Link:  Visit the Annual Conference homepage Link:  Visit the Annual Conference homepage
SHARE THE ANNUAL: Link: Share the Annual on LinkedIn Link: Share the Annual on Twitter Link: Share the Annual on Facebook


Peter Abramo CEcD
Director, Entrepreneurship
The College of Wooster
Wooster, OH

Dr. Abramo is the Director of Entrepreneurship for the College of Wooster where he collaborates with regional businesses and service providers, assists in the development of student businesses, and teaches courses. His initial involvement in higher education entrepreneurship began as the Executive Director for the Center for Emerging Technology and Entrepreneurial Studies (CETES), a technology business incubator and the economic development arm of Cameron University. CETES worked closely with military contractors, the U.S. Army at Fort Sill, regional businesses, and higher education institutions across Oklahoma. While in that role, he served on the executive committee of the Oklahoma Business Incubator Association, was a member of the Oklahoma Venture Forum, and provided training to incubator executives through the National Business Incubator Association. Dr. Abramo is involved in numerous economic development activities. He currently serves as the Dean of the University of Oklahoma Economic Development Institute and the Chair of the Higher Education Advisory Committee for the International Economic Development Council.

Brent Adams
Vice President of Policy
Woodstock Institute
Chicago, IL

Brent Adams is the Vice President of Policy for the Woodstock Institute. A licensed attorney since 1997, Brent has worked as a litigator, lobbyist, teacher, and policy advocate. Brent began his career as a litigator for one of Chicago’s largest law firms. In 2002, he pursued his passion for not-for-profit advocacy and became a policy associate for the AIDS Foundation of Chicago, and later, became the Policy Director for Citizen Action/Illinois. At Citizen Action, he authored the Payday Loan Reform Act. Furthering his work within the financial services arena, he became an attorney for the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation in 2006. In 2009, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn appointed Brent the Secretary of Financial and Professional Regulation. In that capacity, Brent served as the State's top regulator, overseeing much of the state's financial system. In 2012, Brent pursued an interest in teaching and became a teacher and debate coach for a private school in Brooklyn, New York. In 2015, he decided to return to Chicago and resume his work in the financial justice and advocacy arenas.

Tony Aggarwal
Kinetic Cubed Ltd
Spinningfields, Manchester, United Kingdom

Tony career spans 25 years in business. Twenty of those years have been in the international arena, where Tony has been travelling regularly to a wide cross section of markets. Tony has thus been able to appreciate the economic development journey and trajectories of the various markets, particularly Europe, Middle East, Africa and India. In the last year alone, Tony travelled to China, India, Australia, South America, North America and Europe to compare how they are coping with the global economic forces at play

Tony’s career includes 8 years in his own start up SME in the clothing sector, before a embarking upon a change of direction, with 4 years in business development with Eaton Corporation of Ohio, where he was involved in JVs and acquisitions in Europe / CIS. After which, Tony has spent the last 12 years in consulting to private and public sector bodies on the impact of globalisation, advising clients on how best to react for economic benefit alongside being involved in the implementation of strategies at a practical level, particularly in the field of trade and investment.

The last six years have been with Kinetic Cubed ( a business development consultancy, specialising in connecting clients to the high growth BRICs markets. Clients include Governments, Investment Promotion and Trade Development Agencies and private companies across Europe and beyond.

Tony holds an MBA from Manchester Business School, Masters in Economic Development from Imperial College London and a Science degree from University College London. Tony is a member of the Council of Manchester University and is a member of the IED in the UK. Tony is also involved with North West of England Chapter of the British American Business Council. Tony lives in Manchester, England with his family.

Thomas D. Blanchard Jr., HLM
Blanchard LLC
Buffalo, NY

After graduating from Old Dominion University with a BS in Business and an MA in Economics, Tom Blanchard began his career in urban economic development in 1972 as Economic Development Planner for the City of Norfolk, Va. Model Cities program. Following that, he was Executive Director of the City of Portsmouth, Va. Community Action Organization and in 1976 was appointed Director of The Department of Development for the City of Norfolk, Va.

As City of Norfolk Director of Development he was directly involved in the acquisition and redevelopment of several key parcels of land valued at over $10 million, most on the waterfront.

Reuse of these parcels ranged from beach front residential to deep draft channel ship and barge terminals. As Executive Director of the Norfolk Recreational Facilities Authority, he managed the concept development and feasibility for NAUTICUS, The National Maritime Center, a $52 million themed attraction which opened in 1994 on the downtown Norfolk waterfront.

After serving as Executive Vice President of the Greater Norfolk Corporation from 1985 to 1989, he was appointed as President of the Horizons Waterfront Commission in Buffalo, NY. When the Horizons Commission was merged into Empire State Development Corporation in 1995, he was appointed Director of Research and Planning for the Empire State Development Western NY Region. In that capacity, he was responsible for planning and construction of the Erie Canal Harbor project in downtown Buffalo and various projects in downtown Niagara Falls including concept development and feasibility for the Niagara Experience Center.

Since retiring from Empire State Development in 2007, he has consulted on the following projects;

- Richardson Center Corporation, Buffalo, NY
- City of Lockport, NY on the Erie canal Flight of Five reconstruction project
- Krog Development Corporation on Town of Clayton NY waterfront development project.

Tom Blanchard has served on the following boards;

- Currently serves as Chair of the Erie Canalway Heritage Fund Board of Directors
- Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor Commission representing ESD
- National Council for Urban Economic Development, now IEDC, Chairman 1986-88
- Downtown Norfolk Development Corporation
- Norfolk Opportunities Industrialization Center (OIC), Chairman
- Buffalo Yacht Club, Past Commodore

Tom has received the following awards;

- Member Omega Delta Epsilon Honorary Economics Society
- Old Dominion University School of Business and Economics, Distinguished Alumni, 1979
- International Economic Development Council (IEDC) , Deluca Lifetime Achievement Award, September, 2001

Tom holds a US Coast Guard Master Mariner Credential for 50 ton vessels operating in the Great Lakes and US Inland Waters.

Nancy Bowen-Ellzey, CEcD
Assistant Professor and Field Specialist
Community Economics Ohio State University
Lima, OH

Nancy Bowen, CEcD, is an Associate Professor and Field Specialist, Community Economics for Ohio State University Extension. With over 25 years experience working for and a wide range of communities, businesses, and organizations, she specializes in community economic development. Her areas of focus include economic impact analysis, business and community strategic planning, economic sustainability, and energy development. Nancy obtained a Master of Urban and Regional Planning from the University of New Orleans in 1990.

Alastair Boyd
B&L Associates
Marseille, France

Alastair has spent the past 30 years living and working in France, Germany and Belgium. His experience with international trade development began in the early 1980s with the Brussels-based European office of the State of Michigan. Creating B&L Associates in 1986, the major part of Alastair's career has been spent helping foreign clients make connections with French speaking markets. Alastair has assisted some 1500 companies from a wide spectrum of industries and market sectors with their business development ambitions in France and other French-speaking countries.

Gwendy Brown
Vice President, Research & Policy
Opportunity Fund
San Francisco, CA

Gwendy Brown is Vice President of Research and Policy at Opportunity Fund, California’s leading microfinance organization. In her role, Gwendy works to advance responsible business and consumer lending, college affordability and access to savings opportunities for all Californians. Gwendy was first drawn to development work when she served as a Fulbright Scholar with the Andean Development Corporation (CAF) in Caracas, Venezuela. She holds a BA in Economics & Public Policy from Pomona College and an MPA in Nonprofit Management from New York University. Gwendy is originally from Berkeley, CA.

Bryan Buggey, MBA
Strategic Initiatives and Sector Development Vancouver Economic Commission
Vancouver, B.C. Canada

Bryan is responsible for economic and business development at the City of Vancouver’s Economic Commission. In his role as Director, he is leading a team in charge of several initiatives with respect to the City’s Greenest City Action Plan, Digital Strategy and its Economic Action Strategy. These initiatives include the creation of an innovation hub for technology start-up and social innovators; a clean-tech demonstration program leveraging municipal assets and infrastructure; and supporting the creation of a Green Enterprise Zone and a Digital District. Bryan also heads up the business development team that is responsible for strengthening the key sectors that support the so-called Green, Digital and Innovation Economies. Professionally, Bryan’s key interests lay in the transformation of the local economy to a low-carbon future leveraging innovative technologies, clean energy and sustainable urban design as important tools to achieve that goal. Bryan has an undergraduate degree in Economics (Regional Economic Development), an MBA in IT Strategy and is also a graduate of UBC’s Summer Institute for Sustainability.

