NIAGARA FALLS—Manitoulin’s Kevin Rose has been appointed president of the Economic Developers Association of Canada (EDAC), Canada’s national organization of economic developers. Mr. Rose, the owner-operator of Little Current’s Harbour Vue Marina, is a longtime Island economic development professional and a passionate spokesperson for the field. He was the first Indigenous person to serve as vice-president of the EDAC and will now be the first First Nations person to head that organization.
“I have been involved in the EDAC for about seven years,” noted Mr. Rose, who first became involved with the organization while working for Waubetek Business Development Corporation in economic development.
“I started the certification process with 35 other people,” he recalled. “I am not sure how many followed along behind me, but I went through the entire set of courses to get my designation.”
The EDAC is Canada’s national not-for-profit networking association for professional economic developers in the federal, provincial, municipal and private sectors. The association offers its members professional development, networking opportunities and a comprehensive offering of resources, both on and offline.
“There is a lot of value added for economic development professionals in membership in the EDAC,” he said, citing membership development as the prime motivator of the organization.
Mr. Rose said he is particularly excited to be leading the organization at this time in its development. “We have been moving in a national route,” he said. “We have an MOU (memorandum of understanding) with the States and are working on one with Economic Opportunities Australia. We are now looking at the European Union.” MOUs express a convergence of will between the parties, indicating an intended common line of action.
The work ahead will involve building a consensus on a consistent approach to the field on an international level. “There are unique needs in different areas,” noted Mr. Rose. “The eventual goal is to see a professional designation like you have for chartered accountants.”
As for the economic development field as a career path, Mr. Rose said that it is immensely rewarding on many different levels and the demand in the field is strong. “I think it is an exceptional career path,” he said. “Every good sized municipality has an economic development officer.”
Mr. Rose notes that there is not a great understanding of the field amongst youth, something he would like to see change in the near term. “We need to get more youth involved,” he said. “There is so much that is interesting in the field. It involves strategic thinking and planning, you have to have a good understanding of taxes and be able to look ahead to chart a course for your organization that will improve the economic opportunities in your community.”
The EDAC assists economic development professionals through course offerings, networking, certification and scholarships.
On a personal level Mr. Rose admits the past year has been somewhat challenging, what with being the relatively new owner of one of Georgian Bay’s premier marina operations and family obligations, he has a lot of balls in the air to keep an eye on. “It’s been a lot of work, but that is something I thrive on,” he laughed.