Event Details

The Mid-South Basic Economic Development Course (MSBEDC) focuses on the fundamental concepts, tools, and skills needed to be successful in today's economic, business, and political environment. The MSBEDC offers a general survey of community & economic development by focusing primarily on strategies and practices. It is an intensive introduction to the fundamentals of economic development that prepares participants to help their communities meet the competitive challenges they face in fostering economic advancement.

More than ever, leaders must be prepared to help their communities meet these challenges: to capitalize on new developments, to turn potential obstacles into opportunities, and to enhance the quality of life for those who live, visit, and invest in the area. The Mid-South Basic Economic Development Course provides this preparation. For those new to the profession, the MSBEDC is the first step toward professional certification.

Please see the information below regarding details about the course and how to register. If you need more information or have questions, please contact Shelley Short at shelley@aedce.orgor 501.210.4206.

Accreditation and IEDC

This course is accredited by the International Economic Development Council, the nation's largest membership organization for economic developers. IEDC's mission is to provide leadership and excellence in economic development for communities and IEDC's members and partners to build economically strong, sustainable communities. The course serves as the equivalent of IEDC's "Introduction to Economic Development," and therefore may be applied toward requirements to sit for the Certified Economic Developers (CEcD) exam.

For more details, please visit the IEDC website at www.iedconline.org or phone 201.223.7800

Course Information

The Mid-South BEDC is designed for community leaders who participate in the process of community economic development at all scales–local, regional, state, and federal. The course includes elected officials, government agency staff, planners, utility and transportation personnel, business leaders, real estate developers, other community volunteers, educators, and chamber or economic development organization professionals and their staff. This rich blend of participants is one of the many benefits of the course.

Topics to include:

  • Business Expansion & Retention
  • Strategic Planning
  • Marketing/Attraction
  • Economic Development Finance
  • Small Business & Entrepreneurship Development
  • Community/Neighborhood Development
  • Real Estate Development and Reuse
  • Workforce Development
  • Managing Economic Development Organizations
  • Economic Development Ethics
  • Site Selection Experience


A room block is available to attendees at the Four Points by Sheraton Midtown at a rate of $91/night plus tax.

Four Points by Sheraton Midtown

925 S. University Ave.

Little Rock, AR 72204


Please click the link below to make a reservation or contact the hotel directly and mention the Mid-South Basic Economic Development Course or AEDCE.

Click here to book your room.

IEDC manual – "Introduction to Economic Development"  ** New Edition

Available to Mid-South BEDC participants ONLY at a reduced price of $35. You may order a copy by including this additional charge with your registration fee. (See "Registration Form.") Purchasing the manual is not required for the course, but it is highly recommended. It is an excellent supplement to the course and is required for those who intend to sit for the CEcD Certification exam.

Refund Policy

Refunds for cancellation must be requested in writing.

Cancellation requests received by September 1st will receive a full refund, less a $50 processing fee; cancellation requests received from September 1 - September 18th willl receive a refund of $250. Cancellation requests received after September 18th are not entitled to a refund.


Notice and completed registration forms must be received by September 23, 2020.


2020 MSBEDC Agenda.pdfdownload
Instructor Roster.pdfdownload
Class Roster.pdfdownload


  • Sep 28, 2020

  • Sep 29, 2020

  • Sep 30, 2020

  • Oct 1, 2020

8 AM - 8:15 AM
8:15 AM - 8:30 AM
Welcome, Introduction & Course Preview
8:30 AM - 10 AM
Introduction to Economic Development
10 AM - 10:15 AM
Morning Break
10:15 AM - 12:15 PM
Community/Neighborhood Development
12:15 PM - 1:15 PM
Lunch (provided)
1:15 PM - 1:45 PM
Economic Development Is a Team Sport
1:45 PM - 2 PM
Afternoon Break
2 PM - 4 PM
Strategic Planning for Economic Development
4 PM - 4:15 PM
Afternoon Break
4:15 PM - 5:15 PM
Retail Recruitment Trends & Strategies


  • Kristi Barr (Director, Workforce Development & Education of Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce)

    Kristi Barr

    Director, Workforce Development & Education of Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce


    Kristi Barr is the Director of Workforce Development and Education at the Little Rock Regional Chamber. She works to support the advancement of public schools; monitor and increase the talent pipeline for employers; and increase the labor force participation rate in Little Rock and Central Arkansas. Prior to this position, she worked as the Director of Business Retention and Expansion at the Chamber and is fueled by a passion to help area businesses find the qualified labor and talent they desperately need.

    Kristi came to Little Rock 14 years ago from the Carmel-Clay Chamber of Commerce in Carmel, Indiana, a northern suburb of Indianapolis. She received her Bachelor’s Degree from Purdue University where she participated in a year-long study abroad to Madrid, Spain, at the Complutense University of Madrid. She is a graduate of the International Economic Development Council’s Economic Development Institute and an Education Attainment Fellow from the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives. She also serves as Vice-Chair of the Little Rock Workforce Development Board.

