Chris FrankBENTON HARBOR, Mich., (June 21, 2021) - Christina Frank, Vice President of External Affairs at Cornerstone Alliance, has earned the designation of Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) by the International Economic Development Council (IEDC). The designation denotes a mastery of skills in economic development and professional attainment. The CEcD designation recognizes qualified and dedicated practitioners in the economic development field and sets the standard of excellence within the profession.

Frank was encouraged to pursue the CEcD certification by Cornerstone Alliance President and CEO, Rob Cleveland, who earned the same designation in 2013.

"On behalf of the Cornerstone Alliance Board of Directors and all of our partners, I congratulate Christina on earning this recognition and becoming a Certified Economic Developer. There is no higher standard in economic development than receiving the CEcD certification. The CEcD signifies Christina’s commitment to continuous learning, as well as her leadership role within the economic development profession," said Rob Cleveland. "Christina has spent her career helping Berrien County residents build better relationships, find better jobs and improve their quality of life. Earning the CEcD is a well-deserved tribute to her efforts."

Candidates must pass a rigorous and detailed examination which includes comprehensive questions, short answers, essays, and oral interviews. The exam spans two days and is designed to test a practitioner’s knowledge, proficiency, and judgment in the following key areas of economic development:

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

As highly competent economic development professionals, CEcDs work with public officials, business leaders and community members to create leadership to build upon and maximize the economic development sector. Excellence in the economic development profession improves the well-being, quality of life and opportunities for individuals, businesses and communities. There are approximately 1,100 active CEcDs in the United States.

Frank is only the 45th CEcD in the State of Michigan. Cornerstone Alliance is one of only four Economic Development organizations in the State of Michigan with two CEcDs.