Christine Bustamante
Columbus, OH

Christine is the National Co-Leader of the Global Location and Expansion Services (GLES) Practice and a Tax Managing Director in the State and Local Tax Practice of KPMG LLP, based in Columbus, Ohio. Christine has over 18 years of experience at both the state and local level in economic development, including site selection/location analysis, business incentives and credits.

Ralph Chow
Regional Director, Americas
Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC)
New York, NY

Mr. Ralph Chow is the Regional Director, Americas of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), the statutory organization responsible for promoting and developing Hong Kong's external trade. Mr. Chow is responsible for the formulation and implementation of the Council’s promotion activities in Americas, with a view to fostering the business relationship between Hong Kong and the economies in North America and the Latin America. Mr. Chow joined HKTDC in 1986 and moved up the ranks to his current position. He has extensive experience working both in Hong Kong and overseas, including Japan and Australia. He was the Director of Japan stationed in Tokyo from 2002 to 2005, and Director of Product Promotion at the Head Office in Hong Kong afterwards until July 2014 when he was transferred to the Council’s New York Office as Regional Director, Americas. Born and raised in Hong Kong, Mr. Chow graduated from the Chinese University of Hong Kong with a Bachelor degree of Business and Administration. He also holds a Master of Business and Administration degree from the University of Hull, U.K. and a Master of International and Public Affairs degree from the University of Hong Kong. Mr. Chow is married with twin daughters.

Maureen Collins, CDM
Entrepreneurial Communities Project
Cedar Falls, IA

Maureen ‘Mo’ Collins is a partner in Entrepreneurial Communities, founder of Wren Technologies and a professional speaker. She trains hundreds of economic development professionals, chamber executives and community leaders each year and regularly speaks throughout North America on topics associated with technology innovation, women’s leadership and entrepreneurship. Before founding her own firm, Collins served in progressive, senior-level roles at the University of Northern Iowa (UNI), including UNI’s first director of Technology Transfer and later, Entrepreneurship Outreach. She raised more than $1M annually to support a wide array of entrepreneur support programs and resources including multiple tech- based programs; Dream Big Grow Here, Connections, MyEntre.Net, EntreFest and the Iowa Business Concierge. Collectively, these programs provided more than 2,000 Midwest entrepreneurs grants, access to complex business.

Michelle Comerford
Project Director/Industrial & Supply Chain Practice Leader
Biggins Lacy Shapiro & Co.
Cleveland, OH

Michelle Comerford develops and implements corporate location strategies for BLS & Co.'s manufacturing and distribution clients. Based in Cleveland, Michelle worked across a range of industries during her 12-year site selection career. She is an expert in transportation/logistics cost analysis, a key variable for industrial and logistics-sensitive projects.

She was formerly with Austin Consulting, the site selection practice within The Austin Company (U.S. subsidiary of Japanese construction conglomerate Kajima), serving most recently as Managing Director of the group. During her tenure there, Michelle directed clients in evaluating supply chain logistics, location strategy, and community/site selection alternatives, as well as due diligence, property acquisition, and other aspects of project implementation. Her clients have included Avon Products, Bimbo Bakeries, Colgate Palmolive, Celebration Foods and Sierra Nevada Brewing Company.

Michelle led the Austin Consulting team in the development of the state-wide shovel ready site certification program for the State of Tennessee, known as Select Tennessee Certified Sites. Michelle has been a featured speaker at a number of economic development events and meetings, and she is a frequent contributor to industry-specific publications.

Articles she has authored include "Corporate Survey Analysis: Little Business Change, but Glimmers of Hope" (Area Development Winter 2011), "Labor Costs: The Number One Site Location Factor" (Area Development 2010) and "The Art and Science of Incentives Negotiation" (ChiefExecutive.NET).

JoAnn Crary, CEcD, FM, HLM
Saginaw Future, Inc.
Saginaw, MI

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 served as the Chair of the International Economic Development Council’s Board of Directors in 2015, 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.

Gene DePrez
Founder & Managing Partner
Global Innovation Partners, Ltd.
Sparta, NJ

Founding partner of Global Innovation Partners, a group of highly experienced innovation champions assisting businesses, cities and universities to increase their global competitiveness. Recently chief innovation officer for the UK's first comprehensive economic development company. Previously Co-Global and Americas Leader for IBM's Global Location and Economic Development strategies consulting practice, and associate partner in IBM’s Strategy & Change practice and IBM’s Global Innovation Team, and at PricewaterhouseCoopers prior to IBM’s acquisition of PwC’s management consulting practice.

Currently also Senior Fellow at the International Economic Development Council, and recipient of the Council’s 2011 Chairman’s Award for Excellence in Economic Development.

Strategic Advisor--Partnerships to Citiscope, the independent, journalist led website and global news service reporting on innovation best practices in cities around the world.

Over 35 years of advising hundreds of the world’s leading organizations to transform their business strategies and where to invest and locate their headquarters, research centres, advanced manufacturing and other major business units. Past clients include Citigroup, Novartis, Merck, Becton Dickinson, P&G/Gillette, Hertz Corporation, Shire Pharmaceuticals, Master Card, VISA and UPS.

Directed competitive economic development strategy for numerous states and city - regions throughout North America and the UK. Clients have included Pennsylvania, Texas, Louisiana, Maryland, Indiana, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, New York, and New Jersey, and metro areas of Phoenix, Toledo, Baltimore, Toronto, and Sheffield and Hull in the UK. Led the development of best practice growth models for universities and technology parks, among them the world class Research Triangle Park.

Also served as Vice President of PHH Fantus and as Principal of Fluor Daniel Consulting, and President/CEO of Partnerships DataNet; a Washington DC based national collaborative development initiative formed by the White House with business and association leaders. Earlier was a university director of public affairs and held several marketing communications positions at Eastman Kodak.

Patrick Dine
PSD Global Inc.
Fairfax, VA

Founder and President of PSD Global, Mr. Dine has decades of experience in international economic development and global business, including running the US operations of multiple companies, representing dozens of EDA’s and setting up firms in 40+ countries. He has also won awards in foreign direct investment attraction and is well known as an expert in the field. He is fluent in five languages, including German, Spanish and French. Mr. Dine launched PSD Global in 1999 and has established the company as a leader in economic development, lead generation and global business development for clients from across the world, including Global 1000 companies and various national governments.

Before starting PSD Global, Mr. Dine built up and led the global business development activities of the wireless software firm mPortal. Other professional experience includes heading all international operations and business development for network management company Edge Technologies. At Edge, he successfully established the company's presence in over 30 countries and formed alliances with some of the world's leading companies like Volkswagen, Vodafone, Banco do Brazil, and Dimension Data of South Africa. He also managed the lead generation team of Odell, Simms and Associates and built the company’s German EDA practice. Other past assignments include work for the United Nations, Siemens, Shell and Deutsche Bank, among others.

He frequently speaks to executives on topics related to international business and has served as an advisor on international affairs for U.S. presidential campaigns. He holds a number of degrees, including a MA in International Affairs from GW University, a Graduate Certificate in Intl. Business Planning from GMU, and Doctoral Studies in Global Business Management from the University of Cape Town, South Africa. He is married with children and in his free time teaches scuba diving and is an avid tennis player and ski patroller.

Eric Doden
Greater Fort Wayne Inc.
Fort Wayne

A graduate of Hillsdale College, and Valparaiso University School of Law, Eric Doden champions continuous improvement and higher education. A principal of the boutique private equity firm Domo Ventures since 2011, Eric took a leave of absence to answer the call of Indiana Governor Mike Pence to serve as President of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation in January 2013. Doden has been in his role at GFW Inc. since July of 2015 and enjoys his time with wife Maci and four children when he is home.

Karl R. Dorshimer, EDFP
Director of Business Development
Lansing Economic Development Corporation
Lansing, MI

Karl Dorshimer – Currently Director of Business Development for the Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP) has 20 years of experience in economic development at both the regional and local level. He has been directly involved in many economic projects from small micro-enterprise start-ups to major redevelopment projects including the GM Grand River and Lansing Delta assembly plants and the Accident Fund’s new world headquarters. He started his career in economic development at the Lansing Tri-County Regional Planning Commission. Mr. Dorshimer left Tri-County to go to work for the Capital Area Michigan Works! Agency. He then moved on to be the Vice President and then President and CEO of the Lansing Economic Development Corporation. Mr. Dorshimer has earned many honors and professional certifications including: Certified Economic Developer (CEcD), Economic Development Finance Professional (EDFP), American Institute of Certified Planners and a Graduate of the Economic Development Institute. He is a past president of the Lansing Regional Economic Development Team and currently serves on the Board of the Michigan Economic Developers Association.

