What is EDI Plus?

Over the years, many OU EDI grads have asked “I’ve loved the certificate program and interacting with my peers.  Now that I’ve graduated, do you have anything else to offer?” Beginning in 2018, the answer is “Yes!” Here the key features of OU EDI PLUS:

Focus on experienced professionalsOU EDI PLUS is focused on graduates of the OU Economic Development Institute (OU EDI) certification process, though non-recipient professionals with requisite experience can participate as well.  

Dialog-centered – PLUS will take the certificate program a step further – recognizing that you and your fellow participants are highly experienced, sessions are designed to focus increasingly on dialog rather than presentation.  

Topics crowdsourced – past graduates tell us via survey what they need to know more about, then we find topic moderators who can lead discussions regarding current trends and best practices. 

Continue networking OU EDI is known for– one of the distinguishing features of OU EDI is the level of interaction with instructors and peers from across the country.  PLUS continues the quality collaboration and networking that occurs at OU EDI.


OU EDI PLUS Session Fall 2018 New Orleans, Louisiana

November 5 - 6, 2018


Registration for OU EDI PLUS in Fall 2018 New Orleans is now open. 

The registration fee includes premium continuous break service, breakfast and lunch on Monday-Tuesday, and a Monday evening reception.

Early Bird Registration (SAVE $100)

$775 - Deadline: Friday, September 21, 2018

After Early Bird Registration

$875 - Deadline/Close of Registration: Friday, October 19, 2018

Register Now!





Session Title

7:30 AM8:30 AMBreakfast
8:30 AM9:30 AMOpening
9:45 AM11:30 AMHow to Work with Leadership 
11:45 AM1:00 PMLunch
1:00 PM2:45 PMGlobal Economic Trends 
3:00 PM4:45 PMUse of Digital Marketing Tools 
5:00 PM6:30 PMReception


BeginEndSession Title
7:00 AM8:00 AMBreakfast
8:00 AM9:45 AMNew Workforce Development Ideas 
10:00 AM11:45 AMRural/Small Town Economic Development  Large Market/Urban Economic Development 
11:45 AM1:00 PMLunch
1:00 PM2:45 PMUnderstanding the Most Useful Data in Economic Development 

How to Work with Leadership

Every Economic Developer has a boss.  In some cases they may have many bosses. Mayors, City Council Members, Supervisors, Board Members, Governors and the Public control resources, make careers, frustrate progress, provide enlightened support and expect miracles in the life of any Economic Developer.  This course will explore leadership styles and work relationships that Economic Developers face on a daily basis. In addition to a robust dialogue, facilitated by two nationally recognized instructors who have worked with and under every type of leadership structure, a distinguished panel will discuss their experiences with leadership at all levels.  Additional readings of important works related to the subject will add to and enhance the dialogue by course participants.

Meet your instructors Jay Moon and Mark James

Global Economic Trends 

Artificial Intelligence, The Internet of Things, Robotics, Drones, Automation, Virtual Reality, Autonomous Vehicles, E-Commerce and Additive Manufacturing are--individually and collectively--reshaping our world and fundamentally altering the global economy and private-sector firms operating within it.   It is impossible for economic developers to meet evolving needs and expectations of the private-sector without first understanding the opportunities and threats facing these businesses.  To remain relevant, economic developers must understand how technology is reshaping our world.  This highly interactive presentation and discussion will examine these technologies in detail--where they've been--where they are today--and where they are going in the next few years.

Meet your instructor Laith Wardi

Use of Digital Marketing and Tools

The entire world of marketing has been transformed by digital media and platforms. Very few ED organizations are keeping up with the changes that are occurring on an almost weekly basis. This EDI Plus session brings you up to speed by giving you an overview of what is happening in the digital marketing realm and how it can be applied to ED branding, messaging, attraction and prospect/project communications.  We will delve into best practices, the "wisdom in the room" and discuss how to keep up once you catch up.  You will have a chance to submit questions and examples in advance so we can focus on the issues of interest. The session will be led by Dr. Sharon Younger who will bring an inter-generational team of digital media specialists to interact with the session participants.

Meet your instructor Sharon Younger

New Workforce Development Ideas

Increasingly, workforce related issues are dominating the national discussion.  Our ability to fully realize the recovery we see in the national economy will be predicated upon our ability to identify and sufficiently train a workforce capable of producing world class products and provide top-notice service in a 21st Century economy. This session will examine the trends that are occurring in the economy and will explore the demands those trends are having on workforce needs.  This will include an examination of those players in communities that can enhance workplace skills, focusing specifically on the role of the local economic developer as a critical  linchpin to bringing the players together.

