As the Director for Export Promotion at USTDA, Ms. Afas helps U.S. companies export goods and services for priority development projects in emerging economies. This is her second position with USTDA; she previously served as a Country Manager for a multimillion dollar portfolio of projects throughout the Middle East and North Africa region.
Prior to returning to USTDA, Ms. Afas was a Manager in Grant Thornton’s Global Public Sector practice. In this role she advised clients worldwide in their efforts to improve efficiency, increase transparency and foster economic development, from supporting the privatization of SOEs to implementing business process improvement initiatives. Additionally, Ms. Afas was a financial analyst at the U.S. Trust Company in New York where she executed trades and managed overdrafts for asset management accounts in excess of $3.1 billion. Previously, she served as legislative aide to a Member of Parliament in London and a consultant to the World Economic Forum during their Annual Meetings.
Ms. Afas earned her Master’s in international economic policy from Columbia University and a Bachelor’s in political science from James Madison University. She currently serves as a Commissioner on the Montgomery County Commission for
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 (www.kinetic3.co.uk) 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.
Kendall Almerico is a business attorney and one of the top crowdfunding and JOBS Act experts in the United States. In January, VentureBeat ranked Kendall as the 17th most influential thought leader in the crowdfunding industry. Kendall and his crowdfunding businesses have appeared in USA Today, Forbes, Bloomberg, Washington Post, Huffington Post, the New York Daily News, Business Insider, Fox Business Network and hundreds of newspaper, blog, radio and television interviews including CNN, CBS, ABC, NBC, FOX and The Sean Hannity Show. Mr. Almerico writes regular columns on crowdfunding for Entrepreneur.com and Crowdfund Insider. Mr. Almerico is the CEO of FundHub.Biz, a web site that provides compliance services to broker-dealers, issuers, investors, and funding portals for equity crowdfunding and other forms of private equity funding. Mr. Almerico is also the founder of Crowd It Forward, a charity-based crowdfunding site that performs “Random Acts of Crowdfunding” and raises money for people in need through a 501(c)(3) charitable foundation. Mr. Almerico is also the host of Crowdfunding Radio Live, a weekly radio show on Blog Talk Radio.
Josh Bays is a principal of Site Selection Group where he manages the company's industrial, education, and economic development business practices. He is a critical part of the company's management team and helps develop and implement strategic plans for SSG. Throughout his career, Bays has been a key contributor in the continued development of new service lines offered by the company. These contributions include the development of various cutting-edge analytical platforms that have enabled clients to optimize their location decisions.
Previously, Bays was an associate at Trammell Crow Company in the Corporate Site Selection Group. There, he supported all location advisory projects through the research of critical site selection variables, including economic incentive and real estate conditions for corporate operations.
Bays has completed more than 250 projects for global clients, including Amazon.com, W.W. Grainger, Novartis, Glanbia Foods, Bimbo Bakeries, Boeing, Harley-Davidson, Lincoln Education Services, Bryant & Stratton College and the Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition.
Bays received his MBA from the University of Texas at Austin. Bays holds a bachelor's degree in geography with concentrations in urban geography and geographic information science from The University of Texas at Austin.
Ed Bee, CEcD, is President and founder of Taimerica Management Company, a management consulting firm headquartered in Mandeville, Louisiana. The firm counsels development groups and businesses worldwide on issues of location strategy and economic development. Bee has earned a number of achievements and awards during his career, including a Distinguished Service Award conferred by the American Economic Development Council in 1994 and the Alumni of the Year Award in 2004 by the Geography Department of Youngstown State University. He has authored more than a dozen articles on leading edge economic development topics in Economic Development Quarterly, The Economic Development Journal, and Economic Development Review.
Ed is a graduate of the Economic Development Institute at the University of Oklahoma and has held the Certified Economic Developer designation since 1983. After a brief assignment as a researcher at the Federal Reserve Bank in Atlanta, Bee led local and regional economic development groups in Georgia, Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana for twenty years. His career accomplishments include passage of the Oklahoma and Louisiana Quality Jobs Acts and leadership in the team that sold the first MAPS program to the voters of Oklahoma City.
The genesis of this book was the discovery of shale gas in Louisiana and the passage of The Emergency Stabilization Act of 2008. The confluence in 2008 of shale technology, a rapid escalation in fossil fuel prices and generous tax credits for alternative energy led Bee to conclude that energy policy would have a profound influence on global economic development in the next two decades. Fueling Prosperity is the culmination of two years of research and analysis on the connection between energy policy and economic development.
Ed resides in Mandeville, LA with his wife Carole and two children.
Michael J. Berne is the President of MJB Consulting, an award-winning, New York City- and San Francisco Bay Area-based retail planning and real estate consulting concern retained by public/non-profit and private sector clients across all of North America to undertake market analyses, devise tenanting strategies and spearhead recruitment efforts.
Michael is one of the nation's foremost experts on traditional Downtown/"Main Street" business districts. He is a frequent speaker at the conferences of the International Downtown Association (IDA) and currently sits on its Board of Directors. He has also presented at the annual gatherings of the International Economic Development Council (IEDC), the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), the National Main Street Center and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), among numerous others.
Michael has lectured at the University of Pennsylvania, written numerous articles for Urban Land and the Journal of Urban Affairs, served on expert advisory panels for ULI and the IEDC, and appeared in high-profile publications such as the Financial Times, the Washington Post and the San Francisco Chronicle.
Michael received a B.A. degree from Columbia University (Columbia College) in New York City and an M.Phil degree from Cambridge University (Gonville and Caius College) in the United Kingdom. He currently splits his time between offices/residences in New York's Union Square and Berkeley's Elmwood neighborhood.
Michael and his firm are active in Pennslyvania, having, for example, worked on recent assignments in Philadelphia's University City and Manayunk as well as Pittsburgh's Downtown and its Main Street Program.
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.
As the director of talent attraction services at Development Counsellors International, a New York-based agency that specializes exclusively in marketing places for economic development, talent and tourism, Erin Bodine is closely tracking the national trends and top talent attraction campaigns going on across the United States. She has also worked on several talent attraction campaigns, including overseeing DCI's role in the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce's “Work in the Triangle” initiative. During her eight years at DCI, Erin has worked for nearly 30 places, ranging from Carrollton, Texas, and San Diego, Calif., to the country of Colombia, the state of Wyoming and the Canadian province of Saskatchewan. She has managed numerous projects and initiatives on behalf of her clients, including in-depth strategic marketing plans, lead generation programs, and public relations outreach, regularly placing the communities she serves in outlets, such as the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and FOX News.
In a career that has spanned nearly three decades, LaDene Bowen has served in a leadership role in facilitating and creatively implementing economic development programs. As Associate Director for the Institute for Decision Making (IDM) at the University of Northern Iowa, an integrated business and community services program, she has consulted hundreds communities in all aspects of economic development in the Iowa, West and Midwestern states. The impact of IDM’s technical assistance, as reported by client communities, has resulted in 1,500-2,000 jobs annually, structured Iowa’s economic development regions in collaboration with the Professional Developers of Iowa, and trained over 1,800 new professionals in economic development. The scope of her professional involvement and leadership reaches from IDM and Iowa communities to the International Economic Development Council, where she served on the Board of Directors for the 12 years and continues to be active on the Education/Certification Advisory Committee.
She is considered one of the emerging transformational leaders in helping local communities, non-profit boards of directors and economic development professionals prepare for a different kind of future. Her recognized rural development expertise has been shared in international and national speaking engagements, authoring of articles, directing the Heartland Economic Development Course in the Midwest, mentoring and teaching at the University of Oklahoma Economic Development Institute (OU/EDI) impacting thousands of economic development professionals.
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.
Steven Bradford has more than 20 years of commercial real estate experience. Prior to joining Bandera Ventures in 2011, Mr. Bradford founded a national development and investment initiative for Trammell Crow Company which developed in excess of 11 million sq. ft. of speculative and build-to-suit office and industrial projects at major international cities throughout North America.
Mr. Bradford specializes in industrial multi-modal logistics with emphasis on air and ground transportation. Mr. Bradford was the development principal responsible for the master planning and development of the Air CargoCentres™, AirFreight & LogisticCentres™, and Global Logistics Centres™ at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, Houston's Intercontinental Airport, Portland International Airport, Calgary International Airport; as well as the KCI Intermodal Business Centre at Kansas City International Airport.
Mr. Bradford has also served as a master planning development consultant to several major international airports including Seattle Tacoma, Detroit Metropolitan, Dallas/Fort Worth, Kansas City, and Pittsburgh.
Mr. Bradford has been conferred his Doctorate of Jurisprudence, is a Licensed Attorney with specialization in Commercial Real Estate, and holds Real Estate Broker's License from the Texas Real Estate Commission. Mr. Bradford is also Co-Founder and Chairman of the non-profit organization Christ's Family Clinic located in Dallas, Texas.
Charlie Brock has been serving as Launch Tennessee's President and CEO since January 2013. In 1998, Brock helped establish Foxmark Media and grew it into one of the nation's leading mall advertising companies. As the CEO and largest shareholder, he structured three rounds of private financing before selling the company in 2006 to Australia-based EYE Corp., one of the world's leading out-of-home media companies. After selling Foxmark, Brock became an early partner in FourBridges Capital Advisors, a lower-middle market investment bank based in Chattanooga where Brock served as Managing Director. Brock was also a founding general partner of the Chattanooga Renaissance Fund, Chattanooga's first organized angel fund. The fund raised $3.2 million to provide mentorship and capital to early-stage companies in the Southeast Tennessee region.
Prior to becoming CEO of Launch Tennessee, Charlie served for a year as the Executive Director of CO.LAB, a Chattanooga accelerator that provides advice and mentoring services to entrepreneurs and runs the summer GIGTANK program. Brock is an organizer and director of CapitalMark Bank and Trust in Chattanooga and also serves as a director of The Dixie Group and Park Media Software.
Charlie is a graduate of The University of the South, and he and his wife Lisa are the parents of three daughters, Lesley, Taylor and Laura.
Broome is at the helm of 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 has 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 of the region’s 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 and GPEC consistently provide technical review and counsel to Arizona’s State and House legislators. These efforts have resulted in the passage of the Qualified Facility Tax Credit Program – a $630 million landmark economic development program that has shaped the state’s ability to deliver high-impact projects. Additionally, GPEC provided technical research expertise or helped author these valuable economic development tools: Quality Jobs Tax Credit Program, Renewable Energy Tax Incentive Program and Sales Factor, which have all led to successfully increasing the state's competitiveness for investment and jobs.
Early on at GPEC, Broome designed the Arizona Global Network, a collaborative model that unites the urban and rural markets of Greater Phoenix, Tucson, Flagstaff and Yuma in attracting foreign direct investment to Arizona. GPEC’s international focus has led to several foreign direct investment wins in Greater Phoenix.
Prior to GPEC, Broome was shaping Kalamazoo, Michigan’s economy through a university, life science and venture capital strategy. Broome founded Southwest Michigan First from a small metal desk at the regional Chamber of Commerce, with a $150,000 operating budget and a $1.7 million shortfall. Four years later, Broome had raised $55 million, the organization was recognized as a Top 20 economic development agency in the country by Site Selection magazine and it appeared in Inc magazine’s Fast 50. Also honored as Michigan’s Economic Developer of the Year, Broome built the Southwest Michigan Innovation Center, launching 14 life science start-ups and 23 new ventures.
Broome currently serves on the boards of the AGUILA Youth Leadership Institute and the Arizona Business and Education Coalition. He was chair of the International Economic Development Council’s 2008 annual conference and chaired the economic development subcommittee for the City of Phoenix 2006 bond program.
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. Today, one of his passions includes coaching high school wrestling right here in the Valley.
Jim Butler was born in Austin, Texas and has lived there the great majority of his life. He attended the University of Texas, where he obtained a BA and MA in government and an MBA. He is also certified as an Economic Development Finance Professional. He has worked on economic development projects for the Texas Governor’s Office and the City of Austin, starting in the early 1990’s. His work has focused on improving the economy of Texas and Austin through the development of technology, entertainment, and arts sectors.
In February of 2013 Mr. Chase left his position in Wichita Falls, Texas and relocated to Wichita, Kansas as President of the Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition (GWEDC). In assuming this new role he manages the strategic direction for retention, recruitment, and expansion for the 385,000 population MSA and marketing for a nine county region in South Central Kansas.
Mr. Chase was named President and CEO of the Wichita Falls Chamber of Commerce and Industry in 2001 after having served as its Vice President of Economic Development since 1998. The Chamber provides economic development, workforce development, military affairs, and community-wide marketing services for the City and region.
Mr. Chase relocated from Dixon, Illinois where he had served as the Executive Director of the Dixon Industrial Development Association (DIDA) for ten years. Prior to his career in economic development Mr. Chase was in the retail industry for twelve years serving eight years as manager of three full-line department stores, and also served four years in the U. S. Navy.
Mr. Chase has been active on the Boards of economic development, chambers of commerce, and downtown business development organizations in Colorado, Wyoming, Iowa, Illinois, Texas and now Kansas. Mr. Chase is a past Dean for the University of Oklahoma’s Economic Development Institute and has been on staff for over 20 years as an instructor and mentor. Mr. Chase is a nationally recognized speaker, trainer, and facilitator on the topics of economic development, community development, strategic planning, infrastructure, sales, and marketing.
Mr. Chase has been a member of the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) since 1988 and currently sits on their Board. He is also an active participant in the Economic Development Research Partnership (EDRP) a sub-group of IEDC.
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.
Jon Clifton manages Gallup’s global government work and the Gallup World Poll, an ongoing study conducted in more than 160 countries, representing 98% of the world’s adult population. He is a member of Gallup’s Public Release Committee, the governance board that oversees and maintains Gallup’s public release standards for data, research, and methodology.
Jon is a nonresident Senior Fellow at Baylor University’s Institute for Studies of Religion. He serves on the board of directors of the Meridian International Center, StreetWise Partners, and Chess Challenge. Jon received a bachelor’s degree in political science and history from the University of Michigan and a juris doctorate with a focus in international law from the University of Nebraska. He lives and works in Washington, D.C.
Denny Coleman is CEO of St. Louis Economic Development Partnership. Since 1982, Coleman has overseen a multitude of economic development initiatives that have earned St. Louis national recognition for outstanding progress in the areas of community revitalization, business development and job creation. Prior to the Economic Development Partnership, Coleman was director of development for both St. Louis County and St. Louis City and managed neighborhood, housing, and economic development efforts. He also served as vice president for community development at Mercantile Bank (now U.S. Bank) when the bank’s community development corporation received the National Fair Housing Award and a Private Sector Initiatives Award from the White House. Coleman has a master’s degree in urban and regional planning from the University of Wisconsin and bachelor’s degree in urban geography from Saint Louis University. He also completed the Senior Executive Program at John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Coleman is a past chair for the International Economic Development Council (IEDC). He is an advisory board member for Saint Louis University. Coleman serves on numerous other boards and advisory committees for state and local governments, civic organizations, colleges and universities. Coleman and his wife, Bonnie, have been married over 36 years. They have two grown children, Mike and Emily.
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 is currently on the International Economic Development Council's Board of Directors and serves as Vice Chairman, is a member of the Governance Committee and the Economic Development Research Partners. Crary also Chairs the Ethics Committee and is board liaison for the Young Professionals Task Force. IEDC is the foremost international economic development organization with nearly 4300 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.
Crary was recognized in 2013 as one of the Great Women of the Great Lakes Bay, 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.
Julie is an Executive Vice President and Partner at Development Counsellors International (DCI), an economic development marketing firm based in New York City. Since joining DCI in 1994, Julie has worked with dozens of economic development organizations around the globe to help them position their communities for investment through integrated and creative marketing programs. With clients ranging from Dothan, Alabama to San Diego, California and everywhere in between, Julie's passion for "place marketing" has resulted in award-winning campaigns. Articles about her client communities have appeared in media such as The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Newsweek and CNN. Julie has designed social media campaigns for communities around the country that have maximized the changing world of traditional media, and leveraged the power of digital and online influencers.
Julie is a frequent speaker and facilitator for economic development marketing and media workshops around the country. In 1998, Julie opened "DCI West" in Denver, and became a DCI Partner in 2002.
Ellen Cutler’s career in Trade and Investment spans close to two decades. She has held Director Positions both in the USA and UK where she currently is the Director of Inward Investment for the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership, based in England.
Ms. Cutler has represented local, regional, and national economic development agencies including the Economic Development Commission of Mid Florida, Scottish Trade International, Scottish Enterprise, South West of England Regional Development Agency, UK Trade and Investment and the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership. Her work has included management of international delivery teams in Europe, the Americas and Asia.
Ellen holds a Master’s Degree in Economics from the University of Central Florida as well as Bachelor Degrees in Public Administration and Political Science.
Jim Damicis is currently the Senior Vice President of Camoin Associates. Jim joined Camoin Associates in October 2010 as the result of a merger between Camoin Associates and PolicyOne Research. Jim was founder and president of PolicyOne Research. Jim has more than 20 years experience in economic and business development. With PolicyOne, Jim has worked for numerous states, regions, and communities on evaluation and strategy development for their economic development and industry support efforts. Jim currently is responsible for evaluating all of Maine’s research and development programs for the Maine Office of Innovation. He was a principal investigator on an “Assessment of Maine’s Industry Clusters” in 2008. Jim has also has worked directly for numerous businesses on government relations, securing grants and tax credits, business planning, and market research and analysis. Jim has earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Economics and Political Science from the University of Connecticut, Storrs, and a Master of Arts in Public Policy and Administration from the Edmund S. Muskie School of Public Service at the University of Southern Maine. Jim is currently a Board Member of the Northeastern Economic Developer’s Association, Technology Association of Maine, and Scarborough Economic Development Corporation.
As Vice President of Economic Development, Susan is responsible for managing the economic development team to recruit new business and industry to Gainesville/Alachua County, to grow businesses from the Gainesville/Alachua County area and to support existing businesses with their retention and expansion needs. She reports to the President and CEO and staffs the Council for Economic Outreach Advisory Committee. Prior to her role as Vice President of Economic Development for the Gainesville Chamber, Susan was the senior vice president of global technology strategies for the Austin Chamber of Commerce. In addition Ms. Davenport served as the program manager for the Central Texas Regional Center for Innovation and Commercialization, a virtual organization housed and managed by the Austin Chamber of Commerce, which focuses on the commercialization of disruptive technologies within a fifteen county, central Texas region. Ms. Davenport has served on the board of directors for the Breast Cancer Resource Center and the Central Texas Chapter of the American Heart Association in Austin. She is also a past member of the Seton Forum of the Seton Family of Hospitals.
Ms. Wellington has been with the St. Louis County Economic Council for 16 years and currently is responsible for management and operations. She possesses over thirty years of construction, environmental and redevelopment project management experience, in both the public and private sectors. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Washington University in St. Louis, a Master of Science in Urban Policy Analysis from Southern Illinois University and is a certified Economic Development Finance Professional.
Aaron Demerson currently serves as the Director of the Office of Employer Initiatives at the Texas Workforce Commission. In this position he provides leadership and direction to engage employers, business organizations and the economic development community in the ongoing development of a customer-focused, market-driven workforce system.
Prior to employment at the Texas Workforce Commission he served as a Senior Advisor to Governor Rick Perry and Executive Director of the Economic Development & Tourism Division in the Governor’s Office leading a team that marketed the State of Texas as a premier destination for both business and travel.
He has also served as the Director of Texas Business Development (State of Texas-NAFTA Office in Mexico City, Domestic, Expansion and Recruitment, Research, and International Business Recruitment) and as the Director of Administration ( Human Resources, Information Systems, Contract Management, Accounting/Budget, and Materials Management). In addition he managed the Finance Division (loan programs) and served as a small business consultant for the Texas Economic Development Agency.
Demerson managed the state’s innovative prepaid tuition program (The Texas Tomorrow Fund) at the State Comptroller’s Office and was employed as a Commercial Finance Analyst and Loan Administration Officer with Texas Bank (former name) in San Antonio.
Demerson has a BBA in Finance from Texas A&M University-Kingsville. He also received a general banking diploma from the American Institute of Banking, and is a ‘91-‘92 graduate of Leadership Austin.
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.
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.
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.
Joel Rick Duke, CEcD, EDFP Rick has served as an economic development professional in higher education at 3 universities-Georgia Tech, the University of Southern Mississippi and the University of Mississippi. The programs he led at Georgia Tech garnered national recognition in the 2002 publication Innovation U and in 2005 by Innovation Associates as the “best university-based economic development program in the nation.” Two programs started under his leadership appear in Georgia Tech’s profile in the recent Innovation U 2.0. Rick is also past Board member of IEDC, a past Director of the Basic Economic Development Course at Georgia Tech and a Past President of the Georgia Economic Developers Association. Rick has observed the evolution of the practice of economic development including the more recent recognition of technology or knowledge-based economic development opportunities leveraging universities as the catalyst. The most recently observed trend is university corporate engagement leading to state and local economic development opportunities. Rick is married, has two grandchildren and currently resides in Atlanta. He is CEO for GA BRE Insights, LLC, a multi-faceted consulting practice.
