Veteran Economic Developer at Abonmarche Earns Certification

Jim Finan has accomplished something that places him in rare company, and has just increased his value to the team at Abonmarche Consultants substantially in the process. Finan, who serves as Director of Business and Economic Development for Abonmarche’s South Bend office has earned the designation of Certified Economic Developer.

The rank of Certified Economic Developer is a national recognition that denotes a mastery of skills in economic development, professional attainment and a commitment to personal and professional growth. In Jim’s case, the intense CEcD exam was administered by the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) on April 8th and 9th in Washington, DC at the Washington Court Hotel. It is not uncommon for those taking the test to fall short on the first such attempt, but that was not the case for Mr. Finan.

In his nearly 7 years of economic development experience, Jim has lead a local economic development organization at the Rush County Economic and Community Development Corporation; has managed economic and business development activities with an investor-owned utility at American Electric Power Company’s Indiana Michigan Power; has led business recruitment for a regional economic development organization, the Michiana Partnership…now known as the South Bend-Elkhart Region, and just recently joined the team at Abonmarche, an architectural, civil engineering and land surveying firm headquartered in downtown Benton Harbor where he is directing their business and economic development efforts for northern Indiana.

The CEcD designation recognizes qualified and dedicated practitioners in the economic development field and sets the standard of excellence within the profession. Candidates must pass a rigorous and comprehensive examination, which has three parts and spans two days. The exam tests a practitioner’s knowledge, proficiency and judgment in the following key areas of economic development:

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  • Business retention and expansion
  • Finance & credit analysis
  • Marketing and attraction
  • Strategic planning
  • Entrepreneurial & small business development
  • Managing economic development organizations
  • Neighborhood development strategies
  • Real estate development & reuse
  • Technology-led economic development
  • Workforce development strategies

As highly competent economic development professionals, Certified Economic Developers work with public officials, business leaders and community members to create leadership to build upon and maximize the economic development sector.  Excellence in the economic development profession improves the well being, quality of life and opportunities for individuals, businesses and communities. There are currently over 1,100 active CEcDs in the United States. Rob Cleveland at Cornerstone Alliance is another such professional.

The International Economic Development Council (IEDC) is a non-profit membership organization serving economic developers. With more than 5,000 members, IEDC is the largest organization of its kind.