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

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

Brent Adams
Vice President of Policy
Woodstock Institute
Chicago, IL

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

Vince Adamus
Vice President, Real Estate & Business Development
Greater Cleveland Partnership
Cleveland, OH

Vice President Real Estate & Business Development at the Greater Cleveland Partnership (GCP), Vince conducts outreach, and supports the organization's business and physical development programs. One of the largest private-sector economic development organizations in Ohio, GCP is a catalyst to increase economic vitality in Greater Cleveland.

Vince was the Economic Development Director of the Cities of Beachwood and Brook Park, Ohio, conducting business and real estate development for these economically active communities. He was CEO of the Beachwood Chamber of Commerce, and Manager, Public Works Infrastructure for the Build Up Greater Cleveland program, a public-private effort to leverage economic development through infrastructure planning and advocacy. Earlier, Vince provided business development assistance and corridor redevelopment with the Cleveland Industrial Retention Initiative.

Vince serves on the boards of Growth Capital Corp., Ohio's number one SBA 504 lender, and NAIOP Northern Ohio; chairs the Highland Heights, Ohio Planning & Zoning Commission; and is certified as an Economic Development Finance Professional by the National Development Council.

Vince has a Master of Public Administration from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a prior career in city management. He believes that good development takes into consideration the long-term interests of all parties concerned.

Tony Aggarwal
Kinetic Cubed Ltd
Spinningfields, Manchester, United Kingdom

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

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

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

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

Lynn Allen
President & CEO
Bluegrass International Fund
Louisville, KY

Ms. Lynn Allen President and Chief Executive Officer Ms. Allen is a co-founder of Bluegrass International Fund (BiF), a firm investing in economic development projects on behalf of investors overseas who seek permanent green card status under the Department of Homeland Security’s EB-5 Regional Center Program. In partnership with the Fund’s board and co-founders, she is responsible for the Fund’s strategic direction and ensuring BiF’s success in creating new jobs in Kentucky and Southern Indiana through the EB-5 Program. Allen has devoted her career to raising capital to create jobs and expand educational opportunities both in the US and overseas. She has led regional, national and multi-country marketing teams that produced millions of dollars in new revenues for economic development initiatives. In 2003 she formed Capital Innovations, a strategic advisory firm that worked with public/private stakeholders to raise capital for “place-based” private equity funds that invest in high-growth-potential companies in the Midwest. Ms. Allen is a board member of the Kentucky Association of Economic Development, serves on the advisory board of Purdue University’s Emerging Innovations Fund and as a member of the Building Committee of the EB-5 industry’s national association, IIUSA. She has served on the boards of the Kentucky Energy Sector Partnership, The Enterprise Corp, Associates in Pediatric Therapy, and Auxiliary Board of the Art Institute of Chicago. She holds a Master of International Management from Denver University and a Bachelor of Science from the University of Kentucky.

Angelos G. Angelou
Founder & Principal Executive Officer
Austin, TX

Angelos Angelou is the Founder and Principal Executive Officer of AngelouEconomics, bringing nearly 30 years of experience in economic & business development and site location consulting. Angelos is also the Founder and Chairman of the Board of the International Accelerator in Austin, Texas, which is focused exclusively on foreign-born entrepreneurs and launching their technology startup businesses in the US. Angelos is an angel investor in half a dozen startups in Texas. Angelos is also a founding member of the Site Selector’s Guild, the top site selector consultants group in the world.

AngelouEconomics is a leading economic development consultancy in the US. The firm has an impressive list of clients in both the private and public sector and has conducted over 650 economic development strategies, 150 economic impact studies, and has sited over $18 billion in capital investments projects throughout the world.

Prior to starting AngelouEconomics, Angelos spent 12 years with the Austin Chamber of Commerce as Vice President of Economic Development & Chief Economist. During his time at the chamber, Angelos was responsible for the recruitment of 800 technology companies and 70,000 employees. Companies include IBM, Apple, Samsung, Motorola, AMD, Cypress Semiconductor, Applied Materials, Tokyo Electron, and Sematech.

A highly visible leader in the field of economic development, Angelos is widely regarded as an expert on technology based economic development, public policy, investment attraction, marketing and entrepreneurship. The national and international media regularly seek his comments and insights in the technology sector and on economic development issues. He is also widely regarded as the chief architect in the establishment of Austin as a nationally recognized high tech center.

Angelos recently received a Proclamation from the Texas Governor and the Mayor of Austin in recognition for his 30-year leadership and contribution to economic development in the State of Texas and Austin. Mr. Angelou is the Governor’s appointee to The CPRIT Oversight Committee (Texas Governor Appointee), a $3 billion Texas Grant Program specializing in Cancer Prevention, Research and Commercialization. He is a Fellow at the IC2, an international think tank on venture capital and entrepreneurship. Current Board appointments include Advisory Board of The College of Natural Sciences at the University of Texas at Austin (largest college at UT). Angelos is also President of, and President of Gridmates, member companies of the International Accelerator. Past appointments include board and advisory posts at the International Economic Development Council, the Social Sciences Department at St. Edwards University and the World Information Technology Conference. Angelos was awarded the US Economic Development of the Year award by Site Selection Magazine.

Darrell W. Auterson, CEcD, EDFP
President & CEO
McKinney Economic Development Corporation
McKinney, TX

Darrell Auterson has been in the economic development profession for over 35 years. His background includes positions in county and city governments, various non-profit organizations and consultancy. He has accumulated knowledge and expertise in numerous areas of economic development endeavor. As a community visionary and innovator, he has created and led numerous successful economic and community development initiatives including organizational leadership and the merger of a chamber of commerce and economic development corporation, development of professional sports venues, technology commercialization strategies, workforce, career and entrepreneurial development programs, international business development, community branding and many others. Mr. Auterson has held positions in McKinney, TX, York County, PA, Indianapolis, IN, Champaign-Urbana, IL, Warrick County, IN, Rockingham County, NC, Long Beach, CA and Terre Haute, IN. He is a Certified Economic Developer and Economic Development Finance Professional with a BS degree in Urban Regional Studies and a specialization in economic development. He is a past board member of AEDC, a current board member of IEDC and past chair of the EDRP.

Teresa Metcalf Beasley
Calfee, Halter & Griswold LLP
Cleveland, OH

TERESA’S practice focuses on public finance, real estate development and financing, new markets tax credits, economic development incentives and tax increment financing. She also counsels clients regarding government relations and legislation and public private partnerships.

Teresa is experienced in bond transactions and has served as bond, underwriter’s, borrower’s as well as placement agent counsel, joint economic development zones and joint economic development districts, project labor agreements and diversity plans. She has represented private entities and local and county governmental agencies, including municipalities, port authorities, healthcare entities and library systems on business, real estate matters, construction and government relations.

In 2015, Teresa has been a speaker at many events including Crain’s Women of Note Summit and Awards where she was also part of the “Women Ignite” motivational program. She spoke at the Flourish Cleveland Conference for Women in Leadership, the Cleveland Professional 20/30 Club’s “Ladies Who Lead: Professional Women’s Forum,” Ohio Diversity Council 2015 Women in Leadership Symposium and YWCA Circle of Women Committee. She was the keynote speaker at the Case Western Reserve University Black Law Students Association "Black Ties" event in 2014 and also was the featured speaker at a celebration of International Women's Day 2014 at URS Cleveland.

Teresa is a member of In Counsel With Women, the National Association of Bond Lawyers, Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW), Women In Public Finance and the National Bar Association. Teresa has been recognized by a number of regional organizations. She was named a 2016 Honoree in the Eleventh Edition of Who’s Who in Black Cleveland and honored by the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law Chapter of the Black Law Students Association. Teresa was selected as a “Woman of Note” by Crain’s Cleveland Business in 2014, was named a YWCA Woman of Professional Excellence in 2011 and earned the CREW Cleveland Deborah R. Klausner Leadership Award in 2008. In addition, she is a graduate of the 2007 Class of Leadership Cleveland, was in the 2006 class of the YWCA Women’s Leadership Boot Camp and Kaleidoscope Magazine’s 40-40 Club and was also a member of the 2004 Class of Cleveland Bridge Builders.

Teresa is very active in the community. She is a member of the Cleveland Foundation’s board of directors and is a member of the Audit, Finance and Administration Committees and the Grant Making and Community Engagement Committee; serves on the board of trustees and is a member of the governance and executive committees for Laurel School for Girls. She recently completed a six-year term on the board of the Cleveland Botanical Garden and served as the chair of the Committee on Governance for the Cleveland Botanical Garden.

She is active in The Links, Incorporated (Western Reserve Chapter) where she serves as Financial Secretary, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. (Greater Cleveland Alumnae Chapter) and is a former member of Jack and Jill of America Foundation (Cleveland Chapter). Teresa has also been involved with the Sing Out! for Cleveland Rape Crisis Center (CRCC), among other volunteer efforts at the CRCC. She is a member of Bluecoats Inc.

In 2012, Teresa’s work was included in an MIT case study on University Hospitals’ Vision 2010 Program, which included a groundbreaking Project Labor Agreement regarding minority participation in University Hospital’s major construction project, which included the construction of two new hospitals, a $1 billion project. The Project Labor Agreement has become a model for many other such projects in and outside of Ohio. The Cleveland Foundation later commissioned the MIT School of Architecture & Planning to conduct the case study. The presentation is titled “Leveraging the Power of Anchor Institutions to Build Community Wealth: A Community Forum.”

Her experience also includes serving as Director of Law for the City of Cleveland under Mayor Jane Campbell’s administration from 2003 to 2004. Teresa served as a member of Cleveland Mayor Frank G. Jackson’s three-person Special Commission on Missing Persons and Sex Crime Investigations, which developed 26 recommendations that were accepted by the Mayor in 2011.

Teresa was a participant in the 2011 Universal Sisters: Live Younger Longer program and has served on the boards of the Village Capital Corporation, the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association, Black Professionals Association Charitable Foundation, A Cultural Exchange and chaired the African-American Philanthropy Committee of the Cleveland Foundation from 1999 to 2012.

Teresa joined Calfee in 2011. She was named a partner in 2014 and serves as Chair of the firm’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee and is a member of the firm’s Marketing and Client Services Committee.

Kate Becker
Office of Film + Muisc
Seattle, WA

Kate Becker is still amazed that she gets to spend her days working to grow the creative economy in Seattle, extraordinary City of Music. Prior to working with the city, Becker served in leadership roles at Seattle Theatre Group, Art Share LA in Los Angeles, and the New Art Center in Newton, MA. She co-founded Seattle's Vera Project, and the Old Fire House in Redmond, WA, legendary all ages venues and creative commons that have helped build Seattle's music and creative industries talent pipeline. Becker has produced more than 1,000 all ages shows, mostly in the Seattle area.

Scott Bernstein
President and Co-Founder
Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT)
Chicago, IL

Scott leads CNT’s work to understand and better disclose the economic value of resource use in urban communities, and helps craft strategies to capture the value of this efficiency productively and locally.

He studied at Northwestern University, served on the research staff of Northwestern’s Center for Urban Affairs, taught at UCLA and was a founding Board member at the Brookings Institution Metropolitan Center.

President Clinton appointed Scott to the President’s Council for Sustainable Development, where he co-chaired its task forces on Metropolitan Sustainable Communities and on Cross-Cutting Climate Strategies and contributed to other federal advisory panels on global warming, development strategy, and science policy. He helped write a climate change strategy for the 1st 100 days of the new Administration (link is external). Scott is a Fellow of the Center for State Innovation; a Board Member of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (link is external)and Congress for the New Urbanism; (link is external) works with governors, mayors and metropolitan organizations across the US; and helped create the Chicago Climate Action Plan at the request of Mayor Richard M. Daley. Scott also offered strategies for incorporating location efficiency into Memphis Mayor A C Wharton’s visionary plan to reduce the city’s poverty rate by 10% in 10 years. CNT is a signer of the Charter of the New Urbanism (link is external) and Scott is a member of the Urban History Association, which includes urbanists old and new.

Some key ideas in Scott’s work are that successful urban and metropolitan economies are “high-road,” that is, they provide higher wage, lower waste and most inclusive economic pathways; that they work best if founded on economies of scope or network economies as opposed to simple economies of scale, and that communities contain assets that too often are hidden, disconnected or poorly deployed; all of which are changeable conditions. A beneficial result of these ideas is a blurring of the lines between “consumers” and “producers” of public goods.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tom Blanchard has served on the following boards;

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

Tom has received the following awards;

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

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

Caroline Blaser
Deputy Director, Export and Investment Promotion Switzerland
Swiss Business Hub USA
New York, NY

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

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

Hazel Borys, MBA, BSEE
PlaceMakers, LLC
Winnipeg, Manitoba CA

Hazel Borys is Managing Principal and President of PlaceMakers, an urban design, coding, and place-based marketing firm working throughout the US and Canada. She guides governments through land use law reforms — allowing walkable, mixed-use, compact, resilient places to develop by-right — and helps developers get things built under the increasingly prevalent form-based codes of the new economy. Hazel is an electrical engineer with an MBA. She is the organizer of the Placemaking@Work webinar education series and the SmartCode Workshop, board member of the Transect Codes Council, coauthor of the Codes Study, and blogger on

Greg Borduas Ec.D. (F)
EDAC President
Economic Developers Assoc. of Canada

G. J. (Greg) Borduas, B.A., Ec.D. (F), CMO Greg has a B.A., Political Science, University of Western Ontario and completed his economic development professional designation (Ec.D.), Certificate, Diploma and Fellowship at the University of Waterloo. Greg completed his Certified Municipal Officer (CMO) designation with the Association of Municipal Managers, Clerks and Treasurers of Ontario. Greg has served in senior positions in economic development at the municipal and provincial government levels as well as in the private sector for the past 25 years. Greg is a Past President (1997) of the Economic Development Council of Ontario (EDCO) and currently serves as a President of the Economic Developers Association of Canada (EDAC).

Tracey Hyatt Bosman, CEcD
Managing Director
Biggins Lacy Shapiro & Co.
Chicago, IL

Tracey Hyatt Bosman, Managing Director, Biggins Lacy Shapiro & Co. (BLS & Co.), is based in Chicago, Illinois (USA). Tracey has twenty years of professional experience across a wide range of sectors, including manufacturing, headquarters, back office and contact center operations, logistics, and data centers. Recent clients include Bristol-Myers Squibb, SKF USA, Eby-Brown, InsideTrack, Lochner, CPG International, Colgate-Palmolive, and data center site certification for American Electric Power and Florida Power & Light.

Prior to joining BLS & Co., Tracey served as director of strategic consulting with Grubb & Ellis, where she also was co-leader of its national Clean Energy Practice Group and a member of the national Data Center Practice Group. Tracey is an experienced economic developer, having worked as vice president of policy and operations for the Chicago-area Lake County Partners, senior manager of prospect activities for the South Carolina Department of Commerce (SCDOC), and manager, international trade development for the Americas at SCDOC.

Tracey is an active speaker and writer. Recent speaking engagements include the Invest Québec Annual Meeting (Montreal, Canada), Uptime Institute (Santa Clara, CA) Site Selectors Guild Forum (New Orleans, LA), and the American Chamber of Commerce Executives convention (Louisville, KY).

She has authored articles on a variety of topics, including “Corporate Service Jobs: Coming or Going?” (April 2015, Foreign Direct Investment (fDi) Magazine), “How Data Centers Benefit Communities” (November 2013, 7x24 Exchange Magazine), “The Importance (or Non-Importance?) of Right-to-Work in Location Decisions” (June 2012, Industry Week) and “Retooling the Midwest’s Business Climate” (October 2013, Trust Belt, a publication of Site Selection Magazine).

Tracey earned her Masters in International Business Studies, as well as her B.A. from the University of South Carolina.

Biggins Lacy Shapiro & Company (BLS & Co.) is one of the largest specialty site selection and incentives advisory firms in North America, providing professional expertise and creativity in the field of Location Economics. The firm is headquartered in Princeton, NJ, with offices in New York City, Chicago, and Cleveland. BLS & Co. additionally has long-standing collaborative international partnerships through which it delivers global services for its clients in Europe, Asia, and Latin America.

Alastair Boyd
B&L Associates
Marseille, France

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

Dyan Lingle Brasington, CEcD, FM, HLM
Executive Vice President, Economic Development
The Beacon Council
Miami, FL

Dyan Brasington brings over 30 years of experience in economic development, entrepreneurship, public policy advocacy and leadership to her role as the Beacon Council’s Executive Vice President for Economic Development. As such, she is leading the team of economic development professionals whose mission is to increase jobs and investment in Miami-Dade County. Brasington has been dedicated to three goals throughout her career: enhancing the economic prosperity of the regions and communities she serves; advocating for inclusion and opportunity; and team building through leading by example with integrity. At the Beacon Council, she is able to cohesively blend these values with the organization’s mission and goals.

