Print Page   |   Contact Us   |   Report Abuse   |   Sign In   |   Register
Sign In
Sign In securely

8/20/2017 » 8/22/2017
2017 Annual Conference

8/27/2017 » 8/29/2017
AEDCE Annual Conference

8/27/2017 » 8/29/2017
AEDCE 2017 Annual Conference

9/11/2017 » 9/14/2017
True South Economic Development Course

9/24/2017 » 9/26/2017
WVEDC Fall Conference

2017 Annual Conference
View Registrations Map this EventMap this Event Tell a Friend About This EventTell a Friend
2017 Annual Conference

 Export to Your Calendar 8/20/2017 to 8/22/2017
When: 08/20/2017
Where: Map this event »
The Westin Charlotte
601 S College Street
Charlotte, North Carolina  28202
United States
Contact: Matthew Darius
(404) 523-3030

Online registration is closed.
« Go to Upcoming Event List  

Registration | Schedule | Panelists

Hotel | Communication Awards | Silent Auction

Evening Event | Optional Activities | GolfSponsors

Download the Conference App!

Click to download the 2017 Annual Conference App

Do you know who your competition is?

I bet it has changed over the past decade or so.  The 2017 SEDC Annual Conference theme is "Redefining Competition".  The conference will explore the changes in competition that all economic developers are facing.  Marcus Smith, president of Speedway Motor Sports,  will keynote our meeting and will discuss the changes that NASCAR is facing.  Breakout sessions and other general sessions will look at the change in incentives, workforce issues, transportation, and logistics challenges and emerging trends in the world of economic development.  As always, our final panel will be several national site selection consultants discussing trends that they are seeing in the site location world.
Charlotte is a wonderful place for our conference.  Just steps from the Westin Hotel are museums, restaurants, and shopping.  The local conference committee is working to make the Charlotte conference one of the best ever. In addition to the outstanding lineup of speakers, there will plenty of chances to network and re-connect with colleagues from all over the South.

Please plan to join us August 20-22, 2017 as we redefine the competition!

Robert E. Leak, Jr., CEcD
2017 Annual Conference Chairman


Registration Rates:    

   Early Regular Onsite
Member: $ 450.00 $ 500.00 $ 600.00
Join SEDC& Register**: $ 650.00 $ 700.00 $ 800.00
Non-Member: $ 700.00 $ 750.00 $ 850.00
Guest/ Spouse: $ 175.00 $ 175.00 $ 225.00

*Early Bird Expires July 15, 2017


Three ways to register for the 2017 SEDC Annual Conference:

1) Online
2) By fax at (404) 523-0406*
3) By mail to SEDC, 311 Nelson St SW, Atlanta, GA 30313*

Please complete the registration form and include your credit card information or check payable to SEDC. Due to the large number of registrations, we will be unable to verify receipt of your fax. You will receive registration confirmation via email.

** Please note Join SEDC & Register is a two step process. You must first Join SEDC and select the *New Member & Conference Registration* member type, then log into your account and register for the conference.


• Payment must accompany registration form

• SEDC offers no partial or daily registrations

• SEDC reserves the right to limit or restrict registration

• Registration must be received no later than August 14, 2017. After this date, registrants must register and pay fees on-site.

SEDC policy states that full payment is required prior to the start of the event.  Anyone with an outstanding balance may be denied entry.


Registration deadline is August 14, 2017. After this date please plan to register on-site. In order to obtain a refund, all cancellations must be received in writing at the SEDC office. Refund policy is as follows: Cancellation notices received by August 11, 2017- amount refunded less an administrative fee of $50. Cancellation notices received between August 11, 2017 and August 13, 2017- amount refunded less an administrative fee of $150. Any registrant who does not submit cancellation correspondence by August 13, 2017 is required to pay the balance in full. Registrants may substitute attendees without penalty upon notification, however, appropriate member/non-member rates will apply to substitute attendees. SEDC is not responsible for lost or misdirected mail.


In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), conference management will make all reasonable efforts to accommodate persons with disabilities at its meetings. If you need assistance or if you have dietary restrictions, please indicate this on your registration form or call the SEDC office at 404-523-3030.