Harry Eadon is an economic development professional with broad experience in business attraction, retention and expansion. Experienced in all aspects of accounting and financial management, Mr. Eadon brings direct experience with real estate, financial consulting and venture capital and he has developed an early-stage venture capital funds. For 11 years, Mr. Eadon served as President and Executive Director of the Economic Development & Finance Alliance of Tuscarawas County. The EDFA is a lead Economic Development agency in the county. They manage a 45 acre business park (the Reeves Mill) and 82K SF Public Warehouse (Reeves Mill Logistics Warehouse). In addition the TCPA also owns a 20K SF building in Midvale Ohio and a 15K SF office building in Gnadenhutten Ohio, created a small business incubator, the Business Factory and issued more than $15 million of Industrial Development Revenue Bonds over the last 18 months. Mr. Eadon has successfully recruited major energy projects with Kinder Morgan and MarkWest and leads a multi-county regional economic development group in Eastern Ohio focused on economic development opportunities around the Utica Shale development.
Melissa Ehlinger joined New Orleans Business Alliance (NOLABA) in 2012 and quickly demonstrated her leadership and strategic capabilities. As senior vice president for strategy, industry and research, Ms. Ehlinger 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. She has led implementation of ProsperityNOLA, the city’s five-year plan for economic development, including management of five Industry Councils of business and education leaders from across the city. In addition, she has been an instrumental part of building collaborative partnerships across civic and business lines to facilitate the city’s economic growth. She also directs the organization’s research efforts, overseeing development of market intelligence to inform NOLABA’s initiatives and provide the larger community with strategic information on the City’s economy.
Prior to joining NOLABA, Ms. Ehlinger served as project manager for New Orleans Redevelopment Authority, were she was responsible for the team that secured and implemented a competitive $29 million federal grant designed to stabilize struggling neighborhoods across New Orleans. She has been an urban planner, and, served for several years as an attorney in the United States Department of Transportation’s Office of the Inspector General and in the United States Office of Special Counsel.
A New Orleans native, Ms. Ehlinger holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Texas, a Juris Doctor from the George Washington University Law School, and a Master of Urban and Regional Planning from the University of New Orleans. She serves as an Advisory Board Member to Emerging Philanthropists of New Orleans and FirstLine Schools NOLA Career Tech Academy, as a Board Member of Good Work Network, and is a member of the International Economic Development Council.
Jon T. Elsasser retired from The Timken Company as senior vice president and chief information officer in 2009. Mr. Elsasser joined the company in 1978 as a systems analyst in Canton and subsequently held positions of manager Bucyrus Bearing Distribution Center, president Timken do Brasil, group vice president Europe, Africa and West Asia, and senior vice president – corporate development before assuming his last role in which he was responsible for global information technology and corporate shared services.
Mr. Elsasser is an adjunct faculty member at Ashland University teaching MBA-level courses in information technology and strategy and strategic planning. He is an investor in the East Central Ohio Technology Angel Fund and currently sits on the boards of three private companies and consults on a variety of technology and general management issues. He is also active in the community as immediate past chairman of Ohio and Erie Canalway Association, as president of the Zoar Community Association, and as treasurer and a board member of the Ohio Historical Society. He recently restored and now operates an historic Zoar structure as a destination restaurant, the Canal Tavern of Zoar, just outside the historic village.
Elsasser graduated from The College of William and Mary with a bachelor’s degree in economics and from Harvard University with a master’s degree with high distinction in business administration.
Julie Engel is the President/CEO of the Greater Yuma Economic Development Corporation. In her tenure with Greater Yuma EDC, she has been directly involved in the creation of over 4000 new jobs, over 1 million square feet of new industrial space and a capital investment to the region that surpasses $1.5 Billion. Julie is the Secretary/Treasurer of the Arizona Association of Economic Development (AAED) and has served on multiple committees for AAED. In 2012 Julie was named the Economic Developer of the Year for the State of Arizona.
A native of North Platte, Nebraska, Julie studied accounting and business management while working for the U.S. Postal Service as the payroll/finance manager for all of Western Nebraska and South Central Kansas. In 1996, Julie moved with her family to Yuma Arizona where her husband accepted a position with the Arizona Game & Fish Department.
Julie's career in Economic Development follows five years of local government leadership and eight years of federal government leadership and policy regulations. Julie serves on the Yuma Workforce Investment Board, serves on the Yuma Regional Medical Center Board, Yuma National Heritage Board, serves on the Yuma County Transportation Committee, and the Yuma County Legislative Affairs Committee. Julie was selected by Governor Jan Brewer to serve on the Rural Advisory Council for the State of Arizona.
Julie is a graduate of the Economic Development Institute for Certified Economic Development. She obtained CEcD certification in May 2009. Julie is a member of the Economic Development Research Partners and currently serves on the "Financing EDO's" task force.
Chris Engle is a national thought leader on the topic of economic development analysis and industry trends. He has nearly 20 years of experience as a researcher and strategist. His expertise includes economic analysis, competitive evaluations, real estate feasibility, labor market studies and site selection. He has focused his career on translating the meaning of global trends on regional economic growth. His strong belief in the power of transforming complicated data into easy-to-use decision making resources for communities led him to develop one of the most dynamic economic development software tools available today, www.HeadlightLLC.com.
Chris has created economic development plans and real estate assessments for communities across the US and Europe including: Northeast Florida; Providence, Rhode Island; Gainesville, Florida; Hampton Roads, Virginia; Miami-Dade, Florida; Jefferson Parish, Louisiana; Anniston, AL; North Carolina; Northern Kentucky; Quad Cities, Illinois; San Joaquin County, California; Santa Fe, New Mexico; Winston-Salem, North Carolina; the Czech Republic; and Portugal, to name a few. His corporate clients have included Applied Materials, Dell Computer, Gables Residential, Opus Development and Stratus Properties.
Chris is a frequent speaker at site selection and economic events and is a published writer and commentator in national and local media. He holds an economics degree from the University of Texas and has completed studies at Columbia University-New York City and the Instituto Technologico de Monterrey (ITESM).
Connie Evans is the President and CEO of the Association for Enterprise Opportunity (AEO) with a strong track record of innovative leadership and a background as a social entrepreneur. Prior to AEO, Connie was the founding president of the Women’s Self-Employment Project in Chicago, the first and largest urban microenterprise development organization in the U. S. and the first adaptation of the Grameen Bank model to a U. S. urban setting. She founded WSEP Ventures, a social enterprise nonprofit that catalyzed new ventures by nonprofit community-based leaders serving disenfranchised communities; and she founded CSolutions, a consulting boutique focused on solutions for social change in the U.S and internationally. She has served on numerous and diverse boards including the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, Social Venture Network, Ms. Foundation for Women, Global Fund for Women and the CDFI Advisory Board at the U.S. Treasury Department.
With 25 years of experience in economic development and corporate advisory, Bob Farley serves corporate, public sector and real estate industry clients. Bob’s work involves economic development organizational improvement, public sector real estate planning, development consulting, securing public sector grants, project financing, and political advisory assistance.
Prior to joining Greyhill, Mr. Farley served as a Senior Vice President for Hillwood Development, one of the largest real estate developers and investors in the country. He oversaw Hillwood’s pre-development consulting services domestically and internationally. Clients included Fortune 1000 companies, federal governments, and global logistics and transportation firms. Previously, Mr. Farley served as National Practice at Deloitte & Touche, and was a Partner at Fantus Consulting. He worked on corporate site selection and economic development consulting at both firms. Mr. Farley has also held senior staff positions with the Lt. Gov of Texas and the Texas Department of Commerce.
Mr. Farley has spoken and presented to over 200 organizations in his career, including professional forums, universities, government agencies, and visiting dignitaries. He has served as a board member of several organizations, including the International Development Council, Austin Municipal Utility District, and the Reston Neighborhood Association. Mr. Farley has been interviewed by Bloomberg, the Wall Street Journal, Reuters, and many others.
Mr. Farley is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Syracuse University. He also holds both an MPA and an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin.
Robert Fine was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. After completing a degree in Urban Economics from the University of Toronto and Masters work at York University, Robert brought innovative programming to the Association of Municipalities of Ontario including GASAMO, a $35 million public gas-purchasing program under deregulation. He moved to British Columbia in 1989 where he worked for the Sea to Sky Economic Development Corporation until 1996. His many accomplishments included assisting in the development of Whistler which was named the number one ski resort in North America. In 1998, Mr. Fine was awarded “Economic Developer of the Year” by the Economic Development Association of British Columbia and the Bank of Montreal. He was honoured with an honourary fellow from Okanagan College and was named the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce’s Business Leader Award winner for 2009.
Mr. Fine is currently the Director for the Economic Development Commission for the Central Okanagan Regional District located in Kelowna, British Columbia. He is Past President of the Economic Developers Association of Canada and sits on the Board of the International Economic Development Council, based in Washington, DC. He is a member of the Provincial Small Business Roundtable, a director with Accelerate Okanagan, board member with the John Howard Society and has recently joined the Board of the Canadian Cancer Society, BC – Yukon. He writes a twice monthly column in the Kelowna Daily Courier, The Fine Print. In his spare time he sings the Great American Songbook, and has performed in Japan, the Caribbean, Europe and across Canada and the US. His 5th CD, a live recording with a 15 piece big band raised $20,000 for the BC Cancer Foundation.
Amy Fobes is the founder of geoCommunica, a consultancy dedicated to helping companies connect to the power of geo-technology and drive revenue even in a challenging and complex economic environment. She has twenty years of experience in sales, marketing and business analytics with an emphasis on achieving operational and sales objectives with location intelligence. Amy has served global real estate firms such as Jones Lang LaSalle and many others. She brings to the commercial real estate industry a deep understanding of the challenges and successes that site selectors experience when using GIS and data analytics to rank markets and enhance their decision-making processes. Prior to founding geoCommunica, Amy worked at global technology firms such as ESRI and Sun Microsystems. Amy has a B.A. in Political Science from Hamilton College.
Deane C. Foote is President of Foote Consulting Group, LLC; a development related consulting company located in the Phoenix area. FCG provides real estate, site selection, workforce and economic development services.
Deane has worked on dozens of projects in recent years, including corporate projects for Staples, Simplot, Wal-Mart and Coca-Cola and economic development projects for the Arizona Department of Commerce; State of Ohio; the Greater Phoenix Economic Council; Great Falls (MT) Airport Authority; Lee County Transportation Authority in Florida; Iowa City Area Development, Los Alamos, NM and the City of Moraine, OH. He has over 30 years of experience.
Deane was formerly Senior Project Manager for Real Estate and Economic Development with Jacobs (formerly Carter & Burgess) where he directed site selection and economic development projects. Deane was also a Vice President with Paragon Decision Resources, Inc., a full-service relocation company, in charge of site selection and economic development. He was also President of the Greater Urbana-Champaign (IL) Economic Development Corporation.
Deane is a Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) and a graduate of the University of Oklahoma. He and his wife Jeanne reside in Glendale, Arizona.
James Gandy became president of the Frisco Economic Development Corporation (FEDC) in 1996 when Frisco's population was approximately 15,000. Eighteen years later, the population has boomed to more than 138,000.
During his time leading the FEDC, Jim has worked on many projects to enhance the quality-of-life for residents through the attraction of new businesses, generation of quality job opportunities and expansion of the tax base in the City of Frisco.
With population growth of 307% since 2000, Frisco has developed into a thriving city with significant corporate headquarters and destination retail such as Stonebriar Centre (Mall), Centre at Preston Ridge and big retailers like IKEA.
Development of destination sports venues has been a major part of Frisco's economic development strategy since 1997. The Frisco EDC has facilitated the development of several major sports venues including the:
Frisco Superdrome (1998)
Under Jim's leadership, the FEDC was recognized in October 2013 as the Highest Performing Economic Development Organization for cities with populations of 100,001 to 250,000 by Atlas Advertising. The Dallas Business Journal ranked the FEDC number one among North Texas economic development agencies. Both accolades were based on the value of deals facilitated by the FEDC in 2012.
Jim is a Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) by the International Economic Development Council, (IEDC) and a Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM).
He holds a Bachelor's degree of Business Administration from Texas A&I University (now Texas A&M University, Kingsville, Texas).
Previously, Mr. Gandy was:
Sean is an Economic Developer, Land Strategist, Strategic Planner, Facilitator, and Revitalization Expert. He leads a team of planners, analysts and creatives in providing strategic advice and direction to public and private sector clients. A transformational experience in Africa with the Peace Corps as well as hands-on development and revitalization experience at home in East Austin, Texas has helped shape Sean and Pegasus to become a mission-driven firm focused on making a difference in our communities. Several of his projects have been awarded Project of the Year by the American Planning Association – Texas Chapter. Sean currently sits on the board of the YMCA of Austin and is the Board President of the Chestnut Neighborhood Revitalization Authority, a local CDC involved in developing mixed-use projects in East Austin. He holds a Master of Urban Planning degree from the University of Texas at Austin, with a specialization in Economic Development.
Ms. Alison Germak Gatchev is the Director of Corporate Development in the Small & Medium Enterprise Finance department at the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the primary agency of the U.S. Government tasked with facilitating U.S. private investment into emerging markets. In this role, Ms. Gatchev is responsible for counseling U.S. companies seeking financing, evaluating investment proposals, and developing new business opportunities for the Agency. Ms. Gatchev is also responsible for leading her department’s outreach efforts to the U.S. business community and cultivating relationships with key federal and local partners. From 2004 to 2010, Ms. Gatchev served as a Public Affairs Specialist in OPIC's Office of External Affairs designing and implementing communication and outreach campaigns for which she won several awards. Ms. Gatchev is a frequent speaker and contributor at conferences on international business and development.
Ms. Gatchev holds a M.A. in International Commerce and Policy with an emphasis in Global Business from George Mason University’s School of Public Policy, where she presently serves as Assistant Vice President on the board of the school’s Alumni Chapter. She is the recipient of the school's 2010 David Ricardo Trade Award, given to the graduate representing exceptional academic ability, involvement, and promise in the fields of commerce and trade. Ms. Gatchev graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor's degree in Political Science from Susquehanna University and has studied abroad at Oxford University.
As of 2014, JLL is the first firm to create a Global Chief GIS Officer. In this role, all data assets and visualizations are organized across the enterprise through a consistent and standardized analytical mapping system that provides JLL customers with insightful market awareness backed by rigorous scientific methods. Mitigating risk and taking the guesswork out of site selection requires a unique blend of creativity and quantitative skill. The Global Chief GIS Officer ensures quality, integrity and reliability of big data analytics across all JLL advisory services. Dr. Gearey has won three consecutive innovation awards and was recently named as one of JLL's top achievers. Dr. Gearey teaches GIS for Real Estate to undergraduates, masters and PhD students at the University of Texas, Dallas. He also serves as a board member for the National Relief Charities serving American Indian Communities.
Mary Graham is the Chamber's Senior Vice President for Business Advocacy. The Business Advocacy Division advocates on behalf of the Chamber's 1,850+ members at the local, state and federal levels to ensure members operate within a positive business climate to support their growth. Areas of focus include local regulation, state and federal legislation, military base retention, transportation, regional planning and other issues impacting the business climate in the region.
Graham has been with the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce since 1989 working in Business Advocacy and the Center for Business Research. Prior to joining the Charleston Metro Chamber she worked with the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce and the SC Department of Commerce.
She is past chair (twice) of the Council for Community and Economic Research. Formed in 1961, the Council for Community and Economic Research is a national membership organization of organizations concerned about understanding and improving regional economies. Members include representatives from state and local development organizations, chambers of commerce, local governments, federal agencies, applied academic research centers, and many other types of institutions.
Graham is both a Certified Community Researcher and a Certified Chamber Executive. Graham is a graduate of Converse College in Spartanburg SC with a degree in Economics.
A former teacher, small business owner and Mayor of Fort Worth, Congresswoman Kay Granger was first elected to represent the 12th congressional district of Texas in 1997. Earning a reputation for pragmatic leadership and serving as a powerful voice for Texas values, Kay fervently fights for the issues that matter most to Texas’ 12th congressional district and our country.
Since arriving in the U.S. House of Representatives, Kay has distinguished herself as one of the most recognized and influential leaders on defense and foreign policy – an expertise she began developing as the Mayor of Fort Worth, which is home to the Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base and Lockheed Martin. As the vice chairman of the powerful Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, she has continually strengthened the 12th District’s contribution to America’s defense system and supported efforts to provide for our women and men in uniform – both on the battlefield and when they return home from combat.
In 2012, Kay stood with Governor Rick Perry and members of the 136th Airlift Wing of the Texas Air National Guard to fight a costly and unnecessary Air Force proposal that looked to move Texas’ prized C-130 squadron to Montana. To the Air Force, Texans, and the millions of Americans who depend on the C-130 aircraft to respond to natural disaster emergencies, Kay delivered a powerful message: C-130s will not be moved without a fight. Thanks to her work as well as that of Governor Perry, Senator Cornyn, Senator Hutchison and the entire Texas delegation, the C-130’s stayed where they are needed and where they belong: Fort Worth.
Kay has long believed that national security and foreign policy go hand in hand. As the top Republican on the State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee, she has worked to increase global stability and security as well enrich the lives of millions in the developing world through efforts that center on bettering global health, improving the lives of women and teaching emerging democracies how to sustain newly-discovered freedoms.
Kay also serves as a Majority Deputy Whip and serves on the Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development.
In recognition of her achievements, Kay has received the Air Force Foundation Award and the Marine Corps’ Semper Fidelis Award. She has also been honored with the Tax Fighter Award by the National Tax Limitation Committee and the Spirit of Enterprise Award by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Additionally, the National Association of Manufacturers has recognized her for her pro-growth, pro-worker voting record. For a full list of the awards she’s received, please click here.
Born in Greenville, TX, Kay was raised in Fort Worth. Majoring in education, Kay - a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution - graduated from Texas Wesleyan University and became a high school journalism and English teacher. In 1978, she opened her own insurance agency and operated it for over 20 years, leading her to become the first woman inducted into the Fort Worth Business Hall of Fame. In 1991, she was elected as the first female Mayor of Fort Worth where she cut crime by 49 percent and led the city to win the coveted All-American City Award. Kay, who attends the First United Methodist Church in Fort Worth, is a mother of three and a proud grandmother to five.
Todd Greene is vice president in the research department at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. Greene’s responsibilities include providing leadership, strategic direction, and oversight for the community and economic development division and for the Americas Center. He is also the co-director of the Atlanta Fed’s Center for Human Capital Studies.
• The community and economic development division supports the Fed’s monetary policy function as well as community and economic development activities, community reinvestment, and fair lending throughout the Sixth District. Addressing a broad range of development topics including small business, neighborhood stabilization, and workforce and employment, the division undertakes research and analysis and identifies best practices, builds partnerships, and provides training and technical assistance to financial institutions, community and economic development organizations, government agencies, and policymakers.
Before joining the Atlanta Fed in 2008, Greene held leadership roles in the private, government, and educational sectors. Most recently he was a member of the general faculty at Georgia Tech where, at various times, he served as center director and oversaw research and programs related to applied economic development including the Program in Science, Technology and Innovation Policy and the Center for Manufacturing Information Technology.
Currently, Greene is on the board of directors of the International Economic Development Council and the Georgia Academy for Economic Development and is a member of the Southern Economic Development Council. He is a past president of the Georgia Economic Developers Association. His previous board and advisory council experience includes the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, the United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta, and the SouthEast Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors.
Greene is a graduate of the 2011 Leadership Atlanta, 2009 Leadership Georgia, and 2003 Buckhead Business Association programs. In 2002, he obtained the Certified Economic Developer designation (CEcD). Greene earned a bachelor’s degree in English and American literature and language from Harvard University and master’s degrees in human resources management from Washington University and public administration from Georgia State University.
Mr. Grenier has over 30 years of experience in economic development. Among other accomplishments, he was instrumental in the organization of several technoparks in Canada (St.Laurent, near Montréal and Québec City, among others) and is currently managing the Québec City techno park real estate assets. He also created one of the first export networks for Quebec SME’s within the US market.
From 2000 to 2008, he was the pre-development specialist for the Lac Mirabel project, a 1.2 billion dollars real estate investment in the Montreal area. He was instrumental in the due diligence process for the financing for this megaproject with Morgan Stanley and helped the promoter, Connecticut based Gordon Group to obtain a major public contribution for the construction of an interchange and the displacement of a major 735 kv power line from Hydro-Québec.
From 2008 to today, his expertise was largely used in providing a strategic overview on how a new vision of industrial development can be integrated in the economic development strategies of Canadian municipalities and regions, especially to improve FDI attraction.
As an economic development specialist, Mr. Grenier has more than 65 strategic positioning and branding studies to his credit. As a real estate manager, Mr. Grenier’s team managed over 225,000,000 square feet of land (mainly commercial and industrial) for a major land owner in the Montréal area. He is currently working on two major foreign investments in the tourism industry, from France to Canada, totaling 2 billion dollars.
Lynn-Ann manages JumpStart’s process of investing in companies, from intake to due diligence to document review to post-investment governance and monitoring.
