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

Kenneth E. Poole


Dr. Kenneth (Ken) E. Poole is the Chief Executive Officer of the Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness. Dr. Poole has managed economic development research, analysis, and technical assistance efforts for 35 years. Dr. Poole co-founded CREC in January 2000 as an independent non-profit focused on assisting policy-makers use data to develop a stronger understanding of how state and regional economies can compete effectively in the evolving, knowledge-based economy.

Dr. Poole manages the organization’s strategic planning, information sharing, research, and professional training activities, including the development of customized training in regional economic research techniques.  At CREC, he has assisted in dozens of research, planning, and technical assistance consulting projects for clients across the U.S. including:

In those projects, Dr. Poole has conducted quantitative and qualitative analyses of economies and program impacts, facilitated strategic leadership planning sessions, as well as provided technical assistance on economic and workforce development program design and strategy.

As Executive Director of the national nonprofit membership organizations, the Council for Community and Economic Research (C2ER), the Labor Market Information Institute, the Association of Public Data Users, and the Projections Managing Partnership, Dr. Poole oversees all program development activities, including information dissemination about news related to the Federal statistical agencies, the development of research and professional training activities, as well as organizing national conferences for the different professional networks. Building on his vision and leadership, C2ER and the LMI Institute have become national leaders in providing regional economic analysis training to economic and workforce development analysts serving Federal, state, and local agencies.  At the same time, APDU has become a national resource for the Federal statistical system.

Before establishing CREC, Dr. Poole served six years as the Director of Domestic Economic Development for the National Association of State Development Agencies and eight years as the Director of Technical Assistance and Research for the National Council for Urban Economic Development (now the International Economic Development Council).

He serves on the editorial board of Economic Development Quarterly (EDQ) and on the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Data Users Advisory Council.  In 2017-18, Dr. Poole edited a special issue of the EDQ focused on manufacturing policy issues.  Dr. Poole also speaks frequently to national and state-level audiences of policy-leaders and economic development professions on the challenges of data-driven regional economic planning and development.

Ken obtained a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Public Policy with a concentration in Regional Development Policy from George Mason University, a Master in Public Administration degree from American University, and a Bachelor of Arts degree from UNC at Chapel Hill.  In 2016, he received the Innovation in Local Employment Dynamics Award from the U.S. Census Bureau.

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