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Graning Earns CEcD Certification

Lillian Graning, Chief Communications Officer with the New River Gorge Regional Development Authority (NRGRDA) earned the designation of Certified Economic Developer (CEcD), a national recognition that denotes a mastery of skills in economic development, professional attainment and a commitment to personal and professional growth.

The CEcD exam was administered by the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) and concluded on April 9th, 2017 in Washington, DC. After four years with the NRGRDA, Graning has assisted with more than a hundred prospect attraction initiatives, structured a leading-edge property management system, designed a guide for entrepreneurs to access capital, and written millions of dollars in successful grant applications to support community and economic development initiatives around the region.

The CEcD designation recognizes qualified and distinguished practitioners in the economic development field and sets the standard of excellence within the profession. Candidates must pass a rigorous and comprehensive examination, which has three parts and spans multiple days. The exam tests a practitioner’s knowledge, proficiency and judgment in the following key areas of economic development:

  • Business retention and expansion
  • Finance & credit analysis
  • Marketing and attraction
  • Strategic planning
  • Entrepreneurial & small business development
  • Management of economic development organizations
  • Neighborhood development strategies
  • Real estate development & reuse
  • Technology-led economic development
  • Workforce development strategies


As highly competent economic development professionals, Certified Economic Developers work with public officials, business leaders and community members to create leadership built upon maximizing the economic development sector’s potential.  Excellence in the economic development profession improves the well-being, quality of life and opportunities for individuals, businesses and communities. There are currently just over 1,000 active CEcDs in the United States.