Michael Dozier
Executive Director
Office of Community and Economic Development at Fresno State
Fresno, CA

Mike Dozier serves as the Executive Director of the Office of Community and Economic Development (OCED) at Fresno State, and is the Lead Executive of the California Partnership for the San Joaquin Valley. The Partnership is an 8 county regional collaborative established by the state of California to issues affecting the Valley in 10 areas of focus: Economic Development, Workforce Development/Higher Education, Housing, PreK-12 Education, Broadband, Health and Wellness, Air Quality, Energy, Water Quality/Supply, and Sustainable Communities. OCED also administers the Rural Development Center, San Joaquin Valley Broadband Consortium, the Community and Regional Planning Center, Fresno State SBDC, and the San Joaquin Valley Regional Industry Cluster Initiative. OCED partners with the California Association for Local Economic Development and the International Economic Development Council to conduct the annual Introduction to Economic Development Certificate course. Prior to his current position, Mike was Redevelopment Director with the City of Atwater, California (1987-1992), and Director of Community and Economic Development with the City of Clovis, California (1992 to 2009). Mike is a director on the following: Central Valley Business Incubator, California Association of Local Economic Development (CALED), UC Merced SBDC Advisory Committee, and the University Economic Development Association (UEDA) – President 2014-15.

Doug Eadie
President & CEO
Doug Eadie & Company, Inc.
Oldsmar, FL

Doug Eadie is President & CEO of Doug Eadie & Company, a firm specializing in developing high-impact board and CEO leadership and building solid board-CEO partnerships. Doug has provided hands-on consulting assistance to over 500 nonprofit boards and CEOs over the past quarter-century. His clients have included a wide array of nonprofit organizations, such as the International Economic Development Council, Port San Antonio, the Charlotte Regional Partnership, the North Louisiana Economic Partnership, the Port Authority of Allegheny County, the Health Industry Distributors Association, the American Health Information Management Association, the Savannah Chamber of Commerce, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, and the Utah Transit Authority, among many other nonprofits of all shapes and sizes. Doug has also helped to shape the field of nonprofit board and CEO leadership through his 23 books, including his best-selling The Board-Savvy CEO (, and over 100 articles and his frequent presentations at national conferences of organizations such as IEDC, the American Society of Association Executives, the American Public Transportation Association, and the National School Boards Association. Doug manages and writes for five national blogs, including:;; and

Lee Ann Eager
President & CEO
Fresno County Economic Development Corporation (EDC)
Fresno, CA

Lee Ann Eager joined the Economic Development Corporation serving Fresno County in September of 2009. She was hired as the President/CEO in February of 2012. Her responsibilities include oversight of all aspects of the organization. Lee Ann is on numerous boards including the California Partnership for the San Joaquin Valley and was recently appointed to the Governor’s Advisory Council on International Trade and Investment. Additionally, Lee Ann serves as chairperson of the California Central Valley EDC, which represents all 8 counties in the Central Valley of California. Lee Ann is also the legislative liaison with local, state, and federal legislators on numerous issues important to economic development including High-Speed Rail. 

Lee Ann is a fourth generation Fresnan. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from California State University, Fresno with a degree in Criminology where she was awarded the Dean’s Medal. Lee Ann also graduated from the University of California Davis School of Law, where she earned her JD. Prior to joining the EDC, Lee Ann was an attorney with the law firm of Lang, Richert & Patch where she practiced law in numerous areas including Creditor’s Rights, Bankruptcy, Business Litigation, and Labor and Employment. Before attending law school, Lee Ann was the Executive Director of a large local non-profit agency for ten years.

Regina Emberton, SIOR, CCIM
Michiana Partnertship
South Bend, IN

Regina Emberton is President & CEO of Michiana Partnership, a collaboration of economic development partners from Elkhart, St. Joseph and Marshall counties in Northern Indiana and Berrien and Cass counties in Southwest Michigan. The organization serves as a single point of contact for regional communication and seeks to create economic opportunities for all partner members through collaborative promotion, marketing and capacity building efforts. Michiana Partnership is also serving as the Administrator for the newly formed Northern Indiana Regional Development Authority – which consists of and leverages the vast experience and services of business, academic, philanthropic and government leaders working to transform the region by improving quality of life and spurring population growth. Prior to this role, Regina was vice president of CBRE | Bradley Co. where she was engaged in a variety of commercial real estate projects, including market research, consulting, brokerage, investment and development. Regina currently serves as board chair for the Boys and Girls Clubs of St. Joseph County Downtown South Bend, Inc. Regina received her BS and MPA in Community and Economic Development from Indiana University South Bend and earned the CCIM and SIOR designations while working in the commercial real estate industry.

Kurt Foreman
Executive Vice President, Economic Development
Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Oklahoma City, OK

Kurt Foreman, currently serves as head of the Economic Development Division at the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber, one of the nation’s largest and most successful chambers of commerce. Kurt and the Chamber’s 14-member economic development team focus on job creation and capital investment by attracting new businesses, growing and retaining existing businesses, supporting innovation and entrepreneurial development, and attracting destination retail businesses. He also has either CEO or senior staff level experience at local and regional economic development organizations in Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Washington DC and Wisconsin. In addition Kurt has worked as a site selection consultant and an executive recruiter with a leading international search firm. Kurt relishes the opportunity to work with boards and volunteer committees. He developed an interest and passion for working with boards over many years as both an economic developer and community/church volunteer. He has direct experience working on board transformation, particularly in the context of merging economic development groups, and seen firsthand the benefits that come from having a well-organized and properly positioned board. Kurt received his bachelor’s degree at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, PA and his MBA from Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C. Kurt and his wife Julie have four children.

Jay A. Garner, CEcD, CCE, FM, HLM
Garner Economics, LLC
Atlanta, GA

Jay A. Garner, CEcD, CCE is the president and founder of Garner Economics, LLC, an economic development and site location consulting firm headquartered in Atlanta, Ga. Jay is a leader and innovator in the economic development profession, having served for 36 years as both an award-winning economic development, Chamber of Commerce CEO, and site location professional. His firm assists clients throughout the world on a wide variety of projects, offering innovative, yet real-world solutions to achieve success. Jay often lectures and provides counsel on creating and implementing proactive global business development strategies and tactics. His firm is also a leader in providing assistance to corporate clients in their site selection process, such as Anchor Glass, Academy Sports, Hatfield Quality Meats, Stork Food Systems, Future Pipe Industries and others. His firm is the exclusive provider of site location services for Primus Builders—a global leader in architecture, engineering and construction management specializing in food processing manufacturing, and their worldwide clients. He is a founding member and past vice chair for the Site Selectors Guild, a prestigious group of the top site location consultants globally.

Jay is a graduate of West Virginia University with Bachelor of Arts and Master of Public Administration degrees. He is also a graduate of both the Economic Development Course at the Georgia Institute of Technology and the Economic Development Institute at the University of Oklahoma, where he is an instructor in international prospecting. Jay has led over 25 trade and business development missions on four continents leading to the creation of thousands of jobs and several billion dollars in capital investment. He is a Certified Economic Developer (CEcD), a Fellow Member and an Honorary Life Member, the three highest professional designations awarded to those in the economic development profession by the International Economic Development Council. He is also a Certified Chamber Executive (CCE), a professional designation awarded to Chamber professionals by the American Chamber of Commerce Executives Association.

In 2009, the readers of Southern Business & Development magazine named Garner Economics as one of the best consulting firms in the U.S. In 2015, the same publication listed Jay as one of the “Ten people who made a difference” in economic development. As a practitioner, Jay was selected as one of ten outstanding leaders in economic development in the United States by Site Selection magazine while leading the economic development program in Mobile, Ala. The same publication also recognized him for running one of the ten best development organizations in the U.S. for six consecutive years. The mayor and city council of Mobile declared July 29, 1994 as “Jay Garner Day” in the city for his nine years of exemplary service as chief economic development officer for the city/county. As CEO of the Asheville, N.C. Chamber of Commerce, the organization became the first Chamber in the U.S. to win a Quality Award by the North Carolina Quality Foundation based on the national Malcolm Baldrige criteria. He was honored in both 2002 and 2003 by his alma mater, West Virginia University with Distinguished Alumnus Awards within the Department of Political Science and College of Arts and Sciences.

Jay is a past chairman for the International Economic Development Council, the largest economic development professional trade organization in the world. An avid jazz drummer, he plays in a big band jazz orchestra in the Atlanta area.

