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The Association was originally formed as the Arizona Association for Industrial Development (AAID) in 1974 by a small group of economic development professionals and business leaders dedicated to expanding the industrial and economic base of Arizona. This group came together to discuss issues affecting Arizona’s economic development, to promote economic development in the State of Arizona through an interchange of information and educational opportunities among its members, to act as a liaison with outside groups having the same objectives, to influence legislation affecting economic development and to continually improve working relationships among its diverse membership.

On November 8,1991, the membership of AAID voted to change the organization’s name to Arizona Association for Economic Development (AAED) to better reflect its broader mission.