November 2019 President's Message

Dear Members,

It was great seeing so many of you this past month at our Annual Meeting in Bridgeport.  In addition to electing new Board members, this year we were able to recognize twenty-four communities that were accredited through our inaugural best practices program.  The room was packed, and I felt a renewed energy and optimism for economic development in Connecticut.

Handing out plaques for the best practices program was the culmination of years of work to get this initiative started.  It began with an idea that we can do better at the local level and let’s work to raise the standards for everyone.  From there we held focus groups to determine what are the “best practices.”  Eventually they were compiled into a scoring sheet and refined.  It took a lot of hard work and from many people.  However, three stood out, Kelly Buck who co-chaired the committee in 2019; Laura Brown who formalized the scoring sheet and led the grading process; and our first ever intern, Kevin Fitzgerald who did the groundwork to organize the application process.  It was a pleasure to recognize all three at the Annual Meeting.

I want to congratulate the twenty-four communities that participated in the first year of the best practices program.  These communities devoted hours to completing the application.  More importantly, they devoted a significant amount of time into building out their economic development processes.  The grading committee learned new things from each application.  Now the goal is to raise the bar for all of our communities.  CEDAS will be sharing what we learned and creating opportunities to learn how to implement these programs in your community.  I also want to thank our sponsors:  Eversource and UI who were our presenting sponsors as well as STV-DPM and Pullman Comley.

Finally, I want to thank the membership for electing me to serve a second term as President of CEDAS.  It continues to be an honor to serve you.  We have a lot of work to do in 2020 as we look to continue to: grow our membership, expand the best practices program and share the lessons learned, build the profile of economic development in Connecticut, and support professional education among our ranks.  Please get involved and support these activities!

Thanks again,

Garrett Sheehan

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