CEcD Profile: Tracy Garcia

Tracy Garcia, CEcD

Economic Development Manager

Visit Central Florida & Polk County Sports Marketing


Past Community: Central Florida Development Council

CEcD Coursework: IEDC

CEcD Since: January 2016

Time to CEcD: 3 years

What most surprised you about the certification process:

I think what really surprised me was the difficulty of the exam. I had heard it was tough, and I expected it to be tough, but I guess when you’re actually going through it and experiencing it, it becomes more of a reality. So that kind of took me by surprise, because in my past whenever I was taking exams and tests, I did really well on it. The difficult really did surprise me, but in the end it challenged me as well.

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

I think my most successful tactic is staying engaged with our stakeholders and keeping in constant contact with our project partners, as well as actively listening to what their needs are. Being engaged and actively listening makes one more knowledgeable and resourceful and can anticipate what they’re going to ask for in the future so you can do some research prior to them actually asking for your help. You can kind of see it coming, in a sense.


Take it one course at a time, one study session at a time. One exam at a time, if need be. Pace yourself but just keep at it. It doesn’t matter if you pass on the first or the fifth try. Becoming a Certified Economic Developer would be worth it in the long run. Just don’t give up.

I remembered specifically the finance class, the programs there really went into depth. I think that was probably my most challenging class that I took. My takeaway was I was really intrigued and learned a lot about how the balance sheets of corporations and really delving into their past really makes a difference whenever you’re looking to incentivize a specific company.

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