Meet your instructor Jay Moon

Rural/Small Town Economic Development  * concurrent

People are returning to rural America.  How do we position our communities to become vibrant, attractive, and vital?  During this session we will introduce and discuss best practices, challenges, solutions and effective program development.  Participants will be given an opportunity to create a guide supporting and creating opportunities for growth. 

Topics will include:

  • Challenges of Rural Development
  • Opportunities for Rural Development - The Comparative Advantage
  • Boots on the Ground - Building Coalitions, Finding Talent, Developing Strategies
  • Partners - Why are they needed?
  • Tool Kit
  • Team Exercise - Build a Town!

Meet your instructor LaDene Bowen and Jonas Arjes

Large Market/Urban Economic Development    * concurrent

Is the approach to creating successful economic development [a project or program] in a large market or urban environment any different from a small city or rural area? Are the challenges the same? What are the resolutions to those challenges? The content of the session will provide answers to be considered by those who attend the session. Participative discussions will cover an agreement on the definition of Economic Development and more importantly, what is beyond the definition of Economic Development and how it applies to large markets and urban areas.  We will also discuss the challenges of sustainability and sustainable growth and its impact on Economic Development. Based on practical experiences, we will have detail deliberations on “barriers” to Economic Development and how to remove the barriers strategically to get the results one needs in these markets. The session would end on how to manage a project or organization in a large or urban market that would mitigate the challenges.

Meet your instructor Edward Nelson

Understanding the Most Useful Data in Economic Development

This session will focus on the role of data in the economic development process, including; the recently updated IEDC "Data Standards" report Mark James chaired for IEDC's EDRP,  the most useful data for communities to present, the most important needs for  primary vs. secondary data and a detailed discussion on the role of impact assessment in the economic development process.

Meet your instructors Mark James, Ed Bee, and Sharon Younger

Registration fees are payable to the University of Oklahoma. To qualify for the Early Bird registration rate, both a completed registration form and full payment must be received prior to Friday, September 21, 2018.  Payments not received by this date will be charged the normal registration fee (see fee structure under "Registration"). Conference attendees with a balance due will be required to remit payment before being admitted to the conference, with the exception of those attendees paying by government purchase order. A credit card or check will be required on site for attendees with balances that have not provided government purchase order or check.


Qualified substitutions will be accepted at any time. Cancellations received after the close of business on Friday, October 5, 2018, will be required to pay a $150 processing fee.

There will be no refunds for cancellation after Friday, October 19, 2018, or for non-attendance at the Institute. If registration fees are not paid prior to the cancellation or no-show, you will be billed.

Cancellations must be received in writing by mail or email at edi@ou.edu. Telephone cancellations are not accepted.

Exterior of JW Marriot
Exterior of JW Marriott New Orleans


OU EDI Plus will be held at the JW Marriott New Orleans

The JW Marriott New Orleans welcomes you to the world-famous French Quarter with a seamless blend of refined luxury and one-of-a-kind style. Our hotel is tucked within the heart of the city's vibrant downtown district, just moments away from Jackson Square and the French Market; dance your way through Bourbon Street or rediscover history at the National WWII Museum. Impeccably appointed rooms and suites boast comfortable bedding, marble bathrooms and ergonomic workspaces; reserve an Executive Level room and enjoy the luxury of access to our hotel's new Executive Lounge. Feast on fire-roasted steak at Fogo de Chão or maintain your workout routine at our fitness center. Enjoy the views as you take a refreshing swim in our saltwater outdoor pool. Our hotel is an ideal destination for meetings and social events, with expansive and adaptable venues, including an outdoor patio; thrill your guests with our prime French Quarter location. Your downtown getaway awaits at the JW Marriott New Orleans.


JW Marriott New Orleans
614 Canal Street
New Orleans, LA  70130
Telephone: (504) 525-6500 


Interior JW Marriot New Orleans
Conference room at JW Marriott New Orleans


OU EDI Plus has a block of rooms reserved at the JW Marriott New Orleans.

JW Marriott New Orleans
614 Canal Street
New Orleans, LA  70130
Telephone: (678) 695-9133 

Be sure to specify “OU EDI” or “OU Economic Development Institute” when booking your hotel.

Room Rate: $175 per night, plus taxes and fees.


A printed manual of presentations will be provided onsite.  Participants may also request materials via a download link in advance of the event.  There will be no additional fee for materials, though additional copies would incur a fee).