News & Events

Tray Hairston Receives Designation of Certified Economic Developer from the International Economic Development Council

Butler Snow attorney Tray Hairston has earned the designation of Certified Economic Developer (CEcD), a national recognition that denotes a mastery of skills in economic development, professional attainment and a commitment to personal and professional growth. The International Economic Development Council (IEDC) administered the CEcD Exam in June and notified candidates of their results on June 12, 2022.

The CEcD designation recognizes qualified and dedicated practitioners in the economic development field and sets the standard of excellence within the profession. Candidates must pass a rigorous and comprehensive examination, which has three parts and spans two days. The exam tests a practitioner’s knowledge, proficiency and judgment in the following key areas of economic development:

  • business retention and expansion
  • finance & credit analysis
  • marketing and attraction
  • strategic planning
  • entrepreneurial & small business development
  • managing economic development organizations
  • neighborhood development strategies
  • real estate development & reuse
  • technology-led economic development
  • workforce development strategies
  • foreign direct investment & exporting

As highly competent economic development professionals, Certified Economic Developers work with public officials, business leaders and community members to create leadership to build upon and maximize the economic development sector. Excellence in the economic development profession improves the wellbeing, quality of life and opportunities for individuals, businesses and communities. There are currently over 1,200 active CEcDs in the United States.

Hairston concentrates his practice on public finance and economic development matters, including all types of municipal bond issues, serving as bond counsel for both taxable and tax-exempt financings. He has served as bond counsel for various cities and counties and has worked on transactions totaling more than $100 million.

Prior to his legal career, Hairston served as counsel and economic development policy advisor to Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant. He was also a member of the Business Development Division at the Mississippi Development Authority where he provided project management assistance to companies and consultants looking to locate new businesses in Mississippi. One of his seminal published works is a paper titled “The Future of Economic Development, 35 Miss. C.L. Rev. 370 (2017)”. Hairston is also a member of the Vision First Advisors Board of Directors. Vision First Advisors is a site location and economic development strategy firm and wholly owned subsidiary of Butler Snow.

The Bond Buyer also recognized him as a 2018 Rising Star. The publication’s Rising Stars program honors 28 municipal finance professionals under the age of 40 throughout the country whose leadership, collaborative spirit and innovative work with issuers has positively impacted their communities. Rising Stars are nominated by their peers, and submissions are judged by a panel of municipal finance leaders throughout the country as well as The Bond Buyer’s editorial leadership team.

Hairston has been recognized by Best Lawyers in America® (2020-2022) for Government Relations, Mid-South Super Lawyers® for Government Finance (2016-2021), Mississippi College School of Law as Young Lawyer of the Year (2013) and Mississippi Business Journal as one of its Top 40 under 40 (2012-2013). He is a member of the National Association of Bond Lawyers, International Economic Development Council, Southern Economic Development Council, Mississippi Economic Development Council, and Mississippi Bar Association. He received his undergraduate degree from Tougaloo College, his MBA from Belhaven College, and his Juris Doctor from the Mississippi College School of Law.

About the International Economic Development Council

The International Economic Development Council (IEDC) is a non-profit membership organization serving economic developers. With more than 5,000 members, IEDC is the largest organization of its kind. Economic developers promote economic well-being and quality of life for their communities, by creating, retaining and expanding jobs that facilitate growth, enhance wealth and provide a stable tax base. From public to private, rural to urban, and local to international, IEDC’s members are engaged in the full range of economic development experience. Given the breadth of economic development work, our members are employed in a wide variety of settings including local, state, provincial and federal governments, public-private partnerships, chambers of commerce, universities and a variety of other institutions. IEDC’s members create high-quality jobs, develop vibrant communities and improve the quality of life in their regions.