About CREC

The Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness (CREC) is an independent, not-for-profit organization founded to provide policy-makers from around the world with the information and technical assistance they need to formulate and execute innovative, regional, job-creating economic strategies.

Our staff members come from around the globe, bringing with them diverse backgrounds, and world-class skill sets.

CREC staff

Erol Yildirim
Senior Vice President, New Products


Erol Yildirim currently serves as the Senior Vice President for New Product Development for the Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness (CREC) and its sister nonprofit, the Council for Community and Economic Research (C2ER). He serves as CREC’s Chief Economist and Chief Data Scientist. He also oversees the Center’s web and database infrastructure. Before taking his current roles, Mr. Yildirim managed the Cost of Living Index (COLI) project for five years.

As Senior Vice President for New Product Development, Mr. Yildirim oversees all of the program development activities for C2ER. Mr. Yildirim’s primary responsibilities include:  managing new product development and dissemination activities for C2ER, enhancing existing data products, managing customer relations with data subscribers and licensees, responding to media inquiries, and staffing C2ER’s Cost of Living Index Technical Advisory Board.

As Chief Economist and Data Scientist, Mr. Yildirim models and estimates the County and State Level Cost of Living Index. He created the Integrated Manufacturers Database, working with more than 54 million records, to analyze the characteristics of manufacturers and estimate client impacts for Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP). Mr. Yildirim also serves as technical and content support for various consulting assignment and supports the C2ER training and educational program.

As Web Project Manager, Mr. Yildirim is currently constructing workforce intelligence tools for the Multi-State Advanced Manufacturing Consortium (M-SAMC) to help college faculty and staff make more informed, demand-driven decisions about program development, investments, placement strategies, and industry partnerships. Mr. Yildirim also helped redesign Arizona State’s workforce website with the goal of increasing efficiency of data collection and the dissemination of labor market information to a variety of customers by using Web Service and Web 2.0 Technologies. The project also involved conducting an extensive customer survey, and holding focus group sessions related to web usage and data needs. In addition, as part of this project, Mr. Yildirim designed, developed, and released a statewide database program allowing Arizona’s State Energy Sector Partnership to track and gather data on the type of employees and the training requirements for the program’s targeted industries, and a Visual Basic Application that would allow the Department of Commerce to project state and county population levels moving forward.

Mr. Yildirim uses his technical skills and certifications to design online surveys customized to individual client needs, designs curricula for economic and workforce developers and teaches Advanced Excel, Relational Database, and Tableau classes for preparing, analyzing, and visualizing socioeconomic data. He also developed e-commerce sites for both C2ER and COLI, and created a national, searchable database structure for the C2ER State Incentives and State Economic Development Program Expenditures Database.

Among his most recent accomplishments is the creation of the C2ER Library Application – a tool allowing access to all C2ER data products, including Historical Cost of Living Index (COLI) and the Cost of Living Index Web Calculator, via IP authentications .  Mr. Yildirim also designed and implemented the Cost of Living Index Price Collector software, a web-based application that allows the data collectors to enter and submit their local data over the web and for C2ER staff to review these 100,000 plus data points in a timely manner.

Before joining C2ER in 2002, Erol Yildirim worked as a Business Manager at Mason Enterprise Center, Mentor Protégé Program. He supported a Department of Defense program and served as a vehicle and catalyst for building long-term business relationships between major US Department of Defense contractors and small, disadvantaged businesses.

Mr. Yildirim has practical and educational experience in information systems and web development. His programming skills include Visual Basic, ASP, ASP.net, Oracle PL/SQL, SPSS, Stata, Python, and Tableau.

Erol Yildirim holds a Master of Economics degree from George Mason University, specializing in Public Finance and Monetary Economics, and a master’s degree from Fairleigh Dickinson University in Financial Economics. He has completed all of the courses towards a doctorate in economics.  He currently serves on the National Advisory Board of National Elder Economic Security Initiative and advises the Bureau of Labor Statistics International Committee.

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