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Home » Life » TCAD achieves AEDO status from International Economic Development Council

TCAD achieves AEDO status from International Economic Development Council

Tompkins County’s economic development engine is the first organization in the state to receive accreditation through the International Economic Development Council.

TCAD is one of only 67 organizations in the world to receive Accredited Economic Development Organization (AEDO) status. This certification recognizes the work being completed by leading-edge organizations worldwide.

“Tompkins County Area Development displays the professionalism, commitment and technical expertise that is deserving of this honor,” said IEDC President and CEO Jeff Finkle.

In 2019, TCAD reported $86.7 million in capital investment projects. The organization’s strategic partnership with area businesses led to the retention of 159 jobs, plus 54 projected new jobs.

“TCAD’s success depends on our talented and experienced staff, dedicated board members and strong community support. As such, we are pleased to be the first accredited economic development organization in the state,” said Heather McDaniel, president of TCAD. “We remain dedicated to building a thriving, sustainable economy that improves quality of life in Ithaca and Tompkins County.”

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, TCAD has availed itself to business owners, local leaders and other stakeholders to ensure the long-term health and prosperity of its unique economy. TCAD’s homepage,, has become a go-to resource portal for area business owners and has been updated in near-real-time. The page features news from the office of Governor Andrew Cuomo, information on the CARES Act and various other federal, state and municipal efforts to buoy local economies. TCAD has launched an emergency relief loan fund program and convened service providers in the area to coordinate programming. The organization has also assembled an economic recovery cabinet of business leaders to inform emergency response and recovery efforts.

“TCAD is a recognizable part of Tompkins County, advocating for smart, sustainable growth and expanding employment opportunities for the region’s workforce,” said Larry Baum, chair of TCAD’s Board of Directors. “We’re thrilled with the AEDO accreditation and will help TCAD continue to provide real value for our diverse businesses.”

According to IEDC, earning the AEDO accreditation tells respective communities and their businesses/local stakeholders that these economic development organizations have attained a measure of excellence – conferring credibility and assuring that trust is well-placed and local business is in good hands.

The AEDO program is a rigorous and comprehensive peer review process that measures economic development organizations against professional standards. The program consists of two phases: a documentation review and an onsite visit. During TCAD’s onsite visit, reviewers met with staff, board members, business leaders and elected officials.

Each phase is designed to evaluate information about the structure, organization, funding, programs and staff of the candidate economic development organization.

Maintenance of the AEDO status is required every three years and is accomplished through documentation submission and/or onsite visits by a team of the AEDO subcommittee.