With many years of experience in economic development, Brasington brings a broad array of knowledge and skill to the organization. Prior to joining the Beacon Council, Brasington was Vice President of Innovation and Applied Research at Towson University in Maryland where she was responsible for economic development applied research programs, workforce development, community partnerships, and she began many new programs to include the development of the TU incubator, business plan competitions, the Student Launch Pad, and the Professional Leadership Program for Women.

Brasington is also a leader in tech-led economic development having been the President of the Technology Council of Maryland, an organization focused on the integration, expansion, and advancement of technology companies in Maryland. She also served as Director of Economic Development for the State of West Virginia; Howard County, Maryland; Montgomery County, Maryland; and Prince William County, Virginia.

Brasington has dedicated her service to several organizations as a board member. She has served on the Board for the Baltimore Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, The International Economic Development Council (IEDC), the Maryland Economic Development Association (MEDA), Leadership Maryland, and several charitable organizations. She has had many honors to include induction into the Maryland Economic Development Association’s Hall of Fame, named as one of Maryland’s top 100 Women on three occasions and one of Washington DC’s most influential Women. She is a fellow member and Honorary Life Member of the International Economic Development Council (IEDC).

Brasington is a native Floridian and earned her bachelor’s degree in marketing and master’s degree in speech communication from Florida State University. She earned a second master’s degree in urban public policy from UMBC. She is a Certified Economic and Community Developer (CEcD), the professional designation in economic development.

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

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

Marva Bryan
Accounting Manager/Tax Incentive Analyst
Development Authority of Fulton County
Atlanta, GA

Marva has worked in finance and accounting in various capacities since 1971. She has been involved in small business and entrepreneurial development in Fulton County since 1994. Marva has an undergraduate degree in Accounting, is a Certified Economic Development Finance Professionals (EDFP), and a Certified Economic Developer (CEcD).

As Manager of Finance in the Economic Development Department of Fulton County, Marva administered Fulton County’s direct loan programs, and gave ongoing support for the SBA 504 loan program offering Fulton’s small businesses affordable, long-term financing for real estate, Machinery and equipment purchases. She has facilitated economic & community development projects bringing more than $1.5 billion in capital investments to Fulton County, Georgia.

Currently Marva works as Chief Finance Officer and Business Development Officer with the Development Authority of Fulton County. In this capacity she manages the Authority’s finances and investments, and assists companies seeking to either relocate or expand businesses in Fulton with a range of economic development Incentives and services.

Marva has been the driver behind the Authority’s application for its own Allocation of New Markets Tax Credits (NMTC) for Fulton communities from the US Department of Treasury. NMTC is a federal program that encourages new capital investment in low to moderate income, distressed and otherwise underserved communities across the Unites States.

Marva holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Accounting and has accumulated credits towards her Master of Business Administration in Finance. She is a lifelong learner and has earned the coveted EDFP certification in Economic Development Finance as well as the prestigious CEcD certification through the International Economic Development Council. She is an active member of the Georgia Economic Developers Association; International Economic Development Council; Council for Development Finance Agencies.

She also serves board chair and treasurer of Tapestry Youth Ministries (Home for teen moms and their recently born babies) and as treasurer for PRISM (Pride Rings in Stone Mountain- community information and advocacy organization), and actively mentors students from resettled groups in Stone Mountain/Clarkston, GA.

Ronnie L. Bryant, CEcD, FM, HLM
President & CEO
Charlotte Regional Partnership
Charlotte, NC

As president and CEO of the Charlotte Regional Partnership, Ronnie Bryant leads the economic development organization that promotes the 16-county Charlotte USA region as a premier location for businesses considering expansion or relocation. With more than 30 years of technical, managerial and economic development expertise, Bryant is nationally known for his proven track record of establishing and implementing successful economic development programs, with a strong emphasis on existing industry expansion and retention, regionalism and marketing.

Bryant, a certified economic developer (CEcD) since 1991, is a graduate of Louisiana State University in Shreveport and the Economic Development Institute at the University of Oklahoma (OU/EDI) in Norman. While attending OU/EDI, he received the American Economic Development Council’s Robert B. Cassell Leadership Award. He currently serves as the immediate past dean of OU/EDI, a member of the Executive Board and a member of the OU/EDI faculty.

He and his wife, Sandra, have three children – Rarland, Remeka and Ronda.

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

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

Christine Bustamante, EDFP
Columbus, OH

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

Efrem Bycer
Director of Economic Development
Code for America

Efrem leads Code for America's efforts to help governments better leverage open data and civic technology to support their economic development efforts. Prior to joining CfA in May 2015, Efrem was a manager of economic development at the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation where he led EDC's work on public policy, global strategic initiatives, and select industries, including life sciences, clean technology, and craft beer. He has also served as a Performance Auditor for the City of San Diego and as a board member of multiple organizations supporting leadership development, education, and community engagement. In his spare time, Efrem is an avid runner, snowboarder, and homebrewer. Efrem has a Bachelors of Science in Urban and Regional Studies from Cornell University and a Masters in Public Administration from the Maxwell School of Syracuse University.

Kurt Chilcott, CEcD, FM, HLM
President & CEO
CDC Small Business Finance Corporation
San Diego, CA

Kurt Chilcott is a nationally recognized leader in economic and community development and small business finance. For over 25 years, he has developed and led innovative and successful organizations and programs in the public and not-for-profit sectors. Under Chilcott’s leadership, the San Diego-headquartered CDC Small Business Finance has experienced tremendous growth, establishing offices throughout California, Arizona and Nevada and maintaining its rank as the top-volume CDC in the nation. Chilcott has a long history of leadership in the economic development field. He currently serves on the board of the National Association of Government Guaranteed Lenders and Bank of America’s National Community Advisory Council. He is president of California Southern Small Business Development Corporation, a state-funded loan-guarantee program designed to help secure financing for small businesses and create jobs. In addition, he is a director for Neighborhood Bancorp, the holding company of Neighborhood National Bank, which provides capital to underserved communities. Chilcott was the first co-chair of the International Economic Development Council and in 2013 received IEDC’s prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in Economic Development. Chilcott was the last chair of the Council for Urban Economic Development (CUED), chair of the National Association of Development Companies (NADCO) and president of the California Association for Local Economic Development (CALED). He also has served on the boards of numerous local and state non-profit organizations.

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

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

Chris Chmura, PhD
President & Chief Economist
Chmura Economics & Analytics
Richmond, VA

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.

Christopher M. Chung
Chief Executive Officer
Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina
Cary, NC

In 2015, Christopher Chung joined the new Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina (EDPNC) as Chief Executive Officer. As a public-private partnership, the EDPNC is responsible for a number of economic development functions on behalf of the State of North Carolina, including new business recruitment, existing business support, international trade and export assistance, small business start-up counseling, and tourism, sports, and film promotion. With a staff of more than 60 professionals and an annual operating budget of $19 million, the EDPNC is focused on advancing the economic interests of North Carolina’s 100 counties and 10 million residents.

From 2007 to 2014, Chris served the Missouri Partnership as the public-private, non-profit corporation’s first Chief Executive Officer. In addition to leading the organization through its initial start-up phase, Chris directed the Partnership’s efforts to market Missouri for new business investment and recruit new corporate operations. During his tenure, the Missouri Partnership helped to recruit major facility investments by IBM, CertainTeed, Yanfeng Automotive Systems, Blue Buffalo Pet Foods, KWS Saat AG, and Aviation Technical Services.

Chris also previously served as Manager of the State of Ohio’s Office of Business Development, managing an $80 million annual incentives budget and leading Ohio’s front-line sales force dedicated to attracting new business investment and job creation to the state. Prior to that, Chris held various positions in corporate site selection and special projects management, assisting companies considering Ohio for new facilities.

Chris was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio. He attended The Ohio State University (OSU), graduating Phi Beta Kappa with a double-major in Japanese and economics, and has completed significant coursework towards a Master of Arts in Public Policy and Management from the OSU John Glenn School of Public Affairs.

Chris and his fiancée Emily currently reside in Raleigh, North Carolina.

David Civittolo
Associate Professor and Field Specialist
Community Economics Ohio State University
Wooster, OH

David Civittolo is an Associate Professor and Field Specialist focusing on Community Economics. Currently he is housed on the OARDC Campus in Wooster but is responsible for conducting economic development programs throughout Ohio. His primary research interests include strategic planning for economic development organizations and conducting business retention and expansion surveys for Ohio communities. His research also addresses economic development tools that can be utilized by cities, villages, and townships that can strengthen the financial impact of economic development projects. Civittolo has been with Ohio State University Extension since 2000 and has served as a county educator and county director prior to his current position. Before his work with Extension, Civittolo was employed as a village manager for numerous communities in Ohio. Civittolo's educational background includes a Master of Public Administration and Bachelor of Science degree from Bowling Green State University.

Kristi Clouse
Executive Director of Operations
Columbus, OH

Kristi Clouse serves as the Executive Director of Operations for JobsOhio, where she oversees coordination of JobsOhio’s identification of Ohio company job-­--creation opportunities, project management and incentive programs ensuring companies a streamlined experience. Prior to this role, she served as Director of Project Management.

Before joining JobsOhio, Kristi held various positions throughout her career in economic development, including Assistant Director for the Ohio Department of Development’s Strategic Business Investment Division. She also spent over eight years at the ground level of economic development working for the Allen Economic Development Group in Allen County Ohio, where she moved up from Development Coordinator, Director of Marketing & Research to Vice President.

Kristi’s accolades include the Lima Young Professional’s “2007 Emerging Young Professional of the Year” award and the 2008 West Central Ohio Business Journal’s “20 Under 40" business award. She has also served on numerous community and leadership boards.

Kristi is a graduate from The University of Oklahoma’s Economic Development Institute, Ohio’s Basic Economic Development Course and earned her BA in Communications/Business from Bluffton University.

Jeffrey Cohen
DHR International
3 Gateway Cente
Pittsburgh, PA

Jeff Cohen, Award Winning Author, Jeff has spoken, lectured and participated in CEO panels at the World Economic Forum, the CEO Leadership Institute, Oxford University, Stanford and Columbia. Jeff has written numerous Harvard Business Review features on leadership and co-authored an award-winning book on leadership “Why are We Bad at Picking Good Leaders: A Better Way to Evaluate Leadership Potential.” The Wall Street Journal frequently interviews and quotes Jeff as a world-leading expert in the field of leadership, governance and board dynamics.

Erin Cole
Senior Vice President
Empire State Development
Niagara Falls, NY

Erin M. Cole is Senior Vice President for Global NY at Empire State Development. She manages New York’s foreign offices and Global NY staff. The Global NY mission is to increase state exports and attract more foreign direct investment (FDI). Previously, she worked for the U.S. federal government for 19 years, including postings in Washington, DC, Russia and Central Asia. Ms. Cole began her career as a soldier in the U.S. Army working in Military Intelligence; she is a decorated Gulf War veteran (Operations Desert Shield and Storm). She holds a Master’s in Public Administration from Syracuse University and a BA in International Relations from the University at Buffalo. Ms. Cole has traveled extensively, living in eight different countries and visiting 36 others. Her main interest is fostering stronger international economic and human ties.

Maureen Collins, CDM
Entrepreneurial Communities Project
Cedar Falls, IA

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gary N. Conley
Cincinnati, OH

Gary N. Conley, President of TechSolve in Cincinnati, has been a champion for Ohio manufacturing for almost 20 years. His efforts have brought the latest technologies and “future-focused” manufacturing process to “metal bending” manufacturers struggling to be competitive in a global marketplace. Through Gary’s leadership and vision, TechSolve continues to be a national leader in both advanced machining technology and continuous improvement techniques. He has partnered with academic, government and industrial giants investing in research to develop intelligent machine monitoring systems, research to find new methods for materials machining and research to improve common manufacturing processes. Gary and his team have had great success in optimizing manufacturing through innovative adjustment of human, technical and capital resources. Today, TechSolve is recognized as a leader among organizations devoted to improving manufacturing operations, well respected for on-going contributions made under Gary’s leadership.

Additionally, Gary has provided leadership for the implementation of hundreds of public/private development projects representing billions of dollars of investment. He has received awards for his contributions to the field of economic development from the President of the United States, the governors of Ohio and California, and numerous national development organizations.

Karen Conrad
Grants Administrator
Ohio Development Services Agency

Karen Conrad serves as Special Liaison to JobsOhio. Additionally she works as a grants administrator in the Director’s office of Ohio Development Services Agency.

Prior duties within DSA have been Manager, Small and Developing Business Programs and Director, Office of Research and Strategic Planning.

Earlier in her career Ms. Conrad directed one of the original government business assistance programs in the nation. This program provided assistance and training to local Cleveland, Ohio based businesses in obtaining government contracts by matching procurement needs with production ability and industry.

Stephanie Cook
Program Manager- Tech Based Econ Dev
Idaho National Laboratory
Idaho Falls, ID

In Oct. 2011, Stephanie Cook joined Idaho National Laboratory (INL) to manage the laboratory's Technology Based Economic Development and Technical Assistance Programs which develops partnerships with local, regional, state and national groups to establish a favorable climate to stimulate economic developments within the technology business sector. In her role she also is responsible for lab start-ups based upon INL created intellectual property. Stephanie has national business background in healthcare, industrial supply and technology manufacturing, working with federal agencies in the U.S.. She was instrumental in a $20M healthcare company start-up in the reusable surgical gowns and instrumentation business. Her enterprise building experiences have supported companies ranging from $10 million to those with more than $8 billion in sales within the private, public and government sectors. She serves on the board of directors for seven economic development organizations throughout the state and participates in two national economic development organizations representing INL. She graduated with honors from Michigan State University earning a BA in business as an accounting major.

Emerick Corsi
Cleveland, OH

Emerick joined Fairmount after 38 years at Forest City Enterprises, where he started out in Commercial Leasing and advanced through a series of positions, increasing responsibility and leadership roles.  He has been responsible for over 17 million square feet of shopping center development including Victoria Gardens (Rancho Cucamonga, California), Short Pump Town Center (Richmond, Virginia), and Tower City Center (Cleveland, Ohio).  In addition, he has been involved with many of Forest City's New York properties as well as Central Station in downtown Chicago.  His Real Estate Services Group has consulted for many large scale projects, most notably the Georgia Department of Transportation’s Multi-Modal Passenger Terminal in downtown Atlanta, Georgia, the Orlando International Airport expansion and Oakland California’s Coliseum site to keep the Raider’s and Oakland A’s in Oakland.  Emerick has overseen more than $2.5 billion worth of real estate developments.  He has also lectured at Cornell, Wharton and University of Southern California on mixed use developments.  Mr. Corsi holds a B.S. from Bowling Green State University and a Master in Management from Central Michigan University.

David Corrado
Medina County Fiber Network
Medina, OH

Currently serving as the CEO of a publicly-owned fiber network in Medina County, Ohio, David Corrado’s background in operations, network operating systems, project design and management, and systems integration provides a strong base for his technology management expertise. As an IBM consultant, Mr. Corrado architected business process methodologies and taught project management to Fortune 100 companies. Over the past 30 years, Mr. Corrado has guided professional service practices to profitability, built consulting practices in companies that were historically hardware distributors and designed automated workflow management systems that were recognized worldwide as a best practice tool. Most recently, Mr. Corrado focuses on program management for projects exceeding $10M. He has been instrumental in establishing the first telemedicine broadband network within Ohio and his program methodology for this project was recognized nationally by USAC, the administrative arm of the FCC. Mr. Corrado holds an Executive Master of Business Administration from Baldwin-Wallace College in addition to earning a Bachelor of Arts in chemistry from Baldwin-Wallace College and a Bachelor of Science in chemical engineering from Cornell University. Mr. Corrado is a graduate of IBM Sales School and is an IBM Certified Consultant.

JoAnn Crary, CEcD, FM, HLM
Saginaw Future, Inc.
IEDC Immediate Past Chair
Saginaw, MI

JoAnn Crary is the President of Saginaw Future, a non-profit economic development organization. She has held that position since 1993 and has been in economic development since the mid 1980’s. Crary completed her undergraduate degree from Ferris State University and has a Masters degree from Central Michigan University. She is a Certified Economic Developer (CEcD), a graduate of the University of Oklahoma’s Economic Development Institute and is a certified Economic Development Finance Professional.

