Susan Amring is the Director of Economic Development for the City of Mississauga, with more than 25 years of municipal government management experience covering, economic development, planning, communications and the Mayor’s Office. As her current responsibilities include business attraction, business retention, business start-up, marketing and research, Ms. Amring is always seeking opportunities to understand the evolving needs of business and match the offerings of the City of Mississauga with forward-looking businesses.
The City of Mississauga is a champion of business and continually strives to provide to its business sector the vital services and supports needed to flourish in a highly competitive market. As a first point of contact, the Economic Development Office (EDO) provides comprehensive services including: site selection assistance, government approval assistance, business start-up assistance, information and statistics, industry and business networks, and strategic business problem solving. With services tailored to meet the needs of each unique business, EDO takes an entrepreneurial approach to business problem solving and sees itself as part of its client’s team.
Ms. Amring has a Bachelor of Environmental Studies from the University of Waterloo and has received her designation as a Certified Economic Developer (Ec.D.) from the Economic Development Association of Canada.
Jason Anderson grew up in a small Midwestern industrial town of Sterling Illinois. He attended Texas A&M University where he earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in Management in 1979. Upon Graduation he went to work for Conoco Oil of Houston, Texas as an analyst in their Continental Pipeline Division. In 1983 he joined a small, but growing food packaging company by the name of Crest Foods, in Ashton IL (pop 1000). “Crest” is known as a premier contract packaging company for numerous Fortune 500 food companies. In 1989 Jason became the Director of Operations for Crest Foods and he was instrumental in spurring a 300% growth in sales and employment over the next decade. In 1998 Jason was appointed to the position of Northern Illinois Director for United States Senator Peter G. Fitzgerald. Jason’s primary responsibilities involved being a liaison between local units of government, state and federal agencies, local industries and Senator Fitzgerald’s Washington DC office.
In 2005 he became the Economic Development Director for the City of Rochelle, Illinois and the Executive Director of the Greater Rochelle Economic Development Corporation (GREDCO). Since assuming his duties in Rochelle (pop 9,574), the City has welcomed 15 new industries and facilitated 17 plant expansions. Since 2003 the City of Rochelle has experienced an increase of $1.2 Billion in industrial capital investment and added more than 2000 new industrial related jobs.
Jason is known for his passion for small communities along with a drive to promote regional collaboration among units of government and EDC’s . He is known as a motivational speaker who is willing to share the “secrets to economic success” that the City of Rochelle Illinois has discovered over the past 25 years.
During his 30 years of experience of Economic Development and Strategic work, including 11 years as Vice president of Economic Development of the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce, Angelos has sat on both sides of the negotiation table. He has represented numerous private clients, including fortune 500 companies as well as assisting many national and international EDOs during the negotiation process. He has sited over $18 billion in capital investment projects and has extensive experience with the specific needs and requirements for a variety of industries through work with clients such as Dell, Boeing, ConocoPhillips, Toyota, Dimension Advisors, GE, Oracle, Exodus Communications, Baryonyx Corporation and Sun Microsystems, including incentives negotiations ranging from $5 million to over $1 billion. Angelos’s work also includes site identification & analysis of in the U.S. and internationally; economic analysis of site alternatives, including weighted analysis and isolation of factors that could be affected by incentives; and support for corporate facilities groups seeking to explore what alternatives exist and their impact on the bottom line.
Gary has been in the Economic Development business for 19 years, both private and public. He is a Certified Economic Developer through the International Economic Development Council and is currently the Director of Economic Development and Marketing for the Port of Pasco and the Executive Director for the Wine Science Center Development Authority. Previously he was the Economic Development Manager for the City of Richland and his work at Richland included special projects, such as the Wine Science Center and Broadband Initiative, as well as managing economic development and redevelopment programs within the City. Gary received a Master of Science in Environmental Engineering, a Bachelor of Science in Civil and Environmental Engineering and a Bachelor of Arts in Hotel and Restaurant Administration, all from Washington State University. He is a former Governor’s Executive Fellow for the Department of Community, Trade and Economic Development and a Research Assistant for Battelle Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and Washington State Universities Laboratory for Atmospheric Research. Gary lives in Richland with his wife Karen, his daughter Emma (16), his son Sean (14), and the dog Shadow (8ish).
Susan Bell, McDowell Group Susan Bell is a principal with McDowell Group, a research and consulting firm that conducts community and business development plans, economic analyses, feasibility studies, and public opinion research for public and private sector clients. Susan recently rejoined the firm after serving as the State of Alaska’s Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development Commissioner. There, she led state initiatives to market Alaska domestically and internationally; develop Alaska’s renewable and traditional energy resources; and enhance the state’s business climate. She has served as State Co-Chair of the Denali Commission and as a board member for the Alaska Railroad Corporation, Alaska Energy Authority, Alaska Gasline Development Corporation, and Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority. Formerly a Goldbelt Vice President, Susan was responsible for acquisition and growth for many of the Alaska Native Corporation’s business ventures. Originally from Nome, Susan is a shareholder of Bering Straits Native Corporation and Sitnasuak Native Corporation. She volunteers for Big Brothers Big Sisters and enjoys spending time outdoors with her husband and Labrador retrievers.
David Berzina is the Executive Vice President of Economic Development for the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce, a 2,200-member organization. He oversees a $1.5 million annual operating budget that funds initiatives designed for recruiting and retaining businesses, creating jobs, securing capital investment and generating tax revenue to support the greater Fort Worth region. Additionally, he interfaces with local, regional and state agencies in coordinating partnerships and facilitating economic incentives that have resulted in successful relocations and expansions of hundreds of companies, including Fortune 500 global leaders.
Berzina has played a pivotal role in building consensus among stakeholders on key issues such as impact fees and has also galvanized support among public and private sector partners on legislation affecting economic development policy and Texas’ pro-business environment. He was appointed by the Fort Worth Mayor to serve on an MWBE (Minority/Woman-Owned Business Enterprise) ordinance committee that was responsible for developing Fort Worth’s policy on city contracts with MWBE vendors.
Economic development projects that Berzina has recruited and secured have resulted in excess of 16 million square feet of building space, $3.7 billion in capital investment, more than 25,000 jobs, and more than $1.3 billion in annual payroll. Notable company names include General Motors, General Electric, Novartis, Q-Edge, RadioShack, Whirlpool Corporation, Bell Helicopter, and American Airlines.
Prior to joining the Fort Worth Chamber in 2004, Berzina served for 16 years in CEO and executive management positions for chambers of commerce and economic development organizations in Texas, Michigan, and Louisiana.
Berzina is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and also holds the designation of Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) from the International Economic Development Council. He is also a graduate of the ACCE Institute for Organizational Management at the University of Delaware. He serves on the national Board of Directors of the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) as well as on the Texas Economic Development Council board.
In 1993, Berzina was named one of the outstanding Leaders in Geo Economics by Site Selection magazine. In 2012 Site Selection magazine recognized the Fort Worth Chamber as one of the nation’s “Top 20” economic development organizations for the fifth time in eight years; the Fort Worth Chamber is the second organization under Berzina’s leadership to receive this prestigious designation.
Locally, Berzina serves on the executive committee of the Dallas/Fort Worth Marketing Team, which represents 62 communities and a population of 6.6 million people in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, the nation’s fourth-largest MSA. He also serves on the board of Workforce Solutions of Tarrant County and Fort Worth Sister Cities and serves on the Mayor’s Commission for the Homeless, the City’s Development Advisory Committee, and the City’s Minority and Women’s Business Advisory Council. He is a past president of the Greater Fort Worth Area Economic Development Association.
