Dear Economic Development Professionals and Stakeholders,

It is my pleasure as the 2018 Chairman of the Board of Directors of the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) to invite you to join me and 1,500 of your peers at this year's Annual Conference in Atlanta, Georgia, September 30 through October 3. The theme this year is Inclusive Economic Development: Fulfilling Dreams and will focus on the policy and technical components of creating economic opportunity for all. Atlanta will provide an outstanding setting for a conference that will examine inclusive growth, with numerous best practices shared through conference sessions and tours. Our conference is built for economic developers and economic development stakeholders alike, so I encourage you to invite your elected officials, business leaders, and other community partners. I believe at the end of our time together, all will return home well positioned to work better, together. I'll share with you a few reasons why.

I am particularly pleased to highlight our outstanding keynote speakers this year. Our Atlanta Host Committee has been hard at work to confirm these speakers, and there are more to come!

• Robert D. Atkinson, PhD, President, Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, Washington, D.C.
• Ed Bastian, CEO, Delta Air Lines, Atlanta, GA
• Raphael Bostic, PhD, CEO and President, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, Atlanta, GA
• Dan Cathy, Chairman, President, and CEO, Chick-fil-A, Atlanta, GA
• Shan Cooper, Chief Transformation Officer, WestRock, Atlanta, GA
• Gretchen Corbin, President and CEO, Georgia Lottery Corporation, Atlanta, GA
• Anne Kaiser, Vice President, Community & Economic Development, Georgia Power, Atlanta, GA

This year's program is our best and biggest to date and includes five conference tracks. Attendees will have some tough choices to make when choosing between Reimagining Economic Development, Growing from Within, Widening the Circle, Placemaking, and Pioneering New Opportunities. In addition, students and young professionals will find sessions and events recommended for early stage economic developers. Dozens of concurrent sessions will feature the very best in economic development, and speakers will send you home energized and equipped to drive inclusive economic growth for all.

We've got you covered outside keynotes and concurrent sessions, too. In fact, there are over 100 different opportunities to learn, engage, and network when you include all of the tours and other special events taking place during the conference. I encourage you to take advantage of these events to make your experience well rounded and to get some exercise and fresh air while you're at it! Take a tour or two and see inclusive economic development in action firsthand; attend the Awards Recognition Dinner, a highlight of every IEDC Annual Conference, as we honor those who have made our profession what it is today and laud those laying the groundwork for our future; and sign up for one of the many networking gatherings offered throughout the conference.

Our early bird registration deadline is July 27 and features $120 in savings. The real value, though, comes with being a member of IEDC, which among many benefits throughout the year, saves you $300 versus the non-member registration rate for this conference alone. You'll save even more if you come to Atlanta early to participate in the Workforce Development Strategies training course prior to the conference.

The IEDC Annual Conference is an investment in yourself and in your community. I am very proud of the work being done on our behalf by our Atlanta Host Committee and IEDC staff, and I can't wait to share in this experience with you this fall.


Craig J. Richard, CEcD, FM
IEDC 2018 Board Chair
President and CEO
Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation
Tampa, Florida