Amanda Benton Earns Certified Economic Developer Designation from International Economic Development Council

April 1st, 2024

Port Charlotte, FL – Amanda Benton, MBA, CEcD, Economic Development Programs Manager at Charlotte County Economic Development, has earned the designation of Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) from the International Economic Development Council (IEDC). The multiple choice and written portions of the CEcD exam were administered on March 1, 2024, and the oral interview on March 11, 2024. This certification demonstrates Amanda’s exceptional technical expertise, comprehensive conceptual knowledge, and mastery of economic development skills and strategies.

Amanda joined the Charlotte County Economic Development Office in 2018 as an Economic Development Specialist. Since joining the team Amanda has exemplified dedication within the organization. After being promoted to the role of Business Retention and Expansion Coordinator in 2019, her successes include pioneering award-winning marketing initiatives, assisting with business relief and recovery endeavors amidst the challenges of Covid and Hurricane Ian. Her contribution and commitment to economic growth in resilience in Charlotte County led to her recent promotion to Programs Manager.

“Our office is tremendously proud of the commitment, dedication, and tenaciousness to reach this designation, the first ever in Charlotte County.” Economic Development Director, Dave Gammon, said of Amanda’s achievement.

IEDC is the world’s largest membership organization for economic development professionals, with thousands of members. As a non-profit, non-partisan membership organization, IEDC offers the CEcD designation to strengthen the field with subject matter experts and provide economic developers with opportunities to broaden their skillsets, with a community of more than 1,200 fellow CEcDs.

As the most prestigious credential in the field, it provides designees with knowledge to transition into higher visibility or more senior roles, a competitive edge in the hiring process, and opportunities to branch into new sectors of economic development.

The CEcD designation establishes an industry benchmark of excellence and signifies the world’s most knowledgeable and dedicated individuals in the field of economic development. It sets the gold standard for professionals who are steadfastly committed to fostering innovation, attracting investment, and driving economic growth and prosperity within their communities and around the world.

To attain this designation, candidates are required to successfully complete all prerequisite coursework and pass a rigorous and thorough examination that spans two days and consists of three distinct parts. This examination evaluates a practitioner’s knowledge, proficiency, judgment, and critical thinking skills across a range of essential economic development subject areas, including:

  • Accelerating growth through entrepreneurship-led economic development
  • Business retention and expansion
  • Entrepreneurial & small business development
  • Finance & credit analysis
  • Foreign direct investment & exporting
  • Introduction to entrepreneurship-led economic development
  • Managing economic development organizations
  • Marketing & attraction
  • Neighborhood development strategies
  • Real estate development & reuse
  • Strategic planning
  • Technology-led economic development
  • Workforce development strategies

Certified Economic Developers serve as catalysts for change within their local communities, bridging the gap and fostering collaboration between public officials, business leaders, and community members. With an unwavering passion for championing innovative strategies and initiatives, they propel transformative economic growth and elevate community well-being. Their unparalleled expertise and dedication to excellence position them as trailblazers at the forefront of shaping the economic development landscape. Amanda is now one of over 1,200 active CEcDs throughout the world.

About the International Economic Development Council

The International Economic Development Council (IEDC) is a non-profit, non-partisan membership organization serving economic developers. With thousands of members, IEDC is the largest organization of its kind. Economic developers promote economic well-being and quality of life for their communities by creating, retaining, and expanding jobs that facilitate growth, enhance wealth, and provide a stable tax base. From public to private, rural to urban, and local to international, IEDC’s members engage in the full range of economic development practices. Given the breadth of economic development work, our members are employed in various settings, including local, state, provincial, and federal governments, public-private partnerships, chambers of commerce, universities, and a variety of other institutions. When we succeed, our members create high-quality jobs, develop vibrant communities, and improve the quality of life in their regions. Learn more about the Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) designation by visiting