CREC Project News and Updates

Synchronist Joins the CREC Network!

June 1, 2021
Synchronist joins the CREC network!
CREC CEO Ken Poole on the strategic alliance with Blane, Canada Blane, Canada CEO Eric Canada on the strategic alliance with CREC

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Data to Drive Our Economic Future

Today we are announcing a strategic alliance between Blane, Canada Ltd. and the Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness (CREC) to bring new synergies to the Synchronist Suite™ software used by economic development professionals throughout the US. This is another important milestone in the 22-year evolution of Synchronist Suite… and a vital new tool for CREC’s family of professional networks.

“We are excited about the strategic alliance between CREC/Synchronist,” said Ken Poole, CREC’s CEO and co-founder. “It is as if Synchronist was designed to support the CREC mission/goals – objective data collection tools, competitive intelligence, the importance and value of analytics, national key performance indicators, and historic data all to support economic development leadership decision-making and resource allocation.” Poole noted that Synchronist brings another community of users to the CREC network of economic development practitioners and researchers. “CREC is a nonprofit with an emphasis on learning from and giving back to the economic and workforce development practice. Synchronist and Blane, Canada also maintain an education focus of training and publishing to enrich professional development across the economic development community. These are common values that CREC shares.”

Synchronist remains the only effort to deploy competitive intelligence tools to support economic development interview design for business retention and expansion (BR|E) programs. Synchronist also created and maintains the only national BR|E benchmarks along with over 20 years of history.

Rick Dickinson, President & CEO of the Greater Dubuque Development Corporation (GDDC), Iowa, stated, “Moving Synchronist into CREC, a national economic development organization, underscores the importance of business retention. It has always been more than just the interview. That is one piece of a puzzle and practice of understanding and nurturing our existing companies to capture their growth locally. For GDDC, Synchronist sits at the core of our operation. This alliance is great news for Synchronist users and the profession.”

Synchronist tools, methodologies, technology and technology infrastructure can help CREC support not only its network of organizations, but also its research agenda for Federal, state, and regional organizations. CREC’s team of 20+ research and data science professionals bring new expertise and skills to benefit the Synchronist community, including data integration, big data analysis, and training that will make the business intelligence gathered through Synchronist even more powerful. CREC’s business and labor data resources are also opportunities to enhance Synchronist as a competitive intelligence tool for states, regions, and communities.

Synchronist clients will see no change. Blane, Canada will continue to handle all sales, support, and development of the Synchronist software for at least 2-years. CREC will initially help with research and administrative support and provide expertise via staff support.

“The strategic alliance with CREC eliminates my concerns over service continuity and client data security. CREC has an excellent team and a forward vision for economic development tools. Plus, CREC and Blane, Canada share a philosophy on the importance of good data, historic data, benchmarking, and the critical aspect of securing the privacy of every client/partner’s confidential data.” Eric P. Canada, Blane, Canada Ltd. noted.

In addition to his role at Blane, Canada, Canada will serve as a Senior Fellow with CREC, assisting CREC and its affiliated organizations like the Council for Community and Economic Research (C2ER), Labor Market Information Institute (LMI) and the State Economic Development Executives Network (SEDE) on technology tools, new product development, research survey development, national economic development benchmarking, as well as economic development training, research, and strategy.

About CREC

Formed in 2000, CREC is an independent, not-for-profit organization founded to provide policy-makers from around the world with the information and technical assistance to formulate and execute innovative, regional, job-creating economic strategies. CREC conducts research for government agencies such as NIST/MEP, the Department of Defense, Economic Development Administration, Treasury, and Appalachian Regional Commission as well as national philanthropic organizations such as the Pew Charitable Trusts, Lumina Foundation, and others. State and regional economic development organizations are also frequent clients. Based in Arlington, Virginia, CREC provides tools and services to support the economic development community including highly skilled, technical and management support for six economic development research-oriented organizations to support the missions of each organization.

About Blane, Canada

Formed in 1983, Blane, Canada Ltd. is an economic development management-advisory firm that exists to assist our clients in realizing their community potential. Blane, Canada provides leaders with tools to understand their current business environment and provide a framework for action. Blane, Canada’s advisory services are strategically focused in five areas: Business retention & expansion, Business attraction marketing, Talent and workforce development strategy, Economic development strategy, Team collaboration. On-site and online economic development education and training paired with industry leading publications in marketing, BR|E, and overall economic development.

Additional Information

Ken Poole, CEO

Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness (CREC)


Eric P. Canada, CEO

Blane, Canada Ltd.

630-462-9222 x 700