    Kristi is married to Jason Barr and resides in Little Rock, Arkansas.

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  • Matthew C. Boch (Member at Dover Dixon Horne PLLC)

    Matthew C. Boch

    Member at Dover Dixon Horne PLLC


    Matthew C. Boch is a member of Dover Dixon Horne PLLC in Little Rock. Matt advises clients on navigating state and local tax issues and leveraging economic development incentives to further their business goals. Matt represents clients seeking economic development incentives and regularly negotiates and implements incentive packages, helping clients address any obstacles that may arise along the way. Clients also rely on Matt for his multistate tax experience as well as his deep understanding of the Arkansas tax world. He guides clients through all the stages of tax controversies, from the point of an initial audit, through administrative appeals, and on to litigation when necessary. He advises companies on tax planning and compliance as well. As a leader in the field, Matt frequently publishes and speaks on tax and incentive issues for national and local organizations (IPT, COST, American Bar Association, Telestrategies, Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce, Arkansas Society of CPAs, etc.). As a leading Arkansas tax lawyer, Mr. Boch is a member and former chair of the Arkansas Tax Advisory Council, serves as Vice-Chair of the Arkansas Bar Association Section of Taxation, advises the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce Tax Committee, authors the Arkansas Tax and Incentives Update blog published by Dover Dixon Horne (http://www.doverdixonhorne.com/ARTaxandIncentivesUpdate), and also coauthors Bloomberg BNA’s Arkansas Corporate Income Tax Navigator and Arkansas Pass-Through Entity Navigator.

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  • Brandon Campbell (Director, Small Business & Diversity Initiatives of Little Rock Regional Chamber)

    Brandon Campbell

    Director, Small Business & Diversity Initiatives of Little Rock Regional Chamber


    Brandon Campbell is the director of small business and inclusion at the Little Rock Regional Chamber. His role at the chamber is to provide guidance for small businesses and entrepreneurs, including minorities and women, in the Little Rock region to help facilitate economic growth. A chief convener, Brandon is a bridge builder who connects small businesses to the resources to help them start, develop and grow, promotes small business programing and spearheads collaborative efforts with local stakeholders. He works closely with chamber’s event team on initiatives to ensure that the chamber is complying with its core values of being welcoming and inclusive, plus adding value to its small, minority and women business’s membership. In part, he champions diversity to see to it that access of chamber’s resources is available to Little Rock’s diverse business and residential communities.

    Since starting at the chamber in the fall of 2018, under his leadership, the chamber has created robust programing such as Spark!, pre-accelerator for small businesses that helped them get free office space in the Venture Center, Equip Small Business Success Series to train business owners on topics of concern, manages SCORE Office Hours at the Chamber program and Small Business Impact Awards, just to name a few responsibilities.

    An entrepreneur in his own right, prior to joining the chamber staff, Campbell owned and operated full-time Little Rock Fashion Week, LLC., a fashion, talent and live events management firm. LRFW’s brands include Little Rock Fashion Week, Oneofakind Baton Rouge Fashion Week, Plano Fashion Week, Oneofakind Talent and iME apparel. Campbell started his career in the media. As a TV producer in Los Angeles, Campbell’s work has been featured on ABC, NBC, FOX, E! Entertainment and MTV Networks. His more significant credits were as a producer for “E! Live from the Red Carpet” hosted by Ryan Seacrest and “Style Invades New York Fashion Week.” He wrote and produced celebrity television obituary packages for FOX News Channel in New York City, capitalizing off his daily newspaper experience. Prior to returning to Little Rock to start his company,
    Campbell was a creative writer and digital content producer at World Wrestling Entertainment.

    Campbell earned a B.A. in journalism and mass communication, with a minor in international studies and entrepreneurial certification from the University of Iowa. In 2019, he completed the AEDCE Mid-South Basic Economic Development Course. In 2018, THV 11 named Campbell as the top businessman thriving in the fashion industry. In 2013, Arkansas Life magazine recognized him as a top “Arkansas Style Setter” and the Little Rock Mayor’s office proclaimed the 3rd week of July “Little Rock Fashion Week.”

    Campbell is a member of the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives and the International Radio and Television Society. He is mentor for UI entrepreneurship and journalism students. A literacy advocate, Campbell is a consistent volunteer reader in the Little Rock School District. When he’s not working, he’s enjoying activities that enhance quality of life with his wife and two daughters.

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  • Jon Chadwell, CEcD (Director of Newport Economic Development Commission)

    Jon Chadwell, CEcD

    Director of Newport Economic Development Commission


    As Executive Director for the Newport Economic Development Commission, Jon Chadwell is actively involved in helping develop a rural Arkansas community. Through trial and error (plenty of errors) Jon has learned some things that work well and many that don’t. His personal goal is to keep in mind that the end result of developing any community is to improve the quality of life for the people who live there.