David Ghoris
Economic Development Officer
City of Red Deer
Red Deer, AB CA

David Ghoris is the Economic Development Officer for the City of Red Deer. In this role he is responsible for business attraction, retention and expansion as well as building the reputation of Red Deer as a world class city to live and work . Previously, David was the Head of Content for dmg :: events, and was primarily responsible for driving cutting edge and innovative content with C-Level Executives and key government figures throughout the event portfolio, as well as leading the conference teams growth into Latin America.

Michael Gilroy
Program Director for Defense Industry Adjustment, Office of Economic Adjustment (OEA)
Department of Defense
Arlington, VA

Michael Gilroy serves as the Program Director for Defense Industry Adjustment within the Office of Economic Adjustment (OEA). As Team Lead, Mr. Gilroy manages the OEA’s Defense Industry Adjustment portfolio of $192 million, and oversees a team of Project Managers providing technical assistance to communities impacted by defense procurement reductions. Additionally, Mr. Gilroy serves as the OEA’s liaison to United States Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Justice and the Department of Veterans Affairs through the President’s Economic Adjustment Committee.

Prior to joining the Department of Defense, Mr. Gilroy was the National BRAC Coordinator for the Employment and Training Administration (ETA) of the U.S. Department of Labor, where he moved after completing a 21-year Army career. While at ETA, Mr. Gilroy coordinated the Department’s response to BRAC 2005 on a national level, developing policy and ensuring a consistent response on behalf of the Employment and Training Administration’s six regional offices. He also led ETA’s Hurricane Katrina Recovery effort from 2007-2009. Mr. Gilroy served as either Team Lead or Deputy on thirteen holistic economic development projects operated by ETA under the Workforce Innovation in Regional Economic Development (WIRED) program, the BRAC program or the Regional Innovation Grant (RIG) program. He was the instrumental in creating Labor’s RIG program and served as the original author of multiple ETA Training and Employment Guidance Letters (TEGL) related to the RIG, Katrina and BRAC recovery programs. Mr. Gilroy also provided direct support to the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Employment and Training as the Labor staff lead on the President’s Economic Adjustment Committee.

Mr. Gilroy holds an undergraduate degree in History from Providence College, (Providence, Rhode Island) as well as Masters degrees in Public Administration from the University of Oklahoma (Norman., Oklahoma) and in National Security and Strategy from the United States Naval War College (Newport, Rhode Island) where he was also the President’s Honor Graduate. He is a member of the Project Management Institute, the American Society for Training and Development, the International Economic Development Council and the American Planning Association.

Haley Glover
Strategy Director
Lumina Foundation
Indianapolis, IN

Haley Glover is Strategy Director for Lumina Foundation, the nation’s largest private foundation focused solely on increasing students’ access to and success in postsecondary education. Haley leads Lumina’s strategy to mobilize communities and employers for higher education attainment. Prior to joining Lumina’s staff, Haley served as Associate Commissioner for Policy and Planning Studies at the Indiana Commission for Higher Education, where she led the deployment of the Commission’s strategic plan, built accountability models, and helped guide higher education policy for the state. She has also served as the Chief Fiscal Officer of the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education, and as a Fiscal Policy Analyst for the Massachusetts Executive Office of Administration and Finance. Early in her career, Haley served a Researcher for the Center for Economic Competitiveness at the Hudson Institute. Haley holds a bachelor’s degree in secondary education, English and American History from Franklin College in Franklin, Indiana. She earned a Master of Arts in Liberal Arts from St. John’s College Graduate Institute in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and a Master of Public Administration from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University. Haley lives in Indianapolis, IN with her husband, Eric, and daughter Harper.

Peter J. Hammer
Professor of Law
Wayne State University
Detroit, MI

Peter J. Hammer, Professor of Law and Director Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights at Wayne State University School of Law, Detroit Michigan, USA. The Keith Center is dedicated to promoting the educational, economic and political empowerment of under-represented communities in urban areas and to ensuring that the phrase equal justice under law applies to all members of society. Professor Hammer was instrumental in editing and compiling Judge Damon J. Keith’s new biography, Crusader for Justice: Federal Judge Damon J. Keith (2013). Professor Hammer has become a leading voice on the economic and social issues impacting the city of Detroit. He has expertise in the fields of domestic health law and policy, as well as international public health and economic development. He is a recipient of an Investigator Award in Health Policy Research from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and served as lead editor for Uncertain Times: Kenneth Arrow and the Changing Economics of Health Care, a book published by Duke University Press (2003). Combining his training as an economist and a lawyer, his most recent book, Change and Continuity at the World Bank: Reforming Paradoxes of Economic Development (2013), takes on questions of international economic growth and development.

John Hixson
Vice President of Advanced Manufacturing
St. Louis Economic Development Partnership
St. Louis, MO

John Hixson serves as the Vice President of Advanced Manufacturing for the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership. Hixson provides executive leadership in the area of defense business/worker retention and expansion to grow the advanced manufacturing sector. He also coordinates the Partnership’s efforts to retain and expand defense businesses and to improve the advanced manufacturing climate in St. Louis.

Hixson has enjoyed a productive career as a business executive. His first career position was at J.S. Alberici Construction Co., Inc., where he began as a cost accountant and eventually became Manager of the Fabrication Division. Later, Hixson was President and Chief Executive Officer of LaBarge Products, Inc.

He has served three stints at LaBarge Products, operated his own consulting firm and held a variety of executive positions at R&R Steel, Detering Associates and Collins and Hermann, Inc. Hixson's civic affiliations include serving as a member of the Business Development Division Advisory Board of the Greater El Paso Chamber of Commerce, member of the Board of Directors of the Health Care Family Credit Union, and a member of the Advisory Board of the Walker Scottish Rite Clinic for Childhood Language Disorders.

John’s other civic work includes serving as general campaign chair and campaign finance chair in tax levy and bond issue elections in the Rockwood School District (approx. 20,000 students) in suburban St. Louis. He also served as chair of the finance committee for the district's strategic planning efforts, and was a founding member of the Rockwood School and Student Foundation.

Hixson earned a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Business Administration, Management and Operations from the University of Missouri-St. Louis. He also earned a Certificate in Management Studies from the Graduate School of Business Administration from Washington University in St. Louis, Mo. He is a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE), a Certified Government Contractor (CGC), and a Certified Management Consultant (CMC). John is originally from Gower, Missouri.

John Holden
Lewiston Auburn Economic Growth Council
Lewiston Auburn, ME

President of the Lewiston Auburn Economic Growth Council, John lead the development of a new Growth Strategy for the LA. His team are crafting a new brand and building a creative and innovative business community-- focusing on business expansion and retention. As Director of Community Development in City of Rockland --John set forth clear, concise strategies to implement plans and projects. He leveraged a number of business expansions, small and large, and fostered redevelopment projects in the downtown. As consultant with Eaton Peabody and his own jphCED Consulting, John provided guidance and development for community economic development strategies, focusing on downtown, tax increment financing, and development plans. John worked for USDA Rural Development, University of Maine, and Ohio State University Extension crafting financing, business, and economic development plans and projects. At Eastern Maine Development Corporation he oversaw the implementation of a cultural development project in that led to the formation of The Maine Highlands tourism region. He worked on strategic redevelopment of former naval stations and attracted business to the region. John was a founding board member of the National Folk Festival in Bangor that evolved into the American Folk Festival on the Bangor waterfront.

Dixon Holmes, AICP, CEcD
Deputy Mayor, Economic Development
Provo City Mayor’s Office of Economic Development
Provo, UT

Dixon has been with Provo City since 1994. Prior to working for Provo City, Dixon worked briefly in Las Vegas for Clarke County Current Planning and Zoning. He has had a variety of job titles in both Community and Economic Development with Provo. Dixon started as a Project Plan Coordinator, then Zoning Administrator before joining Economic Development. He graduated from Brigham Young University, where he received both his undergraduate in Geography/Land Use Planning and Master’s Degree of Public Administration. Dixon is the Deputy Mayor in the Mayor’s Office of Economic Development where he leads the focus on enhancing the local quality of life through promoting job growth and increasing the City tax base. Major initiatives include a first ever, city wide economic development strategic plan and retail strategy, developing a 200 acre business park, working with developers on various commercial projects in Provo and assisting in the revitalization of downtown Provo into a high density and intensity place to do business, dine, shop and live. In 2014, Dixon worked with a team of local entrepreneurs and stake holders to organize 1 Million Cups Provo, a Kauffman Labs Foundation initiative to support the startup community.