Lynn-Ann joined the team at JumpStart Inc. after working as the Fund Manager for JumpStart LLC, a venture capital fund dedicated to making investments in startup companies in Northeast Ohio. Prior to joining JumpStart in August 2001, Lynn-Ann worked in the investment banking division of McDonald Investments where she had extensive experience with public equity issuance and worked on stock offerings for many McDonald clients. Before McDonald, Lynn-Ann worked for Morgan Stanley in institutional equity sales, and prior to that, for Smith Barney in project finance.
She serves on the board of the Cleveland Chapter of the American Red Cross, Summer On The Cuyahoga (a summer internship program for college students) and the Ohio Venture Association.
Lynn-Ann received her MBA from New York University's Stern School of Business in 1990 and graduated from Smith College in 1984 with a BA in Economics.
Carlos is the Chief Strategy Officer at Larta. He oversees all aspects of client and partner development and strategic positioning of the organization. He is responsible for initiating, securing, and growing client relationships and alliances in the U.S. and around the world to build Larta’s network and stature as a leading innovation hub. He also develops initial program content/design and contributes to ensure successful execution of client initiatives in the areas of technology commercialization, technology transfer, and advisory services related to innovation policy and technology-led economic development.
Previously, Carlos was an early part of the management team and Director of Business Development for Firstlook.com, an idealab! venture-backed startup digital media company whose investors included Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers, Goldman Sachs, Intel Capital, and Cox Communications. At the company, he was responsible for executing the business model, securing flagship customers, monitoring program deployments, and managing a small team. Prior to Firstlook, he served as Sales & Marketing Manager for latimes.com, the online portal for the Los Angeles Times, where he was responsible for growing advertising revenue, new product creation, and positioning the product to agencies, customers, and key stakeholders in the online media community.
At Larta, Carlos has led strategic efforts to initiate, nurture, and secure engagements with several leading federal agencies that support R&D-driven ventures under the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. Clients include the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Department of Energy (DOE), the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the National Institute for Standards & Technology (NIST), and the Special Operations Command (SOCOM) of the Department of Defense. On a global scale, he has similarly led efforts to develop programmatic relationships with governments and innovation agencies around the world to support ecosystems of innovation and the global competitiveness of entrepreneurs in their region. Countries and client partners include; Japan (Ministry of Economy Trade and Industry), Russia (under DOE non proliferation program support), Malaysia (Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation), Brazil (Agency for Industrial Development), and others including Canada and New Zealand. He has also served as a consultant to the World Bank on an STI (Science, Technology, Innovation) mission to Croatia focused on assessing innovation policy, capital infrastructure, and government mechanisms/programs to support high technology entrepreneurs. Within industry, he was responsible for launching and developing Larta’s Industry Advisory Board; a group that now numbers 50+ senior executives and technology scouts across 4 technology sectors (agbiotech, ICT, life sciences, and advanced materials). Advisory Board members include BASF, Johnson & Johnson, Boeing, Merck, Pfizer, Dow, Schlumberger, Monsanto, Nestle, Genentech, Medtronic, Honda, Allergan, 3M, and others. He has also served as a speaker and moderator at the SBIR National Conference on the commercialization of government-supported R&D and World Bank briefings on similar subject matter.
Carlos has a B.S. degree in Marketing and Business Administration from Cal State University, Northridge, and an MBA from the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California (USC).
Carlos is bilingual in English/Spanish. He lives in Southern California and can be seen on weekends fully immersed in family activities with his wife Jeanette and their three children.
Erma Johnson Hadley applies her long tenure with the college to effectively lead the academic, strategic and financial planning initiatives of the nationally recognized institution. Currently ranked the sixth-largest college or university in Texas, and the fifteenth-largest college or university in the U.S., Tarrant County College spans five full-service campuses and a Health Professions Campus and touches more than 100,000 students each year through its academic, technical and workforce development programs.
Recognizing that her career-long service to TCC uniquely positioned her to lead the College, the Board of Trustees appointed her to her current position in 2010 from her prior role as Interim Chancellor in 2009. She joined TCC as a charter faculty member of its Northeast Campus in 1968 and shortly thereafter was named an “Outstanding Teacher.” She was promoted to the administration in 1973, where she initially served as Assistant Director of Personnel and the Equal Opportunity Officer. In 1981, she was named Vice Chancellor for Human Resources, a post she held for 12 years until her next promotion to Vice Chancellor for Administration. From 2006-2009, she served as Vice Chancellor for Administrative and Community Services.
Ms. Hadley is a fierce champion for student success and the belief that “every student should be given an opportunity to learn and lead in life.” In addition to being actively involved with TCC’s students and faculty, she contributes her time and energy to numerous organizations that enable her to demonstrate the very leadership she wants TCC students to emulate. Locally, she has served as the first female member and chairman of the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport Board, during which she represented the airport to several Congressional and international delegations. In addition, she has served as chairman of the North Texas Commission, chairman of the Tarrant County Hospital District Board of Managers, and chair of the community Reinvestment Committee of JPMorgan Chase Bank, Fort Worth. Other leadership positions include the Fort Worth Metropolitan Black Chamber of Commerce, the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine Advisory Council, the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, Fort Worth CAN! Academy, the Rotary Club of Fort Worth, and the leadership advisory board of the Fort Worth Minority Leaders and Citizens Council, to name just a few. On a statewide level, she served by gubernatorial appointment on the Trinity River Authority of Texas and the Texas Governor’s Committee on Volunteerism, as well as on the board of directors for Texas A&M University Research Foundation. At the national level, she has served on the J.P. Morgan Chase National Community Advisory Board and was recently elected to the board of directors for the American Association of Community Colleges. She also serves on the national Executive Council for The Links Incorporated, and organization of more than 12,000 professional women of color in 276 chapters in 41 states focused on responding to the civic, educational and cultural needs and aspirations of African-American women.
Her commitment to education, community, leadership and service has been recognized by numerous awards and honors. In 2013, the National Forum for Black Public Administrators named her a 2013 Lone Star Award honoree. That same year, she was honored by Safe Haven of Tarrant County with the “Legacy of Women” award for her contributions to excellence in education. She was inducted into the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame by Governor Rick Perry in 2010, the same year she received the Great Woman of Texas Award from the Fort Worth Business Press. In 2009, she was presented the Distinguished Leadership Award by the National Community Leadership Association. Other organizations recognizing Ms. Hadley’s contributions include Leadership Fort Worth, the National Conference of Community and Justice, Prairie View A&M University and the United Negro College Fund, among others.
Ms. Hadley holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Prairie View A&M University and a Master of Education degree from Bowling Green State University in Ohio, Educational Leadership Program Certificate from Harvard University, and an Honorary Doctorate in Education from Paul Quinn College.
Leann has a unique ability to establish partnerships across various sectors, industries and borders; anticipate emerging and ongoing business needs; design new ways of providing goods and/or services; as well as conceptualize, plan and implement innovative initiatives. Her broad network of contacts locally, regionally, nationally and internationally is a real asset in her work. Expertise includes community economic development, identification of strategic business opportunities, business & market development, government relations, international trade and marketing communications.
Leann’s leadership abilities were identified early on in her career when she was nominated and selected to participate in the United States International Visitors Program. This program involved future leaders from 20 different countries, 19 of which were in Europe. The focus of the program was Trade and Economic Development. It included meetings with government, unions, community organizations and corporate America. Participants traveled to Washington DC; San Diego, California; Jackson, Mississippi and New York, NY.
In addition, Leann has provided business development services to the State of Georgia and State of Mississippi; provided leadership for the Organization of Women in International Trade in various capacities; organized and hosted numerous international trade delegations; worked with economic developers and elected officials throughout the province of Alberta; established working relationships with other provincial and international economic development groups; developed business and marketing plans for small-medium sized enterprises; and worked on a number of high profile community investment projects.
For the past five years, Leann has been the CEO of Economic Developers Alberta (EDA). As a professional organization for economic developers, EDA organizes conferences, seminars and webinars; provides a scholarship program; organizes an annual awards program; oversees the AlbertaBusinessCounts program; and runs a Community Economic Development Training Program. In June 2013, Leann conceptualized and spearheaded the Economic Disaster Recovery Project (EDRP) in response to major flooding in Southern Alberta. It was designed to be a practical and theoretical training exercise for 10 communities most impacted by the disaster. Organizational partners included EDA, BCEDA and IEDC; and funding partners included the Government of Alberta, RBC Foundation, Shell Canada Ltd., US Consulate General (Calgary) and the Canadian Red Cross.
Ellen Harpel is the founder and president of Business Development Advisors LLC (BDA), an economic development and market intelligence consulting firm. Dr. Harpel is also the founder of Smart Incentives, which helps communities make sound decisions throughout the economic development incentives process.
Dr. Harpel speaks and writes frequently on incentive policies and programs. Recent consulting projects have addressed effective incentive use, incentive policy analysis, sustainable economic development, economic impacts of defense and military spending, and economic development program evaluation.
Dr. Harpel is a Senior Research Fellow with the Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness and an affiliate with the Center for Regional Analysis at George Mason University. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service from Georgetown University, an MBA from the University of North Carolina, and a doctoral degree in regional economics from George Mason University's School of Public Policy.
Cecilia joined the Greater Fremont Development Council and the Greater Omaha Economic Development Partnership on August 26, 2013. She is responsible for the promotion of economic development activities in Fremont and Dodge County. Prior to this appointment, Cecilia was with Leavenworth County Development Corporation in Leavenworth, Kan. as the economic development coordinator where she was highly successful in expanding their business retention and expansion program. She excels at building relationships with business leaders and has experience working on workforce development initiatives, marketing and project management.
Cecilia currently serves on the board of directors of the International Economic Development Council (IEDC), an organization that today has over 4,500 members. Her community involvement has included serving as a member of the board of United Way of Leavenworth County and as President of Young Professionals of Leavenworth County.
Barbara Hayes is the President and CEO of the Sacramento Area Commerce and Trade Organization (SACTO). Hayes represents the region through marketing and recruitment missions throughout the U.S. and overseas to attract quality business to the area and strengthen ties with companies already in the area. Prior to joining SACTO, she held several positions within the California Trade and Commerce Agency.
Hayes received her degree in International Relations and Economics from the University of California, Davis. She is a member of the International Economic Development Council, California Association for Local Economic Development, Industrial Asset Management Council and Corporate Real Estate Network (CORENET). She sits on more than 10 boards and advisory councils around the region and nationally having to do, primarily, with economic and workforce development. Hayes is frequently asked to speak on behalf of the Sacramento Region business economy and serves as a regional spokesperson on a local, national and international stage.
Mark spent four years in Economic Development with the Clarksville Area Chamber of Commerce after receiving his Bachelor’s degree in marketing from Austin Peay State University. During his time at the chamber he received certifications for completing a two-year Tennessee Chamber of Commerce Executives program and for graduating the US Chamber of Commerce Institute. Mark believes it’s critical for chambers to embrace technology and evolve with the digital world by helping small businesses using technology. When Mark isn’t working he enjoys Florida Gator games with his wife and stressing himself out on the golf course.
Mr. Henderson is currently the Real Estate and Economic Development Director for Gilbert, Arizona and is responsible for attracting, growing and expanding business and industry. In this executive leadership role with Gilbert Mr. Henderson oversees the administration of a $5.8 million dollar departmental budget and ended Fiscal Year 2013-2014 with a transactional activity exceeding $198,000,000. In 2013 the Gilbert Office of Economic Development earned the Accredited Economic Development Organization (AEDO) status through the International Economic Development Council (IEDC).
Prior to his employment with Gilbert, he was employed by the City of Tempe for six years as an Economic Development Specialist where he was responsible for implementing projects and programs that support commercial, office, and industrial expansion. He has also held positions with Raymond James Consulting, a national technology and solution delivery consulting group; has served as a contract consultant with IBM Global Business Services; and was the Manager of Foreign Direct Investment for the World Trade Center where he was accountable for program development activities targeting European markets and international trade.
Mr. Henderson is an Adjunct Faculty member for Chandler-Gilbert Community College in the Business and Computer Studies Division, and is active in various civic organizations, which include the Gilbert Historical Society Steering Committee, the Mayor’s Breakfast with the Arts, Board Member of the Higley Center for the Performing Arts, East Valley Boys and Girls Club Board of Directors, Ahwatukee Foothills YMCA Youth Sports Committee, Grand Canyon State Games Commissioner and is a graduate of Tempe Leadership. He is also active with various industry associations holding Board of Director positions with the Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC), CoreNet Global, Canada Arizona Business Council, and Arizona State University Polytechnic Community Board, member of the Arizona Bio Association Governmental Affairs Committee, and Governmental Affairs Chair for the Arizona Association for Economic Development. Mr. Henderson is a Certified Economic Developer, holds an undergraduate degree in Management and Finance and has received a Master of Business Administration with a concentration in Computer Information Systems.
Mary Hebert works closely with international companies as they evaluate their expansion to the United States. In addition to site-selection services, Hebert works with regional stakeholders to promote the Greater Phoenix region as a global leader in FDI and trade. She manages the Shanghai-based contractor for the Arizona Center - China, a partnership between the Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC) and the Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA), as well as the contractor for Canadian business development. She is active with the World Economic Forum, serving as the Founding Curator for the Phoenix chapter of the WEF Global Shapers Community.
Hebert graduated from Arizona State University with an undergraduate degree in Philosophy and Business. In 2011, she received a graduate degree in Public Administration from ASU, where she focused her studies on tax policy.
Jennifer R. Hernandez has over eight years of experience in economic development and is currently the Director of Economic Development and Special Projects at The Beacon Council, Miami-Dade County’s official economic development partnership. In her capacity, Hernandez assists companies seeking to relocate and/or expand in Miami-Dade County by facilitating access to financial incentive programs, permitting assistance, site selection, customized research, business contacts and referrals, employee training programs, and labor sourcing.
A native of Miami, Florida, she holds a Master of Public Administration degree and a Bachelor of Science in Travel and Tourism Management degree, both from Florida International University. Hernandez is also an active participant on IEDC’s Young Professionals Taskforce, a group of young professionals focused on developing more opportunities to engage young professionals and students in the field of economic development.
Robert Hinkle is currently Director of Corporate Affairs for NTE Mobility Partners, LLC. He oversees the day to day operations of government, media and public relations, public affairs and the implementation of stakeholder communications and community outreach for the, soon to be completed, $2.5 billion North Tarrant Express project in northeast Tarrant County and the $1.5 billion 35W project in Fort Worth.
Over his 30 plus year career Hinkle has worked with corporations throughout the US and around the world on strategic, crisis and litigation communications in the oil & gas and mining industries, healthcare, security and manufacturing. He has worked with governments in Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Latin America to create internal and external communications strategies regarding conflict resolution, democracy development, political positioning and economic partnerships.
Here in Texas, Hinkle began his career as a radio and television news reporter and has worked with political candidates running for local, regional, state and federal positions including the state legislature, Congress and the White House.
Mignonne Hollis is an accomplished economic development professional with many years of experience in developing and transforming local businesses into sustainable enterprises. Ms. Hollis has developed countless partnerships within the City, County and State business community; making her a valuable commodity to her foundation. Her dynamic focus stimulates economic development by seeking to create sustainability and resources for existing businesses in an effort to promote growth and operation advancement. In addition to Ms. Hollis' dedication to existing businesses, she has successfully fostered an attractive marketing program that illustrates the benefits of making Sierra Vista the next business site for external corporations. SVEDF has evolved into an innovative tool for both local and external businesses and Ms. Hollis' vision of making the EDF a hub of information and resources is well on its way.
Ms. Hollis graduated from the University of Arizona and went on to earn her MBA degree from the University of Phoenix. She has been an effective professional in the community for a number of years and brings a fresh perspective to developing and retaining a healthy economy.
While serving as the Director and Business Analyst of the Cochise College Small Business Development Center, Mignonne counseled startups and existing businesses in all functional areas. She assisted over 3,000 businesses in the area creating over 1,000 jobs and increasing sales by $21,000,000. She assisted in developing business plans and financial reports for presentation to lenders.
Prior to joining the SBDC, Mignonne owned and operated an accounting firm for fifteen years. She provided tax preparation, accounting, auditing, financial reporting, tax research, tax planning and financial advice to small businesses and individuals. In just three years, she grew her client base to over 120 clients.
Mignonne received the 2007 customer satisfaction award from the Arizona Small Business Development Center network. She also co-writes a weekly newspaper advice column for business owners. She serves on the Tri County Workforce Development Board and is an active member of the Ft. Huachuca 50 whose mission is to solely and executively promote the economic welfare of the Sierra Vista area by support the continuing development of Ft Huachuca. She is also a member of the International Shopping Council of Shopping Centers. She is working towards becoming a certified economic developer.
As a member of the Arizona Association for Economic Development, she has been actively involved by serving on Southern AZ membership committee and the Rural Committee.
Leslie Hornung serves as senior vice president of marketing and public relations for the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC). This position directs the overall advertising, marketing, communications, public relations, social media, branding, and website activities for the state of Michigan’s economic development, business and talent attraction/retention efforts. Hornung also directs the strategy and implementation of the state's tourism marketing and communications through the Travel Michigan unit.
Leslie has over 20 years of experience in marketing, public relations and sales in the life sciences, real estate and economic development fields. Her most recent positions were as Vice President of Sales and Marketing for large healthcare services and medical device organizations where she collaborated to provide strategic sales and marketing plans, as well as leading the development of corporate and product branding at a national level. She also directed marketing and public relations activities, including the development of attraction strategies and industry-specific toolkits for regional economic development organizations in the Western New York Region.
Hornung holds a Bachelor’s degree in English and Marketing, with a Minor in Advertising from Canisius College in Buffalo, New York.
Mr. Hourigan serves as CEO of Elevate Ventures, Inc. and oversees the management of investment and outreach programs, and has served as a primary resource for entrepreneurs with high-growth, high-technology innovation.
With a strong background in finance and entrepreneurship, Mr. Hourigan brings experience to his new role as the state's chief entrepreneurial consultant. He most recently worked as the Managing Director of the 21 Fund. Previously, Mr. Hourigan worked as the chief strategic officer for debt mediation firm, Preferred Financial Solutions. Prior to that appointment, Mr. Hourigan served as a business development consultant for Chart Logic, a Utah-based electronic health record firm that Mr. Hourigan turned around in less than 9 months to profitability. Earlier in his career, Mr. Hourigan co-founded and served as a senior executive of a technology solutions company before executing a successful sale of the firm. He has also served in various senior trading and finance positions with New York City investment firms including First Boston Corporation, UBS Securities and AMT Capital.
Mr. Hourigan sits on the Board of PDS Biotechnology Corporation, Policystat, Wellfount, and Vocare. He is a co-author of a patent in automated loan-risk assessment and holds a Bachelor of Science in Political Science from Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine.
Sara Hudson works as a Community Development Project Manager for Big Sky Economic Development in Billings, Montana. In this position, she plans and initiates programs, projects, and partnerships that stimulate public and private investment, provide a better quality of place, and enhance the community’s economic wellbeing. She holds a Master in Public Administration and has completed her doctoral coursework in urban and public administration. She has more than 13 years of experience with grants and projects management and has taught undergraduate and graduate courses in urban administration, policy and law. After serving under the Dallas City Manager as the lead financial analyst in the Office of Intergovernmental Services, she worked as a research associate in the Center for Economic Development Research and Service (CEDRAS) and the Center for International Research, Education and Development (CIRED), both of which are housed in the University of Texas at Arlington’s School of Urban and Public Affairs. She is a professionally trained strategic planner and most recently facilitated the strategic planning processes for the Billings Public Library Board of Trustees and the Billings Livability Partnership, www.livablebillings.com. Ms. Hudson is a fourth-generation Montanan and owns her own consulting business, Hudson Consulting, L.L.C.
Mr. Hunden and his firm offer extensive experience in the economics of major real estate projects. Mr. Hunden has provided expertise for over 200 projects including Toronto’s Woodbine Live!, the Kansas City Power & Light District, 4th Street Live! (Louisville), the Indianapolis Downtown Marriott, Chicago’s Union Station redevelopment, the New Yorker Hotel, Conseco Fieldhouse, Fort Worth Omni, and numerous convention hotels, convention centers and mixed-use districts. Prior to starting HSP in 2006, he served as Vice President of Johnson Consulting in Chicago. There, he led specialized work on hotels, conference centers, sports, urban entertainment-retail districts and convention centers. Previously, he conducted real estate finance and transactions at Landauer Associates and Grubb & Ellis. His public-sector experience includes managing projects for the Indianapolis Bond Bank and the Indianapolis Mayor’s Office, including the 1999 Indiana Convention Center expansion, the RCA Dome expansion, and Conseco Fieldhouse financial development. He has written articles on convention hotel development and taught college-level Destination Development courses. He also sits on advisory board for DePaul’s School of Hospitality.
Mr. Hunden is a member of the International Society of Hospitality Consultants (ISHC), ULI, IEDC, IDA, ICMA, IAAM and GFOA. He has conducted IEDC panel discussions and taught numerous professional development courses for IEDC. He has also spoken at the Greek Conference on Tourism and the Bond Buyer’s “Tourism as Economic Development” conference.