    Jon received his Bachelor’s degree from Harding University in 1985. In 1997 he graduated from Community Development Institute at the University of Central Arkansas. His Master of Divinities degree was completed in 1999 from Harding Graduate School of Religion. Jon is a graduate of LeadAR Class 10. In 2003, he became a Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) through the International Economic Development Council.

    Additional experience comes from Jon’s diverse job background. He has worked in a number of different economic development settings. A grant-writing job required that he lead 18 grassroots community groups through a comprehensive strategic planning process, which allowed the community to receive a major grant. Jon has also worked as a Main Street director, a Chamber Director, facilitator of three adult leadership programs and facilitator of a youth leadership program. The Newport Economic Development Commission is the third economic development group he has guided.

    Jon is married to Sheridan Chadwell and together they also own a small business in Newport, Purdy’s Flowers and Gifts. He has two children, Calli Chadwell, an independent insurance agent, and Jordan Chadwell, a computer specialist for Bass Pro Stores.

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  • Shelby Fiegel, PCED (Director - Center for Community & Econ. Dev. of UCA's Center for Community & Economic Development)

    Shelby Fiegel, PCED

    Director - Center for Community & Econ. Dev. of UCA's Center for Community & Economic Development


    Shelby Fiegel is the Director of the University of Central Arkansas Center for Community and Economic Development (CCED) and the Community Development Institute (CDI). She is an Honors graduate of Arkansas State University and holds a degree in public relations and minors in marketing and English. Shelby is a certified Professional Community and Economic Developer (PCED), designated by the Community Development Council, and is a 2016 graduate of CDI.

    She has also completed the Mid-South Basic Economic Development Course. In 2017 Shelby received the New Professional Award from the Arkansas Community Development Society. She currently serves as the Ex Officio (previously served as Vice President of Membership and as Vice President of Technology) for the Arkansas Community Development Society, serves as UCA Staff Senate Secretary, is a member of the Breakthrough Solutions Advisory Board, Arkansas Economic Developers and Chamber Executives, the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) and the PRSA Arkansas Chapter. Shelby serves on the Conway Historic District Commission and is an Arkansas Municipal League City & Town magazine contributor.

    She is a graduate of the inaugural class of the Conway Area Leadership Institute (CALI) in 2017 and is a Certified Strategic Doing Workshop Leader.

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  • Jim Fram, CEcD CCE FM (Principal & Founder of Community Growth Strategies, LLC)

    Jim Fram, CEcD CCE FM

    Principal & Founder of Community Growth Strategies, LLC


    Jim Fram is a Certified Chamber Executive (CCE) through the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE) and a Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) through the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) with 30+ years successful economic development and senior level chamber of commerce management experience in Little Rock, AR, Bartlesville, OK, Killeen-Fort Hood, TX, Lincoln, NE, Tulsa, OK, and most recently Hot Springs, AR capping a highly successful career that began in Harrison, AR in the early 1980s.

    Jim led (3) three Chambers of Commerce to Five Star Accreditation by the U. S. Chamber of Commerce (Lincoln, NE, Tulsa, OK, Hot Springs, AR). He also led (2) economic development organizations to accreditation by the International Economic Development Council (Tulsa, OK, and Hot Springs, AR).

    In January of 2018, he fulfilled a longtime dream and founded Community Growth Strategies, LLC., a consulting firm that focuses on small to medium-sized communities as well as regional economic development efforts. His office is in his home at Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri where his wife, Kelli is the Director of the Lake of the Ozarks Columbia College Campus.

    Jim is the firm’s only employee and restricts his client base mostly to Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Kansas focusing on bringing success to small and medium size communities. Jim maintains professional working relationships with a myriad of consultants he has worked with over the course of his career who can be called upon when needed for their specialized skills.

    Jim maintains a membership in the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) where he serves on an accrediting Board. He is also a member of statewide professional economic development organizations in Missouri, Arkansas, and Oklahoma. He is an Honorary Life Member of the Southern Economic Development Council (SEDC) and a Fellow Member (FM) of the International Economic Development Council (IEDC). He is also a frequent instructor, moderator, and guest speaker for many economic development and Chamber of Commerce organizations, conferences, and events across the country.

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  • Danny Games, CEcD, EDFP (Director of Business & Economic Development at Entergy Arkansas)

    Danny Games, CEcD, EDFP

    Director of Business & Economic Development at Entergy Arkansas


    Danny Games is the Director of Business & Economic Development for Entergy Arkansas. Based in Little Rock, Entergy’s team of economic development professionals focuses on assisting the state and local communities in becoming more competitive for attracting new businesses and supporting existing businesses throughout the Entergy Arkansas service territory.

