CEcD Profile: Shawn Kirkpatrick

Shawn Kirkpatrick, CEcD

Executive Director

Bastrop, TX EDC


Past Community: Levelland EDC

CEcD Coursework: OU EDI

CEcD Since: December 2016

Time to CEcD: 5 years

What most surprised you about the certification process:

It really takes a commitment. You really need to start six months in advance of what your test date is, and really be dedicated to reviewing the material, preparing for the exam.

If you could choose one thing, what is your most successful economic development tactic?

This is really personal selling 101. Internally it’s the folks in your community, but externally it’s the commercial real estate agents, commercial brokers, and site consultants. It’s owners of companies, and their executive real estate teams. So it really is getting out there and putting yourself in the right environments to meet the right folks. People like to do business with people they know. So you can do all of the marketing and advertising out there, but if you’re not beating the street and beating the bushes to go meet people, it’s very difficult to be successful in this business.


Taking that hour, two hours a day, to crack open a manual to test write essays, it really takes some dedication to that. I think when I finally came around for the Albuquerque exam, and was really test writing essays on a daily basis for a couple of months coming into the exam, that’s what made the difference.

Start the course work, get your course work underneath your belt, and go for it. I think that it’s an important certification, whether you’re going to serve as what I like to refer to as a one seat as an Executive Director or CEO of an organization, or you’re going to go be a project manager, or in one of the other positions in an organization. I think it’s a good certification to have, and I think that because of the difficulty to attain it, because they don’t just hand them out on the street corner, it’s something that you really can be proud of. You really if you can get through the process, you are an expert and a professional in this field.

I rushed through the course work to have a gap before I was ready to take the exam. Lay out your schedule, do your best to stick to it. Pick that date out there to when you want to start the exam process, and work your way back in going how am I going to complete all of the coursework to get to that point. Just consistently stay with it because when you take, and everybody’s a little bit different, if I take six months off from doing something I’m not as motivated to come back for it. So, whatever it is for you, be consistently moving towards completing the course work and aiming for that exam date that you have set out there, and go for it.



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