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Ann Arbor SPARK recently earned designation as an Accredited Economic Development Organization (AEDO) from the International Economic Development Council (IEDC). The AEDO program accredits local and state economic development entities, regional public-private economic development partnerships, the economic development departments of utility companies, and nonprofit business associations.

A video of the awards presentation is available online:

“The rigorous evaluation process used for AEDO includes a thorough organizational review conducted by leading economic development professionals,” said Paul Krutko, Ann Arbor SPARK president and CEO.  “Having these experts validate Ann Arbor SPARK’s leadership and activities signifies that we are doing the right things to move our economy forward.  The Ann Arbor SPARK staff, board of directors and its community partners all contribute to the organization’s ability to earn the AEDO designation, and to continue to push ahead in its work to strengthen the region.”

As part of the AEDO accreditation process, practicing economic developers examined Ann Arbor SPARK’s internal and external operations, as well as its structure and procedures. The accreditation process required Ann Arbor SPARK to submit documents demonstrating its structure and activities as well as a site visit conducted by a review team that assessed the organization in action.

To determine whether Ann Arbor SPARK was eligible for AEDO accreditation, the review team held meetings with organizational leadership, staff members, and community stakeholders.  Those meetings were used to compose a detailed report that was presented to the entire AEDO Committee, which then voted on accreditation.

In its report, the AEDO review team described Ann Arbor SPARK as “the type of forward-thinking economic development agency that understands its changing economic development role in the region.  By our account, Ann Arbor SPARK is a model for 21st century economic development that many of our peers should investigate and learn from to better understand how success is achieved.”

Ann Arbor SPARK is required to earn reaccreditation every three years.