Berzina and his wife, Kim, have a 13-year-old son, Christopher, and a 7-year-old daughter, Brooke. He is in his 7th year of coaching football and basketball for the YMCA.
Caroline Beteta serves as President & CEO of the industry-led Visit California, a nonprofit organization created to market California as a premier travel destination and to increase the state’s share of tourism-related revenues.
Caroline recently finished a term as Chair of the Board of Brand USA, where she provided strategic direction for the $200 million global program. Before that, she served two years as Vice Chair of Operations. During a two-year term as National Chair of the U.S. Travel Association, she guided the successful merger of the Travel Industry Association with the Travel Business Roundtable (to form the U.S. Travel Association). Additionally, she has received numerous awards for her creative work and leadership in the travel industry, including 2009 State Tourism Director of the Year and the Robert Mondavi Wine & Food Award in 2013.
Caroline simultaneously serves as the Director of Tourism in California’s Governor’s Office of Business & Economic Development (GO-Biz). In her dual capacity, she is responsible for implementing Visit California’s $100 million global marketing program and serves as the lead spokesperson for California’s $117 billion travel industry. Caroline has shepherded the growth of Visit California into a global marketing franchise whose brand advertising alone generated incremental visitor spending returns of more than $9.5 billion in 2013. Under her leadership, California’s share of U.S. domestic travel has grown by more than 1 percent, bringing tens of millions of additional visitors to the state every year.
Caroline holds a bachelor’s degree in International Relations from the University of California at Los Angeles. She obtained a master’s degree in Public Administration/Intergovernmental Affairs from the University of Southern California. She has also completed the Stanford Graduate School of Business Executive Marketing Management Program.
For more about Visit California, visit industry.visitcalifornia.com
Barry Broome is the first President & CEO of the Greater Sacramento Area Economic Council (“Greater Sacramento”) in California’s capital region. Greater Sacramento was created when a group of area CEOs united behind a vision to significantly boost economic development in the region with a more active, hands-on role in the region’s economic development organization.
Broome was previously at the helm of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC), one of the longest-standing regional public-private partnerships for economic development. He is a proven leader with nearly 25 years of experience in community building and economic development, new company creation, formation of public-private partnerships, and public policy design. Broome’s tenure at GPEC led to the attraction of 225 companies, creating 40,500 jobs and more than $8 billion in capital investment to Greater Phoenix. Broome recently worked to secure Apple in Mesa, a game-changing project that will create 700 jobs and more than $1 billion in capital investment. He’s also worked to attract investment from many notable companies such as Intel, GoDaddy, Yelp, PayPal, Amazon, and scores of others.
In 2013, Broome was named Economic Developer of the Year by the Arizona Association of Economic Development and was the recipient of the Greater Phoenix Black Chamber of Commerce’s Chairman Award. Under his leadership, GPEC was ranked the No. 1 regional economic development organization in the U.S. among site selection consultants in 2011 and was recognized that same year by the Arizona Association for Economic Development as Organization of the Year. Broome is credited with developing economic development programs that have redefined public policy and improved statewide competitiveness.
Broome has been an invited guest lecturer at Arizona State University, University of Arizona, Kalamazoo College, Western Michigan University, University of Chicago, and the University of Notre Dame. He graduated from John Carroll University where he was a state wrestling champion and nationally ranked captain of his wrestling team.
Aaron Brossoit is a partner and Chief Operating Officer at Golden Shovel Agency, a Minnesota based company specializing in web solutions for economic development. Aaron has over 12 years experience in economic development markets and has developed cutting-edge interactive work for hundreds of communities all across the country. Aaron is a board member for the Mid-America Economic Development Council and on the communications committee for the National Rural Economic Development Association.
As president and CEO of the Charlotte Regional Partnership, Ronnie Bryant leads the economic development organization that promotes the 16-county Charlotte USA region as a premier location for businesses considering expansion or relocation. With more than 30 years of technical, managerial and economic development expertise, Bryant is nationally known for his proven track record of establishing and implementing successful economic development programs, with a strong emphasis on existing industry expansion and retention, regionalism and marketing.
Bryant, a certified economic developer (CEcD) since 1991, is a graduate of Louisiana State University in Shreveport and the Economic Development Institute at the University of Oklahoma (OU/EDI) in Norman. While attending OU/EDI, he received the American Economic Development Council’s Robert B. Cassell Leadership Award. He currently serves as the immediate past dean of OU/EDI, a member of the Executive Board and a member of the OU/EDI faculty.
He and his wife, Sandra, have three children – Rarland, Remeka and Ronda.
Mr. Catsi was appointed to this position in 2010. In this capacity he oversees the internal and external communications of the Authority including, public outreach, marketing, media, website and annual reports to raise awareness of the Authority and its programs around the state. He also works closely with AIDEA’s department heads and development staff to provide an efficient and effective intake process for prospective projects. Prior to joining the Authority, he managed and developed rural economic development organizations on local and regional levels as executive director of the Southwest Alaska Municipal Conference and the Skagway Development Corporation. Mr. Catsi has served as president of the Alaska Partnership for Economic Development, was elected to the Skagway City Council, and served on the boards of the Alaska Municipal League and the Alaska Manufacturing Extension Partnership. Mr. Catsi is a graduate of the University of New South Wales, Australia with a Bachelor of Science in Geography, and he is a Certified Economic Developer (CEcD).
Dr. Chmura’s firm has helped many corporate and government clients successfully navigate into and through the Great Recession by providing valuable economic insight and forecasting. Prior to starting her own company, Chris was a senior economist at some of the nation’s top banks and the Federal Reserve. Chris has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, and her interest rate forecasts have been published in the Blue Chip Financial Forecast for over 20 consecutive years. She serves on the Governor’s Economic Advisory Board and the Governor’s Commission on Economic Development & Job Creation for the state of Virginia. Dr. Chmura is also an adjunct professor at the Virginia Commonwealth University teaching classes for several years on applied labor economics. She was inducted into the National Leadership Honor Society, a university award for her role as an outstanding professor and for her exemplary campus citizenship.
James currently serves as the Director of Planning and Economic Development for the Citizen Potawatomi Nation and is developing a rail-anchored industrial park on tribal trust land. His duties also include evaluating and facilitating numerous business development proposals and tribal franchise opportunities and implementing the tribal strategic economic development plan. Previous economic development activities include serving as Chair of the Morgan County, CO Economic Development Corporation and as a member of the Executive Committee for the St. Charles County, MO Economic Development Corporation. He has facilitated and packaged numerous economic development projects and agreements over the last 20+ years and guided the development of a community-based Fiscal Impact Tool and a Computable General Equilibrium Model. He has traveled extensively internationally on business ventures including accompanying the Missouri Governor on a trade mission to Asia. Currently Dr. Collard serves as the Immediate Past Chair of the Oklahoma Governor’s International Team. His previous experience includes over seventeen years in city management and five years as an executive in the environmental services industry.
JoAnn Crary is the President of Saginaw Future, a non-profit economic development organization. She has held that position since 1993 and has been in economic development since the mid 1980’s. Crary completed her undergraduate degree from Ferris State University and has a Masters degree from Central Michigan University. She is a Certified Economic Developer (CEcD), a graduate of the University of Oklahoma’s Economic Development Institute and is a certified Economic Development Finance Professional.
Crary is a member of the MEDC Collaborative Development Council, an advisory group representation the 10 economic development regions in Michigan. She was recently elected to be the Chairman of the International Economic Development Council’s Board of Directors, is a member of the Governance Committee and the Economic Development Research Partners. Crary also Chaired the Ethics Committee in 2014 and served as board liaison for the Young Professionals Task Force. IEDC is the foremost international economic development organization with over 4500 members. She has served on the IEDC Board since 2006.