    Games came to Entergy from the Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC) where he served as the Executive Vice President of Global Business under Governor Asa Hutchinson.
    Games has more than 16 years of economic development experience at state and local levels, and over 17 years of experience in management positions with BHP, Chesapeake Energy, AEDC and Entergy Arkansas.

    He holds a Master of Science degree in Economic Development from the University of Southern Mississippi and earned his Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) certification from the International Economic Development Council and Economic Development Finance Professional (EDFP) certification from the National Development Council.

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  • Katherine Holmstrom, PCED (Senior Project Manager, Business Development at Arkansas Economic Development Commission)

    Katherine Holmstrom, PCED

    Senior Project Manager, Business Development at Arkansas Economic Development Commission


    Katherine Holmstrom is a Senior Project Manager in the Business Development Division at the Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC). Her primary responsibility is facilitating the growth of both new and expanding companies in Arkansas including recruitment and expansion projects. Since becoming a project manager she has worked with companies such as Mars Petcare, Simmons Foods, Walmart, Tyson, Aerojet Rocketdyne, SAF Holland, FMH Conveyors and American Airlines to help them expand or locate within the state.

    Katherine has 12 years of community and economic development experience in Arkansas. Prior to joining AEDC in 2011, Katherine worked for Arkansas Congressman Marion Berry in several distinct roles including constituent services, appropriations management, community development, and intergovernmental affairs.

    She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism with an emphasis in Public Relations and a minor in Ag Business from Arkansas State University. She is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma’s Economic Development Institute, the University of Central Arkansas’s Community Development Institute and the Delta Regional Authority’s Delta Leadership Institute. She also serves as Vice President on the Board of Directors of Arkansas Economic Developers and Chamber Executives (AEDCE), the professional association of economic developers in the state.

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  • Devin Howland, CEcD (Director of Economic Vitality at City of Fayetteville)

    Devin Howland, CEcD

    Director of Economic Vitality at City of Fayetteville


    Devin Howland is the Director of Economic Vitality for one of the most consistently ranked best places to live in the nation, Fayetteville Arkansas. In a community growing at a rate of a new business coming online each day, he manages Fayetteville’s economic development contracts as well as it’s BRE, Marketing, Workforce Development, Entrepreneurial Development, and Business Attraction efforts.

    Devin’s career in Economic Development began in 2012 at the Institute for Economic Advancement, where he would go on serve the communities impacted by April 14, 2014, EF-4 Tornado as their Disaster Recovery Manager, through an Economic Development Administration Grant. He then served as the Workforce Development Director for the Central Arkansas Planning and Development District, leveraging the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act to create a talent pipeline for employers in the region by aligning program funding with the needs of business and industry before the Department of Labor sector strategies mandate took place.

    Devin has served on the State of Arkansas’s Sector Strategies Committee and currently serves on IEDC’s Education and Certification Committee. He graduated from the University of Central Arkansas and the University of Oklahoma’s Economic Development Institute and is a Certified Economic Developer.

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  • Henry C. Kelley, Jr., CRE, SIOR, CPM (CEO of Kelley Commercial Partners)

    Henry C. Kelley, Jr., CRE, SIOR, CPM

    CEO of Kelley Commercial Partners


    Henry “Hank” Kelley, Jr. began his career in the real estate business while he was still in college. In 1984, he became a partner at Flake & Company and began building the organization’s brokerage client list and expanding their property management portfolio. In 2003, the name of the firm changed to Flake & Kelley Commercial, where Hank currently serves as CEO, executive broker, and partner.

    Hank firmly believes that honesty and good communication are critical to creating and maintaining good business relationships and he knows that the strength of those relationships is the foundation of Flake & Kelley’s success. In 2012, Hank was awarded the distinction of Counselor of Real Estate. Membership in this organization is granted by invitation only to prominent real estate practitioners who have been reviewed and recommended by peers, colleagues, and clients. CRE members are set apart from other real estate professionals in that they have been recognized for their unique expertise, experience, and ethics in the real estate business.

    Leadership, service, and community involvement also are an important part of Hank’s work because he believes a business can only be as successful as the community it serves. For this reason, he is generous with both time and money to several local schools and organizations. In his current role as the president of Little Rock Rotary Club, he is active in their mentorship program with Dunbar Middle School, offering students support, encouragement, and guidance.

    Hank is an active member of ChainLinks Retail Advisors, Society of Industrial & Office Realtors, International Council of Shopping Centers, and Institute of Real Estate Management. He has represented a variety of national clients including AT&T, Advance Auto Parts, Five Below, Costco, PetSmart, and TJX Companies, to name a few. Most recently, Hank has been working with his team of local agents representing the Port of Little Rock, Little Rock School District, and several city governments.