Kevin Johns, AICP
City of Austin - Economic Growth & Redevelopment Services Office
Austin, TX

Mr. Johns is Director of Economic Development for Palm Beach County, Florida. In this capacity he is supervising implementation of the 21st Century Palm Beach County Strategic Economic Plan. This economic plan has received national awards in 2008 and 2009 including an International Economic Development Council (IEDC) Award of Excellence for its approach to Globalization. Sweeping new global economic initiatives are transforming the community. This includes development of an intermodal logistics complex (Inland Port) as the nexus South Florida Seaports seeking billions of dollars of trade from the 2014 opening of the Panama Canal super locks. Related accomplishments include the establishment of an International Finance District, Global Capital Markets Group and virtual consular corps to finance international equity projects and trade. In the area of high technology, international MOAs have been signed with World Trade Centers in Max Planck Society network cities to facilitate investment and trade with European knowledge industries. To advance global tourism and to address disinvestment a first Intracoastal Waterway Plan was developed based upon the Thames River Gateway case study for the U.K.

Previously Mr. Johns was Director of Planning for the Southeast U.S. region for the multinational Parsons Corporation. Kevin was also Director of two of the nation’s fastest growing suburbs, both in the Atlanta metro area during the 1980s and 1990s. His far seeing plans have been widely recognized in the media … including the 2009 Sports Illustrated issue on Poverty in the sports hungry Glades region of Florida, the National League of Cities book “Economic Successes in Small Cities,” NBC Atlanta’s “In Depth” television show,” the LA Times, Southern Living Magazine, the Christian Science Monitor, and Atlanta Journal Constitution. Mr. Johns has a Masters Degree in City Planning from the Georgia Tech College of Architecture, and a BA from Case Western Reserve University in Ohio. He is nationally recognized for economic development, strategic planning, and environmental projects. His accomplishments include national and state awards. Kevin has implemented over 200 successful public private partnerships across the U.S. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners, the Regional Leadership Institute of Atlanta, and the International Economic Development Council.

Peter Joseph
Executive Director
Invest in the USA
Washington, DC

Since 2010, Peter D. Joseph has served as the Executive Director of Invest In the USA (IIUSA) - the national trade association for the EB-5 Regional Center Program which accounts annually for billions of dollars in capital investment, creating tens of thousands of U.S. jobs and generating billions of dollars of tax dollars for the U.S. economy. Under his leadership, IIUSA has grown to represent well over 95% of capital flowing through the EB-5 Program - while achieving advocacy, policy, and industry development goals by actively engaging in government and public affairs with an international reach. Mr. Joseph has been involved in various aspects of the EB-5 Program starting in 2007 when he worked at a leading EB-5 law firm, followed by independent consulting with Regional Centers and service providers. He received his M.S. from the DePaul University School of Public Service in Leadership and Public Policy in 2012 with distinction, focusing his research on foreign direct investment and economic oriented immigration policy. He received his B.S. from Ithaca College in 2007.

Susan Liberty
Vice President
Infrastructure & Economic Development McGuire Woods Consulting
Tysons, VA

Susan joined McGuireWoods Consulting’s Infrastructure and Economic Development team in 2000. She has extensive economic development and legislative experience. She specializes in advising national and international corporations with their relocation decisions, site selection and incentive negotiations throughout the United States. Her client list encompasses numerous business sectors with a wide-range of requirements including corporate headquarters relocations, manufacturing, food industry distribution, aerospace, government contracting and international shipping.

Additionally, Susan represents clients’ interest on a wide range of issues with state and local officials. She has been an integral part of the McGuireWoods Consulting team that played a leading role in the development and passage of Virginia’s current legal structure for public-private partnerships and innovative financing. Susan advises clients on project identification and proposal preparation using the Public-Private method for procurement for state and local governments. She has advised client’s that have built hospitals; higher education facilities; parking decks; public education facilities and Rehabilitation of Utility and Wastewater Infrastructure. She also represents clients using her relationships with state and local officials to bring about a successful outcome on land use and zoning issues in Virginia.

Prior to joining McGuireWoods Consulting, she was the director of policy and business development at the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority where she assisted major corporations with their relocation and business expansion requirements. In addition to concentrating on local business retention, she led the business expansion team that successfully marketed Fairfax County in Silicon Valley. Susan also provided the full range of relocation and business expansion services to international companies. Previously, she was the chief of staff for Thomas M. Davis, II, Chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.

Jeff Marcell
Senior Partner
TIP Strategies
Austin, TX

As a senior partner with TIP Strategies, Inc., Jeff Marcell leads high profile national consulting engagements. Before joining TIP, Jeff served as president and CEO of the Economic Development Council of Seattle and King County. Jeff joined the Seattle EDC in 2004, and during his tenure, rebuilt the organization’s client-based economic development programs. Under his leadership, the Seattle EDC was recognized by IEDC as the Best Practice Category Winner for programs in Technology-Led Economic Development and Sustainable and Green Development. He received the Outstanding Board Service Award from the Seattle-King County Workforce Development Council in 2012, in 2013 he received the MacArthur Award for Leadership from the Washington State Department of Commerce, and in 2015 he received the Distinguished Service Award from the Washington State Economic Development Association. Prior to joining the Seattle EDC, Jeff served as a marketing executive in the Economic Development Division of the Greater Houston Partnership. Jeff has a Juris Doctorate from South Texas College of Law, a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and Certificates in Real Estate Development and Nonprofit Management from the University of Washington.

Joseph A. Marinucci, FM, HLM
President & CEO
Downtown Cleveland Alliance
Cleveland, OH

Mr. Marinucci's career encompasses more than 32 years of economic development experience. Mr. Marinucci has expertise in strategic planning, real estate development, business retention and expansion, commercial and retail investment, economic development financing, business development marketing, and regional and national policy development. Mr. Marinucci currently serves as President and CEO of Downtown Cleveland Alliance and oversees numerous programs designed to spur investment in downtown Cleveland, including the staffing of the downtown property owner’s clean and safe programs and major physical development initiatives. In addition, he works closely with developers and businesses seeking to invest in downtown Cleveland. As Vice President of Real Estate Development for Cleveland's Playhouse Square Foundation, Mr. Marinucci directed real estate activities for the country's second largest theater district. Mr. Marinucci served as treasurer for the National Council for Urban Economic Development (CUED), where he was a long time member of the Executive Committee. He also served as Chairman of the Board of the International Economic Development Council - CUED's successor organization.

Rob St. Mary
Director of Outreach
Detroit, MI

After a 14 year career in commercial & public radio, I decided to take the lessons learned on the streets covering neighborhoods, arts, & culture, and turn them outward as a way of improving the things I’ve loved all my life. As not only a Patronicity employee but a success story, I know what the platform can do for the individual and the larger community to open opportunity. Beyond my work here, I’m also a huge film and music fan, published my first book in the Fall 2015, and continue to play guitar/bass. I enjoy time with friends, fine food, and my cats.

Barry I. Matherly, CEcD, FM
President and CEO
Greater Richmond Partnership
Richmond, VA

Barry I. Matherly is a certified economic developer with over 20 years of leadership experience at the city, county, regional and university levels.  He also interned 3 years for the United States Department of Commerce.

Currently, Barry is President and CEO at the Greater Richmond Partnership, a public/private regional organization that is the single point of contact for domestic and international businesses looking to locate or expand in the Richmond Virginia Region.

Previously, he was the executive director of the Lincoln Economic Development Association in North Carolina, the Director of Economic Development for the communities of Goochland and Pulaski, Virginia and the Special Projects Manager at the Economic Development Assistance Center at Virginia Tech University.  

Mr. Matherly has a bachelor’s degree from James Madison University and a master’s degree from Virginia Tech University.  He is also a graduate of the Economic Development Institute at the University of Oklahoma and a recipient of the Robert B. Cassell Leadership Award.  

Barry serves as the Chair of the International Economic Development Council Board and is on the Governance Committee.  Barry also serves on the Executive Board of the Economic Development Institute at the University of Oklahoma and is chair of the Scholarship and Development Committee.

Locally, Barry serves on the University of Richmond School of Business Executive Advisory Council, the Virginia Commonwealth University Innovation Advisory Board and the Richmond Public Schools Superintendent’s Business Advisory Council. In addition, he is Vice Chair of the Legislative Advisory Committee for the Virginia Economic Developers Association and a member of the Greater Richmond Association for Commercial Real Estate.

Barry Matherly, a graduate of Leadership Metro Richmond, was named one of the 40 Leaders Under 40 (2002) by the Charlotte Business Journal, recognized as a North Carolina Main Street Champion, designated as a Fellow Member by IEDC and is a Senior Fellow of the American Leadership Forum.

