Duke to lead USM center

A veteran economic development researcher known for his expertise in community development is the new director of the Trent Lott National Center for Excellence in Economic Development and Entrepreneurship at the University of Southern Mississippi.

Rick Duke, a principal research associate with the Enterprise Innovation/Economic Development Institute at Georgia Institute of Technology for more than 20 years, was selected by a search committee to lead the center and the university’s economic development initiatives, including serving as a liaison with industry, the community and economic developers. He assumes his duties at the university July 6.

A certified economic developer and economic development finance professional, Duke has served in several professional leadership roles, including the International Economic Development Council’s board of directors and Executive Committee, director of Georgia Tech’s Basic Economic Development Course, Session I Class director with the Economic Development Institute at the University of Oklahoma and as president of the Georgia Economic Developers Association.

Duke’s research on healthcare, eldercare and retirement community development in particular is highly sought in Georgia and beyond. His recent work includes acting as a catalyst for recognizing retiree attraction as a new community economic development strategy in many parts of Georgia. As co-founder of Georgia Lifestyles Publishing, a research-based organization providing information geared toward attracting retirees to Georgia, Duke is editor of Retire in Georgia, a magazine targeting this market.

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