Crary is a member of the MEDC Collaborative Development Council, an advisory group representation the 10 economic development regions in Michigan. She served as the Chair of the International Economic Development Council’s Board of Directors in 2015, is a member of the Governance Committee and the Economic Development Research Partners. Crary also Chaired the Ethics Committee in 2014 and served as board liaison for the Young Professionals Task Force. IEDC is the foremost international economic development organization with over 4500 members. She has served on the IEDC Board since 2006.

Crary is serves as Secretary/Treasurer of the Great Lakes Bay Regional Development Corporation, the Saginaw County Revolving Loan Fund Board, Saginaw Brownfield Redevelopment Authority, FirstMerit Bank Market Area Board and the Saginaw Hospital Finance Authority. Crary also serves on the Board of Fellows at Saginaw Valley State University, Mobile Medical Response Finance Committee and is an ex officio member of the Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. JoAnn also serves on Dow Chemical Company’s Great Lakes Bay Region Community Advisory Panel.

Crary was recently awarded the Saginaw Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Saginaw Marsh-Princing Award for 2014. She was also recognized in 2013 as one of the Great Women of the Great Lakes Bay and was given the Wally Bronner Community Spirit Award from the Saginaw County Chapter of American Red Cross in 2010. She was also honored with the inaugural Economic Leadership Award from Junior Achievement of Northeast Michigan in 2010. The Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce gave Crary its inaugural Athena Award in 2005 and in 2001, the Michigan Economic Developers Association named Crary as the MEDA Medalist Award winner. In 1996, she was honored by Governor Engler as the Economic Developer of the Year for outstanding contributions in economic development.

JoAnn and her two children, KaLynn and Michael reside in Frankenmuth.

Calandra Cruickshank
StateBook International
Kingston, NY

Calandra Cruickshank is founder and CEO of StateBook International. StateBook provides data and marketing solutions to economic development organizations and to site selectors and companies expanding and relocating from around the world. Over 63,000 comparable data points for location decision-making are aggregated on for every community in the U.S. from 50+ best-in-class sources, including information on workforce availability, taxes, utility rates, supply chain, wages, infrastructure, quality of life and available incentives. Users may efficiently create customized, sourced reports using StateBook's GIS mapping and comparison platforms. StateBook connects companies directly with site selection consultants and communities of interest so they can compare communities, find sites and buildings that meet their needs, negotiate incentives, and more. StateBook also enables economic development organizations to add their own editorial information to promote the competitive advantages unique to their region. Calandra is a frequent speaker and expert panelist for conferences related to foreign direct investment, economic development and technology. She previously co-founded and Good Deed Foundation. Calandra graduated with a BS in journalism from the University of Colorado at Boulder. She now splits her time between NYC and the Catskill Mountains in NY.

Michael Darger, EDFP
Community Economics Specialist
University of Minnesota Extension
St. Paul, MN

Michael Darger, community economics specialist, has served as director of the University of Minnesota Extension’s Business Retention and Expansion Strategies Program since 1999. He served as Community Economics Program Leader for U.M. Extension, 2003-2010. Previously he served in economic development positions in the Phillips Community Development Corporation in Minneapolis, University UNITED along University Avenue in St. Paul and in Sherburne County, Minnesota. Michael has helped lead business outreach programs in many places including award-winning programs in Minnesota and Saskatchewan. He teaches an online course on Business Retention and Expansion that is designed for economic development professionals and their key allies. He is leading the development of a special BR&E issue of Community Development, the Journal of the Community Development Society. It will be the first ever academic journal devoted exclusively to the role that business retention and expansion plays in the field of economic development. The special issue will be published in 2017. Michael served as president of the National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals (NACDEP) and on the board of Business Retention and Expansion International (BREI). He holds an MBA from the University of Michigan.

Greg Davis
Assistant Director
Ohio State University Extension
Columbus, OH

Greg provides leadership, guidance, and vision to approximately 20 full time CD professionals engaged in applied research and educational efforts with communities and organizations throughout the state of Ohio. These efforts are designed to yield skilled and engaged leaders, sustainable and livable communities, greater vitality and more defined sense of purpose. Prior to this position, he served as Leader, Community Economics and Business, a collaboration between Extension and The Ohio State University’s Department of Agriculture, Environmental, and Development Economics.

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

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.

Todd Dickerson
Site Selection Consultant
Webster Global
Toledo, OH

Todd recently joined Webster Global to provide the firm a “boots on the ground” asset in the Midwest. Originally from SE Michigan, Todd attended the University of Toledo and has spent his career with organizations based in NW Ohio. He is passionate about providing expertise to communities and private sector companies for the purpose of creating jobs and being a catalyst for capital investment in the Midwest.

Todd joins Webster Global with 23 years of diverse business development, sales management and project management experience serving industries in Talent Acquisition, Civil/Environmental Engineering and Economic Development.

Todd worked for the Regional Growth Partnership for 4 ½ years as the Vice President of Business Attraction. His primarily role was proactively developing a national network of relationships with notable site selection consultants. He was also responsible for responding to inquiries made by consultants and end users looking to make land or building investment in the region and developing a sales plan for target industry clusters.

In addition to the RGP, he spent 5 years as the Business Development Manager for The Mannik & Smith Group, a regional Civil/Environmental consulting firm. He was responsible for identifying project opportunities and assisting clients with a wide range of technical services that included environmental site assessments, surveying, site development and infrastructure engineering. Todd has developed a key sense of how to pull together a development project and avoid costly pit falls.

Todd is focusing nationally on Webster Golbal's Certified Site Program, with new concepts that will enhance your marketing efforts of potential sites. Todd’s diverse and unique experience make him an excellent choice for the critical phases of this project that include project management of the certification process, but more importantly leveraging his experience in developing a sales plan and proactively marketing your sites to a national network of existing contacts.

Patrick Dine
PSD Global Inc.
Fairfax, VA

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

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

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

David Dixon, FAIA
Senior Principal
Stantec’s Urban Places Group Leader
Boston, MA

David leads Stantec’s Urban Places Group, an interdisciplinary practice committed to helping communities manage challenging demographic, economic, and social changes for public benefit. Working for a mix of public and private clients he is currently planning to transform greyfield sites in suburbs and cities alike—ranging from stagnant suburban shopping centers to outmoded industrial corridors and the bypassed fringes of long-dormant downtowns. This work represents more than six billion dollars of investment in higher density, mixed-use, walkable “urban” districts. In turn, these districts also represent new hearts for increasingly diverse suburban communities, live/work/play/learn neighborhoods that reenergize urban cores, and engines for growing regional knowledge economies, Conscious of the ability of “transformative” redevelopment to aggravate economic fragmentation and displacement, David’s plans include more than 5,000 units of mixed-income housing. He notes that because these projects generate significant economic value, they offer unique opportunities to invest in equity as well as public realm and bricks and mortar.

David speaks and writes on how these and similar opportunities point the way toward a new generation of urbanism focused around creating more livable, equitable, and resilient communities. He is especially known for initiating a national dialogue—through lectures, commentary, and the organization of two national conferences—on the essential role of density in revitalizing cities and suburbs. He chaired the American Institute of Architects’ (AIA) Regional and Urban Design Committee and the AIA’s National Sustainability Task Force. He recently participated for three years on the Urban Land Institute’s (ULI) Global Excellence and Public Realm Awards jury. Immediately following Hurricane Katrina, David helped lead the AIA’s early outreach to New Orleans. Subsequently he spent five years participating in recovery planning and leading the city’s post Katrina Master Plan process.

A recipient of more than two-dozen awards from the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the American Planning Association (APA), The Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU), International Downtown Association (IDA), and similar national organizations, in 2007 David received the AIA’s highest honor for achievement in the public sphere, the Thomas Jefferson Award for Public Architecture. for “a lifetime of … significant achievement in [creating]… livable neighborhoods, vibrant civic spaces, and vital downtowns ...” Residential Architecture Magazine named David as the recipient of its 2012 Hall of Fame Award “as the person we call when we have a question about cities. He is co-author of Urban Design for an Urban Century: shaping more livable, equitable and resilient cities (Wiley, 2014). David is currently co-editing a book for the American Planning Association’s Planners Press focused on “how becoming more like cities can save suburbia”.

Eric Doden
Greater Fort Wayne Inc.
Fort Wayne, IN

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

Dennis Donovan
Principal and Owner
Bridgewater, NJ

Dennis Donovan is a principal with WDG Consulting. The firm specializes in corporate site selection. Dennis has been in the field for 39 years. He is a member of CoreNet Global and the Site Selectors Guild.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tim Eckerle
Executive Director
Grant County Economic Growth Council
Marion, IN

Since 1984, Tim has been the Executive Director of the Grant County Economic Growth Council, Marion, Indiana. As the Growth Council’s initial director, Tim has been responsible for developing the organizations mission and overseeing its development. During his tenure, the Growth Council has participated in attracting 20 diverse new manufacturers such as automotive wheels, plastic lids manufacturers, and an ethanol plant as well as participated in over 2 billion dollars’ worth of modernization and expansion projects. 2012 saw the Growth Council bring Café Valley’s 283,000 square foot bakery to the community. Café Valley produces muffins and cakes for such leading retailers as Burger King, KFC and others. During his tenure the Growth Council launched several entrepreneurial development projects including the I69 Collegiate Innovation Challenge, Taylor Business Plan Competition, the high school base Young Entrepreneurs Program and the Spirit of Entrepreneurship award.

These projects and many others have garnered national recognition by the National League of Cities, National Association of Counties, Site Selection Magazine and Mid America Economic Development Council. Marion was named as one of the Top 100 Small Cities for Economic Development from 1989 to 1999 by CoreNet and as a Top Economic Development Group in 2005 by Site Selection Magazine,

Prior to joining the Growth Council, Tim was Director of Planning and Development of Harvey, Illinois; Assistant Director of City of South Bend, Indiana; Redevelopment Commission and a Planner with the Area Plan Commission of St. Joseph County, Indiana, and the City of Elkhart.

Tim is a Past President of the Indiana Economic Development Association, Northeast Midwest Leadership Council and was named as one of the Top Ten Young Economic Developers in the USA by the Industrial Development Council, as well as several inclusions in Who’s Who in Real Estate Development. In 2008 Tim received an Honorary Secretary of Commerce award from the Indiana Economic Development Corporation. Governor Mitch Daniels bestowed a Distinguished Hoosier Award in 2009. Tim has been a speaker at the Center for Automotive Research’s prestigious Management Briefing Seminar, as well as for the National Council for Urban Economic Advance Training Seminars, National Association of Counties, Indiana Association of Cities and Towns, Indiana Association of Counties, and other regional organizations.

Tim is a graduate of Indiana University.

John Elink-Schuurman
Program Manager, Virginia Leaders in Export Trade
Virginia Economic Development Partnership
Tysons Corner, VA

John Elink-Schuurman manages the Virginia Economic Development’s marquee international trade accelerator program, the Virginia Leaders in Export Trade (VALET) Program. John assists Virginia exporters to shape and execute measurable international business plans, across industries and markets. The VEDP’s International Trade program offers a range of customized trade promotion services designed to help Virginia companies identify new markets, develop market entry strategies, and expand their global footprint. Prior to joining the International Trade team, John worked on the VEDP’s FDI team, recruiting European companies to invest in Virginia. Before joining the VEDP, John was Principal with PSD Global, an economic development consulting firm, and his public and private sector experience includes serving as Deputy Director for External Relations at the Center for Strategic International Studies (CSIS) and business development positions in the renewable energy and mobile telecom sectors. John has worked with public sector clients such as IE Singapore, Embassy of Brazil, Japanese Trade Office, Invest in Columbia and the Mexican Ministry of Economy. John was born in The Netherlands, and educated in the United States. He holds a Masters in International Commerce and Policy from George Mason University, and has completed post-graduate work in International Marketing Management from Georgetown University.

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

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

James Evans
Program Manager

After spending more than a decade in the private sector designing business strategies for private contractors in tightly regulated markets, James joined the WA Department of Commerce as the Program Manager for Washington's Defense Industry grant. James oversees the $5.8M two-year program aimed at understanding the WA defense contractor supply chain and testing best practices for working with contractors to improve, diversify, or transfer their business offerings in the face of reduced federal expenditures. He manages the major deliverables in Washington's attempt to better forecast economic impacts, use technology transfer and commercialization tools, and pivot to future strengths of the Washington market.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chris Gibbs
Assistant Professor, Ted Rogers School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, Ted Rogers School of Management
Ryerson University
Toronto, Canada

Dallas Gislason
Economic Development Officer
South Island Prosperity Project
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

Dallas Gislason took the reins of the Greater Victoria Development Agency (in British Columbia’s Capital City) in 2012 after ten years working in economic development in various parts of Canada. In 2014 Dallas and his team launched an aggressive International Trade program designed to put the province’s second-largest metropolitan region back on the international map. This momentum—along with a deliberate and intensive process—led to the formation of a new regional, inter-jurisdictional, multi-stakeholder economic development organization launched in 2016 called the “South Island Prosperity Project”. In the past, Dallas has served on boards & committees of Business Retention and Expansion International, the International Council on National Youth Policy, Junior Achievement, and has formed and led several community development non-profit organizations and award-winning projects. Dallas leads “Green Jobs in the City” – a media property with a goal of building a global network of leaders focused on “green-collar” job creation in cities.

Daniel L. Glasson
Community Investment Program Director, Office of Economic Adjustment
U.S. Department of Defense
Arlington, VA

Daniel Glasson is the Community Investment Program Director for the Department of Defense’s (DOD) Office of Economic Adjustment (OEA). Dan directs a $1.3+ billion portfolio of community facility projects in support of defense priorities and actions specifically authorized and appropriated by Congress. Dan is also a Project Manager for projects under OEA’s Defense Industry Adjustment and its Compatible Use program areas. He serves as the U.S. Federal Governmental Point of Contact for the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership for Southern California (AMP SoCal) Manufacturing Community; a DOD representative in the Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership (IMCP); and a Community Solutions Team Member as part of the White House’s Strong Cities, Strong Communities (SC2) program.

Prior to joining OEA in 2006, Dan was a Project Manager for the University of Michigan’s Institute for Research on Labor, Employment and the Economy, where he assisted Michigan communities impacted by auto and other manufacturing plant closures and managed projects in support of economic adjustment strategies. Previously, Dan was a Consultant for Accenture and a Peace Corps Volunteer. He received a Master of Urban Planning degree and a Certificate in Russian and East European Studies from the University of Michigan; a BA in Economics and Environmental Studies from Case Western Reserve University; and was a Fulbright Scholar and Presidential Management Fellow.

Haley Glover
Strategy Director
Lumina Foundation
Indianapolis, IN

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

Todd Greene, CEcD
Vice President, Community & Economic Development Research & Policy
Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta
Governance Member of the IEDC Board of Directors and Chair, Planning and Business Development
Atlanta, GA

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 department. With research, policy, and evidence-based best practices, and a focus on human capital development, small business, housing, and community and economic development finance, the group works to promote community and economic development and sustainable growth for all sectors of the economy.

Before joining the Atlanta Fed in 2008, Greene held leadership roles in the private, government, and education sectors. Most recently, he was a member of the general faculty at the Georgia Institute of Technology, where he served in various capacities, including center director, and oversaw research and programs related to applied economic development such as 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 is a member of the Southern Economic Development Council and the Georgia Economic Developers Association, for which he previously served as chairman. Greene's community engagement includes serving on the Board of Visitors for Georgia Regents University, the board of directors of the Georgia Early Education Alliance for Ready Students (GEEARS) and a founding member of the Lorde-Rustin Giving Circle.

Greene is a graduate of the 2011 class of Leadership Atlanta, 2009 Leadership Georgia, and 2003 Buckhead Business Association Leadership Development 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, a master of arts degree in human resources management from Washington University, and a master's degree in public administration from Georgia State University. He has completed executive education programs at Universidad ESAN (Lima, Peru) and Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Leann Hackman-Carty
Economic Developers Alberta
Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Leader, entrepreneur and connected. Leann’s leadership ability was identified early 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 from Europe. Its focus was Trade and Economic Development, and included meetings with government, unions, community organizations and corporate America.

Leann worked as an Executive Assistant, Community & Economic Development to the Mayor of Calgary for over 10 years; managed several federal and municipal election campaigns; developed and lead key initiatives in the corporate, public and not-for profit sector; provided business development services to the States of Mississippi and Georgia; provided leadership for the Organization of Women in International Trade; hosted numerous high level international trade delegations; initiated greater working relationships with 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. Since 2009, Leann has been the CEO of Economic Developers Alberta (EDA).