Member and non-member registration fees include: all conference sessions, Welcome Reception on Sunday, breakfast and lunch both Monday and Tuesday, Silent Auction Reception, breaks, as well as Tuesday night’s event.

Partner/Guest registration fees do not include conference sessions, breakfast and lunch Monday and Tuesday or breaks. Partner/Guest registration fees have been established solely for a spouse or significant other who accompanies the primary member registrant. This fee will not be honored for co-workers or industry associates.

Descriptions and speakers subject to change

Sunday, August 20, 2017

12:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Optional Activity
Latta Plantation & Carolina Raptor Center

3:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Optional Educational Session - 

SelectUSA Data Tools for Economic Developers
Speaker: Michael Jarand, SelectUSA


Providence I

Michael will present an overview of data tools for economic developers to better understand the landscape of foreign direct investment (FDI) in the U.S. economy. We will discuss new FDI data, including a look at recent FDI by country and industry sector trends. Then we will walk through the U.S. Cluster Mapping tool, which is useful for understanding the competitive landscape of industry clusters that may attract potential investors. We’ll end with a look at SelectUSA Research and Investment Services for economic developers.            

3:00 – 4:00 p.m.
SEDC Committee Meetings        
4:00 – 5:00 p.m.
State Caucus Meetings

6:00 - 7:30 p.m.
Welcome Reception - Bechtler Museum

Meet your fellow Conference attendees while partaking in drinks and passed hor'dourves. The gallery and exhibits will be open for you to tour. Food and Drink is not allowed in exhibit spaces. 



Monday, August 21, 2017

8:00 – 9:00 a.m.

Ballroom ABC

8:00 – 9:00 a.m.
New Member Breakfast 
- Please RSVP
Providence I


8:00 – 9:00 a.m.
Past Chairman's Breakfast

Kings Meeting Room


9:00 – 9:30 a.m.
Opening Remarks
Ballroom ABC

9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.

Keynote Speaker

Marcus Smith

President & CEO, Speedway Motorsports

Ballroom ABC

10:30 a.m. -11:00 a.m.


11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Concurrent Session - Incentives, Trends and Realities in a Tea Party World

Speaker: Gray Swoope, Vision First Advisors

Introductions by: Raul Peralta, ECS Limited

Ballroom ABC


Gray Swoope has experienced firsthand the new realities surrounding the negative views of economic development.  In this session you will learn how to avoid the pitfalls and develop strategies to promote continued public investment in your community.  


YP Breakout - A Crash Course in Preventing Media Train Wrecks

Speaker: Bob DeMers, Coaching Works
Moderator: Garrett Owens, WSBI

Providence III


What is the last question you want to be asked in a media interview? What’s the first response you’d want to give? We’ve got 60 minutes to figure it out! Join us for a fun, fast-paced, and action-packed workshop on how to prevent train wrecks with the media. Who knows, we might even get you on camera!

12:00 – 1:45 p.m.

Recognizing Community Economic Development Awards & Communication Award Winners
Ballroom D


1:45 – 2:30 p.m.

Concurrent Session - Reshoring Redefines International Competitiveness

Speaker: Mike Randle, Southern Business & Development

Ballroom ABC


Manufacturing Rules in the American South - If one judges the economy by the number of economic development projects announced, then the last few years have never been better in the American South. Yet, demographics have our backs against the wall, so there is no question that the next few years will see project counts decreasing in the region and that's not such a bad thing.

Concurrent Session - Retail Recruitment

Speaker: Lacy Beasley, Retail Strategies

Introductions by: Colleen Walton, Brand Acceleration, Inc.
Providence III


Municipal investment of time and resources in retail focused commercial real estate has become increasingly important to building vibrant communities to attract the workforce and primary paying jobs communities are seeking.  This session will cover the economic impact from tax revenue, jobs and quality of life that retail generates for a community.  Beasley will highlight the trends of today and make recommended best practices for retail recruitment.                                     

2:30 p.m. – 3:45 p.m.