Crary is serves as Secretary/Treasurer of the Great Lakes Bay Regional Development Corporation, the Saginaw County Revolving Loan Fund Board, Saginaw Brownfield Redevelopment Authority, FirstMerit Bank Market Area Board and the Saginaw Hospital Finance Authority. Crary also serves on the Board of Fellows at Saginaw Valley State University, Mobile Medical Response Finance Committee and is an ex officio member of the Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. JoAnn also serves on Dow Chemical Company’s Great Lakes Bay Region Community Advisory Panel.
Crary was recently awarded the Saginaw Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Saginaw Marsh-Princing Award for 2014. She was also recognized in 2013 as one of the Great Women of the Great Lakes Bay and was given the Wally Bronner Community Spirit Award from the Saginaw County Chapter of American Red Cross in 2010. She was also honored with the inaugural Economic Leadership Award from Junior Achievement of Northeast Michigan in 2010. The Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce gave Crary its inaugural Athena Award in 2005 and in 2001, the Michigan Economic Developers Association named Crary as the MEDA Medalist Award winner. In 1996, she was honored by Governor Engler as the Economic Developer of the Year for outstanding contributions in economic development.
JoAnn and her two children, KaLynn and Michael reside in Frankenmuth.
Vann Cunningham is assistant vice president, Economic Development, with responsibility for developing and leading programs that encourage rail-oriented industries to locate or expand their facilities on BNSF. He also has responsibility for planning and developing various rail-owned and rail-served industrial, intermodal and transload facilities throughout BNSF’s service area. In this role, he has written and spoken extensively on the impact of transportation, logistics and the evolving global supply chain on corporate site selection, economic development and real estate development.
Vann has over 40 years of corporate site selection and economic development experience including major domestic and international projects in the public and private sectors. He began his Economic Development career at the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), where he was initially responsible for the TVA power plant siting program. Subsequently, he served as Chief of Regional Planning, Field Manager for the Economic and Community Development Program, and Senior Manager of Industrial Development. At TVA, he worked with such companies as Saturn, Sharp Electronics, Nissan and LG Electronics on corporate site selection projects for facilities locating in the region.
With nearly 30 years of experience in public relations and marketing, Dariel has worked for Development Counsellors International since 1995 and was named director of the company’s Economic Development Division in January 2010. Known as the “Leader in Marketing Places,” DCI specializes in economic development and tourism marketing and has helped more than 400 cities, regions, states and countries attract business investment and visitors since the firm was founded in New York City in 1960.
Dariel’s clients have spanned the world, including destinations from Maine to Miami and New York to New Zealand. She has created award-winning marketing programs that integrate high-profile media exposure with high-impact websites, direct marketing and digital strategies.
Raised on a dairy farm in the Finger Lakes region of New York State, Dariel is a graduate of Brown University.
As the Assistant Executive Director for the Middle Tennessee Industrial Development Association (MTIDA), Kendrick represents and promotes economic development in 38 counties in central Tennessee. An association of the electric power distributors in the region, MTIDA provides support services for industrial recruitment in cooperation with the State of Tennessee and Tennessee Valley Authority. Prior to joining MTIDA, Kendrick served as Community and Rural Development Director for the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development (TNECD). With responsibility for the state’s Select Tennessee Industrial Site Certification, Main Street, National Flood Insurance, Retire Tennessee, and Adventure Tourism programs, Kendrick led TNECD’s efforts to foster economic development in rural areas and small towns. Previously Kendrick served as TNECD’s Technical Program Director where he developed and administered the state’s industrial site certification program and coordinated efforts related to supplier preparation for the Uranium Processing Facility at Y-12. Prior to serving in this capacity, Kendrick worked in the state’s Local Planning Assistance Office where he served as both the agency’s GIS Manager and as a Principal Planner. Kendrick holds Ph.D. and MS degrees from the University of Tennessee and a BA from the University of North Alabama. Kendrick currently lives in Nashville with his wife and two daughters.
Deborah Davidson serves as the Vice President of Business & Workforce Solutions at Gateway Technical College in Kenosha, WI where she oversees five advanced technology centers focused on transportation, information technology, health and emergency response occupations, engineering and manufacturing, and a high school academy with dual enrollment. She is additionally responsible for outreach to business and industry, customized training and business partnerships, along with connecting the community to the resources of the college. She has over twenty years experience in higher education and is a past-president of the National Coalition of Advanced Technology Centers (NCATC). She also serves on the Board of the National Coalition of Certification Centers and the Walworth County Economic Development Alliance. Her current work includes oversight for Gateway’s Boot Camp training programs for CNC Machine Operators, Welding and Fabrication, and Industrial Machine Repair Technicians providing accelerated, rigorous training opportunities that boast a 95% job placement rate. Mrs. Davidson holds a Bachelor’s degree in Management and Communication from Concordia University Wisconsin and a Master’s degree in Adult Education from National Louis University (IL).
Vice President of Economic Development Karen Dickson is responsible for developing and implementing the economic development program and oversees the master planning program for the 1,200-acre, mixed-use community. Karen previously served as Vice President of Economic Development for the Denton Chamber of Commerce in Denton, TX. Dickson is a member of the Board of Directors of the Texas Economic Development Council and serves on various International Economic Development Council committees. Dickson began her economic development career in 1999 as a marketing manager with the Clear Lake Economic Development Foundation. Dickson received a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of North Texas and a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science from the University of Houston-Clear Lake. She is a Basic Economic Development Course instructor, a Certified Economic Developer and a graduate of the Economic Development Institute at the University of Oklahoma. Karen is also a Rotarian.
Brett Doney is the President & CEO of the Great Falls Development Authority, a public/private economic development partnership serving the Great Falls Montana trade area. GFDA’s mission is to grow and diversify the Great Falls economy and support the creation of high wage jobs. GFDA is active in business retention and expansion, entrepreneurship, business attraction, downtown and riverfront revitalization, and workforce development. In 2012, GFDA became the first economic development organization in the Rocky Mountain West to be accredited by the International Economic Development Council.
GFDA is a Community Development Financial Institution, and hosts a Small Business Development Center and a Procurement Technical Assistance Center. Doney also leads High Plains Financial, a SBA Certified Development Corporation that is affiliated with GFDA, and the Great Falls AgriTech Park LLC, developer of a 1,300 acre rail industrial park.
Doney has 28 years of experience in urban and rural community economic development from the various perspectives of the non-profit, public and private sectors. His prior positions include President & CEO of Enterprise Maine, a family of community economic development organizations dedicated to creating economic opportunity and enhancing the quality of life in rural western Maine, Director of the Ft. Devens Reuse Center, a 9,600 acre army base redevelopment effort in Massachusetts, and President of Doney Associates, a Boston-based consulting firm focused on urban revitalization.
Doney’s efforts have won awards from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the American Economic Development Council, the International Economic Development Council, the National Association of Development Organizations, and the Finance Authority of Maine. His professional certifications include Master of Corporate Real Estate (MCR), Senior Leader of Corporate Real Estate (SLCR), Certified Economic Developer (CEcD), American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP), RMA Credit Risk Certification, LEED Accredited Professional, Federal Grants Management and Economic Development Finance Professional (EDFP). He is a graduate of the Economic Development Institute of the University of Oklahoma. Doney earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of California at Santa Barbara and a Masters in Public Policy from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
Doney has taught and given presentations for a number of state, national and international organizations. He serves on the boards of the Montana Economic Development Association, NeighborWorks Great Falls, the Downtown Great Falls Partnership and Montana Ambassadors. He is an active Rotarian and past President of the Great Falls Rotary Club.