EDA’s members are involved in economic development activities including business retention & expansion, business and investment attraction, opportunity identification, tourism, workforce development, business and economic recovery, and industry sector development. The association has an annual conference each spring and provides community economic development training (CEDTP) throughout the year. It offers a Professional Management Certificate through the University of Calgary, and has three of its CEDTP courses online as part of this program.

At the end of 2014, Leann lead an Economic Disaster Recovery Project with 10 Alberta communities and Treaty 7 Community Futures (Siksika/Stoney); in partnership with BCEDA and IEDC, The Government of Alberta, Shell, RBC Foundation, the Canadian Red Cross and the US Consulate in Calgary were partners. As part of this project, Leann spearheaded the production of a community toolkit to help them prepare and respond to future economic disruptions. She is currently working with the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (Fort McMurray) on their business and economic recovery efforts, post wildfire; which includes setting up and running the Wood Buffalo Business Recovery Hotline, and validating businesses for Red Cross emergency relief.

In 2015, under her leadership, EDA launched its first annual "Invest in Alberta" publication to highlight investment opportunities throughout the province, and a Ministry Dinner which has now become an annual event. She also spearheads the annual conference each year which welcomes approximately 450 delegates from Alberta and beyond.

Her desire to make a positive impact, whether small or large, is evident in her personal and professional life.

Susan Helper
Carlton Professor of Economics, Weatherhead School of Management
Case Western Reserve University
Cleveland, OH

Susan Helper is the Carlton Professor of Economics at the Weatherhead School of Management, Case Western Reserve University. She served as the Chief Economist of the U.S. Department of Commerce from 2013-2015, and as Senior Economist at the White House Council of Economic Advisers in 2012-3. 

Dr. Helper has been a visiting scholar at University of Oxford, the University of California (Berkeley), Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).  Her research focuses on the globalization of supply chains, and on how U.S. manufacturing might be revitalized.  Dr. Helper received her PhD in Economics from Harvard and her B.A. from Oberlin College.

Jaime del Castillo Hermosa

Extensive experience working in Innovation and Technological Development, design of policies of promotion of innovation and technology transfer, the establishment of co-operation networks and assessment in the creation, management and animation of technology parks.

Specialised in the definition and setting up strategies of territorial development in regions and areas with development problems.

Wide knowledge of procedures and instruments of European regional development policy in general, and the European structural support in particular.

On several occasions I have worked for the EU, OECD, IDB, WB, ECLAC (UN) and for regional and local governments in Spain, and several countries in Europe and South America

From 2012 included in a list of experts to assist Directorate-General for Regional Policy of European Commission in the appraisal, implementation and monitoring of the Cohesion Policy interventions (OJ 2012/S 55-088796)

From 1997, Process Consultant and Specialist accepted by the European Commission DG XIII. for the Regional Innovation and Technology Transfer Strategies and Infrastructures (RITTS) and Regional Strategies of Innovation (RIS).

From 1995, included by the EC, DG XIII of Telecommunications, Industry of the Information and Innovation, inside the SPRINT program, as consultant approved to work in the Program of Advice to Technology Parks.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Horton Hobbs IV
Vice President of Economic Development
Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce
Springfield, OH

Horton Hobbs has been serving as Vice President of Economic Development for the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce since January 2012. In his position, he works closely with local economic development partners to assist existing businesses, attract new businesses, develop real estate, and aggressively market the community. Since his arrival at the Chamber, he has coordinated efforts that have resulted in approximately 3,900 jobs created, 4,600 retained, nearly 200 Million in new investments, and the development of a $9 Million-200 acre industrial park.

Prior to joining the Chamber, Horton spent six years with the Springfield Foundation, a local community foundation, serving as their Development Officer. His previous work experience included positions as the Executive Director of the Center City Association, Planning Director for the City of New Carlisle and as Regional Planner for the Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission.

He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Geography from Wittenberg University in 1997 and his MA in Geography and Urban and Regional Planning from Miami University in 2002. In May 2013, he was named as one of the Dayton Business Journal’s “Top 40 Under 40.” He is actively involved with a variety of nonprofit organizations including Mid-America Economic Development Council Board of Directors, Rotary Club of Springfield, Ohio, United Way, Mental Health Foundation, and Mental Health Services Board for Clark County and Madison Counties.

John Holden
Lewiston Auburn Economic Growth Council
Lewiston Auburn, ME

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

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

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

John Hubbard, CEcD, EDFP, PCED
Executive Director
Stephenville Economic Development Authority
Stephenville, TX

John Hubbard is the first Executive Director of the Stephenville Economic Development Authority in Stephenville, Texas. John has over 15 years of economic experience in economic development organizations including serving as Director of Economic Development in Balch Springs, Texas. During John’s five-year tenure with the Balch Springs EDC, the organization was involved in the successful completion of over 75 projects that have created over 950 jobs in Balch Springs. Additionally, John is an adjunct professor at the University of North Texas at Dallas and serves as a reflective practitioner at The University of Southern Mississippi.

John is a doctoral candidate in the Human Capital Development Ph.D. Program at The University of Southern Mississippi where he was a Munro Petroleum Scholar. John was recently selected to Who’s Who Among American Universities and Colleges for 2016. In 2015, John was selected Outstanding Human Capital Development Ph.D. Student at the University. John was also inducted into the Phi Kappa Phi and Golden Key Honor Societies while at Southern Miss. John holds an undergraduate degree from Abilene Christian University and a Master of Science in Economic Development from The University of Southern Mississippi. John also holds certifications as a Certified Economic Developer (CEcD), an Economic Development Finance Professional (EDFP) and Professional Community Economic Developer (PCED). Currently, John is part of a community team of local stakeholders that is working closely with the University of North Texas at Dallas to create a Center of Logistics and Trade at the University. John’s other professional endeavors currently include: Board memberships on the Methodist Charlton Medical Center Advisory Board in Dallas, the Balch Springs Chamber of Commerce and the Balch Springs Tourism Advisory Committee.  Also, John is a board member of the 12-time International Gold Medalist Champions, the Vocal Majority Chorus of Dallas, TX.

Ellen Huber, CEcD
Business Development & Communications Director
City of Mandan
Mandan, ND

Ellen Huber is the Business Development and Communications Director for the City of Mandan, a position she has held since 2006. She leads community development efforts by providing support to existing businesses and working to foster and attract new businesses. She coordinates local business assistance and incentive programs and oversees community marketing, public information and outreach activities. Huber earned her IEDC certification in 2015. She was instrumental in forming a consortium of 38 North Dakota cities that received $9.7 million in U.S. Treasury Department funding for business loans. Professional involvement includes serving as vice president of the Economic Development Association of North Dakota and on the boards of the N.D. Small Business Development Center and Lewis and Clark Certified Development Corporation.

Clarence L. Hulse
Executive Director
Economic Development Corporation of Michigan City
Michigan City, IN

Recognized as a visionary leader in the community and economic development profession, Clarence Hulse is known for his passion and talent in implementing and executing a community’s vision. His diverse background includes achievements in performance management, affordable housing, strategic planning, redevelopment, marketing, business recruitment, project financing and building community partnerships. In his current role as the Executive Director of the Economic Development Corporation of Michigan City IN, his main objective is implementing the new Economic Development Action Initiative developed by community stakeholders engaged by Crowe Horvath LLP.

In City of New Bern NC, he coordinated a project based economic development strategic plan, recruited retail investments, improved distressed neighborhoods by implementing an EPA funded Brownfield plan, partnered with New Bern Housing Authority Choice Neighborhood initiative and created models to finance community and economic development projects.

As the former Director of Economic Development in Jeffersonville IN, he was instrumental in creating 3,500 new jobs and $300 million in capital investment. In creating the Jeffersonville Neighborhood Leadership Institute, he improved the city’s neighborhoods and won recognition by the Indiana Planning Association winning the 2011 Outstanding Community Initiative Award. He also served as the Executive Director of the Jeffersonville Urban Enterprise Association implementing strategies to assist small businesses on Mainstreet, promote tourism and augment historic preservation in the downtown.

His private sector experience includes employment at Intrawest Placemaking, a premier resort developer where he managed $150 million real estate portfolio, master planning and development of condo/hotels, town centers and golf courses; and also as an economic development consultant advising municipalities on implementing comprehensive community and economic development plans.

Previous employers include Martin County, Florida where he administered 7 Community Redevelopment Districts (TIF) rebuilding and revitalizing impoverished neighborhoods; the City of Cocoa, where he was the driving force for their economic revival and public infrastructure improvements while serving as the Deputy City Manager. Clarence also worked in Tampa Bay as Senior Business Development Manager coordinating major relocation/expansion projects that resulted in 16,000 new jobs and $500 million in capital investment within a 5 year period.

In 1999, he was honored by his peers (International Economic Development Council) winning the national award “Outstanding New Developer of the Year.” His current and past memberships include Urban Land Institute, International Council of Shopping Centers, Rotary Clubs, State Economic Development and Redevelopment Associations, Leadership Florida, Leadership Southern Indiana, Workforce Development Boards, Chamber of Commerce, Planning and Zoning Boards and One Southern Indiana Economic Development Committee.

Clarence earned his BS at Harding University, AR in Public Administration, magna cum laude and an MS in Economic Development from the University of Southern Mississippi. He is also a graduate of the University of Oklahoma Economic Development Institute. In his spare time, the native of Belize keeps up with current events-global and national, travel, art and music festivals, Roman and Greek history, biographies, golf and fishing.

Alana Jochum
Executive Director
Equality Ohio
Columbus, OH

Alana Jochum is an attorney and the Managing Director for Equality Ohio. She received her B.A. in English and B.S. in Psychology from Baldwin Wallace University in 2005. She has been passionately engaged in the fight for LGBTQ equality at the local, state, national, and international level for more than a decade. After college, Alana traveled to Mumbai, India to volunteer with the Humsafar Trust, a nongovernmental organization working to advance LGBTQ equality in India. After returning home, she worked at United Way of Greater Cleveland and continued her LGBTQ volunteer work through the Human Rights Campaign. In 2007, Alana attended Cleveland Marshall College of Law where she served as Editor in Chief of the Cleveland State Law Review. She became an Associate at Squire Patton Boggs, LLP in 2010 where she focused her legal practice on complex civil litigation, international law, product liability disputes and other commercial litigation. She also represented clients in habeas proceedings before the Sixth Circuit and at the District court level. Alana left Squire in 2014 to work with Equality Ohio full time where she has the privilege of advocating for LGBTQ equality statewide full time.

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

Mr. Johns is Director of Economic Development Department for Austin, Texas. In this capacity he is responsible for a nationally recognized team of 53 economic specialists who work together on a fusion of traditional and creative city building. His Department’s mission is to increase the prosperity of all citizens, entrepreneurs, neighborhoods and communities. The Austin Economic Development Department focuses on urban regeneration, business expansion, global commerce, and has the nation’s top small business solutions team, and, music & entertainment, digital media, cultural arts, and technology innovation.

David Kahley
President & CEO
The Progress Fund
Greensburg, PA

David A. Kahley, President & CEO of The Progress Fund, has over 36 years of experience in nonprofit organization management and community development work. Mr. Kahley is co-founder of The Progress Fund and has been its Chief Executive Officer since its inception in 1997. His commitment to its mission, its impacts and expanding reach has been a driving force in the organization’s success. Awards won by The Progress Fund include Opportunity Finance Network’s NEXT Award for innovation in rural development and Urban Land Institute’s Placemaking Award for its investment and strategy in West Newton, PA. Previously, David served as Executive Director of the Port Townsend Main Street Project, which was successful in the use of tourism to revitalize a historic community in Washington State. David was Executive Director of the Bellevue (Washington) Transportation Management Association, which promoted the use of alternative transportation modes in the Seattle area. David was Assistant to the President for the Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation during the early development of Station Square, an urban riverfront development in Pittsburgh. David is certified by the National Development Council as an Economic Development Finance Professional and holds a Real Estate Development Finance Professional certification from Urban Land Institute.

John Kardos
Program Manager
Federal Prison Industries, Inc.
Washington, DC

John Kardos Program Manager of Business Development, Federal Prison Industries, Washington, DC John Kardos is a Program Manager with Federal Prison Industries, Inc. (FPI) responsible for new business development of the various business groups. Prior to joining FPI, John was an owner of Union Apparel Inc. a manufacturer of Men’s and Woman’s apparel with facilities in Costa Rica and Pennsylvania. John began his career with LTV Steel as a sales representative in Detroit, Michigan. John holds an MBA from the University of Detroit and Bachelor’s degree from Marietta University, Marietta Ohio.

John Karras
Austin, TX

John launched in 2013 to empower economic development and urban planning professionals with the knowledge and tools needed to make their communities more vibrant. John is also the creator of the urbanSCALE Rating System, the first comprehensive measure of how urban a city is on a scale of 1 to 10. The urbanSCALE website has evolved into a growing online community with insights and creative thinking for economic developers, urban planners, and civic leaders. John is also a senior consultant with TIP Strategies, an Austin-based economic development consulting firm. With TIP, John works closely with business and community leaders to develop actionable strategies that generate job and business growth, while enhancing the quality of life for local citizens. He has managed a wide range of consulting engagements for economic development clients in 18 states. Before entering the economic development field, John worked in Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration within the New York City Department of Transportation’s Division of Planning & Sustainability. With the NYC Department of Transportation, he managed projects that improved freight mobility while balancing needs surrounding parking, deliveries, transit riders, cyclists, and pedestrians. John also worked as an urban planning/GIS specialist with AECOM.

SeonAh Kendall
Economic Policy & Project Manager
City of Fort Collins
Fort Collins, CO

Jeff Kline
Founder, Chief Executive Officer and President
Accrisoft Corporation
Charlotte, NC

Jeff Kline Founder, Chief Executive Officer and President Accrisoft Corporation Jeff Kline is an accomplished entrepreneur with a successful track record spanning three decades in software product development, office automation, and Internet technology. As CEO and President of both Accrisoft and Accrinet Corporation, he provides operational guidance and strategic vision for all aspects of the business. Jeff has special expertise in internet and software strategies for economic development organizations Over the last 15 years, he has helped a economic development organizations leverage the web and digital marketing to grow investors, regional branding, business attraction and retention, economic gardening and to utilize social media to show key benefits to the region. . An expert in leveraging websites and digital marketing for economic development success, Jeff is a frequent guest speaker on web strategies for business success, email marketing, social media, personalized news, Web analytics and other critical topics.

Jonathan Knecht
VP, Marketing + Creative Director
Kansas City Area Development Council
Kansas City, MO

The Kansas City Area Development Council (KCADC) is a private, non-profit, economic development organization charged with attracting corporate investment and talented people to the two-state, 18-county Greater Kansas City region.  Jonathan helps lead a comprehensive effort to brand and promote the KC region to the world — stimulating economic expansion and enhancing awareness of the KC metro’s industry assets and creative culture. Jonathan directs the KCADC in-house marketing team and outside creative partners through a range of projects from strategy and concept through execution in print, digital, video and unforgettable event environments.  KCADC was named the No. 1 “Best in Class” Regional Economic Development Group in the USA by national site location consultants polled by Development Counselors International (DCI) in 2014. Since 2013, KCADC has posted its best results for job growth and investment in its 40-year history. Jonathan has more than 20 years of branding and marketing experience and has been with KCADC since 2004. He attended Syracuse University and received a BFA in Design from the Kansas City Art Institute.

Christopher Knight
Global Commercial Director
FDI Intelligence
London, UK

Chris Knight heads the fDi Benchmark division of fDi Intelligence -- in addition to serving as a business development executive focusing on the US and UK markets -- and is an expert in the benchmarking of locations. He has been working on benchmarking projects for more than four years and has worked with some of the largest economic development organisations globally to help them promote themselves to foreign investors and assess their competitiveness for investment.

Chris develops bimonthly rankings for various sectors using inhouse data which are published in fDi Magazine; the most recent of these were rankings identifying the best locations globally for attracting renewable energy FDI projects. As well as benchmarking, Chris works on a variety of different reports comparing market and sectoral performance in terms of FDI.

fDi Intelligence is a specialist division from the Financial Times Ltd established to provide industry leading insight into globalization with a portfolio of world-class products, services and business tools that allow both companies and economic development organizations alike to make informed decisions regarding foreign direct investment and investment attraction. The fDi Intelligence portfolio includes fDi Atlas, fDi Benchmark, fDi Markets, fDi Magazine and fDi Reports.