Afternoon Break






3:45 – 4:45 p.m.

Concurrent Session - Talent Attraction - Millennials & Gen Y

Speaker: Amy Holloway, Avalanche Consulting

Introductions by: Marcus Taylor, Gray

Ballroom ABC


Access to talent is today’s top driver of site decisions.  Competitive communities are taking bold measures to ensure they have a steady supply of relevant skills to fuel their economies for years to come.  What specifically are they doing to proactively prepare their talent pipelines and align leadership around this challenge?  In this session, we will explore best practices for growing a sustainable, responsive talent pipeline at home.   


Concurrent Session - Talent Attraction - It's the Talent Stupid

Speaker: Andy Levine, DCI; Rebecca Gehman, DCI
Introductions by: Don Pierson,
Secretary, Louisiana Department of Economic Development

Providence III


Talent. Every city, state and region needs talent to survive. However, attracting and retaining top talent is no easy feat. We’ll share the results of a recent survey of 1,000 working-age individuals from across the country that pinpoints the top factors that influence talent relocation decisions. We’ll then delve into “best” and “next” practices of economic development organizations across the U.S. that are vying for skilled professionals. We’ll look at innovative talent attraction websites, PR and advertising campaigns, digital/social media initiatives and other programs that are working in the battle to attract the “best and brightest” to pioneering communities.



6:00 – 7:00 pm

Silent Auction Reception Benefiting the SEDC Educational Foundation

Providence I/II



Tuesday, August 22, 2017


6:00 - 9:00 a.m.
SEDC Fun Run 5K & 10K

Meet in the Westin Lobby. Creative Economic Development Consulting will be providing t-shirts, water, and granola bars to participants. No registration necessary.

Westin Lobby


8:00 – 9:00 a.m.

Ballroom D

9:15 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.
General Session -Economic Outlook & Emerging Trends

Speaker: Ted Abernathy, Economic Leadership

Ballroom ABC


Changing Realities and Emerging Concepts Impacting Economic Development

The session will raise a dozen trends that will change your future.  We will examine six trends that are changing the competitiveness of places, four that are changing the value and role of economic development leaders and two that, when combined, will make you question whether experience is an asset or your biggest problem

10:15 – 10:45 a.m.

10:45a.m. – 11:45 p.m.

General Session -Transportation Infrastructure

Ports, Intermodal, Rail, & Highway

Panelists:Robin Hager, Director Global Logistics,
Freight & Customs - Hanesbrands
Wilby Whitt, President of Intermodal - CSX;
Allen Clifford, Executive Vice President of MSC
Moderator: Paul Cozza, Executive Director, NC Ports

Introductions by: Anna Lea Moore, North Carolina Railroad Company

Multi-modal transportation connectivity is a key competitive advantage for communities and businesses in today's global supply chain.  Come hear the latest best practices and trends to deliver the goods in a worldwide marketplace.

12:00 – 1:30 p.m.

Luncheon-SEDC Awards Presentations and Annual Meeting

Awards include Honorary Life Members,
Chairman’s and President’s Awards and Retiring Board Members


Ballroom D

2:00 – 3:00 p.m.

General Session - Redefining Communities - Success Stories

Panelists:Brian Anderson, Greater Columbus Georgia Chamber of Commerce; Sherry-Lea Bloodworth Botop, City of Fairhope, Economic and Community Development
Moderator, Will Lambe, Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank


Ballroom ABC


The panel will focus on economic and community development finance in smaller markets. The panel will present some research and then engage in a discussion of how they, and their community partners, have reinvented their particular market to attract new investment.                          

3:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

General Session -Trends in Site Location Issues

Consultant Panel:Kathy Mussio, Atlas Insight;
Mark Sweeney,McCallum Sweeney; Robin Spinks, Principal, Greenfield

Moderator, Chris Chung CEO, Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina


Ballroom ABC


Prepare yourself for this informative panel discussion with three well-known site selection consultants.  They will be discussing the economic development trends and client activity over the past six months.  Learn about the hot target sectors working their way across the country as well as international activity

6:30 - 8:00 P.M.

