Local Economic Development Professionals Recognized by Their Peers During 2016 CEDAS Annual Awards


The Connecticut Economic Development Association has announced its 2016 achievement awards, which will be presented at its Annual Meeting on Wednesday, December 7 at the Casa Mia at The Hawthorne in Berlin, CT.   CEDAS is a not-for-profit organization committed to advancing the practice of economic development within the state of Connecticut. The awards are as follows:

  • Shelly Saczynski, Director of Economic and Community Development at UIL Holdings Corp. and resident of Branford, will receive the Kenneth L. Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award, which is given to economic developers or practitioners with 20+ years' experience, who have demonstrable contributions to the economic development field and have impacted activities whose careers have greatly contributed to the advancement of the Connecticut economy. Ms. Saczynski joined The United Illuminating Company (now UIL Holdings Corp.) in June, 2001 as Director of Economic and Community Development with responsibility for UI’s economic development, community affairs, employee volunteer, foundations and corporate contribution programs. She currently chairs the board of the Connecticut Economic Resource Center, Inc. and of REX Development, and also serves on the boards of the CT Coalition to End Homelessness and the CT Regional Institute for the 21st Century.
  • Aya Beckles Swanson, Vice President of Community Investment Corp., will receive the 2016 CEDAS Member of the Year Award, which recognizes recognizing a member who has exhibited true leadership in economic development in Connecticut and has implemented an initiative that demonstrates real results and outcomes in the past year. Born and raised in Barbados, Ms. Beckles Swanson came to the U.S. to attend the University of Hartford’s Hartt School of Music where she majored in music business and foreign languages. Years later, while working for the New Haven Jazz Festival and reaching out to area businesses to encourage their involvement in the festival, she recognized her interest in economic and business development. She held municipal economic development roles in the towns of East Hartford and Meriden, and her current position in community lending position gives her the opportunity to work hands-on with small businesses and entrepreneurs.  Ms. Beckles Swanson recently became a U.S. Citizen and is a resident of Clinton.
  • The 2016 CEDAS President’s Award, given to a member who has demonstrated excellence in service to CEDAS, will be shared by the City of New Haven Economic Development, New Haven EDC and Visit New Haven.  The three organizations were chosen by CEDAS President Rebecca Nolan for their demonstrated passion to support the association by working collaboratively on the planning team for the Northeastern Economic Developers Association’s annual conference, held in New Haven this past September.

More information about the awards and the annual meeting, including registration details, can be found online at www.cedas.org/Events.

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