Melissa Ehlinger serves as the Senior Vice President for Strategy and Business Development for the New Orleans Business Alliance. In this role, she has been an integral part of crafting the organization’s overall economic development strategy and has overseen day-to-day business attraction and retention functions, as well as the organization’s research department. Her previous experience in urban economic development includes work with the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority, where she worked as a Project Manager in residential and commercial corridor redevelopment. Melissa previously served as an Attorney with the United States Department of Transportation. A native New Orleanian, Melissa holds a BA in Political Science from the University of Texas at Austin, Phi Beta Kappa; a JD from The George Washington University; and a Masters in Urban Planning from the University of New Orleans.
Dr Simon Galpin is the Director-General of Investment Promotion at Invest Hong Kong (InvestHK), the Government Department responsible for attracting and facilitating foreign direct investment into Hong Kong. Simon joined InvestHK as Associate Director-General of Investment Promotion in 2001, soon after the establishment of the Department. His contribution in shaping the strategy and business planning process has helped establish InvestHK as one of the world's leading investment promotion agencies. With senior management experience in both the private and public sectors, Simon is also actively involved in promoting Hong Kong’s expanding start-up ecosystem. Prior to joining InvestHK, Simon spent ten years with Scottish Enterprise – at that time Europe’s largest economic development agency. He was initially posted to Hong Kong in 1992 but also worked in Glasgow, Taipei, Sydney and London. Simon holds Masters degrees in Business Administration, Local Economic Development and International Business Law and recently graduated as a Doctor of Juridical Science.
Charles A. Hayes is president and CEO of the Research Triangle Regional Partnership (RTRP), the public-private partnership that leads economic development for the 13-county Research Triangle Region of North Carolina.
He is active in numerous professional organizations including the University of North Carolina Board of Governors, N.C. Partnership for Economic Development, N.C. Economic Developers Association (past president), International Economic Development Council, RTI Board of Directors, Kennan Fellow Advisory Board, and UNC Center for International Understanding
He is a frequent speaker on strategies for promoting economic growth and prosperity in a knowledge-based economy.
During his tenure, RTRP has been widely recognized as an exemplary economic-development organization. It has received the following awards/recognitions:
Hayes received bachelors and masters degrees from East Carolina University and economic development certifications from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the International Economic Development Council. Hayes served in the US Army, a Vietnam Veteran. Hayes is married with 3 children and 2 grandchildren and teaches Sunday school at the St. Luke Methodist church in Sanford NC.
Robin Keegan has extensive experience in the field of disaster recovery and redevelopment. She currently oversees a team of subject matter experts who provide technical assistance services in disaster recovery management to New York State’s Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery supporting the State’s successful recovery from Superstorm Sandy, Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee. In this role, Ms. Keegan assists the State of New York in developing compliant policy and program development and deciphering CDBG-DR regulations, disaster recovery processes, reporting needs and operational needs assessments. Ms. Keegan has also supported the City of New York and the State of New Jersey on their initial response to Superstorm Sandy. Ms. Keegan also led GCR’s team that officiated the first strategic economic development plan for New Orleans on behalf of the New Orleans Business Alliance. This process culminated in ProsperityNOLA: A Plan to Drive Economic Growth for 2018, the first comprehensive strategic plan for economic development in New Orleans. Following Hurricane Katrina, Ms. Keegan served first as the Director of Economic Recovery and then as Executive Director of the Louisiana Recovery Authority, the state-created entity established to oversee $14 billion in federal funding for housing, infrastructure and economic development initiatives following the 2005 hurricanes.
Susan Kelsey is the Economic Development Officer for the City of Lake Forest, Illinois. A 30 year career spanning both private and public sectors that includes business development, economic development, sales and marketing. Most recently, Susan is excited about mobile technology and the possibilities of connecting people and businesses. Accomplishments include starting new economic development department for the city, launching a new open air market and creating a new business accelerator program for local entrepreneurs. Susan is currently completing her Certificate in Creative Cities & Economic Development at New York University. She has a Masters' in Health law & Adminstration from De Paul University and a Business degree from the University of Iowa.
As Executive Director of Economic Affairs at Arizona State University (ASU), Janice connects companies and economic development organizations into the ASU innovation ecosystem by providing them a pathway to access the university’s students, faculty and research opportunities. Janice also actively recruits companies to join SkySong the ASU Scottsdale Innovation Center. She also leads a variety of special projects, including cluster development efforts and other community outreach activities, to continually expand the innovation economy of Greater Phoenix. Previously Janice was Director of Employer Relations at Thunderbird School of Global Management. There she managed 50+ company relationships, both within the US and Europe, primarily in the healthcare, banking, manufacturing and transportation sectors. Before moving back to the US, Janice worked at the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences in Germany where she advised management students and taught classes on communication and intercultural interaction. Previously she was Division Manager for Gima mbH, an international trade show organizer, working in sales and organization of shows in Russia and the CIS. Janice holds a BA in International Studies from Bradley University and a Masters in Nonprofit Studies from Arizona State University. She speaks fluent German and is a board member of the University Economic Development Association.
Jeff Kline is an accomplished entrepreneur with a successful track record spanning three decades in software product development, office automation and Internet technology. As CEO and president of both Accrisoft and Accrinet Corporation, he provides operational guidance and strategic vision for all aspects of the businesses. Jeff has special expertise in software strategies and website development. Over the last decade, he has helped website design, development and hosting companies leverage the Web and digital marketing to grow their organizations. Jeff is a frequent guest speaker on content management systems, web strategies for business success, email marketing, social media, personalized news, Web analytics and other critical topics.
Maureen Klovers is President and CEO of Lyon Park Associates. Recent projects have included co-authoring a strategic plan for North Dakota State University’s research and innovation activities (with Eva Klein & Associates) and designing a venture capital program for the State of Kentucky. Prior to founding Lyon Park Associates, she advised senior officials at US EDA on policies related to regional innovation clusters, university-led economic development, and access to credit. She managed the agency’s $850M Revolving Loan Fund portfolio, revamped the evaluation criteria for its University Centers, and led an initiative to strengthen the agency’s Planning Program. Ms. Klovers represented EDA on the Obama Administration’s Interagency Task Force on Regional Innovation Clusters and served as the primary drafter for the task force’s pilot project—a $129.6MM Federal Funding Opportunity (FFO) that served as the prototype for the subsequent i6 and IMCP competitions. Later, Ms. Klovers was the Awards and Compliance Manager for the US Department of Treasury’s $1.5B State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI). She also developed the marketing plan for Milwaukee’s new $20M business park, which has created over 4,700 jobs. She’s on the board of the University Economic Development Association (UEDA) and has led the launch of UEDA’s new journal.
Chris Knight heads the fDi Benchmark division of fDi Intelligence -- in addition to serving as a business development executive focusing on the US and UK markets -- and is an expert in the benchmarking of locations. He has been working on benchmarking projects for more than four years and has worked with some of the largest economic development organisations globally to help them promote themselves to foreign investors and assess their competitiveness for investment.
Chris develops bimonthly rankings for various sectors using inhouse data which are published in fDi Magazine; the most recent of these were rankings identifying the best locations globally for attracting renewable energy FDI projects. As well as benchmarking, Chris works on a variety of different reports comparing market and sectoral performance in terms of FDI.
fDi Intelligence is a specialist division from the Financial Times Ltd established to provide industry leading insight into globalization with a portfolio of world-class products, services and business tools that allow both companies and economic development organizations alike to make informed decisions regarding foreign direct investment and investment attraction. The fDi Intelligence portfolio includes fDi Atlas, fDi Benchmark, fDi Markets, fDi Magazine and fDi Reports.