When a consortium of leading Barnett Shale production companies founded the Barnett Shale Energy Education Council in 2007, it selected Ed Ireland as executive director. Ireland and the BSEEC are dedicated to promoting energy education and best practices as they relate to oil and gas leasing, drilling, production, transportation and marketing in the Barnett Shale.
Ireland’s executive management experience, operational expertise and 20-year oil and gas career made him the ideal candidate to oversee the activities of the BSEEC, and implement educational and outreach programs in the 24-county area that makes up the Barnett Shale. An industry expert, he also acts as spokesperson for the Barnett Shale, as well as a community and media representative on behalf of BSEEC members. He serves on the Board of Directors of the TCU Energy Institute and was a co-founder of the Metroplex Natural Gas Vehicle Consortium.
Ireland started his career in the energy industry as an energy economist at United Gas Pipeline in Houston. He founded Energy Planning Associates and GasMark, Inc, a natural gas supplier and pipeline company, and later became president of GeoSource, Inc., an independent oil and gas exploration company. Ireland also served as Alderman of the City of Southside Place, Texas, for three terms.
Prior to his corporate work, Ireland served as assistant professor and head of the Economics Department at Clemson University in South Carolina. Ireland holds a B.S. in economics from Midwestern State University, a Ph.D. in economics and statistics from Texas Tech University and did post-doctoral work at the University of Chicago.
Mr. Michael K. Jackson currently serves as the Director of City/State Partners at the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank), an independent agency of the federal government. In this role, he creates and manages marketing partnerships with local, state, and regional economic development organizations across the nation to expand export opportunities for small businesses. He is also responsible for conducting training seminars and participating in various marketing outreach activities to educate U.S. exporters, foreign buyers and multipliers about Ex-Im Bank's programs. In addition to his duties at Ex-Im Bank, the Mr. Jackson is also an adjunct faculty member at Montgomery College where he instructs a course on small business exporting.
Immediately prior to joining Ex-Im Bank, Mr. Jackson served as the District International Trade Officer at the Small Business Administration's (SBA) Baltimore District Office where he conducted export-focused training workshops and seminars for SMEs, financial institutions, trade associations and economic development organizations. He also advised and assisted SMEs interested in beginning to export or expanding into new foreign markets.
Prior to beginning his career with the federal government, Mr. Jackson held sales and marketing positions with several large corporations in the banking and ICT industries. He is also a former small business owner. Mr. Jackson is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force and served in Ramstein, Germany and Warner Robins, Georgia.
Mr. Jackson earned an MBA in International Business from American Intercontinental University in Atlanta, GA and a B.S. in Government & Politics from the University of Maryland - University College Europe in Heidelberg, Germany. He also holds the NASBITE Certified Global Business Professional (CGBP) international trade certification. Mr. Jackson is a member of NASBITE International, the American Society for Training & Development (ASTD) and the International Economic Development Council (IEDC).
Since joining EDW in 2010, Marina has directed all aspects of the organization's activities. She provides leadership and strategic direction, collaborates with key stakeholders and is a driving force behind making Winnipeg a compelling choice for business and tourism.
Marina has an extensive background in business platform management and organizational capabilities. She has more than 22 years of executive management experience in hotel operations and asset management; tourism development and investment, promotion and attraction; and economic development. Prior to joining Economic Development Winnipeg Inc., she was the vice-president of hotels at Westcorp Properties Inc.
Marina currently serves on the boards of directors of the International Economic Development Council, the Tourism Industry Association of Canada and the RBC Convention Centre Winnipeg. She is also a director of the Consider Canada City Alliance and a member of the Deans Advisory Council within the Faculty of Business & Economics at the University of Winnipeg.
Marina earned an MBA from the University of Guelph, is a Certified Hotel Administrator (CHA) and a Certified Destination Management Executive (CDME). She is presently pursuing a National Advanced Certificate in Local Government Administration from Dalhousie University.
An expert in neighborhood scale development and the revitalization of urban commercial and retail assets, James Johnson-Piett is Principal and CEO of Urbane Development, which provides technical assistance, program development, and thought leadership to a wide range of clients and partners working to strengthen underserved communities. Urbane Development is a community development venture that cultivates innovative solutions to build dynamic neighborhoods and positively impact underserved communities. During his tenure, Urbane has worked with over 150 retailers and other institutions throughout the US and abroad. Currently, James serves on the board of directors of the Community Food Security Coalition, is a co-convener of the Healthy Corner Stores Network, and is an advisory council member for the USDA Healthy Urban Food Enterprise Development program.
Mr. Aleem Kanji is the Manager of Government Affairs & Stakeholder Relations for the Greater Toronto Airports Authority. In this role, he manages proposals and positions regarding policy, legislative and regulatory changes and issues of interest to the GTAA. In addition, he identifies new economic development opportunities for collaboration with stakeholder groups as it relates to the GTAA’s interests.
Previously, Mr. Kanji led policy and public affairs work at the Toronto Board of Trade, Canada’s largest Chamber of Commerce. In this position he was the key lobbyist on economic development and planning and development issues to the municipal, provincial and federal governments on behalf of the Board of Trade. He has also worked as a freelance consultant to Dr. Richard Florida and the Creative Class Group.
Before joining the Toronto Board of Trade, Mr. Kanji served as Senior Economist for the Government of Ontario at the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade.
Mr. Kanji holds a Masters Degree in Economic Development and a Bachelor’s Degree in Urban and Regional Planning, both from the University of Waterloo. In October 2003, Mr. Kanji attained the Certified Economic Developer ‘Ec.D’ designation - recognizing both industry and academic qualifications of Economic Developers and became the youngest Canadian ever to do so.
In February 2009, Mr. Kanji was appointed by Toronto City Council as a founding member on the Board of Directors for Invest Toronto, a new business corporation established by The City of Toronto focused on engaging the private sector in marketing and promotion activities to increase business investment, employment and prosperity in Toronto. Through this role, Mr. Kanji provides advice to the Mayor and other top city officials on ways to enhance Toronto's economic competitiveness.
In his spare time, Mr. Kanji teaches economic development at York University.
Specialties:Government Relations, Lobbying, Advocacy and Policy, Issues Management, Communications, Economic Development, Urban & Regional Planning
Described by The Economist as “an energetic economic development leader,” Ron Kitchens is the Chief Executive Officer of Southwest Michigan First, as well as the General Partner of Southwest Michigan First Life Science Fund.
He is the author of the best-selling book, Community Capitalism: Lessons from Kalamazoo and Beyond, which presents a ground-breaking economic development strategy for individuals, groups and organizations wondering what they can do to make a real difference in their communities. He also writes a monthly business column.
Ron is known for his motivational speeches to business and professional groups throughout the nation and internationally. Topics include Community Capitalism, Leadership Lessons, Dual Bottom Line Investing, Education as Economic Development and Talent Gets It Done.
Ron has worked with more than 200 Fortune 500, international and regional corporations as diverse as Stryker, GE Capital, Aker, Celanese, Scholastic, Kiewit, Boeing, Exxon Mobil and Ryan Sanders Baseball. Along with his 25 years of experience as an economic developer and venture capitalist, Ron has successfully started and operated multiple privately held companies. In addition, he has been an elected official and staff member to U.S. Senator John Danforth.
Ron’s work has been recognized with dozens of awards, including the prestigious National Marketing for Results Award, The Wall Street Journal’s Winning Workplaces, the Leadership and Innovation Awards from CoreNet Global and numerous International Economic Development Council Awards. He has been extensively featured in over 100 national and international media outlets including CBS News, Forbes, Fortune, Fox Business News, NBC News, NPR, The Economist, USA Today and The Wall Street 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.
Clark Krause has been the Executive Director of the Boise Valley Economic Partnership (BVEP) since September 2010. In that time, Clark has been instrumental in restructuring the organization, and creating a new mission based on measurable and accountable actions and goals. In the past four years, our organization has welcomed 10 companies and over 2,000 jobs to the Boise Metro.
Clark has been on dozens of national sales missions promoting the Boise Valley to companies and consultants, rebuilt the marketing program & Public Relations outreach, coordinated a new effort to assist valley entrepreneurs, and actively advocates for local and statewide programs that will jumpstart economic-based job growth in our communities. He was also instrumental in helping pass two new incentives through Idaho's legislature with the Idaho Opportunity Fund and the Tax Reimbursement Incentive. Clark's knowledge of state incentive programs has helped Idaho be more competitive in economic development. Out of Clark’s leadership, GrowIdeasHere.com was launched in 2014 as an initiative to assist local Boise Valley tech companies attract talent. Showcasing a day in the life, the website identifies six personalities of tech talent that live and thrive in the Boise Metro.
Clark came to BVEP with a strong history and experience in economic development, most recently as the former President and CEO of the New Mexico Partnership. During six and half years with the New Mexico Partnership, Clark and his team were tasked with out of state recruitment of economic-based jobs into New Mexico. Under his leadership, the Partnership attracted 45 companies and created over 14,000 jobs in the state. Prior to his time in New Mexico, Clark was the Director of Economic Development for Cedar City/Iron County, Utah, where he recruited nine companies, 1,150 jobs and $185 million worth of industrial development. He also spent seven years as Director of Sales and Marketing for the Brian Head Ski Resort in southern Utah, and ten years in sales and marketing for American Honda Motor Corporation and Ford Motor Company.
Nathan Kurtz is a manager in Entrepreneurship for the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, where he focuses on Kansas City entrepreneurship, promoting the Kauffman Foundation's programs to startups, entrepreneurs, and business and civic leaders in the community. Kurtz also works to develop and expand the Entrepreneurship team's programs around the region and nation.
Prior to joining Kauffman, Kurtz worked in numerous entrepreneurial capacities. He was the president and chief operating officer at KR Legal Management, where he was instrumental in helping the company grow and scale. He also was the co-founder and chief operating officer at Legal Sonar/National Lawyer Review, a privately held and angel-funded legal resources and marketing company. Earlier, he was the general manager and chief operating officer at The Roasterie, Inc., where he worked in several different positions helping to grow the regional coffee roaster into a Kansas City entrepreneurial success story.
Kurtz earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from Claremont McKenna College. He was named to the 2009 class of Ingram's magazine Twenty in their Twenties. He served for two years as president of KC Roundtable and is a volunteer alumni interviewer for Claremont McKenna College.
As Principal of LEO's Economic Consulting Services and Senior Project Manager for LEO, LLC (Leotta-Evers Consulting), Kurtz is responsible for the daily operations of the economic development services group within LEO assisting private, non-profit, and public entities focused on economic development, community development, and site selection needs.
As Senior Project Manager, Kurtz provides consulting to clients in the application of GIS technology in accordance with project objectives, data requirements, and budget constraints. He has expertise in Business Development, Real Estate Development, Economic Development, Deal Structuring, Market Research, Public Finance, Economic Development Incentives, Financial Analysis, Legislative Affairs, Lobbying, Public Policy, Marketing, Sales, Fundraising, and Problem Solving.
Kurtz has more than 19 years experience in the field of economic and community development in the private, non-profit, and governmental sectors and has been involved in the creation of over 10,000 new direct jobs, retention of over 21,000 jobs, and $23B in capital investment from over 100 announced projects over this period in executive management positions with Entergy Corporation, Louisiana Economic Development (LED), Ascension Economic Development Corporation, Greater New Orleans Inc, and the City of New Orleans.
Kurtz was project lead as Executive Director of the Business Retention and Expansion Group (BERG) at LED where he secured the largest foreign direct investment project in US history, the Sasol Ltd. Gas to Liquids project, which created over $16B in capital investment and over 1,200 new jobs in Lake Charles, LA, using state of the art GIS tools to secure a site in record time for the project, the first natural gas to liquids fuel facility in North America.
Kurtz received an undergraduate degree in Economics from Boston College and a Master Degree in Public Administration from Louisiana State University and is a graduate of the Economic Development Institute (EDI) at the University of Oklahoma at Norman.
Kimber Lanning is an entrepreneur and economic specialist who works to cultivate strong, vibrant, creative communities and inspire a higher quality of life across the state of Arizona. Lanning owns three small businesses: Stinkweeds, Modified Arts, and SilverPlatter, and in addition, Lanning founded Local First Arizona, a statewide organization dedicated to raising public awareness of the economic and cultural benefits provided by locally owned businesses. 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 diverse local economies. She works to inform, educate, and motivate consumers to support local enterprises, and encourages public policy that enables locally owned and operated businesses to thrive.
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”.
Erik Lee is Executive Director of the North American Research Partnership, an independent, non-profit networked think-tank that conducts strategic applied research and outreach on how the United States, Mexico and Canada can better position themselves for success in the 21st century.
Lee is co-editor and author of The U.S.-Mexico Border Economy in Transition (forthcoming summer 2014), the State of the Border Report: A Comprehensive Analysis of the U.S.-Mexico Border Region (2013) and “Realizing the Strategic National Value of Our Trade, Tourism and Ports of Entry with Mexico” (2013). He is also co-editor of Latino Politics and Arizona's Immigration Law SB 1070 (2013) and The U.S.-Mexican Border Environment: Progress and Challenges for Sustainability (2012) and served as managing editor for North America Next: A Report to President Obama on Building Sustainable Security and Competitiveness (2009). His work and commentary on U.S.-Mexico relations and border management has been featured by media outlets such as the Associated Press, the New York Times, The Economist, Canal 11 (Mexican public television), Reforma, CNN Latino, the Arizona Republic, the Arizona Daily Star, the Calgary Herald, the El Paso Times, Fronteras: A Changing Americas Desk (public radio), and the San Diego Union Tribune, among other outlets.
Lee is a frequent speaker in the U.S. Department of State's Foreign Service Institute as well as the Arizona Civic Leadership Academy. He serves on advisory boards for the journal Latin American Policy, the Cali-Baja Innovation Study, the International Metropolis Project, and the Latino Public Policy Center of the Morrison Institute.
From 2007-2013 Lee served as Associate Director at the North American Center for Transborder Studies (NACTS) at Arizona State University. From 2006-2007, Mr. Lee was program officer for the Merage Foundation for the American Dream in Newport Beach, California. He was assistant director at the Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies at the University of California, San Diego from 2002-2006. Before that, Lee served as assistant managing director at the Southwest Consortium for Environmental Research and Policy at San Diego State University.
Before completing his master's degree in Latin American Studies at the University of California, San Diego in 2000, Lee worked as a university administrator and instructor in Hermosillo, Sonora for two and a half years. He received his bachelor's degree in English literature from the University of Arizona.
David A. Leezer, CEcD, began his duties the City of St. Charles, Missouri in April of 2011. As its Director, Leezer oversees two separate and distinct divisions: Economic Development and Tourism.
The Economic Development Department promotes the third largest city in the Greater St. Louis Metropolitan area. St. Charles and St. Charles County is recognized as the growth engine of the region. The community endured the most recent economic crisis because of its diverse employment base ranging from aerospace, health care, high tech, back office, entertainment, advanced manufacturing, logistics and the food processing.
Tourism also plays a major role in the St. Charles economy. The community is nationally recognized as the starting and ending point of the famed Lewis & Clark Expedition. Travelers from throughout the world visit Historic Main Street which is also home to Missouri’s first State Capitol. The Greater St. Charles Convention & Visitors Bureau also works with local allies to secure large scale events at its Convention Center along with an expansive meeting center at Ameristar Casino & Spa Resort.
Prior to joining the city, David spent 5 years working for the St. Louis County Economic Council serving as a Vice President for the organization. While at the Council, he successfully developed and managed the organization’s AEDO application.
Leezer was also employed as the Director of Economic Development for St. Charles County (MO) from 1999 to 2006.
David has held the designation of Certified Economic Developer since 1992. He also serves as adjunct professor for Southern Illinois University – Edwardsville lecturing on Strategic Planning, Needs Assessment, Crisis Management and Economic Development.
Susan Liberty has extensive economic development and legislative experience. 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 has successfully marketed Fairfax County in Silicon Valley. She also has experience providing the full range of relocation and business expansion services to international companies. Previously, she was the Chief of Staff for Thomas M. Davis, III during his term as Chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. Prior to that, she served as Deputy Chief of Staff tof Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman John F. (Jack) Herrity. Susan has campaign experience at the national, state and local level. Additionally, she is involved in fundraising efforts for several major charities serving her community.
Susan is a member of the infrastructure and economic development team specializing in incentive negotiations for corporations as well as representing clients' interests on a variety of issues with state and local officials. Additionally, Susan represents clients on a number of public-private partnership initiatives and she is part of several teams pursuing projects using this innovative procurement method for transportation and other infrastructure needs. She also works closely with clients using her contacts with state and local officials to bring about a successful outcome on land use and zoning issues throughout Virginia.
Henry has nearly 20 years of industry and academic experience and has worked with over 100 economic development organizations and global corporations in 60 countries. Henry started his career in PwC's International Investment Group before becoming Manager of Inward Investment in IBM-Plant Location International.
Henry sold his first FDI business to Financial Times Ltd in 2008 and he founded WAVTEQ in 2010, which has become the fastest growing FDI technology and consulting company with its trading company in Hong Kong, Global Technology Centre in Ireland and Centre of Excellence in UK. WAVTEQ has nearly 50 full and part time consultants and a network of offices around the world, with six offices in China, India, Japan and Korea providing lead generation solutions. WAVTEQ also covers Asia, Canada and the Middle East for fDi Intelligence data services and supports the Financial Times Ltd in tracking FDI to and from China.
Henry has specialized in Asia, with a Masters and PhD on Asian outward FDI. He has a very strong track record managing lead generation contracts across Asia for clients including Invest Canada, Loudon County, Marketing Birmingham, Province of Ontario, State of Louisiana, SW Ontario and UK Trade and Investment. He has given key note presentations on FDI at major international conferences in Asia including at APEC Annual Summits, ASEAN and UNESCAP Regional Meetings and at the First International Meeting of the Pacific Basin.
Henry is one the leading global experts in FDI strategy, marketing & lead generation and he has pioneered the development of FDI data, incentives and benchmarking tools and mobile apps for attracting FDI.
Henry's publications on FDI are widely considered the authoritative guides for how to attract FDI and include “Bargaining with Multinationals” published by Palgrave, “Framework for Investment Promotion” published by UNCTAD, and “Handbook for Investment Promotion” published by Columbia University. Henry has over 50 publications and conference presentations on FDI.
Henry has a First Class Honors BA degree in Economics & Politics, a MA degree with Distinction in International Political Economic (with full scholarship) and a PhD in FDI (with full Volkswagen Scholarship).
Mr. Marinucci's career encompasses more than 30 years of economic development experience. Mr. Marinucci, who currently serves as President & CEO of Downtown Cleveland Alliance, has expertise in strategic planning, real estate development, business retention and attraction, commercial and retail investment, economic development financing, business development marketing, and regional and national policy development.
Working closely with neighborhood based partners as well as strategic partners, the Alliance oversees numerous initiatives designed to improve the pedestrian experience and attract new investment to Downtown Cleveland. Programs include business development and marketing initiatives, major festival events and managing 55 Ambassadors who keep downtown clean and safe on a daily basis. Prior to being named DCA’s President in 2006, Mr. Marinucci served as President and Executive Vice President of Downtown Cleveland Partnership, DCA’s predecessor organization, and managed the creation of the largest downtown special assessment district in the state of Ohio.
Mr. Marinucci has also held senior economic development positions with the City of Cleveland and the Ohio Department of Development and served as Vice President of Real Estate Development for Cleveland's PlayhouseSquare Foundation, Mr. Marinucci directed real estate activities for the country's second largest theater district.
Mr. Marinucci has served as Chairman of the International Economic Development Council (IEDC), the largest economic development practitioner organization in the world and also served as treasurer for the National Council for Urban Economic Development.
Barry I. Matherly is a certified economic developer with over 20 years of leadership experience at the city, county, regional and university levels.
Currently, Barry is Senior Vice President 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 on the Governance Committee of the International Economic Development Council Board and is the chair of its Planning and Business Development Committee. Barry also serves of the Executive Board of the Economic Development Institute at the University of Oklahoma and is chair of the Special Projects and International Committee.
Barry Matherly 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.
Guillermo Mazier is the Director Strategic Accounts for Atlas Advertising, niche economic development marketing and technology firm that helps economic developers effectively reach site selection and prospect audiences while generating the greatest gains in economic development recruitment, retention, and investor activity for the lowest cost.
An innate passion for places, culture and economic development has afforded Guillermo the opportunity to traverse the globe and view the world through different lenses. With a strong background in international business and development, Guillermo has developed tactical marketing programs, corporate communication strategies and messaging across multiple campaign engagements in various parts of North America and throughout the continental US. His work on marketing engagements for both public and private sector organizations has been recognized by various University organizations, The Ministry of Tourism for the State of Limon, Costa Rica and the American Lung Association in Colorado where he currently serves on the Board of Directors.
Hazel McCallion was elected Mayor of Mississauga in 1978 and is currently serving her 12th term. She has been recognized numerous times for her contributions to public service and was inducted as a Member of the Order of Canada in 2005, honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Mississauga Board of Trade in April 2010 and in June 2010, was conferred with the Honorary Doctor of Laws degree by the University of Toronto. In addition, the Hazel McCallion Centre for Heart Health at the Trillium Health Centre, the Hazel McCallion Senior Public School, the Hazel McCallion Academic Learning Centre at the University of Toronto at Mississauga and the Hazel McCallion Campus of Sheridan College have been named in her honour.