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  • Linsley Kinkade, PCED (Deputy Director, U.S. Programs of Winrock International)

    Linsley Kinkade, PCED

    Deputy Director, U.S. Programs of Winrock International


    Linsley Kinkade, Deputy Director, U.S. Programs, is responsible for developing, managing and implementing entrepreneurship, innovative ecosystem, community and workforce development projects for Winrock’s U.S. projects.

    Kinkade has worked directly with rural municipal and Native American tribe leaders in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma to build their capacity to improve their communities. She has mentored more than 60 community organizations across the three-state region. Kinkade’s development projects work directly with disadvantaged populations seeking training and support to enter the workforce and have led to the employment of more than 200 previously unemployed or underemployed Arkansans.

    She is a certified professional community and economic developer, earning her certification in 2012. She also serves on the Community Development Institute-Central Advisory Board. Prior to joining Winrock, Kinkade spent a number of years on Capitol Hill working for Rep. Vic Snyder and Sen. Blanche Lincoln. She has an in-depth understanding of the federal government grants and appropriations processes and has testified before Congress on rural development issues. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and political science from the University of Arkansas.

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  • Leslie Lane (Executive Vice President at Arkansas Capital Corporation)

    Leslie Lane

    Executive Vice President at Arkansas Capital Corporation


    Mr. Lane has more than ten years of corporate finance experience, including tax credit financing, venture capital/private equity and investment banking. Prior to Heartland Renaissance Fund, Mr. Lane was Vice President for the Arkansas Science & Technology Authority responsible for executing financings for companies in the technology and healthcare sectors. Before joining the Arkansas Science & Technology Authority, Mr. Lane worked with Stephens Inc.

    Mr. Lane has served on numerous volunteer boards and committees. Presently, he serves on the Board of Directors for the University of Arkansas Medical Sciences BioVentures incubator and the University of Arkansas Little Rock Center for Innovation & Commercialization. Lane earned a BBA and an MBA from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

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  • Itzel Meador (SBA Regional Manager of Sales & Business Development at Simmons Bank)

    Itzel Meador

    SBA Regional Manager of Sales & Business Development at Simmons Bank


    Simmons Bank named Itzel Meador as Small Business Administration (SBA) Regional Manager of Sales & Business Development for its eight-state footprint in May 2019. Meador's responsibilities include SBA loan production, oversight of Simmons' SBA lending processes and customer experience.

    Meador brings more than 20 years of experience to her role at Simmons, having previously served as vice president in the commercial lending group at Regions Bank in Arkansas. Prior to joining the Regions team in 2015, she spent 15 years at Arkansas Capital Corporation, an Arkansas nonprofit lending company that specialized in SBA lending.

    While at Arkansas Capital Corporation, Itzel Meador saw several small business applicants with good plans, drive, and determination but who could not meet normal banking requirements for commercial loans due to the risk of the business, lack of collateral, start-up nature, or seasonal nature of the venture. To overcome this problem and to provide a financial tool to help foster entrepreneurial growth in Arkansas, Ms. Meador became a strong proponent of utilizing the Small Business Administration Guaranty Programs, as well as the SBA 504 Program. Over the past 20 years, her determination to help small business owners has led to over $450 million dollars of financial assistance to small businesses using SBA loan products.

    Meador is a graduate of the University of TX (Dallas) with a bachelor of science degree in Business Administration. She serves on the board of RMI, Inc., the Children's Protection Center, and the Small Business Technology Development Center.

    She has received numerous awards and honors including the 2017 Regions Chairman's Club Award recipient, the 2016 RMA Commercial Banker of the Year, and the 2006 SBA Financial Advocate of the Year.

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  • Charles Parker (Project Director of The Retail Coach)

    Charles Parker

    Project Director of The Retail Coach


    Charles Parker is a Project Director for The Retail Coach, a national municipal consulting firm that specializes in retail recruitment and development. Charles brings a strong background of economic research and entrepreneurship to his work with communities, which helps him build successful strategies for communities looking to attract new businesses, restaurants, and developers as well as revitalize their downtown districts. The Texas native earned his MBA from Mississippi State University and is an active member of the International Council of Shopping Centers and Main Street America. Charles is a frequent speaker at conferences, municipal leagues, and economic organizations.

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  • Mike Philpot, CEcD (Vice President of Economic Development at Jonesboro Unlimited)

    Mike Philpot, CEcD

    Vice President of Economic Development at Jonesboro Unlimited


    Michael M. Philpot, CEcD, is the Vice President of Economic Development for Jonesboro Unlimited and joined the organization in August of 2019. Jonesboro Unlimited is a bold, five-year strategic plan to increase economic prosperity in Jonesboro.

    Mike began his economic development career in 1988 in Shreveport, Louisiana. He was the Director of Economic Development for the Shreveport Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Shreveport Economic Development Foundation.