Thomas A. Kucharski, a Buffalo native, returned home to serve as President & CEO of the Buffalo Niagara Enterprise on February 1, 2000. Kucharski most recently served as head of the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation, Eastern Pennsylvania’s first regional economic development corporation, which was established in 1995 and credited with attracting 18,000 jobs and $1 billion in investment. In his last year, the LVEDC was cited in Site Selection magazine as one of the top 20 Economic Development Corporations in the United States. LVEDC was also awarded thirteen Northeast Economic Development Association Awards, including the President’s Award, the most awards received by a single entity in one year in NEEDA history. In his leadership role at LVEDC, Kucharski was successful in “rebranding” what was known as the rust-belt region Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton, Pennsylvania, into one nationally recognized for effective re-use of brownfields and for attraction of a diverse range of employers. Previous to his position at Lehigh Valley he served as executive director of the Horizon Council of Southwest Florida from 1992-1995, the first regional public/private partnership including Sarasota, Ft. Myers and Naples, Florida.
As BNE President, Tom Kucharski focuses on regional image building, business attraction marketing and the implementation of a region-wide prospect management system. He will work closely with a number of public and private sector economic development entities, as well as the real estate development community.
Kucharski has an undergraduate degree in Business Management and a Masters degree in Economics from SUNY at Buffalo. He also earned his Certified Economic Developer (CED) professional designation at the American Economic Development Institute at University of Oklahoma.
Kimber Lanning is an entrepreneur, business leader and economic development specialist who works to cultivate strong, vibrant communities and inspire a higher quality of life for people across Arizona. In 2003, Lanning founded Local First Arizona, a non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness of the economic benefits provided by locally owned businesses. LFA has gained recognition for community-based business development across the state. Along with an advisory board of dedicated local business owners and civic leaders, Lanning pursues the dual goal of establishing vibrant and culturally unique businesses at the forefront of the state’s identity, as well as creating a sustainable and healthy region through the implementation of resilient local economies. She works to educate and motivate consumers to support local enterprises, and encourages policies that enable locally owned businesses to thrive. She has worked extensively on Phoenix’s building code as it relates to the adaptive reuse of existing buildings. She encourages municipalities to streamline their code in order to encourage, rather than discourage, new businesses in old buildings. She has contributed to several planning studies and advocated for smart growth throughout the region, earning her the Distinguished Citizen Planner award from the American Planning Association, Arizona branch, in 2013.
With extensive experience in economic development, international business management and sales, Allison Larsen’s core competencies include competitiveness assessments, action-oriented strategic planning, target industry analysis, workforce development, marketing, visual meeting facilitation; and economic development training.
Her perspective of understanding the needs and wants of targets, as well as community stakeholders, contributes to creative and effective solutions. Her ideas spawn from her diverse background – from growing up in a small rural community in California to award-winning salesperson at a Fortune 100 Company. Allison’s entrepreneurship endeavors did not start with TadZo. She established an international distribution network for a venture capitalist, and even put herself through college by raising a herd of sheep.
Working at Madera Industrial Development Corporation and the EDC serving Fresno County, she sited companies yielding >9,000 jobs. Allison worked 12 years as Principal of Chabin Concepts, consulting for local, regional and state economic development organizations. She helped create CompetitiveReady, a community certification program.
Allison is a graduate of University of California, Davis; OU EDI; California Agricultural Leadership Program. She enjoys running with her two dogs, Tadich and Enzo (yes, they are the inspiration behind the TadZo name). She’s hiked Yosemite’s Half Dome, run 8 half-marathons and “Hood to Coast”.
Ray Laughter serves as Vice Chancellor for External Affairs for the Lone Star College System, one of the largest and most progressive community colleges in the nation with over 90,000 students on six comprehensive campuses. He is responsible for marketing and communications, government affairs, grants and resource development, the Lone Star College Foundation, and community and economic development partnerships and programs. These economic development programs are unique for a higher education institution and include the coordination of the regional North Houston Economic Development Alliance, the Center for Business and Economic Development, the regional Small Business Development Center, the Community Development Institute.
He has served on numerous boards and committees related to economic and community development International Economic Development Council Higher Education Advisory Committee and 2012 Conference Host Committee Texas Economic Development Council Board of Directors Southern Economic Development Council – Chair Community Development/Leadership Committee Community Development Council Board of Trustees Gulf Coast Workforce Development Board Greater Houston Partnership Economic Development Committee The Woodlands Economic Development Partnership Board of Directors Magnolia Economic Development Partnership Board of Directors. Prior to joining the college he served as Chief Administrative Officer for an international helicopter manufacturer and President of the Business Services Assistance Corporation.
As the son of Ted Levine, founder of Development Counsellors International, Andy was introduced to the world of economic development and travel marketing at birth. Since joining the firm in 1991, Andy has helped launch the company into a new era, advancing the quality of client work performed, growing the number of staff and adding to the range of client services offered.
He developed and continues to direct DCI's "Winning Strategies in Economic Development Marketing." First conducted in 1996, this ongoing survey of corporate executives with site selection responsibilities has emerged as a valuable tool for economic developers seeking to understand the "customer's perspective" on what works in economic development marketing.
Gail Lewis is the Assistant Director for the Arizona Department of Transportation. She was formerly Policy Advisor for Economic Development to Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano. In that capacity, she advised the Governor on economic development issues, helps to set economic development policies and priorities for the state, and acts as the liaison to the Department of Commerce and the Office of Tourism. Prior to joining the Governor's staff in 2003, she spent 10 years as the Director of Economic Development and Constituent Outreach at Arizona State University, where she oversaw activities designed to make the resources of the university more accessible to the Arizona business and economic development communities. She has worked extensively on technology development, international trade, and long term policy issues, and has done consulting work in Australia, France, Saudi Arabia, Mexico and around the US. Gail has a Master's degree in International Affairs from Columbia University and a bachelor's degree in international affairs and journalism from the University of Southern California. Gail sits on the board of the Phoenix Sister Cities Commission, World Affairs Council, Arizona-Mexico Commission and Arizona Bioindustry Association. She also sits on the national Board of Directors of the International Economic Development Council.
Bob directs economic research and planning projects at Development Strategies, based in St. Louis. He joined the Development Strategies team in 1978 after two years working for the St. Louis County Department of Planning. He was named president in 2000 and became the largest stockholder in 2007. The focus of his professional work is analyzing the market, economic, and organizational forces that influence urban planning, economic growth, and real estate development. His consulting services typically yield strategic recommendations for clients seeking to maximize economic value. Clients include private property owners, corporations, government agencies, non-profit development organizationss, and institutions all around the United States.
A native of Glencoe, Illinois, in the Chicago area, Bob holds a master's degree in city and regional planning from Southern Illi¬nois University at Edwardsville (1976) and a bachelor's degree in business economics from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio (1973).
Bob is a member of the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) where he is a certified economic developer (CEcD), the American Planning Association where he is also a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP), the National Association for Business Economics (NABE), the American Statistical Association (ASA), and the Urban Land Institute (ULI). He has been an adjunct senior faculty member teaching business economics for the Keller Graduate School of DeVry University since 1995.
David Lloyd is the Director of the Office of Brownfields & Land Revitalization in the EPA Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response. David assumed this position in January of 2006 after holding a variety of positions in the areas of private and Government legal practice, real estate development and operations. David received his undergraduate degree in English Literature from the George Washington University in 1985, and a law degree from Washington and Lee University in 1988.