Thomas A. Kucharski, CEcD
President & CEO
Invest Buffalo Niagara
Buffalo, NY

Thomas A. Kucharski has served as President and CEO of Invest Buffalo Niagara since 2000. Under his leadership, Invest Buffalo Niagara has grown from a start-up initiative to an innovative regional economic development organization that has secured more than 400 successful project wins representing $4.4 billion in investment in the region and over 42,000 jobs created and/or retained. From the onset, Tom helped Invest Buffalo Niagara form strong, enduring partnerships with business, development and academic leaders throughout the Buffalo Niagara region. Today more than 150 organizations work with Invest Buffalo Niagara to provide support and expertise to companies from the U.S., Canada and other parts of the world looking to set up shop in Western New York. Within Invest Buffalo Niagara, Tom has championed initiatives such as compiling business data that is tailored to specific industry sectors within the region and building an advanced research department offering innovative, state-of-the-art data and GIS mapping capabilities through the Buffalo Niagara Commercial Listing System (CLS). The Invest Buffalo Niagara Business Development team has, under Tom’s tutelage, made major strides in improving the economic service delivery system, including a one-stop, client oriented business development system and the first ever Uniform Development Incentives Policy agreed to and applied across the region. The creative Marketing Department at Invest Buffalo Niagara has been recognized nationally, regionally and state-wide for its PR, promotional, industry-based, social media, advertising and web-based marketing by winning over 175 awards including a majority at the Gold and Best of Class level. The pinnacle of these efforts came at the 2014 International Economic Development Council’s annual meeting where Invest Buffalo Niagara was recognized with the inaugural “Best in Show” award for its “Are You Right for Buffalo” video that was selected from over 600 entries world-wide. Tom has been a Certified Economic Developer since 1992. Before joining Invest Buffalo Niagara, he headed up the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation in Eastern Pennsylvania, and prior to that served as executive director of the Horizon Council of Southwest Florida, a regional public/private partnership that included Sarasota, Ft. Myers and Naples. He is recognized nationally for his work in the economic development industry and is often quoted and referenced in national publications such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes and Newsweek, as well as numerous trade and industry publications. Tom has participated in several significant initiatives in the states that he has worked. In Florida, he participated in Governor Chiles’ fifteen member commission that eventually privatized economic development, foreign direct investment efforts and tourism into Enterprise Florida. While representing the state on the Southern Economic Development Council (SEDC), Tom was named the 1990 Florida Economic Developer of the Year. In Pennsylvania, he applied his Florida experience to assist Governor Ridge’s twelve member committee that privatized these same functions into Team Pennsylvania. For those efforts he was gain honored as the 1998 Pennsylvania Economic Developer of the Year. In New York State, he has assisted Governor Cuomo’s administration with the formation of the successful Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) model. He serves as an active member of the Western New York REDC where he Co-Chairs the Global New York Foreign Direct Investment initiative. . His other professional accomplishments include serving as a Board Member and Chair of various committees of the International Economic Development Council for over ten years. He is also an Executive Committee Member of the New York State Economic Development Council (NYSEDC) and was selected by his NYSEDC colleagues as the 2014 Economic Developer of the Year. In 2007, he received the Meritorious Service Award from the Western New York Chapter of the New York State Commercial Association of Realtors.

Jun Kuroda
Minister for Economy, Trade, Industry and Energy
Embassy of Japan

Jun Kuroda is a Minister for Economy, Trade, Industry and Energy at the Embassy of Japan.

Prior to his current positon, Mr. Kuroda was Director of Americas Division in the Trade Policy Bureau at the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI). He also served as Japan’s negotiator for the TBT chapter of TPP negotiations. In these roles, Kuroda was involved in various efforts to strengthen US-Japan relationships, such as TPP and US-Japan parallel negotiations, US-Japan energy cooperation, PM Abe’s recent visit to the US and others.

From 2012 to 2013, Mr. Kuroda held the position of Principal Director in the Multilateral Trade System Department where he was responsible for WTO related issues. He also covered Japan-EU EPA negotiations.

Mr. Kuroda joined the Ministry of International Trade and Industry, currently known as METI, in April 1990. Since then, he worked on a variety of trade and economic issues and participated in various international fora such as the WTO, OECD and the APEC.

From 2002 to 2004, Mr. Kuroda served on the Cabinet Affairs Office of the Cabinet Secretariat (Prime Minister’s Office), where he was responsible for coordinating exchanges between executive branch offices and the Diet as well as the preparation of the Prime Minister’s speech drafts for the Diet session. From 2007 to 2010, Mr. Kuroda was a New York Office Director for the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO). From 2010 to 2012, Mr. Kuroda was Director of Trade and Investment Facilitation Division in the Trade and Economic Cooperation Bureau, where he was responsible for promoting FDI in Japan. Jun Kuroda

Jun Kuroda is a Minister for Economy, Trade, Industry and Energy at the Embassy of Japan.

Prior to his current positon, Mr. Kuroda was Director of Americas Division in the Trade Policy Bureau at the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI). He also served as Japan’s negotiator for the TBT chapter of TPP negotiations. In these roles, Kuroda was involved in various efforts to strengthen US-Japan relationships, such as TPP and US-Japan parallel negotiations, US-Japan energy cooperation, PM Abe’s recent visit to the US and others.

From 2012 to 2013, Mr. Kuroda held the position of Principal Director in the Multilateral Trade System Department where he was responsible for WTO related issues. He also covered Japan-EU EPA negotiations.

Mr. Kuroda joined the Ministry of International Trade and Industry, currently known as METI, in April 1990. Since then, he worked on a variety of trade and economic issues and participated in various international fora such as the WTO, OECD and the APEC.

From 2002 to 2004, Mr. Kuroda served on the Cabinet Affairs Office of the Cabinet Secretariat (Prime Minister’s Office), where he was responsible for coordinating exchanges between executive branch offices and the Diet as well as the preparation of the Prime Minister’s speech drafts for the Diet session. From 2007 to 2010, Mr. Kuroda was a New York Office Director for the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO). From 2010 to 2012, Mr. Kuroda was Director of Trade and Investment Facilitation Division in the Trade and Economic Cooperation Bureau, where he was responsible for promoting FDI in Japan.

Mr. Kuroda holds a Masters of Public Policy from Duke University and a Bachelor of Arts in Law from the University of Tokyo. He was born in Kyoto and grew up in Fukuoka and Tokyo.

Mr. Kuroda holds a Masters of Public Policy from Duke University and a Bachelor of Arts in Law from the University of Tokyo. He was born in Kyoto and grew up in Fukuoka and Tokyo.

Michael Langley, FM
President and CEO
IEDC Vice Chair of the Board
Minneapolis - Saint Paul, MN

Michael Langley is the founding CEO of GREATER MSP, the Minneapolis Saint Paul Regional Economic Development Partnership. GREATER MSP leads global promotion, regional strategy, and project management for economic growth and job creation in the Minneapolis Saint Paul region, with over three million residents and a Gross Metropolitan Product of over $200 Billion. He brings years of experience to the role as a widely recognized economic development strategist who has also led successful regional economic development organizations in Florida and Pennsylvania.

Michael’s award winning work as a practitioner includes his leadership as CEO of the Allegheny Conference on Community Development in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, often regarded as a globally leading organizational model for regional economic development, regional advocacy, and public policy research. It also includes the founding of Langley Group, a national economic development consulting firm focused on regional best practices and economic growth strategies, where Michael served as President.

Prior to becoming an economic development practitioner, Michael led a successful corporate career, spent primarily in the technology sector working in leadership positions for a number of Westinghouse/CBS divisions, including serving as President and CEO of Westinghouse Audio Intelligence Devices, Inc., a world leader in wireless surveillance technology.

A graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Mike also earned a MS in information systems from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. He served as a Navy pilot with more than 5,000 hours of flight and crew time on surveillance and intelligence missions worldwide and as a technology analyst on the staff of the Chief of Naval Operations. He has also been awarded an honorary doctorate in Humanities by American Intercontinental University for his work in community improvement.

Mark Lautman, CEcD, CRE
Economic Architect
Lautman Economic Architecture
Albuquerque, NM

Mark Lautman is a founding director of the Community Economics Lab, a private not-for-profit think tank that innovates new approaches to economic development to work in a labor and capital constrained economy. His consulting business, Lautman Economic Architecture, LLC, works with community leaders to transform community economies and elevate the professional practice of economic and workforce development. Mark writes a monthly column for the New Mexico Business Weekly, and is the author of a new book, When the Boomers Bail: A Community Economics Survival Guide, available on

Mark has three decades of experience as a professional economic developer, and has designed and managed four economic development programs having procured more than 80 corporate locations, accounting for more than 15,000 new jobs, 6 million square feet of industrial space and $11 billion dollars in new investment. Most recently, Mark was Vice President of Economic Development at Mesa del Sol where his business unit was responsible for recruiting Albuquerque Studios, Schott Solar, Fidelity Investments and several others. Mark’s previous New Mexico economic development assignments included Santa Teresa, Rio Rancho and Grants. Mark’s recent consulting projects include: Spaceport America, Live Work New Mexico, Artesia Chamber of Commerce, San Juan County, Cibola County, Rio Rancho Economic Development Corporation, WorkKeys Based Labor Market Model, New Mexico EB5 Regional Center, OKC Land Inventory Analysis, and Ft. Bayard masterplan.

Mark’s recent conference speaking engagements include: Summit on the Business of Aging, NAIOP, TEDx, National Rural Economic Development Association, International Economic Development Council, UNM Speaker Series, ULI Emerging Trends Conference, National Association of Workforce Boards, EDA, National Brownfield Association, IGNITE and Business Expansion Retention International.

Mark is a 1971 graduate of The University of New Mexico in Economics, Architecture and Geography, and a former Peace Corps Volunteer. Mark and his wife, Mary Anne live in Albuquerque. They have three children, two having graduated from UNM and one from NMSU, as well as three grandchildren.

Andrew T. Levine
President & Chief Creative Officer
Development Counsellors International
New York, NY

As the son of Ted Levine, founder of Development Counsellors International, Andy was introduced to the world of economic development and travel marketing at birth. Since joining the firm in 1991, Andy has helped launch the company into a new era, advancing the quality of client work performed, growing the number of staff and adding to the range of client services offered.

Notable Results:

• On behalf of the South African Tourism Board, Andy arranged for the Sports Illustrated "Swimsuit Issue" to be shot on location in South Africa. Accompanying the well-known photo essay were 16 pages of editorial content profiling South Africa's diverse tourism offerings.
• For the Greater New Orleans Region, Andy managed a highly successful editorial placement program with results in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Success, Forbes and CNN. In the program's first year, 76 placements were achieved with an advertising impact of $5.9 million.

He developed and continues to direct DCI's "Winning Strategies in Economic Development Marketing." First conducted in 1996, this ongoing survey of corporate executives with site selection responsibilities has emerged as a valuable tool for economic developers seeking to understand the "customer's perspective" on what works in economic development marketing.

Penny Lewandowski
Vice President, Entrepreneurship and Strategic Direction
Edward Lowe Foundation
Cassopolis, MI

Recruited to the Edward Lowe Foundation in 2005, Penny Lewandowski is responsible for leading the foundation’s entrepreneurship programs and for setting and driving the vision for the organization’s future. In this capacity, she directs the entrepreneurship team in developing and delivering programs that help second-stage entrepreneurs — business owners focused on high and sustainable growth rather than survival — get to the next level. Lewandowski is also responsible for the foundation’s role in the National Center for Economic Gardening, led by Chris Gibbons, and manages the foundation’s overall outreach efforts and technology services. In addition, she is a frequent speaker and nationally recognized champion of the importance of building a strong entrepreneurial culture.

The foundation’s educational and recognition flagship products include Economic Gardening, PeerSpectives® Roundtables, Companies to Watch, Assets2Action and Leader Retreats. Lewandowski cultivates appropriate partners to deliver these programs throughout the country and manages the rollout process.

Lewandowski brings a strong background in team building and partnership management to the foundation. Previously, she was executive director of the Greater Baltimore Technology Council Inc., an organization that seeks to strengthen the Baltimore region’s technology community. In addition to membership recruitment, fund raising, communications and partnership development, Lewandowski organized council members to provide a unified legislative voice. She also directed TechNite, the largest technology event in the Baltimore region.

Among other positions, Lewandowski served as director of entrepreneurship and education for the Morino Institute, a nationally recognized entrepreneurship program in Reston, Va. She also directed George Mason University’s Century Club, a group formed to build alliances between the university and business community.

In 2003 the Kauffman Foundation, in conjunction with the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year awards, named Lewandowski as the recipient of its prestigious “National Supporter of Entrepreneurship” award. Other honors include being tapped as one of the region’s most influential leaders by The Baltimore Business Journal and one of “Maryland’s Top 100 Women” by The Daily Record newspaper.

Lewandowski is a member of Leadership Washington and Leadership Maryland. She received a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Davis & Elkins College in Elkins, W.Va.

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

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

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

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

Tom Lix
Founder and CEO
Cleveland Whiskey
Cleveland, OH

Amy Lopp
Business Development Specialist
Athens-Clarke County Economic Development
Athens, GA

Amy Lopp is the Business Development Specialist for the Athens-Clarke County Economic Development Department. She serves in an outreach role for the community, as well as the lead staff for the business retention and expansion program. Amy graduated with a degree in Landscape Architecture from the University of Georgia and worked in the real estate development field until 2008, when she took a sabbatical from the professional world to complete a life-long dream of thru-hiking the entire Appalachian Trail. Since returning from the woods, she and her family have settled into the vibrant and eclectic Athens community where she has worked as both an urban planner and an economic developer. Amy is a LEED Accredited Professional and an ISA Certified Arborist.

Jeff Marcell
Senior Partner
TIP Strategies
Austin, TX

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

Joseph A. Marinucci, FM, HLM
President & CEO
Downtown Cleveland Alliance
Chair of the 2016 Annual Conference Host Committee
Cleveland, OH

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

Matt Martin
Executive Director
Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership
Warren, OH

Matt Martin has been the Executive Director of Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership since its launch in 2010 and has directed the organizations management of the Trumbull County Land Bank since 2013 . Prior to joining TNP, he was a Land Re-utilization Manager for Stockyard Redevelopment Organization, a Cleveland CDC. He has a BA in Liberal Studies from Cleveland State and an MA in Environmental Studies from Cleveland State's Levin College of Urban Affairs. Matt has 4 kids, ranging from 3 months to 15 years.

Rob St. Mary
Director of Outreach
Detroit, MI

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

Barry I. Matherly, CEcD, FM
President and CEO
Greater Richmond Partnership
IEDC Chair of the Board
Richmond, VA

Barry I. Matherly is a certified economic developer with over 23 years of leadership experience at the city, county, regional and university levels. He also interned 3 years for the United States Department of Commerce.

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

Mr. Matherly serves as the Chair of the International Economic Development Council, the largest economic development association in the world, and is on the Governance Committee. Barry also serves on the Executive Board of the Economic Development Institute at the University of Oklahoma and is an institute instructor.

Locally, Barry serves on the University of Richmond School of Business Executive Advisory Council, the Virginia Commonwealth University Innovation Advisory Board and the Richmond Public Schools Superintendent’s Business Advisory Council. In addition, he is a member of the Richmond Real Estate Group.

Barry 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.

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.

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

Guillermo Mazier, MBA
Director of Strategic Accounts
Atlas Advertising
Denver, CO

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.

Stewart Meek
Economic Development Specialist
City of Centennial
Centennial, CO

Quentin L. Messer Jr.
President and CEO
New Orleans Business Alliance (NOLABA)
New Orleans, LA

As the leader of the only economic development organization solely focused on growing the Orleans Parish economy, Quentin leads initiatives and programs related to (i) retail and creative digital media business attraction and retention, including the Bioinnovation and Health Sciences cluster and (ii) enhancing the brand of New Orleans as a place in which to do business. He has overall responsibility for executing NOLABA’s ProsperityNOLA strategy, which is the five year strategic plan for the New Orleans’ economic growth developed in 2013.

Prior to joining NOLABA, Quentin was the Assistant Secretary for the state department of economic development, Louisiana Economic Development. Quentin managed initiatives and programs related to business intelligence, community competitiveness, small business services and state economic competitiveness.

Named to New Orleans Magazine’s “People to Watch Class of 2015,” Quentin was selected as a 2015 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Distinguished Leadership Award recipient of the Fannie Lou Hamer Community Service and Leadership Award by Grambling State University. He is member of the Council for a Better Louisiana’s (CABL) Leadership Louisiana 2014. In addition to being a member of the Board of Trustees of Our Lady of the Lake College, he is a member of the Board of Directors of Nexus Louisiana (f/k/a Research Park Corporation) and the New Orleans Workforce Development Board.

The father of two daughters, including a U.S. Marine, and a son, Quentin, is married to Kenya LeNoir Messer, Ed.D, Associate Vice Provost, Office of Diversity, Office of Academic Affairs at LSU. He holds an AB, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs from Princeton University and JD/MBA from Columbia University’s Law and Business Schools, respectively.