Tracye McDaniel is the founding President and Chief Executive Officer of Choose New Jersey, Inc., an independently funded and operated 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization created in 2010 to encourage and nurture economic growth throughout the state of New Jersey.
Ms. McDaniel has more than 26 years of leadership experience in economic development, public relations, tourism and international business development. Prior to assuming her current post, McDaniel served as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the Greater Houston Partnership (GHP). She has held cabinet-level positions in three gubernatorial administrations and is a Ford Foundation Regional Sustainable Development (RSD) Fellow. Ms. McDaniel serves on the Board of Directors of the IEDC and holds leadership positions in numerous professional and industry organizations.
Ms. McDaniel is a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin.
Kenny McDonald, CEcD, serves as the primary leader of all economic development and business attraction efforts for the 11-county Columbus Region in his position as chief economic officer of Columbus 2020. McDonald has an extensive background in site selection, regional economic development, community marketing, business recruitment and international business development.
He holds the professional designation of Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) and serves as an elected member of the Board of Directors for the International Economic Development Council. In addition, McDonald serves locally on the boards of Columbus Crew, MidAmerican Global Ventures, NAIOP, SciTech and Transportation Research Center.
Previously, McDonald served as the executive vice president of the Charlotte Regional Partnership, a public-private economic development organization covering a 16-county region in North and South Carolina. McDonald's 16 years of economic development experience also include leadership positions at the Albuquerque Economic Development Corporation, Fluor Daniels Global Locations Strategies and the Savannah Economic Development Authority. McDonald received a Bachelor of Science in business administration from Dickinson State University and a Master of Public Administration from Georgia Southern University.
McDonald writes weekly about economic development and Columbus 2020's activities on the Columbus Region blog, Economic Development Matters.
Michel Merleau currently serves as Elected Reeve for the Regional Municipal Council of La Vallée-de-la-Gatineau in Québec, Canada. His career in economic development dates to 1979, when he left a journalism career behind to become the co-founder and first Executive Director of the Upper Gatineau Economic Development Corporation in Maniwaki, Québec. In 1992, he became a member of the Council for Urban Economic Development, later a part of the merger to form IEDC.
After serving in multiple economic development roles and municipal leadership roles throughout Québec during the 1980s and 1990s, Merleau became Director of Development, Partners, and International Affiliates for Montreal International in 2001. In 2003 he become Greater Montreal Economic Development Coordinator for the Montreal Metropolitan Community.
Elected to his current position in November 2013, Merleau brings rich economic development expertise to his role as the chief public official for his region. Prior to this position, Merleau spent the last five years consulting over 30 different municipalities, regional governments, and metropolitan communities on issues related to economic development strategic planning, sustainable development, and environmental policy.
Dennis Meseroll is a Co-Founder and Executive Director of Tractus Asia Limited a foreign direct investment strategy advisory firm with offices in Shanghai, China; Chennai, India; Jakarta, Indonesia; Yangon, Myanmar; Singapore; Bangkok, Thailand and; Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
Dennis has more than 20 years experience in Asia advising and assisting over 100 companies in the development and implementation of their market entry strategies in a wide variety of industrial sectors. These assignments have included undertaking operational and financial feasibility assessments, site location analysis, real estate and investment incentives negotiations and transactions as well as the management of their corporate entity establishment and investment approvals through to operational start-up. Clients have included Fortune 1000 companies in a wide variety of industrial sectors including: automotive, electronics, semiconductor, textiles and garments, medical devices, chemicals, steel, pharmaceuticals as well as service sectors including: telecommunications, healthcare, legal and professional services.
In addition to his private sector advisory work, he has been an advisor to the investment promotion agencies of the governments of China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mongolia, the Philippines and Thailand; the Ministry of Finance of the government of Pakistan; the trade promotion agency of the state of Ohio as well as The World Bank, MIGA and the ASEAN Secretariat on the development of trade promotion and investment attraction strategies.
He writes and speaks frequently at international conferences on the topics of site selection, FDI strategy and economics and has been widely quoted in regional newspapers as well as Businessweek, CNBC, The Asian Wall Street Journal and Asiaweek. He is an active member of the Industrial Asset Management Council's (IAMC) International Advisory Council; the International Economic Development Council (IEDC); the American Chamber of Commerce in Thailand, where he is Secretary of the Chamber's Myanmar Chapter and Co-Chairman of its Myanmar Task Force. He is a member of the board of directors of several companies in Asia.
Dennis received his BA in geology with a concentration in Southeast Asian Studies from Rutgers University, a certificate in Thai Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a MS in applied economics from the Penn State University. He was a Fulbright scholar in Thailand and is fully fluent in the Thai language.
Maria Meyers is passionate about finding business development resources and getting entrepreneurs to the right resource at the right time. In 2003 she crafted a public-private partnership to launch a venture that became known as KCSourceLink. Today KCSourceLink connects a network of more than 200 resources in the Kansas City region that can help small businesses start and grow. Each year KCSourceLink connects entrepreneurs to resources, measures network satisfaction and works to fill identified entrepreneurial ecosystem gaps. The successful launch in Kansas City led Maria and her team to take the network nationwide through U.S.SourceLink. The model has been adopted in many regions across the country as part of the large U.S.SourceLink system, making it America's largest resource network for entrepreneurs.
Maria also heads the University of Missouri – Kansas City Innovation Center which organizes a variety of university supported business outreach services into a single organization. With a focus on technology commercialization, the Center connects university researchers with the community to ignite collaborative partnerships leading to new innovations and business growth. The Center also supports thousands of community members every year in starting and growing businesses.
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.
He is active in local and Pennsylvania economic development initiatives, including an appointment by the Governor to the Board of the Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority (BFTDA).
He currently serves as a member of the Public Policy Advisory Committee of the International Economic Development Committee (IEDC).
In 2002, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Award by Lehigh University and in 2003, he was awarded the Ben Franklin Innovation Award for an Academic Partner by the Ben Franklin Partners of Northeast PA. In 2007 and 2008 he won awards for Lehigh University from the University Economic Development Association (UEDA) recognizing the university’s work with the Southside Bethlehem Keystone Innovation Zone and Technology Commercialization. In 2008, he led a team that won the IEDC Partnership Award. He currently serves as an Officer of the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC) and in 2009 was elected at Vice President of the Board of the UEDA.
Prior to joining Lehigh University, Mr. Michalerya spent ten years in professional practice as a consultant and project manager for a wide range of engineering and technology projects. Mr. Michalerya earned a Bachelor and a Masters degree in civil engineering from Cornell University and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Lehigh University. He is a registered Professional Engineer.
Simon is in his seventh year as a National Board member of EDA and manages the National Awards for Economic Development Excellence and the development and delivery of the EDA Regional and Remote Area Training Program.
Simon has been involved with the establishment of EDA State Practitioner Networks in South Australia and Western Australia and has presented at International, National and Regional Conferences.
With a regional focus Simon has worked in some of Australia’s most remote communities including four years as Economic Development Officer for Australia’s Indian Ocean Territories the Cocos (Keeling) Islands and Christmas Island.
In 2013 Simon has assisted with the development, release and implementation of Economic Development Plans for two of Australia’s fastest growing Cities:
• Town of Victoria Park Western Australia
Simon has over 15 years’ experience in regional development being involved with over 150 communities across Western Australia, South Australia, Queensland and the Australian Territories of Norfolk Island and the Indian Ocean.
Simon is currently the Senior Economic Development Officer with the Townsville City Council which is the largest City in Northern Australia.
Rodrick T. Miller is a results-oriented leader with nearly 10 years of experience in economic development, strategic planning, trade and foreign investment, and project finance. Rodrick is 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.
Previously, 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. He also served as Vice President of International Economic Development for the Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC) where he managed international development activities.
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.
A scholar practitioner, he is a sought after lecturer and contributes to various publications. He enjoys playing the piano, reading, and spending time with his son.
Sarah Miller is an Associate Director for Public Sector Services for CAEL with 10 years experience working in with the public sector through the K-12 education system, post-secondary education stakeholders and regional, statewide and community initiatives. Joining CAEL in 2009, Sarah has worked with both the public and private sector to assist in workforce and economic strategy development, analysis and recommendations as well as program planning. She has led key initiatives with CAEL through regional education and workforce alignment strategies; employer, workforce organization and economic development engagement; development and delivery of training modules; and capacity building for various sector strategies, non-profit organizations and consortia of college partners – specifically through Department of Labor grant programs including: TAACCCT, State Energy Sector Partnerships, High Growth Grants and Community Based Job Training Grants.
Prior to joining CAEL Sarah was a high school teacher of social studies in Toledo, Ohio and spent several years as a Business Consultant in the Private Sector where she worked directly with independent school districts, multi-district cooperatives and statewide initiatives to streamline special education planning and Medicaid programming per local and Federal guidelines. During this time Sarah worked with clients around the country to incorporate special education best practice models into administrative plans. Sarah earned her Bachelor's of Science degree in Secondary Education from Bowling Green State University.
Jay C. Moon is the President and CEO of the Mississippi Manufacturers Association, the largest and most influential voice for Mississippi manufacturers. The Association represents more than 2,200 manufacturers and associated members. As President of the MMA, Jay has helped to develop and win passage of several significant legislative programs such as Inventory Tax and Workers Compensation reform. Jay worked with Governor Barbour, the Mississippi legislature and other business leaders to enact landmark civil justice reform. Jay helped to develop and pass Momentum Mississippi, one of the most comprehensive improvements to Mississippi’s business incentive offerings. Other significant legislative incentive packages supporting Mississippi companies, such as Viking, Baxter, Northrop Grumman and Howard Industries, were also made possible through Jay’s leadership.
Jay has over twenty-five years of professional economic development experience in site development, business retention, strategic plan development, financial incentive creation and marketing. Prior to joining the MMA, Jay served as the Deputy Director/Chief Operating Officer and Director for International Development with the Mississippi Development Authority. During that period, Jay was responsible for the recruitment of many well-known national and international companies to Mississippi. Jay led Mississippi’s successful effort to locate the $1.5 billion, 5,300 employee Nissan Automotive Assembly facility. This project was named by Site Selection Magazine, Corporate Location Magazine, Area Development Magazine and Southern Business & Development Magazine as the top development project of that year. Through Jay’s efforts, the state development agency received consistent recognition for its innovative business attraction and support programs, including acknowledgment by Site Selection Magazine as one of the top ten economic development organizations in the US.
Jay is well known throughout the state and nation for his progressive approach to economic development and his leadership capabilities. Jay has extensive experience in international markets including Asia, Europe, and Latin America. He has led dozens of trade and investment missions and has managed international offices in seven countries. In addition, Jay has successful community based economic development experience, having directed the economic and community development, planning and building programs for the City of Gulfport, Mississippi.
Jay is a member of the National Association of Manufacturers Board of Directors. Jay is a Certified Economic Developer. He is the Past Chairman of the International Economic Development Council, the largest economic development organization in the world. Jay has also been designated by the IEDC as a Fellow Member. This designation is given to those who have attained unusual stature in the field of economic development. Jay served on the board of the American Economic Development Council for two terms. Jay is a former President of the National Association of State Development Agencies. He is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma’s Economic Development Institute where he currently serves as Assistant Dean, a mentor and an instructor on international trade, marketing and ethics. Jay is also an instructor for the EDI/IEDC program in Mexico. Jay is the chairman of the Mississippi Manufacturing Extension Partnership. He was appointed by Governor Phil Bryant as the chairman of the Mississippi Workforce Investment Board. He is a board member with the Southern Global Strategies Council, a part of the Southern Growth Policies Board. He is a former board member with the Mississippi State University College of Business and currently serves on the Center for Manufacturing Excellence with the University of Mississippi. He was appointed by Governor Haley Barbour to be a member of the Governor’s Comprehensive Tax Study Commission, the National Governor’s Association Sector Strategy Policy Academy and the Mississippi Energy Policy Institute. He is also a member of the Society of International Business Fellows. Jay has an undergraduate degree in International Relations and a Masters of Public Administration from the University of Georgia.
Fred Morley is Executive Vice President and Chief Economist of the Greater Halifax Partnership, a position he has held since 2003. Prior to this, Mr. Morley held positions as Senior Director, Business Retention Expansion and Research at Nova Scotia Business Inc., Director of Marketing and Research for Nova Scotia Economic Development, Senior Economic Advisor to the Province of Nova Scotia, Research Coordinator for the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council, and has taught in the Department of Economics at Saint Mary’s University.
Fred designed and drove many of the high profile economic and business initiatives in Nova Scotia of the last dozen years. Fred wrote Halifax’s first economic strategy, and co-wrote Nova Scotia’s first economic strategy in a decade. He has worked with dozens of companies to establish new operations in Nova Scotia that have created more than 2000 high wage jobs. Fred developed the business centered concept of economic development that became Nova Scotia Business Inc., and designed the province’s first investment attraction framework creating innovations in business attraction and retention still in use today. Teams lead by Fred, have won over a dozen national and international marketing awards.
Mr. Morley has current board appointments to the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada in Ottawa, the International Economic Development Council in Washington DC, the Acadia Centre for Small Business & Entrepreneurship (Chair), and the Saint Mary’s Business Development Centre. Fred also Chairs Halifax’s Regional Planning Advisory Committee and is past president of Business Retention Expansion International and the Atlantic Association of Applied Economists
Mr. Morley is the author more than 100 articles on economic issues and his views are sought by dozens of organizations, companies and governments around the world. In 2008 Fred was recognized by Business Retention and Expansion International with its prestigious Distinguished Service Award for his work at spreading new economic concepts across Canada and around the world.
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.
Sheri K. Mullis is Senior Vice President/Partner of J. M. Mullis, Inc.; an independently owned and operated company providing professional project location specialist services to companies throughout the world.
Sheri joined J. M. Mullis in 1993, providing assistance in the overall site location analysis process, and most notably, redefining and broadening the firm’s methodology used in the analysis of labor. Mullis now conducts on-site labor reviews of preferred finalist location candidates, often resulting in Board approval to proceed with a proposed project establishment. One such project was Spirit AeroSystems and the selection of the Global TransPark in Kinston, NC, as well as Bombardier Aerospace and Hawker BeechCraft.
Other recently announced projects whereby detailed labor analyses were conducted included Caterpillar in Athens, GA, Continental Tire in Sumter, SC, and a joint venture Greek Yogurt project between PepsiCo and German-based Muller in Batavia, NY.
Prior to J. M. Mullis, Sheri served as Director of Business Development /Recruitment at the Fort Worth, Texas Chamber of Commerce for thirteen (13) years. She attended the University of Texas in Austin; and graduated from TCU with a Bachelor of Science degree in General Business.
Mary Scott Nabers is President/CEO of Strategic Partnerships, Inc. (SPI), a unique public affairs firm that specializes in procurement consulting, market research, government affairs and public- private partnerships (P3s). Mary is also co-founder of the Gemini Global Group (G3), a firm that works with national and international clients on business development, P3s and other types of government objectives.
A recognized expert regarding P3s, Mary is the author of Collaboration Nation - How Public-Private Ventures Are Revolutionizing the Business of Government. Her book explores this growing trend and describes a number of best practices for successful projects as well as the importance for both parties to respect the cultural differences of the other.
Because of her experience in both the public and private sectors and her recent book, Mary was invited to participate in a Clinton Global Initiative -- a task force called Infrastructure Financing for Cities. She is active on the professional speaking circuit and keynotes both business conferences and conferences for government executives. Her articles have been published by media outlets including Forbes, CNBC.com, CEO-Read and Change This. Mary is a regular contributor to business journals and industry publications.
Before entering government, Mary was the President and General Manager of two media firms. In government, she served as the Commissioner representing Business at the Texas Employment Commission. In that position, she was a high-profile, proactive business advocate who founded The Texas Business Council. Then Commissioner Nabers moved to the Texas Railroad Commission, the state’s regulatory agency for the oil and gas industry. She was active on both the state and federal level of government and represented Texas on numerous national boards.
Currently, in addition to her work with Strategic Partnerships and the Gemini Global Group, Mary is a partner at Capital Factory, an incubator and ecosystem for technology start-up firms. She is also a trustee for the Long Center Performing Arts, a board member for the Independent Bankers Association of Texas and a member of the board at St David’s Healthcare Foundation.
Mary holds a BS degree from Howard Payne University and an MBA from The University of Texas at Austin. She also holds an honorary Doctor of Humanities degree and was named a Distinguished Alumnae of Howard Payne University.
Edward A. Nelson is responsible for all economic development services, which include attracting and recruiting target industries, expanding the existing industry base, developing small businesses, nurturing new entrepreneurs, and developing sustainable projects. He is also working with public and private stakeholders in the community addressing and resolving issues that directly or indirectly impede economic growth in Unincorporated South Fulton County.
Included in his 41 years of experience in Economic Development, he has worked on assignments across the United States, Europe, Canada, West Africa, The Bahamas, South Africa, and the Caribbean. He has completed a major consulting assignment in the West Midlands for Paris based OECD in France; and authored the report on “The Innovation and Internationalization of Small and Medium-size Enterprises in the West Midlands, UK.” He has been Research Scientist in Industrial Development at Georgia Tech; President and Founder of Applied Management, Technical Assistance and Research; President of Nelson & Company, a business development firm; Director of the Economic Development Division, Fulton County; President of DeKalb Chamber of Commerce; Chairman of EANI.
He is a past chairman of the International Economic Development Council (IEDC). He is a certified Economic Development (CEcD) professional, and recipient of the prestigious Fellow Member (FM). He holds an Honorary Life Member (HLM) designation on the International Economic Development Council.
He served as adjunct professor in the field of Management at Kennesaw State University, University System of Georgia, Mercer University School of Business and Economics, Norfolk State University and the School of Management, Southern Polytechnic State University, University System of Georgia. He served as Dean of Economic Development for the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC). He has a B.S. from Hampton University and a MBA from Atlanta University School of Business. He is a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.
Faye joined the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development in April 2014. She is responsible for enhancing the economic vitality of the state through retention and expansion of businesses. Working closely with local economic development officials and businesses to facilitate the creation and retention of jobs and increase capital investment across the state. Prior to this position she was with City of Riverside in California as the economic development business intelligence analyst where she was successful in providing the agency and its leaders with insightful interpretation of pertinent data, analytics and information applied to the programs of economic development and public policy including economic development activities such as business attraction, retention and expansion. She was also the economic development point-of-contact for international investors looking to do business in the City. She excels at building relationships with business leaders and applies her passion for economic development and knowledge of people into the very core of her work and, thus, into every project. Her diverse skills set include the areas of human resources management, marketing/public relations, grants and program management including board and volunteer management.
Faye currently serves on the young professional taskforce of the International Economic Development Council (IEDC), an organization that today has over 4,500 members. Her community involvement has included serving as a member of the board of the PICK group and the board of Inland Empire Society of Human Resources Management (IESHRM) as the Vice President, Marketing and Public Relations.
Mark Nolte came to the economic development profession after working in microenterprise development and politics. Working with his team at the Iowa City Area Development Group, they constantly rethink the role of the economic development organization and its relationship with the communities and businesses they serve. With a core value of leading with courageous innovation, ICAD Group has launched a number of new initiatives to spur sustainable economic development for the global economy era. From launching coworking spaces to addressing workforce retention and attraction through the concept of workplace culture, ICAD Group works to “think like Apple.” Mark leads his team to develop and brand new products to solve problems their clients and communities while demonstrating the impact EDOs can have when they break free from traditional efforts. Mark holds a Master’s Degree in Public Policy and has written and spoken extensively on the topic of the changing role of economic development organizations.
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.
Nadia Osman is the director of revitalization and business initiatives for the College Hill Alliance, an economic and community development organization based in Macon, Georgia, that focuses on business recruitment and retention, lifestyle enhancement, and catalyzing commercial and residential real estate development in the historic College Hill Corridor neighborhood. She joined the Alliance in 2009 and is currently responsible for planning and implementing projects designed to advance the goals of the College Hill Corridor Master Plan, attract new business investment, and encourage entrepreneurship in the College Hill Corridor and Downtown Macon areas.
Originally from Savannah, Georgia, Osman witnessed the revitalization of its downtown area, led by an innovative private institution with sincere interest in change and invested residents and businesses. She moved to Macon in 2005 and focused her volunteer efforts on reinvigorating Downtown Macon, including program planning at a historic theatre and helping craft the College Hill Corridor Master Plan.
Osman has participated in both academic and professional sessions devoted to the unique ways Macon's College Hill Corridor has been revitalized. Currently, she is a member of the International Economic Development Council, American Planning Association, Technology Association of Georgia and plays an active role in rejuvenating Macon's Historic Riverside Cemetery.
Osman graduated from Mercer University with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, is a 2010 graduate of the Georgia Academy for Economic Development and is pursuing her master's degree in business administration at Mercer.
