C2ER Helps Economic Development Professionals Grow – Drew Conrad

In 2004, Drew Conrad from the Institute for Decision Making at the University of Northern Iowa attended his first C2ER Annual Conference. His research manager and former C2ER Board member, Cindy Angel, encouraged their team to attend the annual conference and professional development training courses, as the University has been long-time members of—and advocates for—C2ER. Since that conference, Drew continued attending conferences and economic development courses, became a Certified Economic Research Professional (CERP), and has even served as a trainer in many of professional development courses, as well as serving as the board chair from 2014 – 2016.

As Drew has climbed the ladder from program manager to senior program manager, to his current role as Director, he states, “[C2ER has] been tremendous for me. It’s significantly helped my professional development. It’s helped the work that we do with the clients and communities that my organization works with.” What’s particularly interesting about Drew’s professional development journey is that it began in the pre-internet era just before rapid changes in data tools and sources. Over the past 25 years C2ER has risen to the challenge, time and time again, staying ahead of the curve, and keeping members informed and competitive throughout the rapid changes ushered in by the information age.

What Drew likes best about C2ER is that it offers many avenues of networking, especially the annual conference. C2ER’s trainings offer another valuable opportunity to network with others in the field.  Drew said, “C2ER members are very welcoming and are willing to share of their time and information.” He emphasized that some national associations in economic development are not always as welcoming due to the competitive nature of the industry, but this has never been an issue with C2ER.

C2ER staff would like to thank Drew Conrad for his long-time support and active participation in its professional development activities. C2ER would not have been able to navigate seismic technological and industry changes without committed members like Drew.