Tracye McDaniel
President & CEO
Texas Economic Development Corporation
Governance Member of IEDC Board of Directors and Chair, External Member Relations
Austin, TX

Tracye McDaniel is the President and CEO of Texas Economic Development Corporation, Inc., an independently funded and operated 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, whose mission is dedicated to economic development, business recruitment, and job creation in the State of Texas. Texas Economic Development Corporation operates the TexasOne™ Program which coordinates efforts with the Office of the Governor for strategic marketing and lead generation activities.

Formerly with Choose New Jersey, Inc., McDaniel led global promotion, lead generation and project management for economic growth and job creation in the Garden State and is part of the state’s award-winning economic development organization: The New Jersey Partnership for Action (PFA). Under the leadership of Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno, the Partnership serves as the starting point for all initiatives, policies and efforts related to growing New Jersey's economy and creating quality, sustainable jobs.

Ms. McDaniel has more than 30 years of state and regional level experience as a widely recognized strategist in all facets of economic development, including public relations, tourism and international business development. She has led successful economic development organizations in Texas. In 2007, Ms. McDaniel served as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the Greater Houston Partnership (GHP), Houston, TX, regarded as a top global location for business.

She holds leadership positions in numerous professional and industry organizations and sits on the Board of Directors of the International Economic Development Council (IEDC), the world’s top organization for economic development professionals. She was also named by NJBIZ among New Jersey’s 2014 Best 50 Women in Business, as well as the 100 Most Powerful People in New Jersey Business. McDaniel was appointed by Governor Chris Christie to both the Council on Innovation and the New Jersey Military installation Growth and Development Task Force during her time in New Jersey.

A graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, Ms. McDaniel is also a Ford Foundation Regional Sustainable Development (RSD) Fellow, a program of American Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE).

Kenny McDonald, CEcD
Chief Economic Officer
Governance Member of IEDC Board of Directors and Chair, Performance Oversight Monitoring
Columbus, OH

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.

Mel McGee
Founder and CEO
We Can Code It
Cleveland, OH

As the founder and CEO of We Can Code IT, a Crain's Cleveland 2014 Woman of Note, author, software engineer with nearly 20 years of professional experience, and educator, I am humbled to have the opportunity to give back to the community and shepherd new, diverse, programmers into tech careers. 

My interest in bringing coding to everyone began nearly as soon as I started my role as a software engineer. Throughout my career, I've found it satisfying to share my love of computer science and engineering subjects with kids, teens, & adults. We Can Code IT was born out of this love and my passion for equity. 

As the CEO of We Can Code IT, I bring this mission to life. 

At We Can Code IT our goal is to teach people how to code, especially those who don't typically feel invited to the field. Our coding boot camps flip the demographics of a traditional computer science classroom on its head. 80% of our students are women and people of color. My job is to help those in need find a new life, a new career, a new home in the tech community.

Patrick McVeigh
General Manager for Economic Growth
Auckland Tourism Events and Economic Development (ATEED)
Auckland, New Zealand

Patrick joined ATEED in 2013 as General Manager, Business, Innovation and Skills and oversees the agency’s work on innovation and entrepreneurship, talent and skills, business and enterprise and trade partnerships. Prior to moving to Auckland, Patrick was the managing director of a UK based economic development consultancy and was previously the Director of Strategy and Corporate Planning for the London Development Agency. Patrick is a chartered Town Planner, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a Director of Economic Development Agencies New Zealand (EDANZ).

Dennis Meseroll
Co-Founder and Executive Director
Tractus Asia Ltd.
Bangkok, Thailand

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.

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

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

Darius Mir
Made In America Seating
Union City, TN

Darius Mir is a citizen of the United States, who was born on November 30, 1947 in Tehran, Iran. At the age of 16 Darius left Iran for England to continue his education. In 1972 Darius qualified as an associate member of the institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales, and later earned his fellowship; internationally recognized as a high ranking and prestigious professional qualification.

Michael Mogill
CRISP Video Group
Atlanta, GA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jonathan Q. Morgan, PhD
Associate Professor, School of Government
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, NC

Jonathan Q. Morgan is Associate Professor in the School of Government at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he teaches, conducts applied research, and advises public officials on economic development.  He directs the annual Basic Economic Development Course at UNC, which is accredited by the International Economic Development Council.  Prior to joining the UNC School of Government in 2003, he worked for Regional Technology Strategies, Inc., an economic and workforce development consulting firm located in Carrboro, NC.  Dr. Morgan has also served as Director of Economic Policy and Research for the NC Department of Commerce, as well as Research and Policy Director for the NC Institute of Minority Economic Development.  He holds a BA in economics from the University of Virginia, an MPA from Clark Atlanta University, and a Ph.D. in public administration from North Carolina State University.

Mike Morin
Start Garden
Grand Rapids, MI

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

Fred Morley, FM
Chief Economist
Government of Nova Scotia
Halifax, NS

Fred Morley is a senior advisor on economic issues for the Government of Nova Scotia and currently holds the position of Chief Economist for Tourism Nova Scotia and the Nova Scotia Office of Regulatory Affairs. He previously served as Executive Vice President of the Greater Halifax Partnership.  Mr. Morley has designed and driven many of Nova Scotia’s high profile economic development initiatives over the last two decades, several of which have won national and international recognition.  He the founder of Halifax’s Connector Program, an immigrant integration social enterprise which has been replicated in more than 20 cities in 5 countries.  He is a regular media commentator and the author of more than 100 articles on economic issues. His views are sought by organizations, companies and governments around the world.  He is on the Board of the Canada First Research Excellence Fund and the Governor General’s Innovation Awards Advisory Committee.  Fred was awarded Fellow Member status by IEDC in 2015.

George Chunkau Mui
Global Market Access Team Lead, Office of Business Development
Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), United States Department of Commerce
Washington, DC

George Mui is a Global Market Access Team Lead in the Office of Business Development for the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) at the U.S. Department of Commerce. As a global strategist, he provides business consulting services for minority businesses in the area of international business development and strategy with a keen focus on domestic and international partnerships that provide access to global markets. In 2014 and 2015, George served as the Senior Advisor to WHIAAPI in a special assignment as the Business Liaison for the AAPI Business Community. In his role, he initiated multiple innovative national programs designed to advocating for AAPI businesses: Doing Business in Asia by leveraging success Asian American business as the lead for American exports and business expansion in Asia, AAPI Construction Advocacy programs that is designed to increase AAPI participation in government contracting; the New American Business Boot Camp providing new AAPI immigrants access to federal, state, and local government resources.

Kathy Mussio
Managing Partner
Atlas Insight
Pipersville, PA

Kathy is a co-founder and Managing Partner at Atlas Insight with over 22 years of combined experience as a management, incentive and site selection consultant. She is widely considered an industry expert in the site selection and incentive negotiation business. Her consulting career has focused on securing incentives for various projects as well as helping site selection clients to select optimal locations for expansion projects.

Kathy has conducted successful negotiations for some of the world’s largest corporations. While the majority of Atlas’ clients are companies in the Fortune 500, Kathy has also assisted small to mid-sized companies with projects in various industries. Kathy has an expertise in working on highly complex real estate development projects, including working with New Markets Tax Credits, Brownfield Tax Credits and various other land use entitlements.

Kathy is a reliable opinion source for trade publications and AP stories and has been a frequent guest of state governments to assist with development of strategic plans to attract business investment. Kathy has also written numerous expert articles for regional and national publications.

Before co-founding Atlas Insight, Kathy was a Regional Practice Leader in the Business Location Incentive and Site Selection group at BDO.

Kathy holds a Master of Science in Real Estate from New York University.

David J. Myers, CEcD
Executive Director
Ponca City Development Authority
Ponca City, OK

David J. Myers serves as the Executive Director of the Ponca City Development Authority, (PCDA) a position he has held since September of 2003. He currently serves as the Chairman of the Governor’s Economic Development Marketing Team and is a past President of the Oklahoma Economic Development Council, (OEDC).

PCDA, is a stand alone public trust serving the City of Ponca City, is the only economic development organization in the State of Oklahoma which has been accredited by the International Economic Development Council. Prior to joining PCDA, Myers served as President for the Greater Antelope Valley Economic Alliance, (GAVEA) in Lancaster, California. GAVEA was a public-private organization developed to build the economy of an area with 440,000 residents and a strong aerospace heritage. Myers joined that organization in 1999.

Myers career includes service as a Regional Manager for the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation, two terms as a member of the Palmdale (California) City Council, the Transportation Chairman of the Southern California Association of Governments, the largest Council of Government in the United States, two years with the Palmdale Water District and ten years with United Cerebral Palsy in Los Angeles and Texas.

Myers holds a B.A. in Political Science from California State University, Northridge and a Masters Degree in Negotiation and Conflict Management from California State University, Dominguez Hills. He holds the International Economic Development Council’s Certified Economic Developer credential and was named the outstanding economic development professional for 2008 by the Oklahoma Professional Economic Development Council.

He and his wife Janice, a graduate of the University of Oklahoma, have been married 28 years. They have two children: Diana, a 2007 graduate of Oklahoma State University, and Greg, a 2011 graduate of Oklahoma State University and a Captain in the United States Air Force.

Lindsey M. Myers
Senior Consultant/Director, Site Readiness Programs
McCallum Sweeney Consulting
Greenville, SC

Lindsey Myers is a senior consultant and director of site readiness programs with McCallum Sweeney Consulting (MSC) where she oversees MSC’s evaluation and certification programs. Based on her experience in site selection consulting and economic development, Ms. Myers assists states, utilities, communities, and private landowners with programs to increase the attractiveness of their property and community to industrial prospects.

She is actively managing evaluation and/or certification programs for American Electric Power (AEP), Dayton Power & Light, Duke Energy Florida, and TVA. She is also working on numerous independent evaluations and certifications. She also recently completed a headquarters relocation for BMC.

Ms. Myers has completed numerous certification programs including Gulf Power’s Florida First Sites, Mississippi Power’s Project Ready Program, and Wyoming Business Council’s Certified Sites Program. In addition, she has worked on a feasibility study for a siting project in Europe, completed an incentives evaluation study for Jacksonville, FL, and managed a target competitiveness study for the State of Florida. She also has worked on a headquarters relocation for SunCoke Energy, a manufacturing project for Mitsubishi Electric Power Products, and assisted with the site analysis for the permanent jamboree site for the Boy Scouts of America. She also worked on the target industry studies for the Upstate SC Alliance, Charleston Regional Development Alliance, the Beacon Council (Miami, Florida), and JAXUSA.

Before joining McCallum Sweeney Consulting, Ms. Myers served as a research analyst and tax and incentives consultant for the South Carolina Department of Commerce. There she was responsible for development of marketing and project deliverables and tax and incentives research for the State. Ms. Myers’ professional background also includes positions with Charleston Area Federal Credit Union and Sodexho/Carolina Dining Services as well as an internship with Miller Brewing Company.

Ms. Myers has earned a Masters of Public Administration and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, both from the University of South Carolina (USC). She is currently pursuing a Master of Corporate Real Estate (MCR) through CoreNet Global as well as a Certificate in Leadership from CREW (Commercial Real Estate Women) Network. In 2016, she received the “Rising Star” award from CREW Upstate where she is currently serving as the President-Elect and a national delegate in addition to serving on the USC Moore School of Business Young Alumni Board. Previously, she has served on the board for the Upstate USC Moore School of Business Alumni, the Greenville MyCarolina Alumni Association, and PULSE (Greenville’s Young Professionals organization). She is also a graduate of Leadership Greenville Class 38 and is a member of the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) and the South Carolina Economic Developers Association (SCEDA).

Edward A. Nelson , Jr. , CEcD, FM, HLM
EANI Consulting
Stone Mountain, GA

Edward A. Nelson, Jr., is Chairman of EANI Consulting. He is presently serving as project director of the Economic Development Initiative for Unincorporated South Fulton County; an economic development project designed to provide comprehensive services. In this capacity, he and his partner are responsible for attracting and recruiting targeted industries, retaining and expanding the existing industry base, developing small businesses, nurturing new entrepreneurs, and project development. Working with public and private stakeholders in the community, he also leads efforts that resolve issues directly or indirectly impeding economic growth in Unincorporated South Fulton County. Stakeholders include private sector companies, non-profit community organizations, Boulevard CID, Fulton County Code Enforcement, Fulton County Police Department, Fire Department, District Attorney, Health and Human Services, and Development Services.

Included in his 42 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 International Consulting.

Nelson 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 is the recipient of the 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award for Economic Development in honor of Edward deLuca, the highest award given by IEDC. He is also the recipient of the Economic Development Leadership Team Award given by FDI Intelligence, a publication of The Financial Times and GIS Planning.

He has served on the boards of the Georgia Economic Developers Association, Regional Business Coalition in Atlanta, the International Village Cultural and Community Center, the International Village Advisory Board, the DeKalb Convention and Visitors Bureau, the DeKalb Council for the Arts, the DeKalb County Convention Center Authority, Leadership DeKalb, Leadership South Fulton, the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the Atlanta Area Council Boy Scouts of America (he is a proud Eagle Scout). 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.

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). Courses taught have included strategic management, organizational behavior, principles of management and entrepreneurship.

Under contract with the Gulf County Economic Development Council, Inc., a Public-Private Partnership, he served as the Executive Director. He developed the organization’s Economic Development Strategy and led the effort in Renewable Energy, which resulted in the community being selected for a $200 million biomass renewable energy project that would have produced 45 megawatts of power if financing was completed. The project would have generated an estimated 55 permanent jobs and 200 construction jobs if built. The estimated employment impact in the community was 75 permanent jobs. The overall impact in terms of residual economic development had the potential to replace all of the jobs lost due to the closure of the primary employer in the county along with several companies in the supply chain to the primary employer.

Nelson designed and developed a project in the Caribbean to create a sustainable economy after this community began to deteriorate economically after two hurricanes and downturn in the world’s economy.

He is a past President and CEO of the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce and led a team that created some 15,000 jobs and $1.2 billion dollars in investment during his tenure. He served on the organizing committee for the Perimeter CID. He was Director of the Economic Development Division at Fulton County, GA where he led a team that was responsible for marketing and business development, international investment promotion, structuring financing (loans, taxable and tax-exempt bond financing) for corporate clients, and the retention and expansion of existing industry. During his tenure, 30,000 jobs were created with $3.0 billion dollars in investment. He was founder, Chairman and CEO of a 55-employee consulting firm specializing in Economic Development, Business Development and Industrial Development. He started his Economic Development and Industrial Development experience in 1972 at the Industrial Development Division (IDD) of the Engineering Experiment Station at the Georgia Institute of Technology. His major assignments included the 211d program of the United States Department of State who contracted IDD to generate jobs with the development of small-scale industries in West Africa, South America, and the Philippines. He was also responsible for the United States Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration’s contract to provide technical assistance to Georgia’s industry.

In 2002, Nelson returned to private practice as President of EANI. He created a program for facilitating Small to Medium sized Enterprises (SME) in internationalization through the Transatlantic Interprise Ventures® (TIV) project, a high-level business development initiative. Unique from global matchmaking programs, the primary strength of the TIV is that it offered clients access to an established network of international economic developers. This access accelerated SME opportunities for business expansion into foreign markets through strategic alliances. The TIV network included partners such as the following:

• European Association of Development Agencies throughout the European Union
• International Economic Development Council (largest economic development organization in the world)
• Economic Development Association of Canada
• Excite Corporation (Newfoundland, Canada) and the Canadian government (Canadian Consulate General’s Office Atlanta, GA.)
• Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), a 30-member country organization (U.S.A. included), which plays a prominent role in fostering international public policy for developing progressive globalize economies
• Brussels Enterprise Agency (City of Brussels Belgium, Foreign Direct Investment Organization)

Using the TIV network as a catalyst and a facilitator, EANI provided assistance to SME firms at various stages of development. EANI provided management and technical assistance and intense comprehensive training to prepare the firms for international strategic alliances as a means of introducing the companies to the international marketplace. In addition to access to the network of personal contacts and business relationships, all clients participated in annual international trade shows and one-on-one meetings in the United Kingdom, Sweden, Estonia, and the United States. He has provided technical assistance and training extensively in the United States, South Africa, Nigeria, Canada, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, The Bahamas, Portugal, Ireland, and several countries in the European Union including Belgium, Estonia, Sweden, Czech Republic, Finland, and the United Kingdom.