Chad R. Miller, PhD
Associate Professor
University of Southern Mississippi (USM)
Hattiesburg, MS

Chad R. Miller, Ph.D., Associate Professor, is Graduate Coordinator of the Masters of Science of Economic Development program. He is Assistant Director of the Center for Logistics, Trade, and Transportation (CLTT), which is an official U.S. Department of Transportation research center that helps promote economic development through improved freight transportation. He teaches economic development organization management, research methods and theory, real estate development & land use planning and coordinates the International Economic Development (IEDC) True South course. He has managed over $1m in sponsored research projects. He has extensive private and public sector experience including managing shipping and global distribution for American companies based in China and Vietnam. He was also an Army Officer stationed in the Pacific Rim. He first became involved with economic development as a trade specialist in Maryland. Prior to joining USM, he worked for the Virginia Tech Office of Economic Development. Chad has a Ph.D. from the Virginia Tech Center for Public Administration & Policy, a MBA from Boston University, and a BA in Government from the College of William & Mary. Chad, his wife Susan, and son Duncan live in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

Mary Ann Moon, CEcD
VP Economic Development and Marketing
Ridgeland, MS

Mary Ann Moon, CEcD is VP of Economic Development and Marketing for Tice Engineering Inc., Wiggins and Ridgeland, MS and Slidell, LA.  She is responsible for developing new business opportunities for TEI, Inc. and promoting the company's unique and specialized surveying services.   Moon is also an Advocate for AECOM, the world's largest engineering firm. Her responsibilities include business development, program management and site development strategies.       

Mary Ann recently served as Vice President and Partner of MSED, LLC, a multidisciplinary engineering and economic and community development firm and certified as a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE). Moon provided Site Selection and Development services, Workforce and SWOT analyses, Community/Economic Development strategies, facilitation and planning of public meetings, Marketing plans, Identification of Project Funding opportunities. 

Mary Ann was the Economic Developer Specialist-Business and Economic Expansion-for Entergy Louisiana. Moon was responsible for Project Management and the development of Louisiana Economic Development Certified Sites-a partnership between LED and EntergyLA. She also worked with community groups, establishing networks and assisting with economic development in regions  across Northeast Louisiana.  

Moon served as the President of the West Monroe-West Ouachita Chamber of Commerce, West Monroe, LA for five years. During that time, she served as a board member of Louisiana's Next Horizon - a state wide organization dedicated to quality education practices and opportunities for all children, focusing on the socio and economically disadvantaged.  Also, during her tenure, Moon authored the Pre-K program for West Ouachita Parish, Louisiana.  A public-private partnership, the program was recognized by the International Economic Development Council and Coordinating and Development Council for 'Excellence in Education.' She was also responsible for the implementation of the area's summer reading program for third grade students.  Additionally, Moon facilitated West Monroe-West Ouachita's Vision 20/20 Strategic Plan.  She has extensive experience in Community Development including facilitation, public meeting organization, outreach, education and program creation and implementation for issues concerning and affecting communities and their residents. She is President/Owner of Competitive Solutions, LLC a company specializing in Community/Public Outreach and Facilitation, Community Development Program Implementation and Advocacy. 

Mary Ann was President/Owner of Dixie Bonded Warehouse of Ouachita, Inc. and Dixie Transportation, Inc., (DBWO) West Monroe, LA from 1993 - 2007.  DBWO was the largest bonded warehouse and distribution facility for component materials in a tri-state area.  Moon possesses extensive experience in and knowledge of the Transportation, Logistics and Distribution industries.  She served as a Board Member of the Louisiana Motor Transport Association, Louisiana's Inter-modal Planning Committee and as a Transportation Committee Member of the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry,  Moon also served as President of the Transportation and Traffic Council. She currently serves as a presenter and facilitator at conferences and work shops addressing the role of Transportation in Economic Development and growth. 

She is a graduate of the University of Louisiana at Monroe and the University of Oklahoma Economic Development Institute (OU-EDI) and is a Certified Economic Developer.  Moon is a member of the International Economic Development Council Board of Directors.  She is a Board Member, Instructor, Mentor and was recently appointed as Assistant Dean for the University of Oklahoma’s Economic Development Institute. Mary Ann teaches the Certified Economic Developer Exam Prep Course and developed OU-EDI's "Introduction to Transportation and Logistics" course in which she also serves as topic instructor.  She is a guest instructor at the University of Southern Mississippi's True South Economic Development program and Louisiana State University's Basic Economic Development Program. She teaches Introduction to Transportation and Professional Economic Development Ethics. Mary Ann is Chairman of the University of Southern Mississippi’s Center for Trade, Transportation and Logistics Advisory Council, a member of  the Mississippi Intermodal Council's Board of Directors and President Elect of the Mississippi Transportation Institute.  Selected as a representative of Louisiana, by Congressman Rodney Alexander, she graduated from the Delta Regional Authority’s Leadership Institute, served on the Advisory Board and assisted in the development of the Delta Initiative-a program addressing economic development, heath care, transportation and education issues. She served as facilitator of the Delta Regional Authority's Entrepreneur Jump Start program in the Louisiana Delta.  Mary Ann is a graduate of Leaderships Louisiana and Mississippi.   

Gregory Moon
Executive Director
Wyandot County Office of Economic Development
Upper Sandusky, OH

Greg Moon is the Executive Director of the Wyandot County Office of Economic Development located in Northwest Ohio. His more than 4 years with the public/private partnership organization includes experience in successful new business attraction projects and facilitation of local business expansions. Greg also serves as the Executive Director of the Wyandot County Regional Planning Commission working with local elected officials on efficient land use practices. He is a founder and currently serves as an officer of the Wyandot County Young Professionals, as a member of the local Workforce Investment Board, and as a director of the Upper Sandusky Area Chamber of Commerce. Greg attended collegiate and post-graduate studies in Columbus, Ohio where he received a Bachelor of Arts in Aviation Management from The Ohio State University, and a Master of Business Administration from Franklin University.

Mike Morin
Start Garden
Grand Rapids, MI

Mike Morin has spent his business career building companies as Senior Vice President of Business Development for Mediaguide, and President of Knoware. In addition to starting his own companies, he has been a leader in a wide range of start up initiatives in the region. He served as Mentor Director at Momentum, a West Michigan pre-seed funding & incubation program that provided mentorship, infrastructure, and equity investment to help move web based start-ups forward faster toward more strategic opportunities for growth. With his past in physical product and digital business start-ups he currently works as Chief Operation Officer at Start Garden and is Director at Seamless, an IoT commercialization program. Mike holds BA and MBA degrees from Michigan State University’s, Broad School of Business.

Mark O'Connell
Chief Executive Officer
OCO Global
Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK

At the start of his career Mark gained a First Class Honours degree from University of Ulster in Business Studies and French and a Masters degree in Marketing Management from Lancaster University. Mark was also awarded a Licence in Sciences Economiques from Universite de Caen and speaks French.

Mark's industry experience includes two years at IMES UK an economic development consultancy firm where he worked as a consultant in international trade, four years with Alrumaih Corporation, a Saudi investment firm where he managed a portfolio of retail and consumer goods clients ranging from Bally Shoes to Mexx apparel. This was followed by two years with Enterprise Ireland in London, the Irish government export agency. Prior to establishing OCO in 2001 Mark spent the last six years of his career in the management consultancy division of Price Waterhouse Coopers.

In the last decade Mark has established OCO Global, a leading boutique consultancy firm which specialises in FDI and International trade. OCO clients include private firms, government agencies and international organisations.

Mark is retained by a number of leading private clients to advise them on international expansion and corporate location decisions. He also has participated on the Boards of Government Agencies such as UK Trade and Investment, Invest Sweden Agency, Enterprise Ireland, Italian Trade Commission, Invest Hong Kong, Enterprise Florida and the State of California. Mark is also regularly cited as an FDI expert in leading publications such as the Economist, Wall St Journal and Financial Times.

Mark has published a wide range of thought leadership pieces on FDI including OCO's Annual Report and is widely quoted in international media. Mark is an accomplished public speaker and regularly participates in international conferences on investment including WAIPA, UNCTAD, IEDC, MIPIM, La Baule and UK's Global Investment Conference.

Mark is also a founder and shareholder of Loco Software who together with OCO Global developed the well-known database tools fDi Markets and fDi Benchmark before their acquisition by the Financial Times in 2008. Mark serves on the Board of the IEDC.

