Celebrating Professional Growth: Reflections on the PA Basic Economic Development Course

Anita Weikel, CREDC Economic Development Lending Officer

In an era where continuous learning and professional development are key to economic progress, I recently had the privilege of completing the Pennsylvania Economic Development Association’s 23/24 PA Basic Economic Development Course. This eight-week journey was not just an educational endeavor but a unique opportunity to connect and collaborate with economic development professionals from across Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Virginia.

The course was expertly administered by Carol Kilko, whose dedication and effort in volunteering her time brought immense value to our learning experience. Carol’s ability to leverage her extensive network enriched our course beyond the standard curriculum, offering insights that were both practical and inspirational.

A hallmark of the program was the caliber of speakers who shared their expertise with us. Special thanks are due to Pamela Shupp Menet, AICP, CEcD; Ernie Post, D.Ed.; Lynn Loaiza; and Marcia McGavisk. Their contributions not only enhanced our understanding of economic development but also instilled a sense of pride in what we can achieve across the state of Pennsylvania.

Kevin Schreiber, a fellow professional, delivered an engaging presentation that captivated us all, igniting a desire to be part of the economic development initiatives in York County. The complex world of economic finance was made accessible and enjoyable by Melissa Stone, EDFP, and Brittany Brock, MBA. Their ability to simplify finance for those attendees without a background in the field was truly remarkable.

Mandy Book’s detailed presentation shed light on operational processes, offering valuable insights that have already proven to be beneficial in my work. Laith Wardi’s teachings have not only been educational but have already been applied in practice, demonstrating the immediate applicability of the course content.

Ta Enos elevated my appreciation for the PA Wilds, inspiring a deeper connection to our region’s natural beauty and its potential for economic development. Lastly, Mayor Lombardo’s presentation has motivated me to make a deliberate effort to visit the City of Pittston, underscoring the impact of effective communication in showcasing local attractions.

This course was more than just a learning experience; it was an opportunity to form lasting connections, gain insights from leading experts, and be inspired by the passion and dedication of those at the forefront of economic development. My heartfelt thanks go to all the speakers, administrators, and fellow participants who made this journey both educational and profoundly rewarding. As I reflect on the past eight weeks, I am filled with gratitude and motivation to contribute positively to our community’s economic development efforts.

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