“Without question the FED Forum is the most important conference I attend each year. Interacting one-on-one with multiple federal officials in a collegial venue has proven to be invaluable for our economic development effort, not only in terms of funding but also when we are faced with policy and regulatory challenges. It is a great return on the investment.” James C. Collard, PhD, Director of Planning and Economic Development, Citizen Potowatomi Nation, Shawnee, OK
  • SaturdayApril 8
  • SundayApril 9
  • MondayApril 10
  • TuesdayApril 11
12:00 PM

Service Project

Please note: registration for this event is now closed.

Participants will engage in a service project during the afternoon to benefit a to-be-determined organization in our nation's capital. The project will be in the Washington, DC metro region and may involve physical activity, but will not be overly strenuous. Join us as we work together in service to others before diving into all things federal economic development!

Time: 12:00 pm - 4:00 pm

6:30 PM

Networking Night Out in the Capital City $

The Capitol Steps! A hilarious troupe of actors performing skits based on the current events inside and outside the beltway. Always timely, always fun - you won't want to miss this night out with old friends and new contacts taking in one of DC's cultural institutions.

Time: 6:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Price: $40

10:00 AM

GASB Incentive Workshop

The General Accounting Standards Board - GASB - recently instituted a new rule regarding disclosure and reporting related to tax abatements and incentives. GASB Statement No. 77 has significant implications for economic developers. This session will focus on:

• Understanding Statement No. 77 in relation to your job as an economic developer
• The nuts and bolts of reporting and compliance
• How best to talk to colleagues and elected officials about Statement No. 77

Time: 10:00 am - 12:00 pm


Dr. Ellen D. Harpel, PhD, Founder, Smart Incentives, Arlington,VA
Robert M. Lewis, CEcD, AICP, Principal and President, Development Strategies, Inc., Saint Louise, MO

12:30 PM

Fly-in Workshop $

Engagement is critical to successfully leveraging federal economic development resources in your community. One of the most effective, or potentially most effective, ways to engage is by planning or participating in a fly-in - visiting Washington to meet with your elected officials and key administration contacts. And this year, there will be a lot of new faces and new ideas, so engagement is even more important. $25 fee includes lunch. We'll talk about:

• When to start planning and what should be on your checklist
• How to reach out to schedule meetings and what to say, and not to say, in those meetings
• Insider tips for making your investment worthwhile

Time: 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm
Price: $25


Marty K. Vanags, CEcD, President, Saratoga County Prosperity Partnership, Malta, NY

2:15 PM

Elected Officials Engagement Workshop

Economic developers must work together with elected officials from local, to county to state and all the way to Washington in order to achieve their goals. It isn't always easy, but there are ways to make it work and work well. In our discussion, we will cover:

• How to hold a conversation about economic development plans with elected officials
• What can you do to ensure their buy-in on your projects
• Partnering with elected officials to achieve mutually desired outcomes

Time: 2:15 pm - 3:45 pm


Emily Robbins, Principal Associate, Economic Development, National League of Cities, Washington, DC

4:00 PM

Grant Writing and Compliance Workshop

The requirements for federal grant compliance have recently been changed. Combined with new initiatives from a new administration and Congress, now is a great time to brush up on your knowledge of grant writing and compliance! What you can expect to hear in this session:

• Grant writing, basics to advanced
• Compliance under new Office of Management and Budget guidelines
• From both sides; perspectives of grant writers and grant reviewers

Time: 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

7:30 AM

Reshoring Opportunities & Changing Tides

The reshoring trend is gaining momentum and there are significant opportunities for well-prepared communities. According to IEDC's recent National Assessment of Reshoring Activities, almost half of economic developers described themselves as having little knowledge about reshoring. FED Forum attendees will discuss the increasing impact of the reshoring trend on the economy and hear from top stakeholders and policymakers. What you’ll learn:

• How future workforce development, education, and manufacturing policies can

• How you can leverage federal opportunities to promote reshoring in your community

• What it takes to be prepared to attract and land companies that are considering reshoring

Time: 7:30 am - 8:30 am

8:15 AM

Pre-Plenary Session - The Federal Review & Budget Outlook

Our annual retrospective of what happened in federal economic development in the previous year and an outlook on what we can expect in the year ahead based on the White House budget proposal. This must-attend session is one of the most popular at the FED Forum as IEDC President & CEO Jeff Finkle walks us through the highlights and most pressing issues facing our profession.

Time: 8:15 am - 9:00 am

Keynote Introduction:

JoAnn Crary, CEcD, FM, HLM, President, Saginaw Future, Inc., Saginaw, MI

Keynote Speaker:

Jeffrey A. Finkle, CEcD, President & CEO, International Economic Development Council, Washington, DC

9:00 AM

Opening Plenary Session - Our Common Future

Following a historic, contentious national election cycle that has shifted the balance of power in Washington, we must look to find common ground to ensure our common future is prosperous and equitable. In our opening plenary session of the 2017 FED Forum, we will hear from speakers who will provide a framework for discussions at the FED Forum and beyond.

• Where is our economy today and where might it be going?
• What are the priorities of the new administration and Congress - are they the right ones?
• How can we work together to create a more inclusive economy that improves the lives of all?