Jennifer Owens, joined the Lakeshore Advantage team in early May as the new President. Jennifer brings outstanding experience in business retention, expansion and attraction. Her insight and understanding of economic development make her ideal to support or develop initiatives that help businesses thrive in our community. In her capacity, Jennifer will deliver direct business attraction, expansion and retention services, while providing overall leadership to the organization. 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 is an avid runner. She has run many road races and competed in several half and full marathons. She and her husband Mike have three sons who are always up for a race!
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.
Nitin is the Managing Director of Maeflower Consulting, a leading Foreign Investment and Trade advisory firm based in India. Nitin has worked closely with Global Economic Development Organisations on inward investment strategies, Investor targeting and lead generation. Similarly, Indian clients include companies seeking advice on global location selection & dynamics of location analysis. He is the India Director of Missouri State Investment & Trade, and represents Cincinnati USA Partnership, Promo Madrid, AWEX Wallonia and Pro Barranquilla in India.
Nitin has helped create India entry strategies for multinational companies like Helical Technology, RM Plc, and PoliFilm Gmbh and managed their operations set-up & transition into India. As an India specialist, Nitin has a strong network with government, Industry associations (NASSCOM, CII, ESC, ACMA...), and leaders in business.
Nitin is currently on the board of four companies, both Limited Indian companies and subsidiaries of multinationals. He has earlier founded and headed two technology companies, in Data Storage and Procurement services, which were acquired by leading business groups in 1997 and 2001 respectively.
He has been a speaker at several FDI & Outsourcing forums such as the World Investment Conference in France, Outsource World in New York, Policy conference in South Africa and the NASSCOM BPO Summit in India.
Khnn Ajarin is also involved in formulating Thailand's investment promotion policy for many target sectors including the policy to promote hi-tech industries in Thailand such as biotechnology, R&D, transportation (rail & aviation/aerospace), software, advanced manufacturing and others.
Ajarin Pattanapanchai spent her career at Office of the Board of Investment since 1984. During this period, she was involved in many high profile projects including developments in the petroleum & petrochemical sector, chemical sector, energy and alternative energy sector, transportation, aviation and high technology.
Her major positions include Director of Planning and Development Division, Director of Chemical Division, Director of Services and Public Utilities Division, Director of Management Information System Division, Executive Investment Advisor, and Deputy Secretary General. Currently, she is a Senior Executive Investment Advisor of BOI and travels extensively meeting international companies, speaking on behalf of the BOI and addressing FDI issues. She looks forward to the opportunity to meet with participants at the IEDC Conference.
Bob Pertierra serves as Senior Vice President and Chief Economic Development Officer at the Greater Houston Partnership. In this role, he leads GHP’s economic development efforts, providing assistance to companies considering expanding, relocating or investing in the greater Houston region. Pertierra also oversees GHP’s international trade and investment programs and its economic development marketing efforts; including the Opportunity Houston 2.0 $40 million fundraising campaign.
Pertierra most recently served as a Vice President at Metro Atlanta Chamber, where he focused on economic development activities in the supply chain and logistics, advanced manufacturing and energy/clean technology sectors.
Pertierra has a solid foundation of leadership with eight years as an officer in the United States Army including special operations and airborne operations with the 75th Ranger Regiment and the 82d Airborne Division. Following his military service, Pertierra worked for Pfizer in sales and marketing.
Pertierra has a bachelor of arts in international economics from Vanderbilt University, an MBA from Georgetown University and a masters in international logistics from the School of Industrial and Systems Engineering at Georgia Tech.
Daryl Phillips entered the economic development field in 1996. He created his first economic development website over 15 years ago and has continued to utilize technology in enhancing economic development in the communities for which he has worked. He earned a B.B.A. from Austin Peay State University and an M.B.A. from Tennessee Technological University. He achieved the Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) designation from IEDC in 2008. Daryl serves beautiful and bountiful Cheatham County, Tennessee, a neighbor to Nashville, as Director of Economic and Community Development.
Scott Polikov is a national leader advancing the New Economics of Place. He is well known for his work in unlocking the true value of land, focusing on public-private partnerships to fund lasting design.
President of Vialta Group, Scott is a town planner and innovative finance consultant who started his professional life with Patton Boggs, practicing law in Washington, D.C. Returning to Texas, he became director of the State’s Alternative Fuels Program, while also serving on the Board of Directors respectively of transit authority, Capital Metro, and the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for the Central Texas Region. Alarmed that the MPO’s regional transportation plan ignored development patterns and land use in a sustainable way, Scott changed careers and established Gateway Planning Group, a national town planning practice focusing on the marriage of urbanism and the economics of transportation.
In 2013, Gateway Planning Group formed a joint venture with Balfour Beatty to create Vialta Group. Vialta Group builds on the award-winning town planning and implementation practice of Gateway Planning and the strong culture of collaboration of Balfour Beatty.
Known for leading the design and implementation of walkable urban neighborhoods in rural and suburban communities as well as downtowns, Scott’s design and town planning practice also fully integrates transportation. His extensive transportation work includes serving as deputy project man- ager for the City of Fort Worth for the Chisholm Trail Tollroad, a sensitively designed urban parkway;as well as supporting the creation of the Austin-San Antonio Intercity Rail District (Lone Star Rail). He is currently creating the innovative funding strategy for the Cotton Belt Rail Project in DFW with develop- ment partners Balfour Beatty and Odebrecht.
Scott serves asan associate of the CitiStates Group and is on the National Board of Directors of the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU).
Betsy Price, a Fort Worth native, was elected in 2011 as the 44th mayor of the City of Fort Worth. In 2013, Price ran unopposed and was re-elected to a second two-year term. As the 16th largest city in the United States, Fort Worth remains one of the fastest growing large cities in the country.
Along with her focus on promoting jobs, strengthening education, fighting crime and improving mobility, Price has made significant strides along the path toward her vision of a healthy, engaged and fiscally responsible city.
During her first term, Price led a community effort to build a city that’s more fit, happy and productive. The result was FitWorth, a citywide initiative focused on promoting active lifestyles and healthy habits in both kids and adults. With an initial $250,000 grant from Oncor, FitWorth is working to stem the rising tide of obesity, especially in children. Thanks to FitWorth, employers, schools, hospitals, faith communities, non-profits and retailers are energized and actively promoting a more healthy and sustainable city.
Under her leadership, Fort Worth has become a foremost cycling community, adding miles of new bike lanes and trails. Promoting pedestrian-friendly urban villages has also remained a staple of Price’s vision for rebuilding the city’s urban core. Moreover, she continues to push her long-term goal of linking neighborhoods and job centers with a comprehensive and convenient commuter rail system.
Shortly after being elected as mayor, Price made quick work of starting a movement to get young people more involved in driving local public policy. The response to her call to young adults was overwhelming. Within a matter of months, citizens under the age of 40 from across the city came together, set a charge and dubbed themselves SteerFW. The organization has grown to more than 300-strong, with various task forces tackling some of the cities toughest challenges.
Price found several ways to promote grassroots government. Most notably, her Walking and Rolling Town Halls have broken the mold of that tired town hall meeting with a casual—and healthy—way for citizens to connect with city leaders. Price also understands the power of the Internet to bring communities together to seize opportunities and address challenges. In 2013, Price led the charge to launch YourFortWorth.org, the city’s first 24/7 online public forum allowing citizens to share and vote on new ideas to improve their city.
A strong fiscal conservative, Price applied the skills she garnered as a business owner and from a decade of service as Tarrant County’s Tax Assessor to tightening the city’s belt. With a close eye on the bottom line, Price has been a consistent champion of using responsible and sustainable budget cuts to balance the city’s $1.2 billion budget. Additionally, Price and the City Council made bold changes to the city’s pension plan in 2012 to protect taxpayers and stabilize the fund for current and future retirees.
Price also believes in the power of doing public good with private investment. Putting to good use her decades of experience building personal and professional bridges, Price matched generous benefactors with community needs to help the city with everything from health and fitness, to public engagement, to public pools, to animal adoptions and more.
Price graduated from Arlington Heights High School and earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Arlington. Since then, she has been an active mother and a leader in the Fort Worth community, serving on numerous boards, commissions and professional associations.
After running her own successful business for 17 years, Price turned to public service, and was elected in 2000 to serve as Tarrant County’s Tax Assessor where she quickly made her department one of the most efficient in Texas, saving taxpayers millions of dollars.
She has been married to Tom, an insurance agent, for more than 40 years and has three adult children, Kathryn, Phillip and Paul. In her spare time, Price is an avid cyclist and enjoys spending quality time with her three grandsons, Chappell, Price and Dalton.
Matthew Raker serves as the Vice President of Entrepreneurship and AdvantageGreen at AdvantageWest, a regional economic development partnership in western North Carolina. As director of AW's entrepreneurship efforts, Matt works closely with regional partners to ensure WNC is home to a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem. Building on his considerable work at the intersection of economy and environment, Matt also heads the AdvantageGreen program, an initiative to capitalize on WNC's exceptional natural assets and opportunity to be a leader in sustainable industries. Through AdvantageGreen, Matt works with startups, existing industry and regional partners to advance WNC economic clusters in clean energy, green building technologies, natural products, sustainable agriculture, outdoor sports and climate science. Matt holds degrees in Economics and Natural Resources Management from UNC Asheville.
Ramos-King has an 11-year history creating public/private partnerships and facilitating real estate acquisitions, dispositions and development. She plans, initiates and manages economic and redevelopment projects that are designed to create jobs, public benefit, stimulate commerce and diversify the tax base. Her expertise is in writing employment plan policies designed to better communicate the goal of equal opportunities for Las Vegas residents in the construction bidding process. Her experience spans a variety of real estate types including retail, multifamily, office, agricultural and industrial. Her career includes tenures with Troop Real Estate, Century 21 Real Estate, Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities and legislative work on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Ramos-King earned a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from The University of Nevada, Las Vegas and a BA in Political Science from Trinity University in Washington, DC. She is a graduate of the Leadership Nevada Program and member of the Urban Land Institute and the American Society of Public Administrators. Ramos-King has served on the board of directors for the Boys and Girls Club of Santa Clara Valley, the Santa Paula Chamber of Commerce and held various leadership positions within her Rotary Club.
James Reddish is Vice President of Economic and Workforce Development for Greater Louisville Inc, managing all business expansion and retention efforts as well as education and workforce development. James leads GLI's existing business growth strategy and is involved in several regional initiatives including the Bluegrass Economic Advancement Movement and the Jefferson County Public Schools Ford Next Generation Learning certification. In his time at GLI, James has assisted 76 companies who have combined to invest nearly half a billion dollars in new capital and add over 3,400 new jobs to the region.
Prior to joining GLI, James worked for Learfield Sports at the new KFC Yum! Center located in the heart of downtown Louisville. At Learfield James was responsible for the fulfillment and implementation of over $48 million in partnership agreements including the naming rights and all of the cornerstone level partners.
James currently serves on the Boards of the Louisville Sports Commission, Junior Achievement of Kentuckiana and the Advanced Manufacturing and Logistics Network.
A native of the Washington, DC metro area, James has a bachelor of science degree in sport management from James Madison University and a master’s in sport administration from the University of Louisville.
JON ROBERTS is the Managing Director of TIP Strategies, Inc. (TIP), in Austin, Texas. He is an international leader in economic development and has overseen projects throughout the U.S., as well as in Europe and Asia. Mr. Roberts is currently involved in a variety of development and recruitment projects.
In addition to being a practitioner in the field, he has prepared policy papers on national economic development strategy, published articles on economic development marketing, and has written editorials for major newspapers. Mr. Roberts is a sought-after speaker on economic development issues nationally and internationally.
Mr. Roberts was formerly the Director of Business Development both for the State of Washington and then for the State of Texas. In these positions, he directed recruitment and investment and led international trade missions. Prior to working for the Washington Department of Trade, Mr. Roberts was with the Oregon Technology Fund, where he was responsible for venture capital investments. He also managed two start-up technology companies: Fiberlite Composites and LifePort Inc., and worked with the Center for Entrepreneurial Ventures.
Mr. Roberts was elected to the board of KMFA radio in Austin, Texas, and is active in the technology community. He maintains his ties to the Northwest and is a Fellow of the Washington World Affairs Council in Seattle. He has served on the boards of several start-up technology companies and on state task forces and gubernatorial committees. He has lectured in business at the University of Washington, the University of Texas, and was on the faculty at Marylhurst College in Portland, Oregon. Mr. Roberts has also proven to be a successful entrepreneur. He is the founder of a mountain bike company in Portland, Oregon.
Born and raised in Germany, Mr. Roberts has traveled extensively throughout Europe and Asia. He lived in the Pacific Northwest for over twenty years before making Texas his home.
David J. Robinson is a Principal of The Montrose Group and an Adjunct Professor at the John Glenn School for Public Affairs at the Ohio State University for an Economic Development class. Mr. Robinson serves customers based upon 20 years of experience as an economic development executive and lawyer before the federal, state and local governments. He teaches Economic Development at OSU's law and public policy schools and worked managing practice groups in large law firms; as a member of the Ohio House of Representatives; as the coordinator for Economic Development of Ameritech Ohio; as Press Secretary for Columbus Mayor Greg Lashutka, and as general counsel of the Ohio Chamber of Commerce. David J. Robinson is a graduate of Bowling Green State University, Ohio State University Law School, author of The Electric Company to the Rescue, Saving America's Industrial Heartland Through Electric Rate Incentives, The IEDC Economic Development Journal, Fall, 2009 and Co-Author of Innovation and Transformation in the Buckeye State, The IEDC Economic Development Journal, Spring, 2010. Mr. Robinson has gained built over $100M in public-private-partnerships and works extensively with companies and economic development organizations on retaining and attracting energy companies.
Jan Rogers is the executive director of the Southern Idaho Economic Development Organization (SIEDO). Established in the summer of 2001, SIEDO is a regional public/private partnership established to help diversify and strengthen the economies of five counties and ten cities in the southern Idaho region. During Ms. Rogers tenure as executive director of SIEDO, the region has successfully recruited over 30 new industrial/commercial business as well as assisting in several of major expansions totaling approximately $600 million in capital investment and over 3,000 direct jobs. Ms. Rogers is past president of the Idaho Economic Development Association (IEDA). She is currently Chair of the Awards Advisory Committee for the International Economic Development Council (IEDC). Ms. Rogers has spoken or participated as a panelist at several national, state and local economic development conferences.
Eric Romich is an Ohio State University Extension Field Specialist for Energy Development. His background in renewable energy began during his former assignment as an OSU Extension Educator in Wyandot County. In this position he served as the Director of Wyandot County Office of Economic Development and was deeply involved in the details of finalizing the PSEG Wyandot Solar Project. The PSEG Wyandot Solar Project is a 12 MW 85 acre solar generation facility that is the largest solar facility in Ohio and one of the largest in the Midwest. Romich focuses his Extension efforts in the areas of renewable energy development, energy policy, wind energy, solar energy, and bioenergy resources. He works with elected officials, community planners, community residents, OSU faculty and Extension Educators, and state and federal government agencies to deliver educational programs.
Della Rucker is the author of The Local Economy Revolution: What's Changed and How You Can Help. She is Principal of the Wise Economy Workshop, a consulting firm that focuses on economic revitalization planning and public engagement. She is also the Managing Editor of Engaging Cities, an online magazine focused on the intersection of internet technologies and public involvement in community and government life.
Della has spent over 20 years providing economic development planning, downtown revitalization strategies, fiscal impact analysis, public engagement and other services throughout the United States. She is one of less than 20 people in the United States who carry industry-standard certifications in both planning (AICP) and economic development (CEcD).
A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Della holds a Masters in Community Planning with a concentration in economic development from the University of Cincinnati and a Bachelor of Science in Education from Northwestern University. She lives in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Christian SAUBLENS is Belgian and has an experience of more than 30 years in lobbying the European Community authorities.
He is the Executive Manager of EURADA, the European association of Development Agencies. The association has 140 members operating in more than 25 countries.
Christian helped the creation of EBAN, the European network promoting the stimulation of informal venture capital at regional or national level. He is currently supporting the network of Innovating Regions in Europe.
Christian has written several papers regarding the impact of EU regulations on regional development and the role of development agencies in Europe.
Councilmember Danny Scarth was elected to the Fort Worth City Council in May of 2006. District 4 includes East and Northeast Fort Worth; stretching from I-30 and Sandy Lane to Golden Triangle Boulevard and I-35W.
Danny Scarth grew up in East Fort Worth. He has been married to his wife Lucretia for 30 years and they have two sons. Danny Scarth graduated from Trinity Valley School in 1979 and received a Bachelors degree from Texas Christian University in 1983. Mr. Scarth is the Executive Director of Hope Media, a video production and media services organization. In 1979, Mr. Scarth injured his neck playing football as a freshman at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas. Despite his injury, he graduated from TCU in just eight semesters.
Mr. Scarth serves as the Chairman of the Council’s Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs Committee, Chairman of the North Tarrant Parkway Tax Increment Finance (TIF 7) Board, Chairman of the Woodhaven TIF (13) and serves on the Trinity Lakes TIF (14). He is the President of the Fort Worth Local Development Corporation, the Vice President of the Fort Worth Housing Finance Corporation and he serves on the Crime Control and Prevention District Board.
Danny is the Secretary/Treasurer for the North Central Texas Council of Governments Executive Committee, he serves on the Regional Transportation Council, the Emergency Preparedness Planning Council.
Mr. Scarth served on the City of Fort Worth Facilities Master Plan Committee as well as the City of Fort Worth Gas Drilling Task Force before his election to City Council. Mr. Scarth currently serves on the board and as treasurer for Score A Goal in the Classroom, a school incentive program and is a long-time board member for Turning Point, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing outdoor adventures for the physically challenged and on the board of Expanco, an employment and training organization serving persons with disabilities.
James Schimmer serves as the Director of Economic Development and Planning for Franklin County, Ohio – the state’s second largest county and the 34th largest in the United States. In his role, Mr. Schimmer is responsible for the county’s overall direction in economic development, planning and zoning, housing, and building services. He supervises a staff of 21 and has held the position since June of 2006. James Schimmer has previously worked as the City of Columbus’ Economic Development Administrator and Downtown Development Manager. Mr. Schimmer also led the Little Rock Downtown Partnership from 2000-2003 and was involved in the site planning of the William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Achieves.
Academically trained as a geographer with degrees from Slippery Rock State University in Pennsylvania and the University of North Dakota, Mr. Schimmer’s career has spanned a 25-year period during which he has led urban redevelopment programs and downtown development projects in Wheeling, West Virginia; the Howard-Paulina District in Chicago; and Appleton, Wisconsin. For his work in central Ohio regional development and the creation of a “non-pirating” economic developer’s professional creed, Schimmer was a co-recipient of the 2007 William Habig Regional Cooperation Award presented by the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission. In 2010, Schimmer was named a member of ULI Columbus Advisory Board and currently serves as a board member of the Central Ohio Community Improvement Corporation.
Throughout his career, Mr. Schimmer has employed the practice of adaptively re-using existing resources whenever possible as the basis for sound economic and community development. James Schimmer is a runner, landscape painter, and fisherman who lives in Upper Arlington, Ohio.
Carlton Schwab has been President/CEO of the Texas Economic Development Council (TEDC) since February 1st, 1999. During that time, the 850-member TEDC has developed into a recognized leader in the professional development of its members and a powerful voice for economic development policy in the state of Texas.
Prior to his tenure at the TEDC, Mr. Schwab was Director of Development at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin (1996-1999). From 1989 to 1996, Mr. Schwab was a Director with Deloitte Consulting where he specialized in corporate site location analysis and economic development strategic planning. Mr. Schwab also spent time working in economic development at the local level, having served as Vice President of the Lubbock Board of City Development from 1986 to 1989.
In 2012, Mr. Schwab was named by Governor Perry to the Select Committee on Economic Development – a committee created by the 83rd Texas Legislature to review economic development policy for the state of Texas. He is the Chair of the Advisory Committee of the Texas Legislative Conference and Chair of the International Economic Development Council State Associations Committee. He is a past member of the Austin College Alumni Board and the Texas Wine Industry Advisory Board.
Mr. Schwab holds a Master's degree from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin, and a Bachelor's degree from Austin College in Sherman, Texas.
Craig Settles is an industry analyst and business strategist who helps private and public sector organizations use broadband to improve local economies, education and healthcare delivery. Author of “Building the Gigabit City,” as well as two other broadband strategy guides, blogs and many in-depth analysis reports, Mr. Settles is a prominent national thought leader on executing appropriate broadband strategies. He also hosts the radio talk show Gigabit Nation, and is Director of Communities United for Broadband, a national grass roots effort to assist communities in launching their networks.
Ellen Shepard has been executive director of the Andersonville Chamber of Commerce and Andersonville Development Corporation in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood since 1999. Under Ellen’s leadership, Andersonville has become one of the foremost communities in the United States using localization and environmental sustainability as economic development strategies. As a longtime board member and Local Economies Fellow of the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE), Ellen occupies a unique niche of working on the ground in economic development as well as collaborating with regional and national thought leaders on economic policy issues. Prior to Andersonville, Ellen was a consultant for organizations including the Chicago Department of Housing and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation. Her experience with small businesses began at the League of Chicago Theatres, where she provided technical assistance to arts organizations. She spent a decade before that as a stage manager and technician on assorted Chicago stages. She has an MA in Urban Studies from Loyola University.
