Finkle has led IEDC for the past 20 years and was the president of the Council for Urban Economic Development (CUED) for 15 years. In 2001, CUED merged with the American Economic Development Council (AEDC) to form IEDC, the world’s largest economic development membership organization with 5,000 members and an annual $6 million operations budget.
“More than 30 years ago, Jeff took a profession that was fragmented and barely understood and shaped it into an industry that today commands the respect of both the private and public sectors,” said Tom Kucharski, IEDC board chair and president and CEO of Invest Buffalo Niagara. “He did this through training and certification and creative economic recovery initiatives for communities large and small. The IEDC staff, board and our many partners are privileged to have worked with him and appreciate his many contributions.”
Finkle is recognized for his stewardship in professionalizing and diversifying the field of economic development, which is focused on promoting economic well-being and quality of life in local communities around the world. Economic development professionals help create, retain, and expand jobs that facilitate growth, enhance wealth and provide a stable tax base. While the bulk of members are US-based, IEDC members are found in Canada, Mexico, Europe, Asia, Australia, New Zealand and the Caribbean. Members are employed in a wide variety of settings including local, state, provincial and federal governments, public-private partnerships, chambers of commerce, universities and a variety of other institutions.
“Jeff has always put IEDC and the profession before his personal interests, acting as a steward not only of the association but also of the industry of economic development,” said Kenny McDonald, IEDC past board chair and president and CEO of One Columbus.
One recent highlight under Finkle’s tenure is a new program to increase minority entrepreneurship and participation in community economic development projects. The effort is funded in part by a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation.
“Jeff Finkle’s sense of economic justice has weighed in alongside his understanding of how capitalism is the lubricant of our democracy. Jeff’s work has brought all of us in economic development to a higher plane of a far greater good,” said Ioanna T. Morfessis, PhD., past board chair of CUED.
Another notable initiative is an economic development volunteer program that Finkle organized in 2005 to work in Gulf Coast communities in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. It has evolved into a model program that helps communities recover economically from the Covid pandemic.
“Whether it be the merger between AEDC and CUED that evolved into the modern day IEDC or turbulent economic and political cycles, IEDC continues to press forward under the steady leadership of Jeff Finkle,” said Craig J. Richard, IEDC past board chair and president and CEO of Tampa Bay Economic Development Council.
Finkle previously served as deputy assistant secretary in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and has received numerous awards for his economic development leadership. In 1989, he founded the Bollinger Foundation, a non-profit organization that provides financial assistance to children who have lost a parent who worked in the field of economic development, community development and assisted housing. IEDC staff supports the Bollinger Foundation.
He received a Bachelor of Science degree in communications from Ohio University in Athens. He maintains a strong connection with Ohio University’s Voinovich School for Leadership and Public Affairs and serves as an Appalachian new economy fellow with the university.
Candidates interested in the IEDC position may contact Korn Ferry at [email protected]
SOURCE International Economic Development Council