

The Georgia Tech Enterprise Innovation Institute helps companies, entrepreneurs, economic developers and communities improve their competitiveness through the application of science, technology and innovation. It is one of the most comprehensive university-based programs of business and industry assistance, technology commercialization and economic development in the nation.

Enterprise Innovation Institute
Georgia Institute of Technology
75 Fifth Street, N.W., Suite 314
Atlanta, Georgia 30308 USA

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