The NCEDA Economic Developer of the Year Award

NCEDA presents an annual award to the individual who best exemplifies leadership in the state’s economic development efforts. The North Carolina Economic Developer of the Year award is given in recognition of the winner’s contributions to expansions and projects completed during the previous calendar year.

Our Current Honoree

Leigh Cockram
Rockingham County Economic Development

NCEDA named Rockingham County Economic Development Director, Leigh Cockram, its 2021 Economic Developer of the Year.

“Leigh is a hardworking, dedicated and energetic person, as well as being remarkably talented and tenacious in pursuit of her goal to make Rockingham County the best it can be,” said Mike Dougherty, Leigh’s co-worker and nominator.  “Since Leigh assumed her job, Rockingham County has experienced unprecedented industrial and residential growth.”

Leigh is responsible for large wins and projects for her community. She assisted 84 struggling small businesses with 1,200 grants to help them through the pandemic and played a key role in recruiting Nestle-Purina to Rockingham County.

Previous Honorees

2020: Bob Joyce – Sanford Area Growth Alliance
2019: Michael Haley – Wake County Economic Development
2018: Norris Tolson – Carolinas Gateway Partnership
2017: Wanda Yuhas – Pitt County Development Commission
2016:  Chris Platé – Monroe-Union County Economic Development
2015:  Sandy Dunbeck – High Point Economic Development Corporation
2013: Terry Bralley – Davie County Economic Development Commission
2012:  Sam Powers – City of Asheville
2011:  Tom Johnson – Rutherford County Economic Development Corporation
2011:  Mark Pope – Lenoir County Economic Development Department
2010:  Don Porter – Raeford-Hoke County Economic Development Commission
2010:  Scott Millar – Catawba County Economic Development Corporation
2009:  Donny Hicks – Gaston County Economic Development Commission
2008:  Joanna Thompson – Wayne County Development Alliance
2007:  Ken Atkins – Wake County Economic Development
2006:  Jane Smith – North Carolina Southeast Partnership
2005: Mac Williams – Alamance County Chamber of Commerce