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.
Joining the company in 2002, Bill Shelton is a founding partner of CommunityID®, Buxton’s retail development program for communities. Shelton worked for the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce, serving 16 years as its president. He is a Certified Economic Developer and is past chair of the American Economic Development Council. As a founding member of the Texas Economic Development Council, he served as the organization’s president and is a fellow member of the International Economic Development Council. Shelton’s professional service also includes an instructor for 37 sessions and serving six years as dean of the Basic Economic Development Course at Texas A&M University as well as instructing 16 sessions at the Economic Development Institute. Shelton’s extensive knowledge assists Buxton’s CommunityID® retail recruitment division which has worked with more than 600 communities nationwide, helping to recruit over 30 million square feet of retail space. Shelton holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing from the University of Texas at Austin and completed post-graduate studies at Texas A&M University.
Brenda Sherwood has almost 16 years of experience in public and private partnerships specializing in the execution of economic development strategies engaged in business attraction, business retention, community investment and public policy advocacy. Brenda is focused on fostering the public/private partnerships that can quickly advance opportunities to secure significant resources for job creation, municipal infrastructure, workforce training, and research and development. Brenda’s Master studies are in Urban Planning specializing in Economic development. Prior to her position with the City of Meridian, Brenda held management positions with the State of Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity, and was the Executive Director of a delegate agency of the City of Chicago. At the Illinois Department of Commerce Brenda’s team launched a statewide technology based economic development initiative (first of its kind) in the Homeland Security arena.
Madison Silvert is the President and CEO of the Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corporation. Previously at the EDC, Madison was the Executive Vice President for six years, focusing on small business development and high tech startups. Prior to joining the EDC, he was in private legal practice for six years; first in Louisville, and then in Owensboro. Madison has a degree in Economics from Centre College and his Juris Doctor from the Brandeis School of Law at the University of Louisville, where he also received a special certification in Regulatory Law and Policy. Madison is also a certified business incubation manager by the National Business Incubation Association, a certified urban planner by the American Planning Association where he holds the designation of AICP, and is a certified facilitator by the Kauffman Institute for entrepreneurship. Madison has spoken nationally on issues regarding start-up formation and community economic development strategies. He and his wife Amy have three children, Emma, Lilly and John Crawford.
Dr. Sklar is a recognized expert in economic development communication, marketing, and social media. As the Director of Marketing for GIS Planning, she works directly with clients to develop and fine-tune marketing campaigns to promote their use of ZoomProspector Enterprise and SizeUpLBI. Using the customized, collaborative approach that has always distinguished GIS Planning's relationship with its clients, Dr. Sklar works to expand and fine-tune the reach of location brands in the highly competitive field of economic development. With a Ph.D. and M.A. in Communication and Cultural Studies from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Dr. Sklar has worked extensively in both private and academic sectors, serving as a a social media consultant for economic development agencies, full time faculty member at Concordia University's Department of Communication Studies, a research consultant at McGill University, blogger, and multiple award-winning journalist. The focus of Dr. Sklar's research and writing has been on information and communication technologies and community cultures. She believes that using these technologies thoughtfully and effectively requires a skillful combination of knowledge, critique and creativity. Dr. Sklar has provided strategic teaching, consultation and training in educational, cultural and business settings for a variety of audiences across North America, synthesizing and presenting complex information in accessible and practical ways.
In September of 1998, Kirk Slaughter accepted the City of Fort Worth’s challenge to lead its Public Events department.
Kirk is from Odessa Texas. He is a graduate of Texas Tech University and has been involved in the hospitality industry his entire career. Before his move to Fort Worth, he served as the:
Director of Tourism for the Amarillo Convention and Visitors Council
Along with Kirk’s responsibility of leading the Public Events department, which includes the Will Rogers Memorial Center, the Fort Worth Convention Center, and the Office of Outdoor Events, he oversees a $33 million annual Culture and Tourism fund budget. His team has been involved in the $75 million expansion of the Fort Worth Convention Center and $60 million in capital improvements at the Will Rogers Memorial Center that included the new Multi-Purpose Equestrian Center complex. His team also led the development of a convention center hotel, the Omni Fort Worth Hotel.
Kirk is married to Holly Nelson Slaughter and has a 16 year old son and 13 year old daughter.
William Sproull is President and CEO of the Richardson Chamber of Commerce (RCC), Metroplex Technology Business Council (MTBC) and the Richardson Economic Development Partnership (REDP). This unique and complex set of organizations he runs has two separate Board of Directors and a City Council to whom he reports.
He has led the revitalization of Richardson's telecom based economy through a focus on industry and technology diversification . He built the MTBC into the state of Texas's largest trade association for technology companies. He led the RCC in 2010 through the rigorous US Chamber Accreditation program successfully, earning the highest 5 Star rating conferred by the US Chamber for accreditation. Sproull and his REDP team are credited with bringing two catalyst economic development projects to Richardson: a 3,000 employee Bank of America operation in 2004, and a $3 billion Texas Instruments semiconductor factory in 2003.
In 2005, he helped lead a statewide coalition that got legislation passed in Texas to create the Texas Emerging Technology Fund, a half-billion investment fund. Governor Rick Perry of Texas has appointed him to three consecutive two-year terms on the Fund's Advisory Committee, and appointed him as Chairman in 2010.
Previously he held senior economic development positions at the Greater Dallas Chamber, the McKinney Economic Development Corporation and at the EDC of Kansas City, Missouri. Sproull is a graduate of Baylor University, where he received a BA degree with a double major in Economics and Political Science.
Sproull is the Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of the International Economic Development Council, and serves on the Board of Directors of the University of Texas at Dallas, the North Texas Regional Center for Innovation & Commercialization, the North Texas Commission, and the Technology Councils of North America.
Sproull's economic development accomplishments were recognized by the editors of Site Selection magazine when they selected the $3 billion Texas Instruments project as the Top Development Deal nationally of 2003; his economic development teams have been selected three times by Site Selection as one of the top 10 development groups in the U.S. in 1994, 1997 and 2004. He is a two-time recipient of the American Economic Development Council's "Best of Class" marketing award. In 2010, the International Economic Development Council designated him with the distinction of being a Fellow Member.
The Metroplex Technology Business Council inducted Sproull as the inaugural member of their Hall of Fame in 2010 by declaring him a Tech Titan.
Ron Starner is the General Manager and Executive Vice President of Conway Data Inc. and Site Selection magazine, an international corporate real estate publication based in the Atlanta suburb of Peachtree Corners. The official publication of the Industrial Asset Management Council (IAMC) and the Foreign Direct Investment Association, Site Selection reaches 44,000 high-level decision-makers six times a year with timely news, analysis and perspective on key events and trends impacting corporate real estate and economic development. The magazine also publishes SiteSelection.com, the online Web portal for corporate real estate and economic development news and data, and severalemail newsletters including Site Selection Dispatch, Site Selection Impact Report, Site Selection International, The Site Selection Aerospace Report, The Site Selection Life Sciences Report and The Site Selection Energy Report.
Ron also serves as the Executive Editor of two other Conway Data publications – The FDI Report and The Trust Belt.
Ron previously served as Executive Director of IAMC, a corporate real estate and economic development association with 500-plus members. Also based in Georgia, IAMC serves the needs of corporate real estate directors of leading Fortune 500 companies such as BASF, Pfizer, Honeywell and Campbell's Soup.
A journalism graduate of Virginia's Liberty University, Ron holds a master's degree in mass communications from the University of South Florida in Tampa. Prior to coming to Site Selection in August of 2000, he spent six years in various editorial roles with Florida Real Estate Journal, where he ultimately became editor and then publisher. Ron has eight years of experience at a daily newspaper in Florida, where he led the Winter Haven News Chief to several statewide awards in journalism. At the newspaper, Ron served as a reporter, opinion page editor and city editor.
Ron is also the author of the book, The Ten Standards of Successful Leaders, published in 2011 by Conway Publishing and Net Publications Inc.
Ron is a member of the Magazine Association of the Southeast. He resides in Buford, Ga., with his wife Mary and four children.
In 2012, Christopher Stelly was named Executive Director of the Office of Entertainment Industry Development, a division of Louisiana Economic Development. He currently leads a team of 7 entertainment industry professionals and business development officials. Under Chris’ leadership, Louisiana has become one of the top destinations for the entertainment industry. The office has created a thriving business environment for any entertainment related business enterprise exploring opportunities to establish roots in Louisiana. “My philosophy is quite simple, by approaching the entertainment industry holistically and utilizing the state’s innovative entertainment focused incentive programs, Louisiana can continue to blaze new trails in this industry. I am very proud of the fact that my home state is a globally recognized leader in entertainment” says Stelly, adding, “To compete in today’s ever-evolving technology driven world, you have to be innovative and on the cutting edge while providing a stable investment environment. Through my work here in the entertainment division, I feel like I am doing my small part to ensure that Louisiana becomes a major leader in the entertainment industry, not only within the United States, but globally. In 2014, Louisiana is certainly recognized as such a leader.”
Born, raised and educated in Louisiana, Chris joined the entertainment office in 2004. He quickly and proficiently established a leading role in guiding Louisiana’s fledgling film industry’s exponential growth since that time. When Stelly was appointed Director of Film in 2007, Louisiana’s motion picture incentive program was showing steady signs of continued growth. As director, through his tireless dedication and hard work promoting Louisiana as the #1 production location in the world, the motion picture industry in Louisiana grew to become a major economic engine for our state with nearly $1 billion in direct in state spending by productions.
Since being named executive director of the entertainment division, all four industry programs (Motion Picture, Digital Interactive Media, Live Performance Production & Infrastructure, and Sound Recording) have grown exponentially. “Louisiana is reversing the brain drain and providing our children the opportunity to come home and remain at home working in new innovative sectors of our economy” states Chris, “at no other time in our history has so many opportunities existed for gainful employment in the Entertainment industries.”
Stelly has been married to his wife, Lindsey, where they will celebrate their 12th year anniversary in 2014. They reside in Baton Rouge with their 9 year old son, Alexander, twin 6 year old daughters, Isabella and Sophia, & their dog, Chewy. He is a current board member of the Friends of the Baton Rouge Zoo, St. Jude Men’s Club and is active in his state & community.
During his 35-plus years in economic development, teams he led have reported more than $61 Billion in investment and more than 300,000 jobs. His professional experience has produced groundbreaking results. Some of his favorite projects were the Western Currency Production Facility of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing when he was Vice President of Economic Development for the Fort Worth Chamber; the BMW plant in Greer, South Carolina; the Hoffman LaRoche Pharmaceutical campus in Florence, South Carolina; and the Fuji Photo Film Campus in Greenwood, South Carolina; and there are many more.
As Chief of Staff at the South Carolina Department of Commerce from 1999-2001, he achieved the highest level of investment results in SC history: over $12 billion in two years. During that time 65,000 jobs were created.
As Executive Director of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, Mr. Sterling generated a 500% increase in the number of active projects. The announcement of three semiconductor wafer fabrication plants in the state changed the perception and economic structure of Virginia. Big names were convinced to make big investments: Gateway, America Online, Frito-Lay, Volvo, MCI WorldCom, Chaparral Steel, Hewlett Packard, Motorola, IBM, Siemens, Toshiba, and many others.
A graduate of the Economic Development Institute of the University of Oklahoma, Mr. Sterling is a Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) and is a Fellow Member, Honorary Life Member and the past Chairman of the International Economic Development Council (IEDC). He is a member of the Southern Economic Development Council, the Industrial Asset Management Council (IAMC), the Mississippi Bar Association, and is a former board member of the International Development Research Council (IDRC), now known as CoreNet Global.
King County Executive Dow Constantine recently appointed John Sternlicht as Economic Development Advisor, a role in which John will identify and act on issues and priorities to create shared and sustainable growth and prosperity for all residents of the 12th largest county in the US. John’s high level economic development experience combines legal and policy skills, external and government relations, strategic planning, R&D, commercialization and innovation connecting government, industry and non-profits, having dealt internationally at the highest levels. John has written and spoken in the US, Canada, and Europe on economic development, legal and policy issues and strategies around incentives, strategic planning, innovation and commercialization, and negotiation. He speaks French, German and Spanish in addition to English.
John has worked on all sides of the negotiating table. Before joining King County, he served as Senior Director of Strategic Projects for SRI International, a large nonprofit research institute. While at SRI, John facilitated the development of a new drug development research center in Virginia and a first for SRI, a clinical trials facility in Michigan. To enable these innovative facilities to launch, John obtained over $50 million in state and local support.
For eleven years prior to joining SRI International, John served as the first General Counsel and Legislative Director for the Virginia Economic Development Partnership. In that role he initiated the requirement in 1996 for performance agreements among the Commonwealth, localities and companies for all discretionary incentives, and negotiated and concluded agreements with companies for deals well in excess of $10 billion during his tenure. John developed several new targeted incentives programs and modified existing ones, making them more accessible while strengthening reporting and repayment requirements. He regularly reported to and appeared before legislative committees regarding incentives and the entire range of economic development and business matters. As director of community and regional relations, John and his staff advised most of the 140 cities and counties in Virginia on strengthening their economic development programs. During this time, Governor (now US Senator) Mark Warner appointed John Deputy Secretary of Commerce and Trade, a position he held concurrently. As Deputy Secretary, John oversaw 15 agency budgets of over $800 million, and directed all those agencies’ legislative and regulatory programs. He also conducted the statewide economic development strategic planning process for Governor Warner.
John, who serves on the Board of Directors of the International Economic Development Council, earned a B.S. in Foreign Service from Georgetown University and a Juris Doctor from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. He also studied journalism and mass communications as a Rotary International Scholar at the Université de Fribourg (Switzerland). He earned his Certification in Economic Development from IEDC in 2001.
Jerry Stewart is the Workforce Development Coordinator for the Virginia Beach Department of Economic Development. He has been with the department for 25 years, working in business retention and expansion, business development and workforce development. His work focus includes representing the city on technical issues associated with workforce development, working with other city departments and entities to enhance the workforce of Virginia Beach, acting as a resource for available training and graduates of training, building institutional relationships with private and public educational institutes, coordinating with the Commonwealth of Virginia for workforce services needs and training programs, coordinating with the military and the regional workforce investment board on workforce issues, managing and marketing the Economic Development Workforce Training Center in the Advance Technology Center, and working with local businesses to identify training needs. He is chair of the Virginia Beach City Public Schools General Advisory Council for Career and Technical Education. Additionally, he has served on numerous committees related to education and early learning initiatives for Virginia Beach City Public Schools and the City of Virginia Beach. Jerry has been a member of the Commonwealth of Virginia Career and Technical Education Advisory Committee since July of 2008 and served as chair for the 2010/2011 school year.
Jerry has been a Certified Economic Developer since 1993 and is vice-chair of IEDC’s Accredited Economic Development Organization committee. He has been on the committee since 2003 and has conducted several AEDO certification reviews and site visits.
Rob is the director of the tvsdesign convention center practice, coordinating the activity of an amazing team of architects, designers, programming specialists, sustainability experts and operational researchers who have designed four of the five largest convention centers in North America and three of the most important centers in China.
Rob is frequently quoted in industry publications and has spoken nationally and internationally on the emerging trends in the meeting industry and the transformational potential of developing convention centers as vibrant mixed use urban environments.
His projects for Nashville, Mumbai, Puerto Rico, Raleigh and many others serve critical economic development and civic purposes, operate as a business, meet exacting budget and schedule requirements and reflect their community’s values by bring together people, ideas, commerce and award winning design.
Rob sits on the City of Atlanta’s SPI-1 Development Review Commission, the Atlanta West Side TAD Advisory Board, ULI TAP Committee and Marietta Street Artery Association’s Land Use Committee. He is active in firm wide leadership roles including strategic planning and employee ownership issues.
Amy Edwards Taylor has 20 years of experience in the field of operations, public policy and communications. Currently, she serves as the Chief Operating Officer for the Columbus Downtown Development Corporation and Capitol South. In her role, she is responsible for the internal operations of the two organizations, leading multiple lines of business including parking garage management, strategic plan execution and park operations and programming. She has played a lead role in city-changing projects, such as the Scioto Mile, Columbus Commons and the Scioto Greenways river revitalization project.
Ms. Taylor held previous positions as the Vice President of Public Affairs at the Alcohol, Drug and Mental Health (ADAMH) Board of Franklin County, Director of Communications with the Franklin County Board of Commissioners and Community Relations Specialist with the City of Dublin.
She holds a master’s degree in Public Administration from The Ohio State University and a bachelor’s degree in English and Political Science from The Ohio State University.
John C. Terrell serves as the Vice President of Commercial Development of the world's fourth-busiest airport – Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW).
In this position, Mr. Terrell is responsible for the strategic direction in development, acquisition, leasing, property management and natural gas exploration/production on over 18,000 acres of land.
He leads the strategic planning, marketing and implementation of business initiatives for commercial land development, redevelopment and business development as well as provides direction and oversight of the airports Land Use Analysis and Land Use Master Planning processes outside the central terminal areas.
Mr. Terrell has over 30 years of real estate and development experience and an extensive background and knowledge in real estate development, sales, marketing, property management, leasing, economic development and government relations in both the public and private sectors.
Prior to coming to DFW Airport, Mr. Terrell served as Senior Vice President of Commercial Development of the Christon Company in Dallas where he was responsible for the development and marketing of the award winning 1000 acre, mixed-use development, Pinnacle Park. Awards of "Best Development" and "Development with Most Economic Impact in North Texas" as well as the national Phoenix Award for outstanding environmental and community revitalization, were among the many recognitions received. He also held the position of Assistant Vice President of Real Estate for Southern Pacific Transportation Company in San Francisco, California and had several years with Union Pacific Railroad.
Mr. Terrell holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Management and a Masters in Business Administration with a certificate in Asian Business Studies. He holds an International Airport Professional (IAP) designation, being recognized by ACI and ICAO as having achieved highly rigorous standards for expertise in the field of airport management. Mr. Terrell has been a real estate instructor for several universities and was previously named National Real Estate Executive of the Year by Site Selection Magazine.
Mr. Terrell has served in the capacity of an elected or appointed official for 14 years, the last five as Mayor of the City of Southlake, Texas. He is currently a board member of the Northeast Leadership Forum, North Texas Commission board member and Management Committee & Advisory Board member for the Urban Land Institute's Vision North Texas. He is a member of Forth Worth Chamber Economic Development Committee, Metroport Cities Partnership, Texas High Speed Rail Advisory Board, International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), Urban Land institute (ULI) as well as numerous other local and national real estate/professional organizations.
Mr. Terrell has been married for 27 years and has two children.
On any given weekend evening, Tim Terrentine can be found rockin’ the house at a local jazz club. On any given day of the week, you can find Tim visiting Southwest Michigan’s small businesses striking a chord of economic growth and community action. From center stage to a business storefront, Tim Terrentine speaks directly to the heart leaving you captivated and moved to action. While Tim spent much of his youth inspiring others from his church choir and the basketball court, today it is his expertise in strategic planning and communication that he finds most impactful in empowering individuals to change their quality of life through employment. At Southwest Michigan
First, Tim's main role is serving as president of the Kalamazoo Regional Chamber of Commerce—a role focused on the support, education and growth of small businesses in the region. In addition, Tim’s passion for helping current and future leaders make the most of their potential helps accelerate the brand of the organization’s Catalyst Leadership Series, a program geared to empowering Michigan’s leaders to greatness.
Developing, training and empowering organizations are true strengths for Tim. Through another arm of the organization, Catalyst Partners Consulting, Tim strategizes with and provides consultation services to the executive leadership teams of companies large and small. From Fortune®100 to small businesses with five employees, Tim’s knack for change management, knowledge and experience developing talent, diversity and difference in the workplace, and team engagement experience have helped change the trajectory of many companies.
Tim’s enthusiasm for impactful leadership programs is recognized by the boards of organizations on which he serves including the Western Michigan University Medical School, Kalamazoo Ready 4’s, the Governor’s Office of Metropolitan and Urban Initiatives, Prevention Works and External Advisory Boards at his alumnus Western Michigan University. Outside of his professional responsibilities, Tim identifies his most important role of all to be spending time with wife Gretta and preparing his two children, Olivia and TJ, to be future leaders.
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.
Peter Tokar III is the Economic Development Director for the City of Alpharetta, one of Georgia's prominent cities in North Fulton County. He began his work in Economic Development in 2006 after completing his Master's degree. His natural leadership, aptitude and work ethic has catapulted him into leadership positions within the industry at an early age, being recruited to his first Director level position in economic development for Broward County Florida, where he managed projects for a county of 31 municipalities and over 2 million people.
Peter's versatile and diversified background sets him apart from other economic development professionals. Having earned a Bachelor's of Science in graphic arts from Liberty University and his Masters of Business Administration from the H. Wayne Huizenga School of Business and Entrepreneurship at Nova Southeastern University, he has been able to serve as both the creative mind as well as the business mind behind his projects and initiatives. This creative thinking led him to develop such programs as the first ever business assistance television series which begins broadcast in the South Florida Area in October of 2012. He has managed not only financial incentives plans for recruitment projects, but complete marketing and branding campaigns, print and web designs and business and strategic plan development.
