EDC director named one of state’s first certified economic developers

Stanly County Economic Development Commission Director Candice Lowder was one of five members of the North Carolina Economic Development Association to be named North Carolina Certified Economic Developers.

They are the first in the state to receive the designation, according to a NCEDA press release. The program’s inaugural class were recognized at an event at the NCEDA annual conference.

Each member of the inaugural class completed 84 contact hours to earn the certification, including courses in data and analytics, innovation and entrepreneurship, retention and expansion, and legal framework, among others, according to a NCEDA press release.

The NC Certified Economic Developer program is a partnership between NCEDA and East
Carolina University’s Economic Development Academy, which launched in 2018.

“It was an honor and privilege to be in the inaugural group of certificate recipients,” Lowder said in an email.

EDC director Candice Lowder. Photo courtesy of Matt Smith with East Carolina University News Services.

Lowder mentioned that the program “provided an array of courses to enhance students’ understanding of economic development theory and best practices in the State of North Carolina” and it also offered “networking opportunities to broaden and strengthen our peer network with seasoned professionals across the state.”

In addition to the instructional hours, each member also had to complete a capstone project relevant to their own community in order to complete the program. Lowder’s project “evaluated the need and leasing potential for a publicly-owned spec building at the Riverstone Industrial Park.”

Classes began in the fall of 2019, but due to the pandemic, Lowder said, the leadership team pivoted to an online platform in early 2020.

“I would like to extend sincere thanks to the leadership at North Carolina Economic Development Association and ECU’s Office of Continuing and Professional Education for providing the support needed to complete the program in a virtual environment,” Lowder said.
Founded in 1966, NCEDA works toward a mission of being “the voice for North Carolina’s
economic development community – providing professional development, networking
opportunities and advocacy to secure the state’s economic future,” according to the press release.
The four other NCEDA members who received the designation are:
  • Cathy Barr, director of Ashe County Economic Development;
  • Cliff Brumfield, executive director of Lincoln Economic Development Association;
  • Will Carter, director of Stokes County Economic Development; and
  • Mark Lawson, vice president of Economic Development at the Cary Chamber of