Ken Meter is one of the most experienced food system analysts in the U.S., integrating market analysis, business development, systems thinking, and social concerns. As president of Crossroads Resource Center in Minneapolis, Meter holds 41 years experience in inner-city and rural community capacity building. His “Finding Food in Farm Country” studies have promoted local food networks in 85 regions in 30 states and one Canadian province. As coordinator of public process for the City of Minneapolis Sustainability Initiative, he guided over 85 residents in creating a 50-year vision for the city including sustainability measures. He served as an advisor for the USDA Community Food Projects including managing the proposal review panel, and serves as a contributing editor to the Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development. He is convenor and co-chair of the Community Economic Development Committee for the former Community Food Security Coalition. Meter taught economics at the University of Minnesota, and at the Harvard Kennedy School.
William Michalerya has primary responsibility for developing Federal, State and regional programs in research and economic development for Lehigh University and developing strategic alliances and technology partnerships.
Prior to the Government Relations post, Mr. Michalerya served as Associate Vice Provost for Research at Lehigh. Previously he held the position of Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Competitive Technologies of PA, Inc., a firm partly owned by Lehigh University with a mission of new company formation and intellectual property management. Other duties at Lehigh University included the position of Manager of Industry Liaison and Technology Transfer for the Center for Advanced Technology for Large Structural Systems (ATLSS) the first Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Technology Alliance (PITA), a state-funded initiative with Lehigh University and Carnegie Mellon.
Currently he also serves in multiple leadership positions in Regional, State and National initiatives in Economic Development. This includes election as a 2nd Vice Chair for the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC), and former Chair of the Innovation, Talent and Entrepreneurship Committee. He also co-chaired the LVEDC Strategic Plan Committee that authored the five-year plan. Other leadership roles include Executive Committee of the Southside Bethlehem Keystone Innovation Zone (KIZ), a state-funded partnership of public /private members that fund startup companies and student internship programs. He served as a member of the Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority for more than ten years.
On a national level, he is Past President of the University Economic Development Association (UEDA), an organization of more than 120 members focused on Economic Development. In addition, he led the efforts to win three Best Practices Awards from UEDA, based on partnership programs and startup company creation. He is also active in the International Economic Development Council (IEDC), serving on the Higher Education Committee (charter member). He led the team that won the 2008 IEDC Award for Partnerships with Educational Institutions, with the City of Bethlehem, LVEDC and Lehigh University.
At Lehigh he is a member of the newly created Board of LaunchBayC with a role to mentor and advise new student startup companies. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Award by Lehigh University and he was awarded the Ben Franklin Innovation Award for an Academic Partner by the Ben Franklin Partners of Northeast PA.
Rodrick Miller is a results-oriented leader with over 10 years of experience in economic development, strategic planning, trade and foreign investment, and project finance. He has emerged as one of the foremost economic development leaders in the country, respected globally for his ability to maneuver in extraordinarily complex political and business environments, and craft strategies and structure deals to provide long-term value to communities and investors. His skills as a negotiator, policy expert, and corporate strategist have been honed in over 10 countries.
Currently, Miller is serving as President & CEO of the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC). The DEGC is a private, nonprofit corporation devoted exclusively to supporting Detroit’s economic development by providing technical, financial, negotiation, and development assistance to the City and the private sector business community.
As CEO of DEGC, Miller is firmly committed to enhancing strategies and programs that are aggressive and effective, thoughtful and focused, and that play to the inherent strengths of the local market. Miller aims to work collaboratively, yet provide strong leadership, and to continue to communicate a shared path forward.
Previously, Miller served as the founding president and CEO of the New Orleans Business Alliance (NOLABA), the official economic development organization responsible for ensuring the long-term economic vitality and driving job growth for the City of New Orleans. As the chief economist and thought leader on economic recovery, Miller has focused the organization’s efforts on lowering barriers to entry in the marketplace, increasing transparency, and developing strategies for urban economic growth. Results since their founding in 2011 include state legislation allowing for benefit corporations, a policy framework to guide the use of tax incentives in economic development, and the attraction of more than $600 Million in new investment and 4,000 new jobs through proactive attraction and expansion of corporate projects in the New Orleans market. In June of 2013, NOLABA launched ProsperityNOLA, the first ever comprehensive economic development plan for the city of New Orleans. Miller led his team in crafting this 5 year plan with a keen eye on ensuring the plan would diversify the economy and present economic opportunities for all the citizens of New Orleans.
Prior to that position, Miller served as the Executive Vice President of the Baton Rouge Area Chamber where he managed day-to-day operations, developed strategic initiatives, and helped deliver on the firm’s $20M capital campaign. Under his leadership, the Baton Rouge market was ranked the Number 1 Mid-Market for Deals in 2010 by Site Selection Magazine.
Before moving to Louisiana, Miller was Vice President of International Economic Development for the Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC) where he managed international development activities, which included foreign direct investment attraction and increasing the region’s international competitiveness. He crafted the Arizona Global Network, a statewide collaboration of economic development organizations responsible for marketing the state globally. He also headed the Strategy Practice where he developed the organization’s action plan which resulted in delivery of nearly 10,000 jobs in just 2 years. Before GPEC, Rod held several positions in the public and private sectors.
Miller holds a Master of Public Policy from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and a Bachelor of Science degree in international business from St. Augustine’s College. He also gained a Graduate Diploma in Finance from the Monterrey Institute of Technology (ITESM) in Mexico while completing a Fulbright Fellowship. Miller is an intellectually curious professional whose interests lie at the intersection of economic development, international commerce, innovation, and community action. A scholar practitioner, he is a sought after lecturer and contributes to various publications. He is a term member of US Council on Foreign Relations, is a board member of the International Economic Development Council, and served as a fellow of the International Career Advancement Program at the Aspen Institute. Miller has received numerous accolades including Ebony Magazine’s 30 under 30, Phoenix Business Journal’s Top 40 under Forty, Top 100 Tech Influencers in the Silicon Bayou, Young Economic Developer of the Year by the International Economic Development Council, and numerous others. He enjoys playing the piano, reading, and spending time with his son. Miller is fluent in Spanish and proficient in Portuguese.
Ioanna Morfessis is the President and Chief Strategist of IO.INC, a worldwide business and economic development consulting firm. With her distinguished track record and reputation as an economic development executive and founder of three best-of-class organizations, Dr. Morfessis has devoted her professional life to helping companies and communities grow and prosper. Based in Phoenix, AZ, IO.INC is a visionary consulting practice that delivers expert strategies and solutions to help leaders, organizations and places grow. Among IO.INC’s clients are cities and regions; global and domestic companies, publicly traded and privately held; master planned community developers, and nonprofit organizations. Prior to starting her own company, she was the founding President/CEO of the Economic Alliance of Greater Baltimore and the Greater Phoenix Economic Council, and the inaugural director of the Montgomery County, MD Department of Economic Development. In these posts, she led efforts to recruit and expand more than 300 firms that combined, invested over $27 billion in private capital and generated more than 250,000 direct new jobs. Dr. Morfessis also served as the Chairman of the International Economic Development Council and is an Honorary Lifetime Member. She is a founding director of the Helios Education Foundation, and serves on numerous civic boards.
Simon has 16 years experience in the field of Economic Development and was an active Economic Development Australia (EDA) National Director from 2008 -2014 which included development of the EDA Regional and Remote Training Program. Simon has delivered 15 pro-bono training programs across regional Australia.
Fred Morley is Executive Vice President and Chief Economist of the Greater Halifax Partnership. Mr. Morley has designed and driven many of Nova Scotia’s and Halifax’s high profile economic and business initiatives, several of which have won international economic development awards. He is a regular media commentator and the author of more than 100 articles on economic issues. His views are sought by organizations, companies and governments around the world.