Since 2006, Peter has been lead economic development projects resulting in over 4,000,000 square feet of new business space, close to $3 Billion in capital investment, job creation of over 3500 new jobs and job retention of over 7000 jobs. Together with Alpharetta City and Elected leadership, he is leading recruitment, retention and expansion initiatives for the city which include the $600 Million Avalon development project by North American Properties, 40 acre Alpharetta City Center development, the newly created Alpharetta Technology Commission, Alpharetta Development Authority and city wide branding campaign for Alpharetta. In addition to project management, he represents Alpharetta in national and local recruitment efforts, conferences, civic and professional organizations.
In addition to multiple community and industry professional organizations, Peter also enjoys a background in community involvement and leadership, having served as a volunteer to community organizations, chambers of commerce, and professional development organizations. Peter is a graduate of Leadership Broward, Class XXVII and 2013 North Fulton Leadership Class and is an active member in the Alpharetta Rotary Club.
Through all these professional achievements, Peter has reserved time to give back to his community and be a servant leader. He is committed to his faith and for the past two years has served on short term missions teams to the Joshua Children's Mission, in Vrygrond, South Africa. An avid golfer, he has served on the board of directors for First Tee, which brings the values and fundamentals of golf to urban youth.
Mickie Valente is the president of Valente Strategic Advisers LLC, a Florida-based, consulting firm that focuses on economic development and post-disaster redevelopment planning. She is internationally known as a strategic planner who assists community business leaders in developing critical business recovery and long-term economic redevelopment strategies. She has been at the forefront of groundbreaking initiatives to integrate economic development principles and engage private sector stakeholders in planning that enhances community resiliency and accelerates economic revitalization following a major economic disruption
Recently, she has served as a team leader in post-disaster economic recovery initiatives in response to the Alaska 2013 (Yukon River Flood) and New York (Hurricane Sandy). In both cases, she worked with the Economic Recovery Support Function (RSF) team, which is led by the US Economic Development Administration (EDA), as one of six RSFs mobilized following major disaster events under the National Disaster Recovery Framework.
Mickie also was contracted as an expert adviser with the Economic Developers Alberta (Canada) to assess the economic impact of major flooding in 10 Alberta communities in the June 2013. She participated as a subject matter expert on a team that visited each community and made recommendations for economic recovery to local, provincial and federal leaders.
Mickie also served as the initial investigator to develop a national report featuring the best practices in private sector collaborations with emergency management at the local, state and regional levels. The web site development is a collaborative initiative of the National Emergency Management Association (NEMA), the International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM) and the National Incident Management Systems and Advanced Technologies (NIMSAT) Institute at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. She also served as the Government-Industry Partnerships Coordinator for the NIMSAT Institute, where she was a principal liaison to engage economic development organizations and industry partners in development of the Louisiana Business Emergency Operation Center.
She has facilitated stakeholder groups and drafted the economic restoration action plans for the Tampa Bay Catastrophic Disaster Recovery Plan, the Tampa-Hillsborough County Post-Disaster Redevelopment Plan and the Seminole County (FL) Business Recovery Plan.
She regularly participates as an adviser for the development and implementation of national economic and business recovery initiatives with the (EDA) and the International Economic Development Council (IEDC). In the last five years, she has served as a subject matter expert on economic assessment teams deployed by EDA and IEDC. Mickie spearheaded the development and implementation of Emergency Support Function 18 for “Business, Industry and Economic Stabilization” at Florida’s State Emergency Operations Center. This national model integrates public agencies, private sector businesses and non-profit organizations with Florida’s disaster preparedness, response and recovery programs. She also worked with the Florida Division of Emergency Management to develop the Standard Operating Procedures for ESF 18.
Prior to launching her consulting business, Mickie served as the Director of Partner Relations for Enterprise Florida, Florida’s lead economic development organization, serving as the agency’s liaison with all of Florida’s local and regional economic development, regional workforce development and business support organizations. She also served as a director with the Florida Council of 100 – Florida’s CEO roundtable organization – collaborating with other business leadership organizations to develop economic, education and growth leadership strategies.
She holds a Bachelor's of Arts in Journalism from the University of Georgia and a Master's in Business Administration from Florida State University. She serves on the Gulf of Mexico Alliance Coastal Community Resiliency Working Group and Florida’s State Post-Disaster Redevelopment Planning Initiative Workgroup. Mickie is a member of the International Economic Development Council, the Florida Economic Development Council and the Florida Emergency Preparedness Association
Marty Vanags became Executive Director of the Indy Partnership in February 2013. Vanags leads a group of professional economic development staff whose mission is to market and promote the nine-county Indianapolis region as a place to invest and grow business. The Indy Partnership is a business unit of the Indy Chamber.
Vanags is a graduate of Illinois State University and Northern Illinois University (MPA) and has over 25 years of experience in community and economic development, private commercial real estate development and business management. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the International Economic Development Council (IEDC). He has served as Chairman of the Illinois Development Council, Chair of International Economic Development Council Public Policy Advisory Committee, and member of the same organization’s Economic Development Research Partners (EDRP). He is an active alumnus of Illinois State University serving on their Alumni Board, and the Board of Advisors for the Means Center for Entrepreneurship at ISU’s College of Business. Vanags also is a co-founder and creator of the Center for Emerging Entrepreneurs, a business incubation and development program at Illinois State University.
He is a co-founder and on the Board of the @Midwest Social Media Conference, and speaks and provides seminars on social media and its impact on economic development and non-profits. Vanags has spoken at various venues and conferences on topics ranging from communication, leadership, change management, and data-use in economic development and community development. Under Vanags’ leadership, the Bloomington Normal EDC received numerous accolades and awards for marketing, communication and economic development best practices.
He has over twenty years of professional experience managing sectorial projects and economic development in private business entities with intense relationship with the Federal Government and the Congress. He has been through the formulation and implementation of State Government public politics strategies, especially the territorial intelligence. The innovative programs for Startups(I), Sebrae Academy (Academia Sebrae) Campaign / Website to reframe entrepreneurship to teens (II), rescuing their self-confidence, Sensemaking / Storytelling(III) rescuing the ability of people to create meaning and sense in what they do, the Entrepreneurial Cities (Cidades Empreendedoras) (IV) and ProValor - Program to add value to the product of Minas Gerais (V), have achieved compelling results and even greater achievements.
Steve Vierck, CEcD, has served since February, 2012 as President and CEO of the New Mexico Economic Development Corporation (New Mexico Partnership). Vierck is a long-time economic development professional with a consistently strong record of achievement earned over 30 years with economic development organizations in New Mexico, Arizona, and Texas. He and the teams he has been associated with successfully assisted in the recruitment or expansion of over 300 companies generating more than 25,000 new jobs.
He was previously employed from 2008-2012 as the President of the Economic Development Division at Angelou Economics in Austin, TX, one of the largest economic development and site selection consulting firms in the U.S. Prior to that, he served as President/CEO of the Mesilla Valley Economic Development Alliance in southern New Mexico. His key work experience also includes over 20 years in Arizona where he served as Senior Vice President of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council and National Marketing Director of the Arizona Department of Commerce and directed business attraction/expansion marketing programs that attained record results. Other prior positions include Vice President/Economic Development for the Tucson Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Executive Director of the Chandler Chamber of Commerce.
Vierck earned his Master's degree in Geography with a specialization in Economic Geography and Bachelor's degree in Business Administration/Regional Development from the University of Arizona. He is a recipient of the "William W. Lampkin Award for Long Term Excellence in Economic Development" and "Economic Developer of the Year" awards in both New Mexico and Arizona. He earned his Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) designation in 1991 and has served on numerous economic and workforce development boards.
Jerry Walker, Impact DataSource Principal, is an economist. Over the past 20 years, he has conducted economic and fiscal impact analyses of numerous individual firms, facilities, projects and economic development activities. He has also developed several economic and fiscal impact analysis computer programs for clients.
He also has a background in government accounting and auditing.
Prior to his economic development consulting career, he had a fifteen-year career as a supervisory auditor with two federal departments – the US Department of Education and the US Department of Health and Human Services. He reviewed federal programs operated by states, local governments, colleges and universities, local education agencies, and nonprofit organizations in a six state area. He performed financial audits and operational reviews. During the operational reviews, the operations of the federal programs were reviewed for economy, efficiency and effectiveness. This included:
Determining what the federal program, project or activity should be doing,
He has Bachelor of Science and Master of Business Administration degrees in accounting and economics from Nicholls State University, Thibodaux, Louisiana.
Mr. Wallace serves as Chief Executive Officer and Secretary of General Partner and Chairman of the Investment Committee for Wallace Bajjali Development Partners, L.P. Mr. Wallace has a background in the acquisition and/or formation of over 200 companies and/or partnerships, and has secured hundreds of millions of dollars in equity and debt. As a result of the numerous portfolio holdings, he has served on the boards for several private and public companies. In addition to numerous projects across the country, Wallace Bajjali Development Partners is currently the Master Developer hired by the city of Joplin to redevelop the community following the devastating EF-5 tornado that struck on May 22, 2011.
Mr. Wallace served as a partner and Chief Executive Officer of Wallace & Associates Investment, Inc., formerly The Markpoint Company, a venture capital and merchant banking operation and also, the Grantham Company, a private investment-banking firm.
Prior to becoming a member of the Wallace Bajjali Development Partners management team, Mr. Wallace served as the Chief Financial Officer for Asset Plus and Asset Campus Housing. In such capacity, he was actively involved in the transactional structuring, investment banking and capital market activities.
Early in his career, Mr. Wallace served as the Vice President of Equity Management Corporation, a private real estate syndication firm. In this capacity, Mr. Wallace was responsible for the acquisition and/or sale of over $250 million of income producing properties. In connection with such real estate activities, he was a charter member of the North Texas Association of Real Estate Professionals, a former member of the Real Estate Securities and Syndication Institute (RESSI) and a former member of the American Association of Financial Planners.
Mr. Wallace considers charitable works of great importance, as reflected by his extensive efforts in both the Dallas and Houston communities. Mr. Wallace served three terms as Mayor of the City of Sugar Land, Texas, where he previously served on city council representing the Single Member District Number 4. In such capacity, Mr. Wallace played a leadership role at the United States Conference of Mayors where he served on the Executive Committee and as Co-Chairman of the National Homeland Security Task Force and the Urban Water Council. Mr. Wallace served on the U. S. Department of Homeland Security Advisory Council-State and Local Officials Senior Advisory Committee and on the Board of Directors as Vice President of the TexasOne Economic Development Corporation. Mr. Wallace also served on the Advisory Board of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
Mr. Wallace serves as Emeritus Research Scholar for Economic Development of the International Council of Shopping Centers and is the author of Retail Development Through Public-Private Partnerships (ICSC).
Mr. Wallace received his Bachelor of Business Administration in Real Estate Finance from the University of North Texas. In addition to this schooling, Mr. Wallace attended Union College in Schenectady, New York and received a scholarship to study International Real Estate, International Finance and International Law at the University of Reading located in Reading, England.
Jean Wallace is Vice President, Human Resources, for Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company. She is responsible for the 26,000 employees working in Lockheed Martin Corporation’s Aeronautics business area. She assumed her current position in January 2011.
In this position, she is responsible for continuing to shape a performance-based company culture, attracting, developing and retaining the best talent in the aerospace industry while leading HR strategies that enable profitable, long-term growth of the business. Her responsibilities include a range of areas including Staffing, Compensation & Rewards, Performance Management, Learning and Development, Workforce and Diversity Planning, and Labor Relations. In this role, she also leads organizational effectiveness efforts across Lockheed Martin Aeronautics.
Ms. Wallace joined Lockheed Martin in February 2010 as Vice President, Human Resources, for the Electronic Systems business area. She has more than 25 years of Human Resources leadership experience in the manufacturing, technology, services, aerospace and logistics industries.
Previously, she was Vice President of Human Resources for ITT Corporation, Commercial Business Areas for five years. Before joining ITT, she served in various human resources leadership positions at Microsoft Corporation; she worked at several divisions of Allied Signal and Honeywell International; and also at Ryder System Inc. During her career, she has built extensive experience in ethics and diversity, leadership and workforce development, organizational design, and international HR.
Ms. Wallace is active in numerous organizations, including Lockheed Martin’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender employee resource group, where she serves as an executive sponsor for Aeronautics. She is a member of the United Way Board of Directors for Tarrant County serving as the chair for the Compensation Committee and a member of the Community Development Cabinet. She is the chair for the Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) Regional Aerospace Cluster, which works to build the future workforce within the DFW area and across the state of Texas with community constituents. In addition, she is a board member of North Texas Leaders and Executives Advocating Diversity (LEAD), which supports diversity hiring efforts across the DFW area. She is also an executive sponsor of the Alliance for Leadership, Mentorship, and Advanced (ALMA) group, which fosters the development of Hispanic professionals in Aeronautics.
A native of South Bend, Indiana, Ms. Wallace graduated from Indiana University, where she received a Bachelors of Science degree in Marketing. She has two daughters.
Valerie Walsh is the communications director for Anchorage Economic Development Corp. As Communications Director, Valerie is responsible for all communications of AEDC and oversees all advertising, marketing, public relations, external communications, social media and online presence. She is also responsible for the day-to-day oversight of communications at AEDC. Prior to AEDC, Valerie worked at two Anchorage-based advertising agencies in account services, and as a graphic designer for a real estate company in Anchorage. She is a lifelong Alaskan and attended North Park University in Chicago, Illinois where she received her Bachelor of Science in Advertising with a creative design emphasis.
Laith Wardi, CEcD, is President of ExecutivePulse, Inc. He has worked in the economic development profession for over 20 years.
Laith has comprehensive experience in business retention & expansion that includes outreach to hundreds of value-added client companies, work as a resource provider, and 15 years of regional program management.
In 1994-95, Laith pioneered the first web based system for business retention. Today, the ExecutivePulse™ Business Intelligence System is the most widely used database for business retention & expansion in North America.
As a founder and President of ExecutivePulse Inc., Laith provides skills training, survey development, technology development and management consultation to clients seeking to implement a systematic and sustainable customer outreach program.
He is a regular instructor on business retention for the professional certification program sponsored by the International Economic Development Council (IEDC). Laith also speaks to community, economic and workforce development audiences throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe on customer retention, one-to-one database marketing and technology assimilation.
Laith is a graduate of Mercyhurst College and received his economic development certification through IEDC in 2002.
In addition to his work in the field of economic development, Laith has experience in real estate management, media sales, and as a strategic planning consultant for both public and private-sector clients.
Keith Watkins brings 25 years of experience to the Arizona Commerce Authority. He has spent his career leading and supporting high-performance economic and real estate development teams in Arizona and Maryland. His experience with all facets of the economic development continuum has provided a wide array of knowledge, which he utilizes to lead the ACA's Economic and Rural Development efforts. Mr. Watkins is a results-driven executive with solid operations management and leadership experience, facilitating strong cross-functional relationships across diverse stakeholders. He serves on several boards and commissions throughout Arizona. Mr. Watkins is a third generation Arizonan with a degree in Regional Development from the University of Arizona.
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 small children and loves to play golf and scuba dive.
Marty grew up in Arlington, Texas—where he observed the work (and later got the opportunity to work with) historic Mayor Tom Vandergriff. Marty attended the University of Texas at Arlington, where he earned a Bachelor's degree in Communication and later a Masters Degree in Urban Affairs. After serving as Assistant to the Executive Director of the North Central Texas Council of Governments in the late 1980s, Marty held economic development positions with the Arlington and Northeast Tarrant Chambers of Commerce and the City of North Richland Hills before he joined GSBS Architects in January, 2000. In August 2009, Marty returned to the public sector as Director of Economic Development with the City of Colleyville, Texas—where he's teamed with his Mayor and City Council in negotiating and executing a public/private partnership, leading Whole Foods Market to open in a redeveloped shopping center this July.
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.
Dalila Wilson-Scott is Managing Director of Global Philanthropy at JPMorgan Chase & Co., a global leader in corporate philanthropy with $210 million annually invested in communities and nonprofit organizations across 40 countries and spanning 6 continents. Ms. Wilson-Scott has been with the firm for over fourteen years and brings over eight years of leadership and participation on firm-wide strategic initiatives, community partnerships, and civic engagement.
As President of the JPMorgan Chase Foundation, she has been an integral part of developing the Foundation’s global philanthropic pillars. Under her leadership, the Foundation has unveiled a giving strategy that delivers greater impact to the firm’s partners and businesses focused on spurring local and regional economic growth, linking education and training programs to employer demand, creating sustainable community development and housing solutions, and empowering consumers with knowledge, tools, and resources to help build their financial assets. She also oversees employee engagement and volunteerism and plays a key role in helping to set the firm’s overall Corporate Responsibility strategy.
She is credited for her leadership in launching Chase Community Giving, one of the most successful crowd-sourced philanthropy programs on Facebook and the firm’s largest social media presence.
Prior to joining the Office of Corporate Responsibility, she served in the firm’s Corporate Merger Office as an integral member of the task force charged with managing the integration of JPMorgan Chase and Bank One, one of the largest and most significant mergers in the financial services industry. Before this role, she was a Senior Strategic Planning Director focused on evaluating new business initiatives and acquisition opportunities for the retail and commercial banking businesses.
Mrs. Wilson-Scott serves on the board of directors of GuideStar, and is a member of The Conference Board’s Contributions Council and Global Social Investing Council. Mrs. Wilson-Scott holds an M.B.A. in Finance and Management from New York University's Leonard N. Stern School of Business and a B.A. in Economics from NYU's College of Arts and Science.
She resides in Northern New Jersey with her husband, S. Christopher Scott and their three children.
Karen Winton is the Chief Marketing Officer of Invest Hong Kong, one of the world’s leading investment promotion agencies. She is responsible for providing strategic steer in developing and implementing the organisation’s global branding, advertising, marketing, public relations and events strategies. She also directs the provision of IT support across the organisation, including network infrastructure, websites, social media and the CRM.
Ms Winton began her career in business and financial journalism in London in 1987 and moved to Hong Kong in 1990, where she held editorial managerial positions with the Australian Chamber of Commerce, publishing group Fairfax Media Ltd and The Economist Group until 2003. In that year, she set up an independent publishing company. As the head of its content and events division, she worked with various corporates and professional organisations to promote their objectives through a range of publications, events and marketing initiatives.
Ms Winton holds a Bachelor's Degree with Honours in History from the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, in the UK, and is a full member of The Chartered Institute of Marketing in the UK.
Dale has over 22 years of economic development experience and has worked in both rural and urban communities creating and implementing various economic development programs including an award winning Business Retention and Expansion program. Six years ago Dale co-founded EDCD Consulting, a specialized economic development focus consulting firm. Since its inception the firm has been contracted to manage the Economic Development Association of BC and LinxBC. EDABC is a membership-based association representing over 260 municipal, provincial, federal and private sector organizations. LinxBC is an investment attraction agency representing 18 BC communities and the provincial ministry. Dale and his partner, Colleen Bond, have recently completed delivering fifteen workshops focused on economic development essentials for local leaders. These workshops were held throughout the Province of BC. In addition to workshop delivery the firm has provided strategic planning, investment readiness assessments, business retention and expansion training, organizational development and other economic development services to municipalities throughout BC, Alberta and Saskatchewan.
Ben Wright is one of the foremost experts in economic development marketing, with over 18 years of experience, working primarily in North America. In the ten years since he started U.S. based Atlas Advertising, the company has grown to serve more than 70 different economic development clients, in 40+ states and 6 countries.
Ben started his career in economic development as the Chief Economist for the Metro Denver EDC, in Colorado in the early 1990s. He brings a wealth of branding, digital marketing, and GIS experience into every client engagement. Ben helps clients develop and execute innovative marketing strategies, and is a frequent speaker with the International Economic Development Council, Georgia Tech Innovation Institute, and various state and regional economic development conferences.
Having worked all over North America, Ben understands how economic development agencies must compete in a global marketplace. He applies this passion for places and knowledge of people into Atlas Advertising’s very core, and, thus, into every project.
Ben is a graduate of Stanford University in California with a degree in economics, with emphasis on urban studies. Ben lives in Denver, CO with his wife and three adventurous daughters.
Paul has over 20 years of international business development experience and has worked with companies around the world to help grow their overseas markets. For ten years he was an international sales executive and for 13 years Paul served as Managing Director of the State of Ohio European Office (Brussels, Belgium), one of the overseas offices of the Ohio Department of Development (ODOD). He generated tens of millions of dollars per year of European investment into Ohio and exports from Ohio working with companies such as BMW, Siemens, Reed-Elsevier, CAP Gemini, ThyssenKrup, Groupe Danone, Kuka, Siemens, Daimler AG, ArcelorMittal and many small and medium-sized companies.
He joined the Regional Growth Partnership in 2011 to promote foreign direct investment into the Toledo region and Northwest Ohio. The region has some 40 Asian-owned facilities employing over 8500 people.
Paul holds an MBA in International Management degree from the Thunderbird School of Global Management and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Ohio University. He speaks German and French fluently.