Arkansas Economic Developers (AED) is an association of professional and volunteer economic developers in the state of Arkansas. AED was organized in 1976 with a constitution and by-laws formally adopted on September 27, 1977.
According to its constitution, AED is organized for the purpose of advancing, through professional and educational efforts, the quality of life in Arkansas by the development of employment opportunities through economic growth and community development. Article III of the constitution states that any reputable person engaged in activities directed toward the economic and community development of Arkansas shall be eligible for membership in AED when elected in accordance with provisions set forth in the by-laws.
Arkansas Economic Developers is governed by a board of directors and elected officers. Two directors from each Arkansas congressional district are elected by the General Membership. Elected officers are the President, First Vice-President, Second Vice-President, and Secretary/Treasurer. Article IV, Section 9 provides the authority for the Board of Directors to develop and/or approve policy statements concerning matters affecting Arkansas economic development and to disseminate them in the name of the association.
Activities of the Arkansas Economic Developers have been concentrated in educational programs for our membership and others seeking a better understanding of economic/community development techniques. In November 1979, AED organized and conducted the first privately sponsored Basic Industrial Development Course (BIDC) in Arkansas for local officials and other persons interested in bringing more industrial/economic jobs to their communities. In 1982, the first advanced program was offered for professionals and others who had previously attended the basic course. Several years ago, AED partnered with the University of Arkansas at Little Rock to implement a new program known as the Basic Economic Development Course (BEDC) Program, the program was later named the Mid-South Basic Course.
Membership in AED provides an opportunity to participate in numerous activities that center around efforts to educate the economic developer in a rapidly changing field. The AED annual conference features development experts that address key issues of our business that affect our daily activities. Seminars are also conducted during the year to address a specific issue of economic development. In addition, AED serves as a co-sponsor with other development groups for regional meetings around Arkansas.
Economic development, as it is practiced today, is an extremely competitive situation, especially between the states. A state's ability to compete rests heavily on the legislative and regulatory climate it can project. Collectively, this is referred to as the "Business Climate." As a professional association, Arkansas Economic Developers is obligated to keep its membership knowledgeable in this area. Furthermore, when legislation or regulatory law is found to be prejudicing the ability to attract or expand job opportunities in Arkansas, we feel a professional responsibility to make our own opinions known. On this basis, we have an active legislative program at the federal and state level.