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AECOM’s Head of Economic Development for UK and Ireland appointed to IED Board of Directors


Crossrail 2 (Transport for London), High Speed 2 (HS2 Limited), Bedford Town Investment Plan (Bedford Council), Sutton Future High Streets Fund Business Case (Sutton Council) and Stonehenge A303 Development Consent Order Application (Highways England) – these are just a few examples of high-profile projects supported by new Institute of Economic Development (IED) Board member Dave Widger.

Dave, who is Head of Economic Development for UK and Ireland at AECOM, has over 20 years’ experience in the sector. He has extensive expertise in local, city and regional economics and specialises in developing economic development strategies, impact assessments and case-making for road, rail and other infrastructure projects. In this role, he works with a wide range of public and private sector clients, including central government, local authorities, LEPs and private sector developers.

Speaking about his role as IED Director, Dave said that he wanted to “further promote economic development to relevant practitioners, in public and private sectors, encouraging more members and participation in Institute activity”.

He explained: “I have been a member of the IED since 2018 and found immense value in being tied to an organisation that champions the skills and competencies required of the profession. Being categorised with a professional institute brings huge credibility, of course, but nobody else supports career development for economic development professionals. Membership has brought opportunities for shared learning and best practice, networking and exhibiting what we do, and hearing about government policy. Now I am more familiar with the IED and its position from an economic development and promotional perspective, it is the perfect time to be able to support its future direction.”

Given his project experience with AECOM, Dave is keen to encourage “greater opportunities for collaborative discussion across public and private sectors, both amongst the membership and beyond”. He said: “We should be looking to expose public sector members to a wider range of experiences they may not be readily aware of and support learning from private consultancies’ work across the UK. For example, AECOM are assisting the North London Waste Authority in delivering social value through the North London Heat and Power Project which will invest in flagship recycling facilities and a new world-class energy from waste facility. We ran a webinar last summer with the IED to provide an insight into the practical delivery of social value on a nationally-significant project with the ambition to set a new benchmark for public sector infrastructure projects in this arena. Lessons learned and good practice, especially on assessment methods, is much needed.”

Dave added that whilst the IED is “already recognised as the key economic development group for practitioners across the UK that position needs to be resilient and sustained by boosting engagement across the public and private sector”. He also said that his appointment as Director would be beneficial for his own team of 20 economic development practitioners, directly supporting their professional development, and in further positioning AECOM as a leading organisation for economic development.


Contact: Phil Smith, Institute of Economic Development PR consultant, on 01778 218180 / 07866 436159 /

The Institute of Economic Development (IED) is the UK’s leading independent professional body representing economic development and regeneration practitioners. Established nearly 40 years ago, the IED's key objective is to represent the interests of economic development practitioners and ensure their views are widely expressed and noted. The IED is committed to demonstrating the value of economic development work for local and regional communities; the pursuit of best practice in economic development and the attainment of the highest standards of professional conduct and competence.