Reception at the NASCAR Hall of Fame

Open bar and passed hor'dourves throughout the interactive exhibits




Gray Swoope
Vision First Advisors

  Mike Randle 
Southern Business & Development

Lacy Beasley
Retail Strategies

  Amy Holloway
Avalanche Consulting
  Andy Levine
  Ted Abernathy
Economic Leadership
  Robin Hager
  Wilby Whitt
  Allen Clifford
MSC (USA) Inc.
  Brian Anderson
Greater Columbus Georgia Chamber of Commerce
  Sherry-Lea Bloodworth Botop
City of Fairhope, Alabama
  Kathy Mussio
Atlas Insight
  Mark Sweeney
McCallum Sweeney
  Rebecca Gehman

Robin Spinks


Michael Jarand

  Bob DeMers
Coaching Works


Conference Hotel:

The Westin Charlotte
601 South College Street
Charlotte NC 28202 United States
Phone:(1)(704) 375-2600
Fax:(1)(704) 375-2623

Rates & Registration:

$169 - Single through Quad Occupancy

Guests can make reservations by calling 1-866-837-4148 and asking for the 2017 SEDC Conference Room Block


Registering online at: 

Cutoff date for booking a room is July 31st, 2017


About the Conference Hotel:

With its iconic Portman design, the hotel is an integral part of Uptown’s financial district and the Queen City skyline. Next to the convention center, they're minutes from Bank of America Stadium and major headquarters such as Wells Fargo and Deloitte. The hotel’s myriad features include a WestinWORKOUT® Fitness Studio, indoor pool, and on-site dining outlets such as Ember Grille that sizzle with personality and flair. They offer spa services at the Westin Wellness Center and 44,000 square feet of meeting space.The only choice for modern luxury in Uptown, the hotel boasts 700 amenity-filled rooms and suites with soaring city views. Sink into our Westin Heavenly Bed®, with layers of sublime comfort, or refresh in the Heavenly Bath® for a delightful escape.

Communication Awards

Call for Entries now Available

  • Does your community have a new website or a new logo and brand?
  • Did you do something outside of the box this year or hold a special event?

If you answered yes to any of the above, you need to apply to the SEDC Communication Awards! There are 20 categories available to enter into. Forms are available now!
Entries will be due at the SEDC office on June 28th, 2017. 
All major winners winner will be recognized at the SEDC Annual Conference, August 20- Aug 22, 2017, in Charlotte, NC.

Silent Auction

Bid online starting August 20th even if you are not in attendance! Click the Handbid logo below to be brought to the auction site:

Each year as part of the SEDC Annual Conference the SEDC Education Foundation hosts a silent auction event to raise funds towards the SEDC scholarship program. Without your help, this program cannot be successful. The 2017 Silent Auction benefiting the SEDC Educational Foundation will be held on Monday, August 21st, in conjunction with the SEDC Annual Conference.

We need your help in securing items! You can donate to the silent auction by contacting 

This year, we will be using a new mobile app for your Android, iPhone, or desktop computer. You will be able to see each item, bid on them eBay style, see current bids and more! Additional information on the app and the process of bidding will be available closer to the conference.

Take a look at one of the many amazing items we have for auction this year; a Kyle Busch signed 1:24 Die Cast Car!

Tuesday Evening Event - NASCAR Hall of Fame!

This year, we will be holding the Tuesday Evening Reception at the NASCAR Hall of Fame! This amazing space will allow you to experience NASCAR history at its finest and challenge yourself with its interactive exhibits. The Hall of Fame is a mere block away from the hotel and is an easy safe walk. Please join us on August 22nd starting at 6:30 PM until 8:30 PM for drinks, hors d'oeuvres, networking, and fun!

