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Message from the President

Bruce Nuzum, NREDA President

Responding to your input; adding value to your membership!

A big thank you to all NREDA members who participated in our biennial Membership Survey! Not only do the board, staff and I appreciate the time you took to offer your input, we use your comments to guide our programming and events so we can bring value back to you. This year's survey results reinforced the value that members place on networking opportunities, the annual conference and other educational opportunities to gather and learn best practices for each other. All great information that the board took into account at our strategic planning session which I''ll talk about in a later column.

I am especially appreciative of the comments and suggestions to our opened questions. The input showed an definite interest from the membership related to more opportunities to interact and learn from each other either through online communication and/or regional meetings. Many members indicated they are new to economic development and looking for programs and tools that they can implement in their communities and areas. Likewise, may stressed the importance of this programming being offered as affordably as possible.

Please know, NREDA committees were already hard at work on many of those fronts. We strive to offer value as affordably as possible. But also know we are adjusting programming specifically in response to these comments. We've adjusted the agenda of our upcoming NREDA Conference to include sessions on best practices and success stories as well as more opportunity to interact with each other. Planning is also underway for an "economic development 101" pre-conference session for those new to the business and/or organizations that are just beginning their economic development efforts. As discussed at last year's Annual Conference, the Professional Development committee had plans for regional workshops on lending and revolving loan funds. These first workshops will be held later this spring at member requested locations in South Dakota and Indiana.

Being a national organization of volunteers, we know we need technology based platforms to improve communication and reach as many members as possible. To that end, I want you to know that we're working hard on a new website. Our goal is that it will be more interactive and a resource for you on a variety of economic development subjects. We hope to launch the new website before we gather for our next conference. Further, to be more efficient, the board and committees have started using a web-based program called Basecamp. Combined with go-to-meeting, we hope this new approach will make information more accessible, streamline our volunteer efforts and make committee meetings more informative and interactive. Once we've trained ourselves, we plan to roll this out to the membership as our primary communications platform. All of these efforts and others are being undertaken to add value to your membership and better serve you as members.

What would make all of these efforts more effective? Your involvement! If you're not already, I'd invite you to get involved on an NREDA committee. Have an economic development topic you want to see explored at the conference? No better way to make encourage the topic than to help plan the event! Is there a program or a tool that you want to implement in your community but don't know how? Join the Professional Development Committee and help design the educational session and/or invite it to your area! Have a success story to share and celebrate? Bring your story and join the Communications Committee! There's no better way to have input and add value to NREDA than being involved!


The National Rural Economic Developers Association (NREDA) was formed to promote rural development opportunities through electric and telephone cooperatives. At the time of the Rural Electrification Administration (REA), cooperatives had been a long time advocate of marketing rural locations as a competitive and low cost alternative for business investment. The creation of a national organization, structured to coordinate recruitment resources would provide all members a greater presence to corporate America.

In 1988, a handful of cooperative members responsible for economic development, met in Platte City, MO, to evaluate this idea and its many benefits. In the spring of 1989, NREDA was formally organized, and later that year held the first member meeting in Washington, DC. The next year, Nashville, TN served as the conference city for the first annual meeting, attracting over 300 attendees. From that small beginning, NREDA had matured into a professional organization providing members valuable assistance with their economic development, key account management, community development, infrastructure development, or other rural development programs.

Submitted by NREDA member: Mark Woodson, CED, CKAE
Associated Electric Co-op, Inc., Springfield, MO

Recognizing the importance of education and training, especially to new economic developers, National Rural Economic Developers Association (NREDA) offers a number of scholarship opportunities to its members. Funding priority will be given to assist members new to the profession and/or members whose development organizations cannot provide total funding. The number of scholarships awarded shall be determined yearly by the Board of Directors, through their planning and budgeting process. Priority will be given to the following courses in pursuit of economic development certification: Basic Economic Development Courses accredited by International Economic Development Council (IEDC) and IEDC education courses, the Economic Development Institute (EDI), National Development Council's (NDC) professional certification programs and professional development courses, and Business Retention Expansion International (BREI) courses. Additional courses and programs will be considered for eligibility on a case-by-case basis.

Association Documents - Click here to view documents.
It is the policy of this organization to provide in a timely, accurate, and transparent manner, public records, to both members and the general public in accordance with federal and state law regulations. Please contact NREDA Headquarters at (515) 284-1421 or

The NREDA Rural Issues Committee is responsible for monitoring federal legislation that may have an impact on economic development in rural America and keep the Board apprised of this legislation. This monitoring will include developing and maintaining relationships with the legislative staffs of affiliated organizations such as NTCA, NRTC, NRECA, NADO and CFC. The Committee has developed an issues paper that defines key areas of recognition or support for rural development. View the 2017-2018 NREDA RURAL ISSUES PAPER to learn more.

In recognition of outstanding leadership in the field of rural economic development, the National Rural Economic Developers Association honors deserving individuals across America.

The NEW Organization award(s) is designed to recognize utility/economic development organization or associations/government entities that have implemented a successful rural economic development program for their area. Focus will be on the success of communicating the program, improvements to the business climate, and measurable results and outcomes.

NREDA | 1255 SW Prairie Trail Parkway | Ankeny, IA 50023 | Phone: (515) 284-1421 | Fax: (515) 334-1174