Donahue earns Certified Economic Developer designation

Andy Donahue, director of the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at UW-Superior, has earned the designation of Certified Economic Developer (CEcD), a national recognition that denotes a mastery of skills in economic development, professional attainment and a commitment to personal and professional growth.  

The International Economic Development Council (IEDC) administered the first ever Virtual CEcD Exam Oct. 3, 2020, and notified candidates of their results six days later.

With over five years of economic development experience, Donahue has been instrumental into the entrepreneurial success of the region. “Partnerships and collaborations are at the forefront of the work that we do. During these times of COVID, it is instrumental to work together as a community ecosystem in order to help our local entrepreneurs survive and then thrive. Attaining this designation shows the value that the Small Business Development Center has in cultivating a thriving entrepreneurial culture in Northwest Wisconsin.”

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: 

  • 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
  • foreign direct investment & exporting

“Economic developers are key to local business viability and are some of SBDC’s most trusted partners,” said Bon Wikenheiser, state director for the Wisconsin SBDC Network. “Andy’s efforts to gain this certification enable him to better collaborate with EDOs. This is a testament to his dedication to his profession, and we are very proud and honored to have Andy as part of the SBDC Network.”

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. There are currently over 1,100 active CEcDs in the United States.