NCEDA honors economic development winners, including new EDC director

North Carolina’s economic development professionals were celebrated for their outstanding contributions to both their profession and communities during the North Carolina Economic Development Association (NCEDA) 2024 Annual Conference.
These awards highlight the efforts of members who have gone above and beyond expectations in their field. The association honored these distinguished award recipients at the Annual Conference held in Wilmington on Wednesday.
NCEDA honored nine members in their annual awards ceremony, including Elizabeth Underwood, who was named this month as the new economic development director for Stanly County.
Underwood was named the 2024 Emerging Leader of the Year.
She spearheaded the creation of the PIVOT Manufacturing Internship Program in her community, lauded statewide for its impact on workforce development. As chair of the Emerging Executives committee for the North Carolina Economic Developers Association, she championed initiatives for young professionals, while co-founding and hosting “The New Economic Developers on the Block Podcast,” delivering insights to North Carolina’s economic landscape.
“These awards serve as a means for NCEDA to acknowledge the tireless efforts and commitment of economic developers throughout the state, spanning communities of various sizes, as collectively we drive forward the economic prosperity of North Carolina’s residents,” said Joanna Helms, president of NCEDA.
At the same event, EDC employee Anna (Clayton) Bridgeman received her NC Certified Economic Development credential.
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.”
The organization is composed of more than 850 professional economic developers at the state, regional and local levels, as well as educators, engineers, transportation experts, utility industry leaders, attorneys and other professionals.