Tracey A. Nichols
Director, Economic Development
City of Cleveland, Department of Economic Development
Cleveland, OH

Appointed in February 2008, Nichols has completed over 625 projects that will create and retain over 25,000 jobs and has attracted $90 million in funding. Nichols is known for creating innovative programs, including the Vacant Property Initiative, which has resulted in the development of 3.6 million square feet in vacant buildings and 105 acres of vacant land, creating and retaining over 6,900 jobs.

Nichols has a degree in Business Management from Case Western Reserve University and is a certified Economic Development Finance Professional. She has presented to the Clinton Global Initiative, National League of Cities, National Brownfields Conference, and the International Economic Development Council on topics including economic inclusion, transit-oriented development and redevelopment. She has received the Cleveland Foundation’s Homer Wadsworth Award and was recognized by the Journal of Tax Credits as Public Executive of the Year. She is a Board Member of the International Economic Development Council.

Ed Nolan
V.P. Product development and engineering
Cleveland, OH

As the Vice President of Product Development and Engineering, Nolan is responsible for the overall management of MAGNET’s Product Development and Engineering Services area. His responsibilities include project coordination and integration of all of internal and external resources who deliver MAGNET engineering services to our clients. Nolan has more than 40 years of engineering management and program management experience in manufacturing industry, high tech service industry, and University/non-profit based industrial outreach programs. Nolan was instrumental in developing MAGNET’s current phased product development service, which includes ideation, industrial design, engineering, prototyping, and product launch. He also helped develop MAGNET’s Partnership for Regional Innovation Services to Manufacturer’s (PRISM) program and lead that program in its formative years. Prior to joining MAGNET, Nolan led numerous large-scale engineering programs requiring the integration of many different engineering disciplines and external resources. For example, he led the Westinghouse Electric corporation engineering team which successfully designed, developed and qualified the highly specialized tooling required to defuel the damaged Three Mile Island Nuclear reactor. For his leadership on this project Mr. Nolan received a Westinghouse Engineering Achievement Award. Nolan also managed the engineering design, build and successful qualification of a five-year, $20-million naval nuclear program to develop a remotely operated machining and welding system capable of repairing a defect in a naval nuclear reactor. Nolan holds a Bachelors of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Syracuse University and a certificate in Management and Leadership from the Sloan School of Management, MIT.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Eric Osth
Vice Chairman
Urban Design Associates
Pittsburgh, PA

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

Richard Overmoyer
President & CEO
Fourth Economy Consulting
Pittsburgh, PA

Rich Overmoyer, President and CEO, Fourth Economy, is a nationally known thought leader in the innovation-based economic development field and has served in diverse roles in the nation’s economic development community. His most recent endeavor is a startup consulting firm, Fourth Economy Consulting, headquartered in Pittsburgh. The Fourth Economy team is working with clients throughout the country to develop new economic and community development strategies to support sustainable futures through innovation. Rich and the team recently received a significant amount of media attention with the release of the latest Fourth Economy Index which ranks counties based on data related to investment, talent, sustainability, diversity and place. Rich is also currently the Executive Director of the University Economic Development Association.

Rich previously was a principal at GSP Consulting where he created and built the Economic Architecture consulting practice. Prior to that he served the as Pennsylvania’s Deputy Secretary of Technology Investment. In his role with Pennsylvania, Rich directly managed technology investment programs totaling over $82 million annually. As Executive Director of the Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority, Rich and his team were credited with the creation and attraction of hundreds of new Pennsylvania companies and thousands of jobs within the Commonwealth. Rich also supervised numerous other state-funded entrepreneurial and technology commercialization organizations. He designed and launched the Keystone Innovation Zone program to spur economic development around Pennsylvania’s university research institutions and create entrepreneurial networks across the state. He holds a B.A. in Political Science and a M.A. in Public Policy from the University of Pittsburgh.

Jennifer Owens, CEcD
Lakeshore Advantage
Zeeland, MI

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

Brent Painter
Director of Economic Development
City of Strongsville
Strongsville, OH

Graduate of Strongsville High School. Received a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration at Baldwin Wallace College. Received a Master’s Degree in Education at the University of Akron. Joined the City of Strongsville in May of 2005 within the Economic Development Department. Promoted to Manager of Economic Development in January 2010. Promoted to Director of Economic Development in July 2011. Currently a member of the Strongsville Rotary Club, the Strongsville Chamber of Commerce, the Polaris Career Center Advisory Board, Ohio Economic Development Association, and Executive Director of the Strongsville Community Improvement Corporation.

Diane Palmintera
Innovation Associates
Reston, VA

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

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

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

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

Bruce Payne, AICP
Economic Development Manager
Office of Economic Development / City of Arlington
Arlington, TX

Esteban Pelayo
European Association of Regional Development Agencies (Eurada)
Brussels, Belgium

Merissa Piazza
Program Manager
Cleveland State University
Cleveland, OH

Merissa C. Piazza, is a Program Manager at the Center and specializes in economic development, entrepreneurship, workforce development, metrics and indicators, and survey research. Merissa is an economist with vast experience conducting academic and applied research studies and her research portfolio includes projects on entrepreneurship, investigating high-growth firms, analysis of the adoption of technologies in industries, navigating industry workforce development issues, and overall industry analysis. Merissa has worked on several dashboard and indicator projects for the Center and is very knowledgeable about data and data sources. Beyond her data work, she concentrates in all aspects of survey methodology and research. She is adept at questionnaire design, survey methodology, survey implementation, survey management, and survey analysis. She is proficient in Survey Methodology, having studied at the University of Maryland’s Joint Program in Survey Methodology takings courses in survey questionnaire design, survey measurement, and survey sampling. In addition to working for the center, Merissa is a doctoral candidate in Urban Studies and Public Policy with a focus on entrepreneurship and public policy.

Dave Quinn, CEcD
Vice President
Frisco Economic Development Corporation
Frisco, TX

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

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

Craig J. Richard, CEcD
President & CEO
Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation
Secretary/Treasurer of the IEDC Board of Directors
Tampa, FL

Craig J. Richard serves as the Secretary/Treasurer for the International Economic Development Council's (IEDC) Governance Committee.

He has previously served as the president and CEO of Invest Atlanta. He is a seasoned economic development professional of nearly 20 years and is regarded as a collaborative leader with strengths in marketing, business development, entrepreneurial development, workforce development, global commerce, strategic planning and managing talented teams to achieve desired results. His economic development experiences range from neighborhood-level community development and regional chambers of commerce to state economic development.

He previously served as the president and CEO of Greater Louisville Inc. (GLI), the regional chamber of commerce. Prior to GLI, Richard was chief economic development officer for the Greater Houston Partnership (GHP). Under his leadership, GHP was recognized as a best in class economic development group for four consecutive years by Site Selection magazine. He has also held leadership positions at Hawes Hill Calderon LLC, Arlington (Texas) Chamber of Commerce, Dallas Regional Chamber, Virginia Economic Development Partnership and the City of Richmond, Va. Prior to his economic development career, Richard enjoyed a successful career as a district executive with the Sam Houston Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America.

Highlights of Richard's career include the announcements of more than 156 projects representing over 134,000 jobs and $7.6 billion in capital investment. Some of his notable projects include service center, ExxonMobil North American headquarters consolidation, Dow refinery expansion, Toshiba manufacturing plant expansion, Vestas Technology R&D Americas, AT&T Stadium (Dallas Cowboys), Siemens Postal Dematic headquarters, General Motors plant expansion and Rooms To Go regional distribution center. Richard has led or participated in foreign trade and investment missions to China, Brazil, Argentina, Panama, Canada and the United Arab Emirates.

Richard earned his Master of Urban and Regional Planning degree, with a concentration in economic development, from Virginia Commonwealth University and a Bachelor of General Studies degree from the University of Houston-Downtown. He is a Certified Economic Developer by the International Economic Development Council, a graduate of the Economic Development Institute of the University of Oklahoma and has attended executive education programs at Kellogg School of Business at Northwestern University. He serves as an officer of the Board of Directors for the International Economic Development Council.

Richard is married with two children. In his spare time he enjoys golf, hunting and cycling.

Emily Robbins
Principal Associate, Economic Development
National League of Cities

Emily Robbins is the Principal Associate for Economic Development with the City Solutions and Applied Research Center at the National League of Cities (NLC). Her research helps city leaders create strong and equitable local economies. Emily is currently focusing on local government strategies for developing small businesses, entrepreneurial ecosystems, and small-scale manufacturing. Emily manages the Big Ideas for Small Business program at NLC, which is a national peer network of local government staff who convene around best practices for supporting the growth of local business communities. She is also co-leading a community of practice for Startup in a Day, an initiative in partnership with the Small Business Administration and Code for America to help cities create a more business-friendly environment within local governments across the country. Emily earned a master’s degree in public policy from the George Washington University in Washington, DC, and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Northeastern University in Boston.

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

Anne Roise, MCP, CEcD BIO Anne Roise is an Instructor of Urban Studies and Planning at Savannah State University and the CEO of Roise & Associates in Savannah, GA. She specializes in strategic planning, project development and organizational coaching for small businesses and non-profit organizations. For several years, Anne served in senior management positions with municipal governments where she was responsible for community revitalization and economic development initiatives. She is a former Director of Economic Development for the City Savannah and also served as the Interim Director of the Savannah Development and Renewal Authority. Her areas of expertise are micro-business development, leadership training, and facilitating coalitions to reduce poverty and stimulate economic opportunities for disenfranchised communities. Anne has a Masters Degree in City Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). After graduating from MIT, she worked as a planner for the City of Cambridge, Massachusetts, and was later employed as the Executive Director of the Massachusetts Supreme Court’s Commission on Racial and Ethnic Bias in the Courts. Anne is a Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) and has provided course instruction for the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) since 2002.

Jim Rokakis
Vice President & Director
Western Reserve Land Conservancy
Cleveland, OH

Jim Rokakis is Vice President of the Western Reserve Land Conservancy and Director of its Thriving Communities program, where he has helped to establish 35 County Land Banks throughout Ohio. Rokakis served for 19 years on Cleveland City Council where he chaired the finance committee. In 1997, Rokakis took office as Cuyahoga County Treasurer where he was among the first public, nationally-recognized officials to warn of the foreclosure crisis – in 2001. He helped write and pass SB 353 which allowed for the creation of the Cuyahoga County Land Bank – and ultimately County Land Banks for other eligible counties. He has written for the Washington Post and was on “60 Minutes” discussing the need to fund demolition in distressed urban areas. He was the driving force behind the Ohio Attorney General’s decision to allocate $75 million from the robo-signing settlement for demolition, the Department of Treasury’s decision to allow for the reallocation of $79 million in Hardest Hit Funds for demolition, Cuyahoga County’s decision to float a $50 million demolition bond, and the most recent decision by Treasury to allocate an additional $192 million to County Land Banks in Ohio.

Joe Roman
President and CEO
Greater Cleveland Partnership
Cleveland, OH

Joseph D. Roman (Joe) is president and chief executive officer of the Greater Cleveland Partnership (GCP), one of the nation's largest metropolitan chambers of commerce with more than 10,000 members. The organization is governed by a Board of Directors of more than 70 CEOs and business owners who lead small, mid-sized and the largest companies in Northeast Ohio, as well as the region’s major health care and educational organizations.

GCP’s current areas of focus include preserving competitive air service at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport; helping to reform the Cleveland Metropolitan School District and public education in the city; and continuing to support the development of Cleveland’s downtown business district, lakefront and other major projects throughout the region. Other priorities are addressed through GCP’s advocacy platform, one of the most robust efforts by a U.S. metro chamber.

In addition, the organization works through its small business partner, COSE (the Council of Smaller Enterprises), to support small business growth and the Commission on Economic Inclusion, a GCP program that plays a leadership role in advancing inclusion within the northeastern Ohio employer community.

Roman previously served as executive director of Cleveland Tomorrow, an organization that was committed to pursuing projects and initiatives that were fundamental to the long-term economic vitality of the region. During his tenure, Cleveland Tomorrow was recognized by Harvard Business School as one of the most innovative and successful regional business organizations in the country. Roman also helped to found critical economic development organizations in the region such as BioEnterprise, JumpStart, NorTech and the Cleveland Plus Marketing Alliance.

Earlier in his career, Roman worked on Capitol Hill as both a congressional staff person and as a lobbyist for manufacturing trade associations. He has a bachelor's degree from the State University of New York and a master's degree in public administration from Harvard University.

His board memberships include the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association, MAGNET, BioEnterprise, the Cleveland Transformation Alliance, Downtown Cleveland Alliance, Team NEO, and Cleveland Development Advisors, an affiliate real estate investment fund of GCP.

He is a vice chair of the 2016 Republican National Convention Host Committee and chair of the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives.

Joe was born in Cleveland and has spent his working career entirely in the city.

Della G. Rucker, CEcD, AICP
Wise Economy Workshop
Cincinnati, OH

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.

David Ruppersberger
The Pittsburgh Regional Alliance
Pittsburgh, PA

David Ruppersberger is the President of the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance (PRA), an affiliate of the Allegheny Conference on Community Development. The PRA markets the benefits of conducting business in southwestern Pennsylvania to companies all over the world that are growing, relocating or expanding. Before joining the Conference, Mr. Ruppersberger served as the Director of Joint Economic Development Initiatives for Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh from June 2013 to April 2015. Prior to June 2012, Mr. Ruppersberger served as president and CEO of The Technology Collaborative, a technology-based economic development organization created by the merger of the Pittsburgh Digital Greenhouse (PDG) and the Robotics Foundry in January 2005. Mr. Ruppersberger joined the Pittsburgh Digital Greenhouse team in 2000 and became president & CEO in 2003.

Mr. Ruppersberger’s experience includes senior management positions with Unisys, Symbolics, and Carnegie Group, Inc., CEO positions for two high tech start-ups in the Pittsburgh area, and a partnership in a retail business. Mr. Ruppersberger has been active in the Pittsburgh high technology community for over 30 years. He has served on many local Boards and is an Executive Fellow in the Center for Economic Development at Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz College. Mr. Ruppersberger has a degree in Economics from the University of Pittsburgh.

Don C. Schjeldahl
DSG Advisors
Kent, OH

Don Schjeldahl is founder of DSG Advisors, a consulting practice that assists corporate clients in developing location strategy and site selection for manufacturing, distribution, and office facilities. Prior to this, Don served for 27 years as a site consultant and practice leader for The Austin Company, Cleveland, OH. Don recently spent 18 months working for Sierra Nevada Brewing on their Mills River, NC brewery construction project where he supported sustainability initiatives. Mr. Schjeldahl has for more than a decade focused on markets associated with the new energy economy and corporate sustainability. Mr. Schjeldahl has performed or directed nearly 300 location strategy assignments, working throughout North America, Mexico, and Europe.

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

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

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

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

Christian Schock
Economic Development Manager
City of Wausau
Wausau, WI

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

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

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

Boštjan Skalar
World Association of Investment Promotion Agencies
Istanbul, Turkey

Boštjan Skalar is a CEO of World Association of Investment Promotion Agencies. WAIPA is the umbrella organization of worldwide investment promotion agencies established in 1995 in Geneva with UNCTAD’s initiative. Previously he served as a Director of Slovenian Public Agency for Promotion of Investment, Internationalization, Entrepreneurship and Tourism (SPIRIT). He is also a former Consul for Economic Affairs in Turkey. He studied in the Faculty of Economics in Maribor where he graduated in marketing. He has effectively managed companies in the automobile sector, the printing industry, worked with cladding materials and also worked in the real estate sector where his travels took him to many countries. He has over 20 years of management experience and is one of the global leaders in investment promotion with a private-sector focus.

David Smith
Executive Vice President, Economic Development Sector Leader
DHR International
Pittsburgh, PA

David P. Smith is Executive Vice President with DHR International a premier global executive search firm. Headquartered in Chicago, DHR is the nation’s fifth largest retained search firm with more than 50 office locations throughout the world, and is known as the fastest growing and most innovative firm in the industry. Mr. Smith serves as DHR’s Sector Leader in Economic Development and Planning.

Mr. Smith has been a leader in the field of executive search for over 27 years. Prior to joining DHR, he owned and operated a “boutique” search firm specializing in emerging growth and technology based industries, and economic development.

He is a member of, or has professional relationships with, numerous professional economic development organizations, i.e., American Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE), International Economic Development Council (IEDC), International Downtown Association (IDA), the American Planning Association (APA), the Association of University Research Parks (AURP), National Association of State Venture Funds (NASVF), the State Science and Technology Institute (SSTI), Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), Battelle Technology Partners (Public Technology Management), Urban Land Institute (ULI), and the National Association of Regional Councils (NARC).

