Jon Baggett Receives Designation of Certified Economic Developer

Summerville, South Carolina

February 4, 2013 - Jon Baggett, Dorchester County Economic Development Director, recently earned the designation of Certified Economic Developer (CEcD), a national recognition that denotes a mastery of principal skills in economic development, professional attainment, and a commitment to personal and professional growth. The CEcD exam was administered by the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) on January 26th and 27th in Orlando, Florida at their winter conference.

Leading up to his five-year role in economic development for Dorchester County, Jon Baggett began his career as a Community Development Manager for the South Carolina Department of Commerce after graduating from Presbyterian College in 1999. In 2004, he received his master's degree in Public Administration from the University of South Carolina.

Upon joining Dorchester County in 2008, Mr. Baggett's duties as Economic Development Director have included the recruitment of new and expanding business that resulted in record-high numbers for two consecutive years during the economic recession. Mr. Baggett has also made significant strides in product development through infrastructure projects to increase Dorchester County's inventory list of available sites and buildings. Achievements have included the completion of the County's first "Class-A" industrial park that will attract industries in the bioscience sector, as well as developing a "shovel-ready" site in St. George to increase the number of jobs for Upper Dorchester County residents.

Other initiatives established under his direction have included the creation of a Business Retention and Expansion program; increased marketing efforts to reach a global audience; the development of the County's first Strategic Plan for Economic Development; and the growth of a retail recruitment program.

Mr. Baggett's other professional designations consist of Certified Economic Development Finance Professional by the National Development Council, as well as a South Carolina Certified Economic Developer by the South Carolina Economic Developers' Association (SCEDA). Recently, he was named by Development Counsellors International (DCI) as part of the organization's "40 Under 40" annual awards competition. He is also a member of IEDC, SCEDA, and the Southern Economic Development Council (SEDC). He currently serves as a member of the Trident Workforce Investment Board.

"This certification means not only great things for Jon, but also for Dorchester County," said Dorchester County Council Chairman Bill Hearn. "With this designation, we are now set apart as a County that possesses the knowledge and expertise to assist in all aspects of economic development to meet the needs of new and existing business. Well-done and congratulations, Jon!"

"I want to congratulate and recognize Jon as he reaches a career milestone by achieving this significant accreditation from IEDC as a Certified Economic Developer," said Jason Ward, Dorchester County Administrator. "He is a valuable asset to Dorchester County, and through his efforts, he is helping to build a strong foundation for our economic development future."

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 three-part, two-day examination that tests a practitioner's knowledge, as well as proficiency and judgment in the key areas of economic development. These targeted areas include business retention and expansion, marketing, finance, workforce development, community development, real estate, strategic planning, and management.

As highly competent economic development practitioners, Certified Economic Developers work with public officials, business leaders, and community members to create leadership to build upon and maximize the economic development sector. Excellence in the economic development profession improves the well-being, quality of life, and overall opportunities for individuals, businesses, and communities. There are currently 1,297 active CEcD's in the United States.

The International Economic Development Council is the premiere organization for the economic development profession. Serving over 4,600 members, IEDC is the world's largest professional membership organization providing a diversity of economic development services, including research and advisory services, conferences, professional development, and legislative tracking.  IEDC provides economic developers with the information and tools they need to build local economies. The organization also strives to draw upon and increase the collective expertise and influence of its diverse membership. For more information about IEDC membership and upcoming events, please visit their website at www.iedconline.org to learn more.

About Dorchester County Economic Development

Dorchester County Economic Development is the organization responsible for growing and retaining business in the County. Its mission is to work to create and support an environment that welcomes business, and helps companies to grow and succeed over the long-term. This ultimately will increase the standard of living for all of Dorchester County's citizens by providing more job opportunities with higher skills and better wages.

About IEDC

The International Economic Development Council (IEDC) is a non-profit membership organization dedicated to helping economic developers do their job more effectively. IEDC's overall mission is to raise the profile of the economic development profession. As the world's largest membership organization serving this dynamic industry, IEDC members can create more high-quality jobs, develop more vibrant communities, and generally improve the quality of life in their regions.