    In 1996 Mike was offered the Executive Director position with the West Tennessee Industrial Association, which is in Jackson, Tennessee and he served there for over twenty-one years. This is a regional economic development association. Community preparation and development with domestic and international marketing of the region being the key focus. Extensive community preparedness initiatives included a formalized industrial site certification program, Deal Ready® and a Virtual Building concept for small communities.

    In 2017 Mike was asked to implement a new industrial development marketing and recruitment initiative for Delta Council in Stoneville, Mississippi. Future projects and relationships were established because of these efforts. Marketing missions across the U.S., Canada, United Kingdom, and Germany have been a core responsibility in all the programs that Mike has worked.

    Mike received his B.B.A in Management from Harding University in 1981, and his Master of Science in Community and Economic Development from the University of Central Arkansas in 2009. Professional development includes the Economic Development Institute—University of Oklahoma, Community Development Institute—University of Central Arkansas and the Georgia Tech Basic Economic Development Institute. Mike earned the designation of Certified Economic Developer—(CEcD) in 1993

    Mike served as the Chairman of the Southern Economic Development Council in 2015.

    Mike is married to Robin and they have three sons- Garrett, Chase and Dalton. They have one perfect grandchild, Bonnie Rae.

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  • Mike Preston (Secretary at Arkansas Department of Commerce)

    Mike Preston

    Secretary at Arkansas Department of Commerce


    Gov. Asa Hutchinson appointed Michael “Mike” Preston executive director of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC) in March 2015 and Secretary of Commerce in July 2019. Preston is highly regarded as a leading advocate in economic development.

    Over the years, Preston has made successful business recruitment trips to Japan, China, France, Germany, Israel, Cuba, Mexico, Italy, United Kingdom, New York City and Silicon Valley. The trips continue to play an important role in the state’s economic development efforts and have led to more than 451 projects with companies signing agreements with AEDC to locate or expand in Arkansas. These companies are investing $9.24 billion and creating more than 19,794 new jobs.

    Before joining AEDC, he served six and a half years as the Vice President of Government Relations for Enterprise Florida, the state’s primary economic development organization. During his tenure at Enterprise Florida, he was part of the team that helped create more than 147,000 jobs, paying an average wage of $56,437, and generating $10.07 billion in capital investment.

    In 2018, Preston was selected to join The Wall Street Journal’s prestigious CEO Council. It is an invitation-only group that connects some of the world’s most ambitious and influential leaders to discuss the issues shaping the future. The members lead companies that collectively employ more than eight million people, generate $2.9 trillion in annual revenue, and represent 20 countries in a wide cross-section of industries.

    A 2005 graduate of the University of Florida, Mike and his wife Anne – along with their young son Pierce – are proud to call Arkansas home. They both volunteer in the community in a variety of ways, including the Children’s Advocacy Centers of Arkansas and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

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  • James Reddish, CEcD (Executive Vice President at Little Rock Regional Chamber)

    James Reddish, CEcD

    Executive Vice President at Little Rock Regional Chamber


    James Reddish joined the Little Rock Regional Chamber in March of 2018. In his capacity as Executive Vice President, James has responsibility for the chamber’s full suite of programs, events, communications, sales and member relations. He also provides strategic guidance to the chamber’s economic and workforce development team.

    James came to the chamber from the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) in Chicago, IL, where he worked in over a dozen states with communities of every size, on issues ranging from comprehensive supply/demand analysis to career pathway mapping. He helped multiple regions structure industry sector partnerships and collaborated with community leaders in their efforts to drive deeper alignment between educational offerings and economic growth.

    Prior to joining CAEL, James served as Vice President of Economic and Workforce Development for Greater Louisville Inc., where he led the organization’s program of work within economic development as well as education and workforce development. In 2014, James guided GLI through a fundamental redesign of its economic and workforce development efforts, creating a new approach to regional economic development which included fifteen counties across two states.

    In his time at GLI, James was involved in several significant initiatives including the Brookings Institution Metropolitan Business Plan for Louisville/Lexington as well as co-chairing the certification of Jefferson County Public Schools as a Ford Next Generation Learning community. As a project manager, James assisted 86 companies who combined to invest over $1.4 billion dollars in new capital and add nearly 5,000 new jobs within the region.

    A native of the Washington, DC metro area, James holds a bachelor of science degree from James Madison University and a master’s of arts degree from the University of Louisville.

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  • Daniel Schutte (Program Manager, Fintech Accelerators at The Venture Center)

    Daniel Schutte

    Program Manager, Fintech Accelerators at The Venture Center


    Daniel is a Non-Profit Business Development Professional, with extensive experience in program management, team leadership, and process improvement. He maintains expertise in early stage ventures, entrepreneurship, business planning, and financial services.