Alana Peterson was born and raised in Sitka Alaska, where she currently resides with her husband and two children. Alana’s Tlingit name is Gah Kith Tin, a Raven of the Luknahadi (Coho) clan in Southeast Alaska. Professionally Alana has earned a Bachelor’s of Science and Masters Degree, both in Business Administration. She served as a small business development volunteer in the Peace Corps Peru from 2009-2011. Since then her work has focused on developing programs to address the many challenges of economic development in Southeast Alaska. Currently Alana works at Haa Aaní, LLC, an economic development corporation, whose mission is to promote the cultural, social, and economic viability of S.E. Alaska’s Tlingit, Haida, & Tsimshian communities through collaboration, innovation, & direct resource investment in community sustainability. Alana is the Program Director for Sustainable Southeast Partnership, a growing network of organizations in Southeast Alaska working together to create sustainable communities.
Jonas R. Peterson currently serves as the President & Chief Executive Officer of the Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance (LVGEA), a rapidly growing public-private partnership charged with diversifying Southern Nevada’s economy.
Prior to joining LVGEA, Peterson served as President & CEO of the Santa Clarita Valley Economic Development Corporation (SCVEDC). During his tenure, SCVEDC quickly emerged as one of the most productive economic development organizations in California.
Peterson has conducted considerable research on comparative advantage and quantitative marketing. Recent publications include “Vegas 2.0: Rebooting Nevada’s Economic Engine” and "Minding Our Own Businesses: a Practitioner's Guide to Regional Business Retention and Expansion.”
Jonas received a M.S. in Community and Economic Development from Pennsylvania State University and a M.B.A. from North Dakota State University. He is a Certified Economic Developer (CEcD), graduate of Oklahoma University's Economic Development Institute (OUEDI), graduate of Stanford University’s Executive Program, Certified Business Retention and Expansion Consultant and has completed the Leadership Series at Harvard’s Kennedy School.
In 2010, Jonas was recognized as Arizona’s “Economic Developer of the Year” by the Arizona Association for Economic Development and as the “New Economic Developer of the Year” by the International Economic Development Council.
Bill Popp has spent more than 30 years in both the Alaska private and public sectors. As President & CEO of the Anchorage Economic Development Corporation, he sets the strategic direction in marketing Anchorage and Alaska to companies and global industries considering Anchorage as a place in which to do business and assists local businesses looking to expand outside of Alaska.
Prior to joining AEDC, Popp served as special assistant to Mayor John J. Williams of the Kenai Peninsula Borough (KPB) with a focus on oil and gas development. From 1996 to 2002, he held an elected position on the KPB Assembly and, in 2000, he presided over the Assembly as president. He also has private industry experience as a small business owner.
Popp has served as chairman of the KPB Economic Development Criteria Task Force; project coordinator of the Challenger Learning Center for Alaska; vice chairman of the Alaska Stranded Gas Act Municipal Advisory Group; co-chair of Governor Murkowski's Agrium Task Force; chair of the Kenai Peninsula Development Coalition; consultant for the British Columbia Provincial Government's Offshore Oil and Gas Team; and, member of the Cook Inlet Natural Gas Pipeline Terminus Group. He is currently a board member of the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce, Anchorage Convention & Visitors Bureau and commissioner member for the Anchorage School District Education & Workforce Advisory Commission.
Mary Rajek is an Economic Development professional with Redevelopment Resources focused on client project management, special project research and program implementation. She has had the privilege of providing economic development services and support at community, County, and Regional levels, as well as the opportunity to spearhead business and entrepreneurship support programming at the County level. Ms. Rajek has an educational background in Communications, Business and Economics from within the University of Wisconsin system. She is currently working towards her Certified Economic Developer designation through the IEDC, as well as her Economic Development Finance Professional certification through the National Development Council.
Tom has worked with organizations of all kinds, from Economic Development Organizations and Chambers of Commerce to religious organizations, national museums to rural health networks, and local youth organizations to international research institutes. He has personally been involved in over 500 nonprofit funding projects nationwide, helping nonprofits raise over an estimated $1.1 billion. Tom pioneered the concept of applying return on investment (ROI) principles to nonprofit fundraising, and fundraisers have described his work as the “silver bullet” that justifies larger investments in nonprofit organizations. Clients across the nonprofit sector have benefited from increased funding by using his innovative ROI analyses and applications.
Anne Roise, MCP, CEcD BIO Anne Roise is an Instructor of Urban Studies and Planning at Savannah State University and the CEO of Roise & Associates in Savannah, GA. She specializes in strategic planning, project development and organizational coaching for small businesses and non-profit organizations. For several years, Anne served in senior management positions with municipal governments where she was responsible for community revitalization and economic development initiatives. She is a former Director of Economic Development for the City Savannah and also served as the Interim Director of the Savannah Development and Renewal Authority. Her areas of expertise are micro-business development, leadership training, and facilitating coalitions to reduce poverty and stimulate economic opportunities for disenfranchised communities. Anne has a Masters Degree in City Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). After graduating from MIT, she worked as a planner for the City of Cambridge, Massachusetts, and was later employed as the Executive Director of the Massachusetts Supreme Court’s Commission on Racial and Ethnic Bias in the Courts. Anne is a Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) and has provided course instruction for the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) since 2002.
Chuck Shoopman is Assistant Vice President of the University of Tennessee’s Institute for Public Service (IPS). The Institute is composed of five outreach organizations that connect people and solutions to improve the efficiency and performance of businesses and governments across Tennessee. Chuck leads the organization’s efforts to help business and government leaders improve job retention, promote job growth, strengthen leadership capacity and build stronger, safer communities.
Shoopman is a Past-President of the University Economic Development Association (UEDA), representing over 170 member institutions across the U.S., and a current member of the Tennessee Center for Performance Excellence (TNCPE) Board of Directors.
Before rejoining UT in 2004, Shoopman worked over ten years with the Tennessee Valley Authority’s (TVA) Economic Development organization. While at TVA he served in a variety of leadership roles, including Acting Vice President of Economic Development. Program responsibilities ranged from managing the organization’s revolving loan programs and small business assistance efforts to international industrial development activities.
An alumnus of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and Vanderbilt University, Chuck and his wife Kathy are the proud parents of two adult sons and two adult daughters.
Over the past 15 years Benjamin has worked to place more than 60 economic development projects and over $1.5 Billion dollars in capital investment in multiple states. Ben has represented economic development organizations and private sector clients on statewide, regional and local levels.
Clients have called on Ben for governmental affairs at the Federal, State and local levels to advocate for strong public investment or ensuring the passage of project enabling legislation. He has also authored three federal studies between the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Energy.
Ben’s work has been featured in Forbes, Fast Company, Wall Street Journal, Popular Mechanics, National League of Cities Case Study, Business Expansion Journal, Trade and Industry Magazine and multiple local and regional media outlets.
He has been a featured speaker about economic development for Smithsonian Institute, International Economic Development Council (IEDC), Urban Land Institute (ULI), National League of Cities, National Association of Industry Specific Training and numerous local and regional economic development conferences.
Ben earned his Bachelor of Business Administration from Mississippi College and his Masters of Business Administration from the University of Mississippi serving as a John N Palmer fellow. Subsequently Ben furthered his professional education by completing the Economic Development Institute administered by the University of Oklahoma and has earned the designation of Economic Development Finance Professional (EDFP) from the National Development Council.
Vinai Thummalapally serves as Executive Director of SelectUSA, part of the International Trade Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce. Established by Executive Order of the President, SelectUSA is the U.S. government-wide initiative to attract and retain business investment in the United States. As Executive Director, Ambassador Thummalapally manages the strategy and implementation of SelectUSA as it works to create jobs, spur economic growth, and promote American competitiveness. He also co-chairs, with the Director of the White House National Economic Council, the SelectUSA Interagency Investment Working Group to coordinate existing resources across the federal government to promote business investment and address federal regulatory barriers.
