October 27, 2020 | EST. READ TIME: 3 MIN

Michele Kakacek Receives Designation

Michelle Kakacek, Director of Business Development of the Watertown Development Company in Watertown, South Dakota earned the designation of Certified Economic Developer (CEcD), a national recognition that denotes a mastery of skills in economic development, professional attainment and a commitment to personal and professional growth.


The International Economic Development Council (IEDC) administered the first-ever Virtual CEcD Exam on October 3, 2020, and notified candidates of their results on October 9, 2020. With six years of economic development experience, Kakacek has been an integral part of many sectors in the Watertown Development Company. Leading the Workforce Development program, Kakacek works closely with the Watertown Workforce Advisory Council and other local stakeholders to develop and execute programs designed to recruit workforce to Watertown and retain and up-skill the area’s incumbent workforce – such as the WDC’s Attract & Enhance Program. She has played an active role in the revitalization of Downtown Watertown,  helping redevelop several properties to bring new small businesses to the city’s core. Kakacek also works closely on industrial business retention and expansion, working with business prospects and managing projects for new and expanding companies.


“I do whatever I can, wherever I can, to help and hope that the next project can build on the last. As long as we continue to press forward with meaningful action, our community will keep going in a positive direction,” said Kakacek.


The CEcD designation recognizes qualified and dedicated practitioners in the economic development field and sets the standard of excellence within the profession. Candidates must pass a rigorous and comprehensive examination, which has three parts and spans two days. The exam tests a practitioner’s knowledge, proficiency, and judgment in the following key areas of economic development:

  • business retention and expansion
  • finance & credit analysis
  • marketing and attraction
  • strategic planning
  • entrepreneurial & small business development
  • managing economic development organizations
  • neighborhood development strategies
  • real estate development & reuse
  • technology-led economic development
  • workforce development strategies
  • foreign direct investment & exporting


As highly competent economic development professionals, Certified Economic Developers work with public officials, business leaders and community members to create leadership to build upon and maximize the economic development sector.  Excellence in the economic development profession improves the well-being, quality of life, and opportunities for individuals, businesses, and communities. There are currently over 1,100 active CEcDs in the United States.


About the International Economic Development Council

The International Economic Development Council (IEDC) is a non-profit membership organization serving economic developers. With more than 5,000 members, IEDC is the largest organization of its kind. Economic developers promote economic well-being and quality of life for their communities, by creating, retaining, and expanding jobs that facilitate growth, enhance wealth and provide a stable tax base. From public to private, rural to urban, and local to international, IEDC’s members are engaged in the full range of economic development experience. Given the breadth of economic development work, our members are employed in a wide variety of settings including local, state, provincial, and federal governments, public-private partnerships, chambers of commerce, universities, and a variety of other institutions. IEDC’s members create high-quality jobs, develop vibrant communities, and improve the quality of life in their regions www.iedcONLINE.org.


About the Watertown Development Company

Founded by a group of far-sighted business leaders, the WDC is organized as a private non-profit economic development corporation for the purpose of establishing, funding and directing programs designed to promote and increase the commercial, financial and economic vitality of the City of Watertown and its citizens. The organization is responsible for the creation of jobs and overall economic opportunity and owns and operates buildings, lands, and development areas for the economic benefit of Watertown.