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When I left Sunday morning at 8:00 am for the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) 2010 Annual Conference in Columbus, Ohio I didn’t realize how much I would really see and learn over the next 4 days.  Over the next four days, I’ll post reflections on my experience.

Day 1
My first experience at IEDC was attending the conference for the Rural/Agriculture Focus – Union County tour. Agriculture is such a strong industry in Washtenaw County and Michigan, and the tour showed several examples of how Michigan can benefit and further develop a strong industry from our natural resources.

With the temperature having dropped into the 60’s I was definitely ready to get inside and attend the Chairman’s “Tailgate” Reception. Now the IEDC encouraged everyone to wear their tailgate attire but I left my maize and blue at home knowing I was in buckeye country. I played it safe and wore maroon and gold for Central Michigan University. As I walked into a sea of red, grey, and buckeyes I knew it was going to be an interesting evening.

With our upcoming Austin, Texas trip, I quickly introduced myself to Steve Vierck of Angelou Economics, a global economic development and site consultant agency. They have been working on the Ford Wixom energy plant project which was a pleasant surprise. As we know, this deal will impact Ann Arbor.   Another great connection was with Rob White and Catherine Hagebusch with Livermore California Economic Development. Catherine was honorable mention New Economic Development Professional of the Year. They had some great insight into the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and a desire to collaborate with the University of Michigan. The event concluded with The Ohio State alumni band performing and a cheer I would become very familiar with, “O-H” followed by “I-O”. For those that didn’t get enough networking at the tailgate, the night continued with a Young Professionals event at a local pub.

Come back tomorrow to read all about day 2 of my IEDC experience!