WASHINGTON, D.C. — Louisiana Economic Development Secretary Don Pierson will help lead the largest economic development group in the world beginning in January, when he assumes an executive board role for the Washington, D.C.-based International Economic Development Council. Pierson gained election to the IEDC Board of Directors earlier this month at the IEDC 2019 Annual Conference in Indianapolis.
A longtime IEDC member, Secretary Pierson guided Louisiana Economic Development through a more than yearlong accreditation process in 2017 and 2018 that established LED as the only statewide economic development agency in the U.S. actively carrying Accredited Economic Development Organization status from IEDC.
His economic development career includes distinguished service at the local, regional and state levels, culminating with his January 2016 appointment by Gov. John Bel Edwards to lead Louisiana Economic Development. In 2018, the Southern Economic Development Council bestowed Honorary Life Member status upon Pierson – the SEDC’s highest honor – and the World Trade Center of New Orleans recognized him for lifetime achievement in international trade with the 2018 Eugene J. Schreiber Award.
“We look forward to Secretary Pierson’s leadership on the board of directors,” said IEDC President and CEO Jeff Finkle, CEcD. “He has been a longtime supporter of IEDC and a practitioner, and is among the very few statewide leaders to obtain professional certification in economic development. He has also supported research that advances the practice of economic development through IEDC’s Economic Development Research Partners program. His new role will ensure great accomplishments in 2020 and beyond.”
Before coming to LED, Pierson served for 17 years in the Shreveport-Bossier City, Louisiana, community as executive director of the Greater Bossier Economic Development Foundation. Prior to becoming LED Secretary, he also served in senior management positions at LED in previous administrations.
“I’m honored to be elected to serve as a director of the world’s largest economic development organization,” said Secretary Pierson, who will serve a two-year term. “From public to private, rural to urban, and local to international, IEDC represents the full range of economic development experience and activities. As we move to competency-based economies, it’s critical that we understand trends, share best practices, build networking capacity, and embrace professional development. IEDC is the gold standard in all these important areas.”
Earlier this year, U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross appointed Pierson to the U.S. Investment Advisory Council for his expertise in attracting and retaining foreign direct investment. In the past decade, Louisiana is one of only three U.S. states, along with California and Texas, to attract more than $100 billion in FDI activity.
Since 2016, Secretary Pierson has guided LED to attraction of more than 175 economic development project wins, representing over 35,000 new jobs, 34,000 retained jobs and $41 billion in new capital investment to Louisiana.
The International Economic Development Council is a nonprofit membership organization serving economic developers. With more than 5,000 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. Given the breadth of economic development work, members are employed in a wide variety of settings, including local, state, provincial and federal governments, public-private partnerships, chambers of commerce, universities and a variety of other institutions. IEDC’s members create high-quality jobs, develop vibrant communities and improve the quality of life in their regions. For more information, visit iedcONLINE.org.