Wendy Bridges, AZED Pro, economic development coordinator for the city of Prescott, and Ben Hooper, economic development coordinator for the town of Prescott Valley, have both been named winners of the Arizona Association for Economic Development’s (AAED) Economic Development Distinguished by Excellence (EDDE) Awards.
Bridges was named AAED’s Economic Developer of the Year, Small Community, and Hooper was named New Member of the Year.
The prestigious EDDE Awards honor individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to the advancement of the organization and also to the economic growth within the state of Arizona. Recipients are selected from a pool of nominations made by members of AAED.
Bridges was recognized for her role in helping RESA Wear, a footwear company based in Prescott, obtain financing, create 30 new jobs and expand its footprint in Yavapai County. RESA Wear’s projected growth is expected to generate an additional 150 new high-wage jobs and further benefit the area by sourcing products from other Prescott companies.
In October 2017, Bridges earned her AZED Pro designation from the Economic Development Academy of Arizona. The Academy, presented by AAED, is a formal education program aimed at ensuring Arizona’s economic development professionals receive the most current and relevant training in topics pertaining to the practice of economic development in Arizona.
Hooper was honored for his immediate impact on AAED within the first few months of joining the organization. He has become an active leader of AAED’s Northern Arizona Committee and was instrumental in organizing a Prescott Valley symposium titled, “The Economic and Community Value of Sports.” He also chaired the organization’s Fall Forum in Prescott. Both were highly successful events in terms of education, collaboration and participation.
Overall, 10 EDDEs were presented during an evening awards dinner at the AAED Spring Conference in Oro Valley. The other winners are:
- Jaye O’Donnell, assistant economic development director for the city of Mesa, Member of the Year.
- Dan Henderson, CEcD, economic development director for Gilbert, Ariz., Economic Developer of the Year, Large Community.
- Richard Wilkie, CEcD, AZED Pro, economic development director for the city of Casa Grande, Economic Developer of the Year, Medium Community.
- Lena Fowler, Coconino County Board of Supervisors, District 5, Economic Developer of the Year, Tribal Community.
- Joel Millman, program manager for Pinal County, Workforce Practitioner of the Year.
- Gilbert, Ariz., Large Organization of the Year.
- Pinal County, Medium Organization of the Year.
- Town of Queen Creek, Small Organization of the Year.
“The winners of the EDDE Awards truly represent the best and brightest economic development practitioners and organizations in Arizona,” said Joyce Grossman, AZED Pro, AAED’s executive director. “Their contributions throughout the state demonstrate not only a commitment to the communities they serve, but to the economic vitality across Arizona.”
AAED, founded in 1974, has a mission to serve as Arizona’s unified voice advocating for responsible economic development through an effective program of professional education, public policy and collaboration.
For more information on AAED, visit www.aaed.com or call (602) 240-2233.