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President's Letter
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Greetings Arizona Association for Economic Development (AAED) current and prospective members and partners.


Founded in 1974, AAED started off as the Arizona Association for Industrial Development (AAID). Its early mission was focused on expanding the industrial and economic base of Arizona and predates the formation of the Arizona Department of Commerce (now the Arizona Commerce Authority) in 1985. As state and regional economic development groups began to form in the late ‘80’s/early ‘90’s, AAID became AAED, now serving as “Arizona’s unified voice advocating for responsible economic development through an effective program of professional education, advocacy, and collaboration.”


Over the last several years, AAED has made great strides in support of its mission. Highlights have included an organization wide rebranding, development of a formal strategic plan, investment in having a voice at the Legislature, and the creation of a professional development program focused on AZ specific issues. AAED has also provided increased opportunities for people across the state to have a seat at the table and engage in the work of the association.


With all of this success, our work isn’t done. Focus over this next year will be on reaching the economic development related professionals in every Arizona community, no matter how small, and encouraging them to be part of the dialogue.  We will also engage with students in our colleges and universities that are undertaking studies related to the field of economic development to make sure AAED is building the future of our profession.


Gilbert Mayor John Lewis has a saying that we’ve adopted in Gilbert, “What we do, we do together”. In order to achieve our goals, we need support from all of you. My 12+ years as a member of this association have been some of the best years of my life. Through work in the committees and attendance at our networking and educational events, I have built strong business relationships and found my closest colleagues and dearest friends. As you visit the website, I encourage you check out the AAED committee activities, events and programs. I promise that if you get involved, you won’t regret it!


It is a tremendous honor to step into role of President and I am humbled by the trust placed in me by the membership. I am excited to embark on another great year in AAED and I look forward to seeing you at one of our events very soon!


Warm Regards,



Jennifer Graves, CEcD
AAED President 2016-17