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NEDC Chooses New President and CEO

NEDC Chooses New President and CEO



NORMAN, OKLAHOMA: January 6, 2021

Lawrence McKinney has been named President and CEO of the Norman Economic Development Coalition (NEDC), comprised of the four partner institutions of the City of Norman, University of Oklahoma, Moore-Norman Technology Center, and Norman Chamber of Commerce Sooner Centurions. With an impressive economic development career spanning 30 years, McKinney will lead collaborative efforts among partners and stakeholders to implement the community strategic plan developed in 2019 with the assistance of Market Street Services. Focused on wealth creation through business retention and expansion, quality job growth through talent retention and attraction, and a more competitive and diverse economy through entrepreneurship and targeted corporate recruitment, McKinney brings an array of skillsets well-suited to the position.

“Lawrence has a diverse background, a multitude of relevant experiences, impeccable credentials, and is sought out nationwide as an industry thought leader,” said Patrick Grace, chair of the NEDC and CEO of Oklahoma Electric Cooperative. “His knowledge of emerging trends nationwide, personal relationships with site selectors, and track record of accomplishments will greatly assist the NEDC in achieving its strategic goals.”

McKinney currently serves as Principal – Mergers and Alliances, with an Atlanta-based private economic development consulting firm focused on capital campaigns for Chambers of Commerce and Economic Development Organizations (EDO), where he has been since 2015. During his tenure with Convergent Nonprofit Solutions (CNS), he has held various roles as a Senior Campaign Director, Partner, and Principal.  Before leading the Mergers and Alliances division, he was in charge of Operations for all capital campaigns nationwide.  During this time, he supervised 24 campaigns that raised over $76 million collectively. 

Before his work with CNS, McKinney served as CEO for several public/private economic development organizations in Florida and Georgia, including Athens – home to the University of Georgia, providing unique and relevant insights into the ‘town and gown’ environment.  He has a BBA in Economics and Finance from Augusta College, as well as an MBA in International Business from Georgia State University. McKinney is one of only 12 industry professionals nationwide who have simultaneous dual certifications from both the American Chamber of Commerce Executives Association and the International Economic Development Council, as a Certified Chamber Executive (CCE), and Certified Economic Developer, (CEcD), respectively.  He is also a graduate of the US Chamber of Commerce Institute for Organization Management's six-year program (IOM) which was McKinney’s first experience in Norman.  He’s authored or co-authored multiple books/articles, including the “Georgia Development Authorities Manual,” and “Does a Rising Tide Really Lift All Boats?” “Providing Short-Term ROI to EDO Investors,” and “Talent- The Currency of the 21st Century Economic Developer.”

“I am both humbled and honored to be selected to serve Norman and Cleveland County at this pivotal time. With the dramatic workforce changes occurring due to the pandemic, the need for quality jobs and collaborative public/private partnerships has never been more apparent. An intentional focus on all Norman/Cleveland County businesses, no matter the size, is paramount if we expect to emerge in the strongest economic condition possible,” said McKinney. “After spending considerable time with community leaders, I am confident that Norman has the talent, location, and private/public sector leadership to grow the economy and improve the quality of life for all citizens.”

McKinney’s hire follows the July 31 departure of NEDC President Maureen Hammond who left NEDC to lead the Paris Texas Economic Development Corporation.

“Lawrence was one of the top recommendations of national executive search firm Waverly Partners and will officially start February 1,” said Chuck Thompson, Regional CEO of Armstrong Bank, and Chair of the NEDC Search Committee. “This is a pivotal moment for Norman and the NEDC. Lawrence’s expertise is a perfect fit for implementing our strategic plan and building the momentum for our future. The Norman/Cleveland County community welcomes him and his wife Elizabeth with open arms.”

The McKinney’s have five adult children, and one grandchild and enjoys hiking, road biking, and golfing. Mrs. McKinney is also a Senior Campaign Director with CNS and holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Southern Mississippi and an Ed.S from the University of Northern Colorado. She also served in the United States Army.

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