Tuesday, August 22nd, 2017
6:30 PM - 8:30 PM

About the NASCAR Hall of Fame:


Conveniently located in Uptown Charlotte, North Carolina, the NASCAR Hall of Fame is an interactive entertainment attraction honoring the history and heritage of NASCAR. The high-tech venue, designed to educate and entertain race fans and non-fans alike, opened May 11, 2010, and includes artifacts, hands-on exhibits, a 278-person state-of-the-art theater, Hall of Honor, Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant, NASCAR Hall of Fame Gear Shop and NASCAR Productions-operated broadcast studio. The venue is open 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. seven days a week (subject to change) and has an attached parking garage on Brevard Street. The 5-acre site also includes a privately developed 19-story office tower and 102,000-square-foot expansion to the Charlotte Convention Center, highlighted by a 40,000-square-foot ballroom. The NASCAR Hall of Fame is owned by the City of Charlotte, licensed by NASCAR and operated by the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority. The goal of the facility is to honor NASCAR icons and create an enduring tribute to the drivers, crew members, team owners and others that have impacted the sport in the past, present and future.

Optional Activities

The optional activity for your Sunday this year is a tour of the Carolina Raptor Center and Latta Plantation. The tour includes transportation and admission. Both areas are on the same property and you are welcome to come and go from either as you please. 

Cost: $49 per person all inclusive

Please be aware that these trips might be cancelled if the minimum number of participants is not met. SEDC staff will be in contact with every participant should this happen.

Email to be invoiced. All invoices must be paid in full prior to being confirmed as a participant. 

The Carolina Raptor Center


The Carolina Raptor Center, which got its unlikely start in the basement of the science building at UNCC, has come a long way. Since the arrival of the first injured owl in 1979, the non-profit organization has grown to one of the largest raptor rehabilitation centers in the United States. Last year, more than 650 injured and orphaned birds of prey were brought to the center for help. Boasting one of the country’s most extensive collections of birds of prey, get a glimpse of what’s behind the scenes at Carolina Raptor Center’s raptor hospital and education trail. At the hospital, staff admits, treats and performs surgery and physical therapy on more than 900 birds a year. The goal is to get the majestic creatures healthy and released back into the wild as quickly as possible. Depending in availability at the time of the tour, we may be able to include a private bird presentation and flight show. The Carolina Raptor Center also operates a living museum which will teach your guests about the value and habits of raptors. More than 100 birds whose injuries make it impossible for them to survive in the wild are permanent residents of CRC, and serve as ambassadors for their species. There are more than 20 species of raptors on the nature trail, where visitors can get a close look at them. Many of the birds go on the road with CRC's Wild Wings program, helping to educating thousands each year at schools, businesses and events throughout the state.

Latta Plantation


Built in 1800, Latta Place was owned by James Latta, an immigrant from Northern Ireland. A successful traveling merchant through 1820, Mr. Latta then retired and turned his property into a cotton plantation consisting of 742 acres and 34 enslaved people. Today, Historic Latta Plantation offers 35 special events each year, workshops, educational field trips, and daily tours year-round. Visit rare and endangered breeds of historic livestock, see the process of growing short-staple cotton firsthand, visit the honeybee exhibit, and much more! We’ll take a guided tour of the house and explore the grounds.

Golf Outing



The Golf Club at Ballantyne offers an impressive par 71 public golf course, extensive facilities and superior service year-round. Golfers enjoy daily play on the 18-hole PGA course, a golf pro shop, practice area, driving range, a golf pavilion and turn house with food and beverage offerings, overnight golf packages and professionally executed golf outings and tournaments.

There will not be a tournament this year. In its place, SEDC will put together foursomes and assign tee times. If you prefer to make up your own foursomes please note such in your registration and whom you plan to play with. Transportation to and from the course is up to each participant. SEDC will provide a boxed lunch for your enjoyment while on the green. Please note that there are limited spots available. SEDC encourages you to book your spot as soon as possible.

Cost: $125 per player
Date: Sunday, August 20th, 2017
Time: Tee times tentatively start at 7:00 a.m.

Email to be invoiced. All invoices must be paid in full prior to being assigned a spot. 

10000 Ballantyne Commons Parkway, Charlotte NC 28277



Are you interested in becoming a sponsor of the Annual Conference? Email or call 404-523-3030.


 Exhibit space has been sold out. Thank you!

Gold Sponsor



Silver Sponsors

Bronze Sponsors

Copper Sponsors