Ambassador Thummalapally brings a wealth of experience from both the private and public sectors. President Obama appointed him ambassador to Belize in 2009, where he served until 2013. In his role as Chief of Mission, Ambassador Thummalapally helped strengthen the bilateral relationship between the United States and Belize in the areas of citizen security, economic development, education, and health care. In addition, he found innovative ways to engage regional and international organizations and other embassies to promote the same.
Ambassador Thummalapally has had a distinguished 31-year career in the private sector. Prior to joining the foreign service, Ambassador Thummalapally served as President of MAM-A Inc., formerly Mitsui Advanced Media. MAM-A Inc. was the nation’s leading manufacturer and distributor of archival recordable optical discs. During his fourteen year tenure the company became the benchmark of the optical disc manufacturing industry.
Ambassador Thummalapally also served as the plant manager of WEA Manufacturing Inc., a division of Time Warner Inc.; the Managing Director for Clines Printing and Office Products; and Manufacturing Manager of Disc Manufacturing, Inc. In addition to holding two U.S. patents for design of optical disc manufacturing, he has received several Outstanding Service awards for his professional accomplishments.
Originally from Hyderabad, India, Ambassador Thummalapally moved to the United States in 1974 to pursue his engineering studies. He received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from California State University in 1977 and completed post graduate Business Administration courses from Cal State University in 1980 and University of Tennessee in 1995. He is also fluent in Telugu, Hindi and Urdu.
Ambassador Thummalapally and his wife Barbara have two children.
Doug is a Director in Deloitte Tax’s National Multistate Tax, Credits & Incentives Practice. He has over twenty years of experience in economic development and public policy. Doug and his teams assist clients with evaluating alternative site locations with respect to various cost considerations including negotiating, securing, optimizing and implementing comprehensive statutory and discretionary economic development incentives for projects. Doug also serves as the US liaison for Global Credits & Incentives for Deloitte and is a member of the Global Incentives Leadership committee.
Ellen (Elly) Walkowiak is the Business Development Manager with the City of Tacoma, Washington, Economic Development Division, Community & Economic Development Department. Ms. Walkowiak has an M.S. in Resource Administration and Management from the University of New Hampshire and a B.A. in Environmental Anthropology from the University of Pittsburgh as well as various professional economic development and public management certifications from the National Development Council, Harvard University and Drake University. She has worked for over 20 years in land use planning and economic development. Ms. Walkowiak has extensive experience in negotiating development agreements with minimal public investment, brownfields redevelopment, attracting funding, including Congressional lobbying, recommending and critiquing legislation, and creating community capacity. She has also been involved in international exchanges. She has taught strategic planning in the Ukraine and has published brownfields redevelopment articles that she presented to international professionals in Brazil and in Spain. Ms. Walkowiak is a recipient of the George C. Askew award for excellence in public management. She excels in innovation, community consensus building, creating partnerships and project implementation.
Sandra Watson brings more than 20 years of economic development leadership experience to Arizona. She and her teams have successfully attracted to Arizona hundreds of companies that have invested billions of dollars in capital and created more than 75,000 quality jobs.
During her tenure with the Arizona Department of Commerce, and now the Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA), Ms. Watson served in multiple positions with increasing responsibilities and results. She has led Business Attraction, Business Development, Innovation & Technology, Workforce and Marketing. She has served as an Executive Director on the Governor’s Council of Innovation & Technology in advancing the state’s Innovation and Technology roadmap. Ms. Watson began her career in Canada and brings not only a wealth of knowledge on the regional, state and national levels but can execute effectively on an international scale.
Ms. Watson is a collaborative leader who excels in strategic thinking and relationship building. She worked tirelessly to implement the new vision for the Arizona Commerce Authority, providing invaluable leadership and stability during its transition from the Department of Commerce into one of the nation’s first public-private partnerships focused on economic development. She was instrumental in guiding the implementation of the ACA’s aggressive 5-year business plan promoting the state’s pro-business, competitive value proposition. Under her leadership, the ACA has transformed into Arizona’s leading economic development organization, and advances its three-pronged approach to strengthen the overall economy: recruit, grow, create – recruit out-of-state companies to expand their operations in Arizona; work with existing companies to grow their business in Arizona and beyond; and partner with entrepreneurs and companies large and small to create new jobs and businesses in targeted industries.
She earned an Honors Bachelor of Commerce degree, and has completed the Global Leadership Certification program at the Thunderbird School of Management. In addition to serving on numerous regional and statewide Boards of Directors, Ms. Watson serves on the National State Science and Technology Institute Board of Trustees and is a board member of Make-A-Wish Arizona.
In 2014, the Phoenix Business Journal recognized Ms. Watson as one of the 25 "Most Admired Leaders in Business" and Az Business selected her for its 2014-15 Az Business Leaders publication spotlighting Arizona’s most respected and influential business leaders. In 2013, Az Business also recognized Ms. Watson as one of the “50 Most Influential Women in Arizona Business.” The Phoenix Business Journal in 2012, recognized Ms. Watson among the "Top 25 Women in Business,” one of the 2008 “Power Players in the Phoenix Metro Area,” and in 2004, recognized her as an up-and-coming Arizona leader, with its “Forty Under 40” designation. Ms. Watson is also a two-time recipient of the Arizona Technology Council’s Chairman’s Award (2004 and 2010).
With over 15 years of experience in different levels of advancing community and economic development programs and projects, I’ve been instrumental in bringing in new business as well as deploying resources to existing businesses that are expanding. In my current role as Vice President of Economic Development for the Kenosha Area Business Alliance, my primary duty is to implement business and retention strategy for Kenosha County to position businesses favorably within the Milwaukee-Chicago corridor by meeting with 100 businesses per annum. The Kenosha area is simply an advantageous climate with a diverse, rich base of businesses and, as a result, is thriving. I pursue leads for new and existing businesses by executing a targeted industry strategic approach. I support entrepreneurial efforts to connect our businesses to resources they need to continue to grow. I serve on several boards and committees in the community including the State’s economic development board, the Wisconsin Economic Development Association.
Jay Williams was appointed by President Obama to serve as the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development and was sworn into office on Tuesday, May 20, 2014.
As the Administrator of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA), Williams is charged with leading the federal economic development agenda by promoting innovation and competitiveness, preparing American regions for growth and success in the global economy.
Prior to joining the Department of Commerce, Jay served as the executive director of the Office of Recovery for Auto Communities and Workers. In this capacity, he worked directly with state and local stakeholders in areas affected by the changing American automotive industry to deliver federal support to ensure they returned to better economic condition.
He also served in the White House as Deputy Director for the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs. In this position, he led efforts to engage mayors, city council members, and county officials around the country.
Williams served as the Mayor of Youngstown, Ohio from 2006 to August 1, 2011. During his tenure as Mayor of Youngstown, Williams led efforts that had a direct impact on improving the quality of life for the citizens of Youngstown.
Williams is the recipient of the 2007 John F. Kennedy New Frontier Award. The JFK Library Foundation, in conjunction with the Harvard University Institute of Politics, annually recognizes two exceptional young Americans- under the age of 40, whose contributions in elective office, community service or advocacy demonstrate the impact and value of public service in the spirit of President John F. Kennedy.
Prior to being elected, Williams spent five years as the Director of Community Development for the city. Before transitioning into public service, Williams enjoyed a distinguished career in banking, which included stints at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland and First Place Bank, as a vice president.
Assistant Secretary Williams was born and raised in Youngstown. He graduated from Youngstown State University with a B.S.B.A., majoring in finance.