Eric Osth
Vice Chairman
Urban Design Associates
Pittsburgh, PA

Eric Osth, AIA is Vice Chairman and a Managing Principal with Urban Design Associates (UDA), an urban design firm dedicated to the enrichment and restoration of cities and urban life. UDA has completed well over 2,000 projects in it’s fifty-year history, specifically focusing on the mission of community involvement in the planning and design process. At UDA, Eric serves as Principal-in-Charge on architecture and urban design projects across the United States and beyond. In addition to his responsibilities at UDA, Eric has served as the President of the Pittsburgh Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, currently serves on the Board of Directors at Riverlife, an non-profit organization that serves as a steward of activating the Pittsburgh riverfronts. Eric has a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Miami and a Master of Urban Design from the University of California, Berkeley.

Jennifer Owens, CEcD
Lakeshore Advantage
Zeeland, MI

Lakeshore Advantage President Jennifer Owens delivers direct business attraction, expansion and retention services, while providing overall leadership to the organization. She has more than 15 years of leadership experience in business retention, expansion and attraction working at various state and local economic development positions throughout Michigan. Prior to joining the Lakeshore Advantage team, Jennifer held the position of vice president at Southwest Michigan First and principal of Consultant Connect, an organization that cultivates relationships between economic developers and location consultants. At Southwest Michigan First, Jennifer led the firm's new business attraction efforts, leading to investments from companies such as General Mills, Hark Orchids and Newell Rubbermaid. Her accomplishments also led her to be named one of the nation's Top Economic Developers Under 40 in 2013. In addition, Jennifer held key positions at Ann Arbor SPARK and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. In her free time, Jennifer and her husband Mike enjoying chasing after their three action-packed athletic sons.

Diane Palmintera
Innovation Associates
Reston, VA

Diane Palmintera is founder and President of Innovation Associates. For more than 30 years she has been a national leader in innovation-based economic development, and is best known for leveraging universities and federal labs to stimulate regional economic competitiveness. She has guided national, state and local leaders, university presidents, federal lab directors, and international organizations on innovation and entrepreneurship, technology transfer and commercialization, public-private partnerships, and federal-state relations.

She has provided services and assessed best practices throughout the U.S. and more than 16 countries. Her clients include the National Science Foundation, U.S. Department of Commerce, Small Business Administration, Connecticut Governor’s Office, Georgia Institute of Technology, University of Akron, University of Connecticut, Commission of the European Community, French and Swedish governments and others. Her work has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Business Week, (UK) Financial Times, and other media.

Ms. Palmintera also is a well-known author. Endorsed by national leaders, Technology Transfer and Commercialization Partnerships provides a roadmap for academic institutions to launch technology startups. She is the author of other nationally acclaimed work: Accelerating Economic Development through University Technology Transfer, Developing High-Technology Communities: San Diego, Partners on a Mission: Federal Laboratories Contributing to Economic Development, and Best Practices in U.S., European and Asian Innovation Development.

Prior to founding IA in 1988, Ms. Palmintera held positions with the National Governors Association, U.S. Conference of Mayors, and National Alliance of Business, and was an Associate of the Urban Institute. Ms. Palmintera serves on IEDC’s Board of Directors, and is former Chair of IEDC’s Public Policy Advisory Committee.

James Reddish
Associate Director
Workforce and Economic Development Council for Adult and Experiential Learning
Chicago, IL

Since joining the CAEL team in 2015, James has worked in several communities on issues ranging from comprehensive supply/demand analysis, to career pathway mapping, to alignment between educational assets and economic growth. Prior to joining CAEL, James served as Vice President of Economic and Workforce Development for Greater Louisville Inc., where he led the organization’s program of work within economic development as well as education and workforce development. In 2014, James guided GLI through a fundamental redesign of its economic and workforce development efforts, creating a new approach to regional economic development which included fifteen counties across two states. In his time at GLI, James played a leadership role in several significant community initiatives including the Brookings Institution Metropolitan Business Plan for Louisville/Lexington as well as co-chairing the certification of Jefferson County Public Schools as a Ford Next Generation Learning community. As a project manager, James assisted 86 companies who combined to invest over $1.4 billion dollars in new capital and add nearly 5,000 new jobs within the region. A native of the Washington, DC metro area, James holds a bachelor of science degree from James Madison University and a master’s of arts degree from the University of Louisville.

Anne Roise MCP, CEcD
Instructor, Urban Studies & Planning
Savannah State University
Savannah, GA

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.

Don C. Schjeldahl
DSG Advisors
Kent, OH

Kevin S. Schmotzer
Executive, Small Business Development
City of Cleveland Department of Economic Development
Cleveland, OH

Kevin S. Schmotzer is the Executive of Small Business Development with the City of Cleveland’s Department of Economic Development, where he is responsible for creating and implementing programs, financial incentives, and economic development tools to attract entrepreneurship and small business development to the City of Cleveland. In April 2006, the Executive of Small Business Development position was created by Mayor Frank Jackson to focus on the attraction, growth and expansion of small businesses which includes: commercial, retail, locally-owned cafés, food trucks, urban farming, and technology businesses while creating jobs. Upon acceptance of the position, he streamlined the process involved with providing capital to small businesses including start-ups in collaboration with other partners including government agencies, non-profits, foundations, developers, and local banks.

The portfolio of small business projects include a pipeline worth more than $20 million in public-private financing for retail, commercial office, mixed-use development, urban farming in the neighborhoods and Downtown Cleveland since the recession. Recent projects in Downtown Cleveland and the neighborhoods include: Secured funding for the expansion of the Free Trolleys in the Central Business District; drafted legislation authorizing food trucks to operate throughout the City; secured a $135,000 grant to fund urban gardening on vacant lots through the “Gardening for Greenbacks Program;” assembled a team that put together a bid that secured the license to host the 2014 Gay Games to be held in Cleveland & Akron; and collaborated with local foundations, banks and other government agencies to recruit and fund Economic & Community Development Institute (ECDI), a non-profit economic development organization that specializes with filling a gap by providing financial assistance to underserved micro-entrepreneurs that would not be able to secure financing.

Prior to becoming Executive of Small Business Development, Mr. Schmotzer worked for the City of Avon Lake in the Planning Department. A key project included securing and administering an $820,000 State grant for design of a $1.1 million bicycle/pedestrian trail system.

Christian Schock
Economic Development Manager
City of Wausau
Wausau, WI

Christian Schock to the position of Economic Development Manager. Christian comes to Wausau from Clinton County, Ohio where since 2007 he served as Executive Director of the Clinton County Regional Planning Commission (CCRPC). During his tenure the CCRPC won local, state and national recognition including the 2013 National Planning Achievement Award from the American Planning Association for innovative economic development. Christian Schock serves as Economic Development Manager for the City of Wausau, WI- the primary city of northern and central Wisconsin and brings over 15 years of expertise in both the built and natural environments including roles with the City of Los Angeles, Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection and served as an expert economic development consultant for the US Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

A native of Cleveland, Ohio he holds bachelor and master degrees in urban planning from the University of Cincinnati- College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning (DAAP) where he served as University Student Body President and a master degree in development economics from the London School of Economics in the United Kingdom.

Chris' professional experience has involved every level of public administration: local, county, regional, state, federal, and international through the many facets of the development process including: planner, economist, environmental regulator, developer, public administrator and consultant.

Christopher Steele
President, North America
Investment Consulting Associates
Newton Highlands, MA

Chris Steele is COO/President for Investment Consulting Associates NA. His 25 years of experience in location consulting, site selection, and economic development have resulted in a unique perspective on how the concept of place impacts business and community success. Past clients include The Boeing Company, BlueCross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Lenovo, Morgan Stanley, Club Med, Becton Dickinson, the US Transportation Research Board (of the National Science Foundation), Olympus, and Biogen IDEC. He also frequently advises the public sector on business attraction and economic development efforts. In this capacity, Chris has led the State of Maine’s efforts to fully evaluate the effectiveness of its business development incentive programs and develop more effective measures. Chris has written on location strategy and real estate topics for Area Development, Business Expansion Journal, Site Selection Online Insider, and the Journal of Corporate Real Estate, served as an editor for Ernst & Young's United States Investment Monitor, and is a frequent presenter at CoreNet’s global summits, at Cargo Logistics Canada, and at the World Forum for FDI. Mr. Steele holds a Master’s Degree in Regional Planning from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, with specific concentrations in land use planning and real estate development.