    In his current role as a Program Manager at The Venture Center, Daniel facilitates the financial growth and development of global start-up companies via FinTech Accelerator programs sponsored by Fidelity Information Services and the ICBA. The FinTech Accelerator programs are designed to immensely surge the growth of cohort companies. He also directs scheduling and the establishment of a 12-week boot camp program for clients to drive improved revenue and stability. The Accelerator programs enable companies to achieve an average of $2.6M increase in capital in the post-program.

    Presently, Daniel enriches the financial knowledge and well-being of start-up enterprises. He connects companies with 50+ banks and high-profile subject matter experts to provide partnerships and expertise. For continual growth (post-program) he created and curates digital resources to the achievement of business goals.

    Before that, Daniel worked as Vice President at Schutte Lithography Inc. where he oversaw daily operations of a family-owned lithography business and led in all areas of preventative maintenance, production scheduling, personnel management, and procurement. He drove several million in top-line revenue annually with several Fortune 500 clients.

    Concurrent with his tenure at Schutte Lithography, Daniel was the co-founder and CEO of Radio Reddit, an online music streaming startup affiliated with social media giant Reddit.com. He helped to scale the company to several million users and held the musical catalog of some 27,000 artists globally.

    Daniel has been an Arkansas resident for 3 years and was recently wed to his wife (a Little Rock native) in October of 2019.

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  • Shelley Short, IOM (Vice President, Programs & Partnerships at Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce/AIA)

    Shelley Short, IOM

    Vice President, Programs & Partnerships at Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce/AIA


    Shelley is responsible for the development, management and execution of the chamber’s programs and strategic partnerships. She also serves as the executive director of Arkansas Economic Developers & Chamber Executives (AEDCE), the professional association of local chamber executives and economic developers in the state. Shelley is a native Arkansan with more than thirteen years of economic development experience, most recently serving as the Director of Marketing for the Arkansas Economic Development Commission before joining the State Chamber in 2015. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Political Management from Regent University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of Central Arkansas. Shelley serves on the Arkansas Department of Education State Coalition for Family and Community Engagement, the Board of Directors for the MAKO Conference, and is a member of the Census 2020 Arkansas Counts Complete Count Committee. She is a member of the International Economic Development Council, the Southern Economic Development Council and is a graduate of the US Chamber’s Institute for Organization Management and the University of Oklahoma’s Economic Development Institute.

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  • Jeff Standridge (Managing Director of AR Conductor)

    Jeff Standridge

    Managing Director of AR Conductor


    Dr. Jeff D. Standridge helps organizations and their leaders generate sustained results in the areas of innovation, strategy, profit growth, organizational effectiveness and leadership. Formerly a Vice President for Acxiom Corporation, he has led established and startup business units in North & South America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Jeff serves as Managing Director for the Conductor (www.ARConductor.org), is Co-founder of Cadron Capital Partners, and teaches in the College of Business at the University of Central Arkansas (UCA.edu).

    Dr. Standridge has been an invited speaker, trainer and consultant for numerous companies, institutions and organizations across five continents. He and his wife, Lori, make their home in Conway, Arkansas.

    In addition to his executive coaching and custom-tailored consulting, he has received accolades for his World Class presentations, training programs and workshops.

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  • Bentley Story (Director, Business Development of Arkansas Economic Development Commission)

    Bentley Story

    Director, Business Development of Arkansas Economic Development Commission


    Bentley Story is the Director of the Business Development Division of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC). A native of Forrest City, Arkansas, Bentley began working at AEDC in 2007 as a Project Manager working with companies such as Hewlett-Packard, Dillard’s, Windstream and Kimberly-Clark. In 2012 he was promoted to Division Director, where he oversees the work of a professional team of project managers, international representatives, and community developers who are responsible for recruiting new business to Arkansas, helping existing businesses grow, and preparing communities to take advantage of economic development opportunities.

    Under Bentley’s leadership, the Business Development Division has seen project announcements resulting in more than 25,000 jobs statewide, and more than $13 billion in investment in the state of Arkansas. In 2013, Bentley and the AEDC team oversaw the state’s first Amendment 82 project, resulting in the completion of a $1.3 billion steel mill in Mississippi County that employs more than 500 people who earn an average salary of $75,000 per year. This project remains the largest investment to date in Arkansas. Other companies that have located or expanded in Arkansas since 2012 include Sprint, Remington, Sig Sauer, J.B. Hunt, HanesBrands, TrinityRail, and MISO.

    Prior to coming to AEDC, Bentley worked as a budget analyst with the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration, where he analyzed and reconciled state budgets totaling over $4 billion. He has also worked in Tyson Foods’ Corporate Strategy Division and served as a consultant to the Northwest Arkansas Museum Foundation.