Time: 9:00 am - 10:30 am

Master of Ceremonies:

Michael Langley, FM, CEO, GREATER MSP, Minneapolis - Saint Paul, MN

Keynote Speaker:

Robert D. Atkinson, President, The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), Washington, DC
Jeffrey Werling Ph.D., Assistant Director, Office of the Director, Macroeconomics Division, Congressional Budget Office, Washington, DC

10:45 AM

Breakout 1 - A New American Manufacturing

American manufacturing in 2017 has little comparison to manufacturing in the 1980's, and likely has little comparison to manufacturing in 2007. Federal resources to nurture and grow manufacturing have necessarily changed with the times. What is the role of the federal government in your current and future manufacturing strategy? We'll talk about:

• Reshoring and FDI attraction to invest in your manufacturing sector
• Training opportunities for manufacturing jobs today and tomorrow
• Investments in next generation technology and advancement manufacturing

Time: 10:45 am - 12:15 pm


Brett Doney, CEcD, President & CEO, Great Falls Development Authority, Inc., Great Falls, MT


Carroll A. Thomas, Director, Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership, National Institute of Standards and Technology, U.S. Department of Commerce, Gaithersburg, MD

10:45 AM

Breakout 2 - Federal Tools for Remaking Downtowns and Main Streets

Tax credits, arts projects, small business development and a host of other items from the economic development toolbox have federal resources and programs that can help revamp and revitalize your downtowns and main streets. This session will offer practical advice and real world examples of how the federal government has role in local projects. We'll talk about:

• CDBG as a tool for economic development
• How the National Endowment for the Arts should be a partner on your next project
• Creating spaces that support small businesses and entrepreneurs

Time: 10:45 am - 12:15 pm


Jason Schupbach, Director of Design Programs, Visual Arts Team Leader National Endowment for the Arts, Washington, DC

12:20 PM

Keynote Luncheon & Awards Presentation

Our annual keynote luncheon and awards presentation at the FED Forum features top-notch keynote speakers sharing their outlook on the most present current policy issues facing the economy. We also take time to honor the recipients of our Federal Leadership and Congressional Leadership in Economic Development awards. This lively lunch is also a great networking opportunity to connect with old friends and new colleagues.

Time: 12:20 pm - 2:15 pm


• Patrick J. O'Brien, Director, Office of Economic Adjustment, United States Department of Defense, Arlington, VA
Peggy Philbin, Acting Executive Director, SelectUSA, Washington, DC

2:30 PM

Breakout 3 - Access to Capital

Capital remains a critical, often missing, component to small business and entrepreneurial development. The federal government offers a number of resources providing direct assistance and additional options when leveraged with private sector funds. In this session, we will discuss:

• SBA legacy loan programs and what the future may hold for them
• Treasury finance programs that are available now, but in danger of disappearing
• Identifying multiple federal resources for small businesses and entrepreneurs

Time: 2:30 pm - 4:00 pm


Connie Evans, President & CEO, Association for Enterprise Opportunity, Washington, DC
Michael K. Jackson, MBA, CGBP, Lead Business Development Officer, Office of Small Business, Minority and Women Owned Business & Multiplier Outreach Division, Export-Import Bank of the United States, Washington, DC
Jeffrey Stout, Director, State Small Business Credit Initiative, Office of Small Business, Community Development, and Affordable Housing Policy, United States Department of the Treasury, Washington, DC

2:30 PM

Breakout 4 - Your Workforce, Your Future

More than ever, employers are looking to a community's talent pool when making decisions on location and expansion. The federal government is in the midst of overhauling how it will support and direct workforce training efforts - to the tune of billions of dollars a year. What is the role of economic developers in the workforce development system? Should you be doing more? Our speakers will address:

• The latest in federal workforce development programs and policies
• Promising practices from the field that can be replicated in your community
• How economic developers can plug into their community's workforce system

Time: 2:30 pm - 4:00 pm

Moderator: Todd Greene, CEcD, Vice President, Community & Economic Development, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, Atlanta, GA


Kermit Kaleba, Federal Policy Director, National Skills Coalition, Washington, DC
Martha Ross, Fellow, Metropolitan Policy Program, The Brookings Institution, Washington, DC
Byron Zuidema, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Employment and Training Administration, Employment and Training Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, Washington, DC

6:00 PM

Networking Reception

New for 2017! We're on the Hill and we're taking advantage of our location. Join us as we bring together economic developers, Congressional staffers, key administration contacts and elected officials for networking and camaraderie. Feel free to invite your Member(s) of Congress and staff contacts.

Time: 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Free, but registration is required

8:30 AM

Breakout 5 - Rural Opportunities

Infrastructure, housing and business resources are critical components to any rural economic development strategy. The federal government offers a number of resources addressing these areas and more that are specifically designed for rural communities. In this session, we will address:

• The state of existing federal resources for rural economic development
• Workforce challenges for rural communities, and how the federal government can help
• Leveraging resources from multiple sources for a comprehensive rural development strategy

Time: 8:30 am - 10:00 am


Susan Howard, Director of Government Relations and Legislative Affairs, National Association of Development Organizations, Washington, DC

8:30 AM

Breakout 6 - City Opportunities

Brownfields, mass transit, housing, and redevelopment represent just a few of the cast of issues facing city economic developers. Luckily, the federal government has a host of programs and resources to address each of them. This session will focus on how to bring those resources to your city and jumpstart your economic development strategy. We'll cover:

• The latest in promising practices related to brownfields
• Using tax credits and the future of those tax credits
• Using mass transit to promote economic growth and community development

Time: 8:30 am - 10:00 am


Jessie Handforth Kome, Acting Director, Office of Block Grant Assistance, United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, Washington, DC
Ilana Preuss, Founder & CEO, Recast City, LLC
Lyneir Richardson, Executive Director, Center for Urban Entrepreneurship and Economic Development, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Newark, NJ

10:15 AM

Closing Plenary - What Comes Next

Economic developers are, by professional practice, conveners and unifiers. Tasked with improving the quality of life in their communities, the profession is well-positioned to both identify common ground and chart a consensus-building path forward. With that in mind, as we bring close to the 2017 FED Forum, we’ll discuss what may be in store for some of our most pressing issues, from manufacturing to infrastructure and beyond.

Time: 10:15 am - 11:30 am