John B. Sternlicht, Esq., CEcD
Economic Development Association of Skagit County
Mount Vernon, WA

John Sternlicht, attorney and certified economic developer, brings senior executive expertise in law, economic development, community relations, public policy, finance, and government relations with a domestic and international focus (John speaks French, German and Spanish). John has over 20 years high-level experience negotiating and executing multi-billion dollar business locations and expansions involving public and private sector financing, higher education, infrastructure including all modes of transportation and legislative initiatives.

On August 12, 2015, John began his tenure as CEO of the Economic Development Association of Skagit County (WA). At EDASC, John takes the helm of an organization at an inflection point, having not changed leadership for nearly three decades. With the full cooperation of the board and community, John will lead through a period of strategic planning, innovation and change. Most recently, John served as Economic Development Policy Advisor to King County Executive Dow Constantine, where he worked to bring a regional focus to economic development in the nation’s 13th most populous county. While Senior Director of Strategic Projects for SRI International, a leading nonprofit research institute, John conceived and executed greenfield bioscience projects in Virginia and Michigan involving a total of nearly $50 million in state, local and private financing. John’s careful and strategic oversight ensured that the funding would be sufficient to launch these new ventures. Previously, after ten years in private and public law practice in North Carolina and Virginia, John served eleven years as the first General Counsel and Legislative Director of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP), acted as Secretary to the VEDP Board of Directors, and also created a statewide program of certification and assistance for rural communities and regions to improve their business attraction and expansion practice.

In 2002, Governor Mark Warner appointed John to serve concurrently as Virginia's Deputy Secretary of Commerce and Trade, as a key member of the team that planned and executed on strategies to establish Virginia as the top state for business for its economic development, transportation (primarily port and logistics), legal, commercial and regulatory climate. As Deputy Secretary, Sternlicht orchestrated the development and execution of the statewide economic development strategic plan, oversaw all 15 agency budgets totaling more than $800 million, and directed all agency legislative and regulatory programs. While serving in these positions, Sternlicht provided his expertise in a broad base of activities including human resources, open records, board relations, public finance, procurement, and community relations, and advised most of the 140 cities and counties in Virginia on the best structure for their economic development programs. In the mid-1990s, John made Virginia the first state in the US to require legally enforceable performance agreements to protect every discretionary dollar of state and local incentives to companies. He also designed many of the new incentive programs directed at particular regional needs or industry sectors such as manufacturing (everything from semiconductor chips to corn chips), logistics/distribution, financial services, headquarters, biosciences and IT.

John, who currently serves on the Board of Directors of the International Economic Development Council (IEDC), speaks and writes nationally and abroad on various topics in economic development, including the design, protection and assessment of incentives, economic development practices in the US, the process of negotiation, building public consensus, strategic planning, commercialization and innovation, and others. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, and studied journalism and communications at the Université de Fribourg in Switzerland on a Rotary International Graduate Fellowship before earning his Juris Doctor at the University of North Carolina School of Law in Chapel Hill. He earned his certification in economic development from the International Economic Development Council in 2001.

Taylor Stuckert, AICP
Executive Director
Clinton County Regional Planning Commission
Wilmington, OH

Taylor Stuckert serves as the Planning Director and staff consultant for the 20-member regional planning commission, and leads planning efforts across the County and nine political jurisdictions. Mr. Stuckert’s role involves regularly meeting and engaging with diverse stakeholders in communities throughout Clinton County and at the state and national level on a variety of projects and initiatives related to planning, physical, economic and community development. Mr. Stuckert is also the Co-Founder of Energize Clinton County (ECC), a non-profit organization founded to lead a community driven response to the economic crisis with support from the Clinton County Regional Planning Commission (CCRPC). The efforts of the CCRPC and ECC, following the 2008 DHL Crisis, have led to a portfolio of community and economic development programs, which were awarded the 2013 National Planning Achievement Award for Innovation in Economic Planning and Development by the American Planning Association. Mr. Stuckert holds a Master Degree in Community Planning from the University of Cincinnati- College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP) and a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from Butler University. Mr. Stuckert works in his hometown of Wilmington, OH was a Wilmington High School graduate, and is an 8th generation Clinton Countian.

Catherine Timko
The Riddle Company
Washington, DC

Catherine has more than 25 years of experience in economic and real estate marketing. More than just promises of success, Catherine delivers demonstrated success in positioning communities and local economies to effectively compete. Her work is transformative, influencing the restructuring of community economies, consumer and market perception and resulting in significant new investment. She has developed a reputation for her analytical approach and ability to connect communities, capital and companies. Catherine has completed retail marketing analyses and attraction assignments for almost every major market on the east coast including Boston, Newark, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, and Miami. This has resulted in the attraction of more than 350 businesses and over 5 million square feet of new retail, including the first new Bloomingdales Outlet in Philadelphia, DC USA a 1.2 million square foot mixed-use project in DC, and the first two full service grocers in Newark including Whole Foods. She has continuously been supporting Philadelphia, Stafford and Atlanta on retail attraction for more than three years.

Catherine She is widely published on issues related to real estate and economic development and business attraction. Catherine is a frequent presenter on best practices and has been a guest lecturer at several masters programs in real estate including at the University of Pennsylvania, Rutgers Business School and the University of Maryland. Catherine has a degree in Urban Studies from the graduate schools of Economics, Sociology, Geography and Political Science from the University of Delaware. She serves as the Senior Advisor for Retail to Econsult Solutions, advising on retail, commercial revitalization, and downtown development projects. Catherine is the former Dean for Economic Development for ICSC Institute for Shopping Centers and is centrally active in many key, industry organizations including DCBIA, IDA, IEDC, ICSC, and ULI.

Jennifer Wakefield, APR
Vice President of Marketing & Communications
Metro Orlando Economic Development Commission
Orlando, FL

As Vice President of Marketing & Communications, Jennifer manages the strategic marketing and communications efforts of the organization, including providing counsel to the organization's executives and board officers. She also is managing the new regional business branding initiative. Jennifer has fifteen years of experience in marketing and communications and holds her accreditation of public relations (APR), which signifies a high level of professional experience, competence and ethical standards. She has extensive experience in strategic communications planning, executive consulting, proactive issues management and media relations and is recognized as a thought leader in developing marketing strategies for economic development.

C. Paige Webster
Owner/Site Selection Consultant
Webster Global Site Selectors
Phoenix, AZ

Paige Webster has been working in the site selection and economic development consulting area for twelve years. Paige has had extensive site selection experience as he was the Western Regional Real Estate Manager for Aaron Rents. Paige was able to facilitate and expand the major retail expansion for Aaron Rents in the Western United States. Paige has also worked for a few development companies specializing in retail, office, and industrial properties. Paige has worked with industrial, food processing, customer call centers, renewable energy, aviation and warehouse distribution clients.

In addition to his site selection expertise, Paige also has had experience in the economic development arena. He was the former Economic Development Director for the Greater Yuma Economic Development Corporation, and worked for the Arizona Department of Commerce as the Northern Arizona Representative, assisting companies to expand or relocate to the State of Arizona.

Paige also worked for the Arizona Department of Commerce as the Northern Arizona Representative, assisting companies to expand or relocate to the State of Arizona with projects related to injection molding, warehouse/distribution, back office, agro-business, inter tribal companies, bio-tech, high tech, aviation.

Paige resides in Phoenix, AZ and has two children and loves to play golf and scuba dive.

Michael H. Williams
General Manager
City of Toronto
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Mike joined the City of Toronto in February of 2009. His main responsibilities include the implementation of the City’s Agenda for Prosperity and its Culture Plan. He also sits on the Boards of Build Toronto, Invest Toronto and Tourism Toronto.

Mike has spent the majority of his career in senior private sector consulting, marketing and global operations positions. He also worked for a private-public partnership promoting regional economic development and began his career with Canada’s federal statistical agency.

Mike has an M.A. in Urban Geography and is a Certified Management Consultant (C.M.C.).

Mike can be contacted at

Kara L. Wood, CEcD, EDFP
Economic Development Director
City of Grand Rapids
Grand Rapids, MI

Kara Wood leads the City’s economic development efforts and guides community business leaders in the advancement of the city’s economic growth through public private partnerships, and assists developers in implementing a variety of development finance programs. She has worked collaboratively with other public and private partners to negotiate urban redevelopment projects and financial incentives related to the projects. She has worked with tax incentives, grants and tax increment financing to leverage private investment and the creation of jobs. In addition, she advocates for legislative issues to support economic development in the West Michigan region.



Link:  Visit the homepage of economic development
Link: Follow IEDC on LinkedIn Link: Follow IEDC on Twitter Link: Follow IEDC on Facebook Link: Follow IEDC on YouTube

#IEDC #EconDev