    Bentley has served as a member of the Arkansas Economic Developers Board and is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma’s Economic Development Institute. In 2015 & 2017, he was selected by Consultant Connect as one of North America’s Top 50 Economic Developers. Bentley is a member of the Baptist Health Foundation Associate Board, has been a frequent volunteer for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, and has served as a judge for the Governor’s Cup Business Plan Competition.

    Bentley is a graduate of the Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and a Master of Business Administration. He and his wife, Amanda, live in Little Rock with their daughter, Virginia and son, Bentley.

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  • Allison J.H. Thompson, CEcD, FM, EDFP (President & CEO of Economic Development Alliance for Jefferson County/Pine Bluff Regional Chamber of Commerce)

    Allison J.H. Thompson, CEcD, FM, EDFP

    President & CEO of Economic Development Alliance for Jefferson County/Pine Bluff Regional Chamber of Commerce

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  • Jim Walton (CEO of Brand Acceleration)

    Jim Walton

    CEO of Brand Acceleration


    With more than three decades of experience, Jim Walton is widely regarded as one of the nation’s leading experts in economic development marketing. A powerful ally for economic development professionals, Brand Coach Jim is regularly invited to share his knowledge about community branding and location marketing at conferences and meetings. Audiences appreciate the practical, actionable advice he delivers.

    Active in many state, regional, and national economic development organizations, Jim is a graduate of the Basic Economic Development Course at Ball State University.

    He is currently teaching the marketing sessions for the Indiana Basic Economic Development Course, the Ohio Basic Economic Development Course, and the Mid-South Basic Economic Development Course.

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  • Mark Young, CEcD (President and  CEO of Jonesboro Unlimited)

    Mark Young, CEcD

    President and CEO of Jonesboro Unlimited


    Mark Young is President and CEO of the Jonesboro Regional Chamber of Commerce, serving in that capacity since April 2006. The mission of the Chamber is to enhance the quality of life in our community through service, leadership and economic development. Mark also leads the economic development organization, Jonesboro Unlimited, serving as President. Jonesboro Unlimited has recently embarked on a bold five- year strategic plan to increase prosperity in Jonesboro.

    Prior to being named President of the Jonesboro Regional Chamber of Commerce, Mark served as Executive Director of the Delta Center for Economic Development at Arkansas State University from 2000 to April 2006.

    Mark has provided economic development leadership in four other communities. He served as the Director of the Cross County Business Development Center in Wynne and as Director of the East Arkansas Community College Business Development Center in Forrest City. He then left Arkansas to serve as Executive Director of the Miami Area Economic Development Services, Inc. in Miami, Oklahoma, and served as Executive Director of the Richmond Economic Partnership in Rockingham, North Carolina.

    Mark received his B.S. in Journalism with an emphasis in Public Relations from Arkansas State University. He is a Certified Economic Developer, receiving that designation in 1994.

    Mark serves on the Arkansas District Export Council and is currently the Chairman of the Northeast Arkansas Economic Development Coalition.

    Mark is married to Mitzi. They have two sons- Adam and Alex.

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  • Sarah White (Principal & VP of Site Selection at Global Location Strategies)

    Sarah White

    Principal & VP of Site Selection at Global Location Strategies


    Sarah has worked in site selection and economic development her entire career. Her first experience was a three-year internship with the South Carolina Department of Commerce's (SCDOC) Coordinating Council for Economic Development, the incentive granting entity for the state. She then joined McCallum Sweeney Consulting for 10 years to advise corporations on their location strategy. Her experience included conducting property evaluations, workforce analysis, and incentive negotiations in the industry sectors of manufacturing, distribution, and office headquarters. Prior to joining GLS in 2019, Sarah was Director at Quest Site Solutions, a spin-off of McCallum Sweeney, where she facilitated site selection services for industrial clients as well as provided economic development consulting services.

    Sarah enjoys matching corporations with communities, to facilitate mutual success. Her site selection efforts have taken her across hundreds of locations across the United States, with her projects investing hundreds of millions of dollars and creating thousands of jobs. Corporate clients have included the likes of Freshpet, Walmart, Dollar General, Hertz, and numerous others.

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Course Registration ONLY

Course Registration Only - NO IEDC Manual
Early bird pricing available through March 9, 2020

Standard Price $625
Course Registration With IEDC Manual

Course Registration and the optional IEDC Manual - Introduction to Economic Development
Early bird pricing available through March 9, 2020

Standard Price $660


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Includes an IEDC Manual

Standard Price $610

IEDC Professional Development Course Offerings

IEDC is the world leader in economic development education and training. Every year thousands rely on our practical education tools to expand their economic development knowledge, effectiveness, and gain professional recognition. IEDC offers educational opportunities for economic development professionals in every stage of their career. Make it a priority to assess and improve your skill set, and you'll increase your value to your organization and enhance the future of your career.

Check out what's available at www.iedconline.com/prodev


Four Points by Sheraton Midtown

925 S. University Ave.
Little Rock, Arkansas

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