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
COO/Executive Vice President


Erol Yildirim is the Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President at the Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness (CREC). Also, he is Chief Operating Officer for the Council for Community and Economic Research (C2ER, formerly ACCRA) and the Labor Market Information (LMI) Institute.  Mr. Yildirim was instrumental in developing new products for CREC, C2ER, and the LMI Institute, and manages the Cost-of-Living Index (COLI), and the C2ER Library Application. This innovative tool offers comprehensive access to all C2ER data products, including the Historical COLI and the Cost of Living Index Web Calculator, via IP authentication. Moreover, Mr. Yildirim has been the driving force behind the development and implementation of the Cost-of-Living Index Price Collector software. This web-based application streamlines the process for data collectors to submit local data online and enables the C2ER staff to efficiently review and analyze over 100,000 data points. 

Mr. Yildirim is responsible for the strategic management and operational oversight of CREC, C2ER, and the LMI Institute. His responsibilities include financial management, developing and executing marketing and communication strategies, and coordinating logistics and operations. Additionally, he is charged with managing office administration and human resource activities, ensuring smooth and efficient organizational functioning. Mr. Yildirim also plays an instrumental role in cultivating and enhancing strategic relationships with boards of directors, clients and partnering firms. He also plans the annual C2ER Conference and LMI Forum, a prestigious gathering that unites 400 experts from the workforce and economic development research sectors across the nation. 

He is also involved in creating educational curricula for economic and workforce developers and conducts advanced training sessions in Excel, Relational Database, and Tableau, focusing on the preparation, analysis, and visualization of socioeconomic data. 

Prior to his tenure at C2ER in 2002, Erol Yildirim held the position of Business Manager at the Mason Enterprise Center, Mentor Protégé Program. In this role, he contributed significantly to a Department of Defense program designed to facilitate and strengthen long-term business relationships between major U.S. Department of Defense contractors and small, disadvantaged businesses. 

His academic credentials include a Master of Economics degree from George Mason University, with a specialization in Public Finance and Monetary Economics, and a master’s degree in financial economics from Fairleigh Dickinson University. He has also completed all the required coursework towards a doctorate in economics, underscoring his deep commitment to academic excellence. Currently, Mr. Yildirim contributes his expertise and insights as a member of the National Advisory Board of the National Elder Economic Security Initiative and provides valuable advice to the Bureau of Labor Statistics International Committee.  

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