Prior to entering the executive search field, Mr. Smith was a career Army officer where he served in numerous command and staff leadership positions. He is a decorated combat veteran having served two combat tours in the Republic of Vietnam with the 101st Airborne Division and with the United States Army Special Forces “Green Berets.”

Mr. Smith was born and raised in the foothills of the Adirondacks. He studied Liberal Arts at the State University of New York at Brockport and the University of South Carolina. Active in numerous professional and community organizations, Mr. Smith has served on the Board of the Pittsburgh Chapter of the American Red Cross and the Board of the Pittsburgh Chapter of the American Heart Association. Mr. Smith is a past president of his Parish Council, a former Co-Chairman of the Reorganization and Revitalization Task Force, and a member of Serra International. As a Serran, he has served as president and district governor.

Luke Smith
City of Logan
City of Logan, Queensland, Australia

Mayor Luke Smith was first elected as a Logan City Divisional Councillor in 2006, and served the community in this capacity for 10 years until his election as Mayor in 2016.

Mayor Smith was born and raised in the City of Logan, and prior to his time in Council, he worked in the television news industry and completed an Arts degree at the University of Cincinnati in the United States. During his ten years in Council, Cr Smith chaired a number of committees, and has been a panel member of several internal and external boards, including: Chair of the Governance, Finance and Economic Development Committee; Chair of the Audit Committee; Member of the Executive Review Panel; Director of Invest Logan; Chair of the Logan Enterprises Board and Council’s Water and Waste Committee; and he is an active Ambassador for Kidsafe Queensland.

Mayor Smith is committed to building upon Logan City’s strong foundations, and pursuing new opportunities for the city in digital technology and advanced manufacturing, public private partnerships, and driving innovation and job creation to create a strong economy and a prosperous future for the city’s rapidly growing population.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Marilyn Swartz-Lloyd
President and CEO
Boston, MA

Marilyn Swartz-Lloyd is the President and CEO of MASCO, the area planner and service provider for the 23 institutions in the Longwood Medical and Academic Area. MASCO offers its members land development, transportation and sustainability planning, parking options, shuttle services and office space, telecommunications and child care. Previously, Ms. Swartz-Lloyd was Senior Advisor to the President of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. She was also Principal in the BRF&G Consulting Group, advising clients in real estate, strategic planning and economic development. She had been President of Beacon Management Company and CEO of the Economic Development and Industrial Corporation of Boston.

Ms. Swartz-Lloyd is currently on the Board of Directors of Lau Technologies and NAIOP, a founding member of Northeastern’s Center for Urban and Regional Policy, a founding member and president of the Massachusetts Women’s Forum, a trustee of the Boston Architectural College, a member of the Urban Land Institute’s infrastructure product council, an Honorary Board member of Dimock Community Health Center, and an Honorary Life Member of the International Economic Development Council.

She has published and spoken internationally on topics ranging from transportation access, city planning and economic development to women in business and anchor institutions.

Ms. Swartz-Lloyd holds a BA in government from Smith College and a Master of City Planning from Yale University.

David C. Sweet, PhD
Past President
Youngstown State University
Charlotte, NC

David C. Sweet After a decade of service, Dr. Sweet retired in 2010 as President Emeritus of Youngstown State University. During his tenure, he provided leadership for the university’s major enrollment growth reaching 15,000 students, expansion of academic programs including the state's first College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics as well as successful fund raising initiatives. His priorities also included construction of new facilities including a College of Business Administration building, student dormitories, a student recreation center and other enhancements to the campus in a downtown setting. One of his major goals was the formation of university-community partnerships. These efforts were recognized by the American Planning Association with their Excellence Award for Public Outreach. During his career, he was the founding Dean and a Professor of the Levin College of Urban Affairs at Cleveland State University, Commissioner of the Ohio Public Utilities Commission, and Director of the Ohio Department of Development, responsible for the State’s economic and community development programs. His career started as a regional economist at Battelle Institute in Columbus, Ohio. Dr. Sweet joined AIDC in 1964 and served in numerous roles becoming Chair of the American Economic Development Council in 1983-84, the first academic to serve in this position. Upon retirement he and his wife, Pat, retired to Charlotte to be closer to family.

Jennifer Syx
InSITE Advisory Group
Fairlawn, OH

Caroline Taich
Senior Partner
JumpStart, Inc
Cleveland, OH

Caroline Taich is a Senior Partner at JumpStart, Inc. Caroline leads the design and growth of a portfolio of products and services to help regions realize their entrepreneurial potential. Prior to joining JumpStart, Caroline spent fourteen years at McKinsey & Company as a Consultant and Advisor, with expertise in the industrial sector, financial services and healthcare. Most recently, Caroline collaborated with McKinsey entrepreneurs to launch and grow over eight startups with new products and services that use data, technology, and analytics to drive insight. Among other accomplishments, she served as Chief Operating Officer for an insurance Solution, managing the monthly P&L, budget and recruitment strategy and tracking the client pipeline & sales funnel; led design of a new business concept and business plan for a McKinsey Solution in the pharmaceutical industry; and developed product strategy for an asset-based consulting service. Caroline has a Bachelor of Science in Economics, cum laude, from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and received an MBA with a concentration in finance from the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University. She cares deeply about the arts, and is the Board 2nd Vice President at The Fine Arts Association in Willoughby.

Michael J. Taylor
Senior Vice President
Community Development Banking PNC Bank
Cleveland, OH

Michael J. Taylor is senior vice president, West Territory Executive, for PNC Bank. He is responsible for community and economic development activities for Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, and Wisconsin. Prior to this he was the president and executive director of the National City Community Development Corporation, the first community development corporation founded by a financial services company. The Community Development Corporation invested more than $1.5 billion in revitalizing neighborhoods.

Mr. Taylor has experience in both private and public sector community and economic development, as well as twenty-eight years of banking experience. He has held the position of senior vice president and executive director of Michigan Multi-Cities Community Development Association. He has served as community development specialist for the National City CDC, and commercial/community development manager for National City Bank – Southeast Michigan. His responsibilities included expanding the CDC investment and loan portfolio in Illinois and Indiana, and coordinating the corporation’s commercial com-munity development lending activities for the Southeast Michigan Region. He directed bank commercial loan activities in the Detroit Empowerment Zone and other targeted markets, and functioned as product manager for the Initiative Small Business Loan Product. From 1986 to 1990, he served as executive director for the Saginaw Economic Development Corporation in Saginaw, Michigan.

Michael Taylor is a graduate of Central Michigan University with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and a master’s degree in Administration. He is also a graduate of Robert M. Perry School of Banking. During his career, he has received numerous awards and recognition for outstanding contributions and service to the community.

Stephen Taylor, CEcD
Development Director
Kentucky Highlands Investment Corporation
London, KY

Rodolfo Telles
Economist, Office of the Chief Economist, Economics and Statistics Administration
U.S. Department of Commerce
Washington, DC

Amy Terrill
Executive Vice President
Music Canada
Toronto, Ontario CA

Amy is Executive Vice President at Music Canada. Amy plays a key role in the development and implementation of Music Canada’s government and stakeholder relations portfolio and is responsible for developing and implementing Music Canada’s branding, communications and media relations strategies. She has also led the organization’s research activities since 2010 which have included the publication of BC’s Music Sector – From Adversity to Opportunity, The Mastering of a Music City – Key Elements, Effective Strategies and Why It’s Worth Pursuing, Live Music Measures Up – An Economic Impact Analysis of Live Music in Ontario, The Next Big Bang – A New Direction for Music in Canada, Accelerating Toronto’s Music Industry Growth - Leveraging Best Practices from Austin Texas, Fertile Ground - Alberta Music Cities Initiative and Economic Impact Analysis of the Sound Recording Industry in Canada. Amy has been instrumental in Music Canada’s efforts to unite a broad coalition of industry members in a bid to promote live performance, music tourism and Toronto as a music city. She is passionate about the development of music cities, and is an authority on best practices and key learnings, many of which are featured in The Mastering of a Music City report.

Allison J.H. Thompson, CEcD, EDFP
Director of Economic Development and Tourism
City of Cedar Hill
Cedar Hill, TX

Allison Thompson has been in economic development for over 17 years and has worked with the City of Cedar Hill, Texas since April of 2007. Currently she is Director of Economic Development and Tourism for the City as well as Executive Director for the Cedar Hill Economic Development Corporation.

Allison has earned professional certifications from both the International Economic Development Council (CEcD) and the National Development Council (EDFP). A graduate of the Economic Development Institute of the University of Oklahoma (OU/EDI), she also holds an MA in Urban Affairs from the University of Texas of Arlington and a BS in Criminal Justice from Texas Christian University.

Ms. Thompson sits on the Board of Directors of the International Economic Development Council and is the current Chair of the Economic Development Research Partners (EDRP). She is also on the boards of the Texas Economic Development Council, the Industrial Asset Management Council, the Southwest Chapter of CoreNet Global, the North Texas Commission, the Best Southwest Partnership, and the Cedar Hill Chamber of Commerce.

Catherine Timko
The Riddle Company
Washington, DC

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

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

Peter Tokar, III, MBA
Economic Development Director
City of Alpharetta
Alpharetta, GA

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.

Michelle Tomallo
Co-founder and President
FIT Technologies
Cleveland, OH

Michelle Tomallo, Co-founder and President of FIT Technologies, provides a full range of managed IT services where FIT’s team serves as the technology department for organizations or handles IT projects in collaboration with existing client tech staff. FIT supports small- and mid-sized companies, non-profits, and K-12 schools across the state of Ohio and in various cities nationwide. Founded in 1999, FIT is certified as a female-owned and LGBT-owned enterprise.

Michelle has 20 years of senior-level management experience and currently focuses on business development, marketing and change management. Prior to co-founding the company, Tomallo worked as a strategic development consultant for non-profits and was a marketing director in hospice, long-term care and home care. Tomallo also has 10 years experience in adult education/training and corporate event planning. 

Outside of her responsibilities at her company, Michelle has been involved in Plexus, the LGBT and Allied Chamber of Commerce since 2008 and currently serves at the Board President. Michelle is active in committees at COSE, Greater Cleveland Partnership, and in women’s networking groups and neighborhood development. Michelle speaks both regionally and nationally on economic equality, business certification, entrepreneurship, and supplier diversity. Michelle was involved for four years with Gay Games 2014 in a variety of roles and saw firsthand the power of inclusion on economic development. She loves being involved in the on-going transformation of the region by participating in many arts, advocacy and culture events.

Catherine C. Tompkins
Squire Patton Boggs
Cleveland, OH

Catherine Corrigan Tompkins’ practice includes representing governmental entities and private companies with economic development projects and public-private partnerships. Catherine advises clients on urban renewal and redevelopment, tax increment financing, tax abatements, community reinvestment areas and special improvement districts.

Additionally, Catherine serves as bond counsel for tax-exempt pollution control and solid waste facility financings for electric utility and industrial companies and for tax-exempt financings for private colleges and universities.

Prior to joining the firm, Catherine served as a judicial clerk to The Honorable Terrence O’Donnell of the Ohio Court of Appeals for the Eighth District, currently a justice on the Supreme Court of Ohio, and to The Honorable Donald C. Nugent of the United States District Court, Northern District of Ohio.

Catherine serves on the firm’s hiring committee. In the community she is a member of the board of directors of Saint Augustine Health Campus, a member of the advisory committee of the Downtown Cleveland Alliance and a past member of the Advisory Group to the United States District Court, Northern District of Ohio. She is a member of the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association.

Matias Valenzuela
Director, Office of Equity and Social Justice
King County
Seattle, WA

Matias Valenzuela, Ph.D., is the Director of the Office of Equity and Social Justice in King County, a countywide effort to address the root causes of inequities working with all county agencies and the community. He has worked for 15 years at King County, including as a lead for the equity work since its inception in early 2008. He has also worked for Public Health – Seattle & King County, collaborating with local organizations and residents to advance the public’s health. His areas of expertise include policy and planning, community engagement and development, training, evaluation, language access, grant writing, communication and media advocacy, and of course equity. Early in his career, he worked as a print and broadcast journalist in the United States and abroad. He has taught as a Fulbright professor in Nicaragua, and he is an Affiliate Assistant Professor at the University of Washington’s School of Public Health and Community Medicine.

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

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

Judith Walker
Executive Director, Corporate Services
OCO Global
Belfast, Northern Ireland

Judith Walker has extensive public and private sector experience gained over the last 23 years.

Judith joined OCO Global in 2007 and now leads Marketing Services and OCO’s Products division as well as managing the Corporate Services of the organization. Judith is part of the Senior Management Team at OCO and has successfully overseen the expansion of services and the client base in the last 10 years. In the last year, Judith has been focussed on working with a number of US clients to develop and co-ordinate their international marketing efforts.

OCO has worked with more than 300 EDOs delivering services ranging from strategy development through to trade mission co-ordination and business attraction. Judith joined OCO from Invest Northern Ireland (Invest NI). At Invest NI, she was responsible for the International Marketing efforts of the organization with a particular focus on proposition development and working with other key stakeholders to evolve and develop the long term location attractiveness for international investors. Judith’s key skills include market and sector analysis, marketing strategy, marketing communications, product development, proposition development and training.

Laith A. Wardi, CEcD
ExecutivePulse, Inc.
Erie, PA

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.

Sheri Gonzales Warren
GradForce KC Program Director
Mid-America Regional Council
Kansas City, MO

Sheri Gonzales Warren has been involved in economic development since 2001. She began this work at a large, public university to help develop curriculum in response to workforce needs. She then spent a series of years living and working overseas to create market-driven, community development systems that address basic human needs. She joined Mid-America Regional Council in 2015 to help spur inclusive economic opportunity in the place she calls home – Kanas City. She currently leads the workforce development efforts in the community and economic development department. She has been the lead staff for the Lumina funded education attainment effort known as GradForce KC – which is focused on improving attainment among low-income, minority and first generation students as well as adults (25+) with some college and no degree. She also supports the human capital component of a business led, economic development initiative known as KC Rising. Sheri holds a Master’s in Public Administration from the University of Kansas.

Will Warren, CEcD
Consultant, Solutions Delivery
JumpStart Inc.
Cleveland, OH

Will Warren works as a consultant in the Solutions Delivery Practice for JumpStart Inc., a non-profit venture development organization working to unlock the full potential of diverse and ambitious entrepreneurs to economically transform entire communities. As a project lead in solutions delivery, Will works with a broad range of clients, to support the delivery of economic development solutions that help foster community economic vitality. He is a Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) through IEDC and business leader with 10 years of experience in regional and local economic development and public policy. His experience includes both leadership roles in, and consulting to, non-profits, government and public/private economic development entities. Prior to joining JumpStart, Will worked for the City of Cleveland’s Department of Economic Development, as a Development Officer focusing his efforts on developing Cleveland’s Innovation District, the Health-Tech Corridor. Throughout his career, Will has contributed to economic development projects across the United States, including strategic planning, land use, real estate and brownfield development, financing, business retention and expansion, marketing and regional policy development. Will holds a Masters of Public Administration from the University of Kentucky and a BS in Chemistry from Western Kentucky University.

Robyn Webb, BREP, CCPT
Director, National Connector Program
Halifax Partnership
Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

As the Director of Labor Market Development, National Connector Program, Robyn leads the Partnership’s talent attraction and retention initiatives, including the Connector Program. Robyn partners with and supports Canadian communities and industry associations interested in launching the Connector Program.

With a strong business acumen and considerable sales experience, Robyn has advanced communication skills that allow her to actively engage all levels of decision makers and build productive relationships with a diverse client base. Robyn has a solid background in Human Resources and Recruitment. She has an extensive background in promoting Nova Scotia as the best possible choice for North American and European companies looking to expand into Canada. Robyn has been working in Business and Retention since 2004 and is proud to have served on the BREI board. Robyn has a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Saint Mary’s University and is a Canadian Certified Professional Trainer.

Rick L. Weddle, FM, HLM
President and CEO
Hampton Roads Economic Development Alliance
Norfolk, VA

Rick L. Weddle joined the Hampton Roads Economic Development Alliance as President & CEO in April 2016. In his role, he leads the operations of a regional marketing organization with a 9-person staff that represents 11 municipalities and over 75 private sector investors in the Hampton Roads region. Prior to joining HREDA, Rick spent five years as President and CEO of the Orlando Economic Development Commission. Over the course of his tenure, Rick created more than 17,000 jobs with an annual payroll of $800 million, more than $1 billion in capital investment and 5.3 million square feet of space absorbed.

Before leading Orlando’s ED Commission, Rick spent seven years as President and CEO of the Research Triangle Foundation of North Carolina, owner and developer of The Research Triangle Park. Under his leadership, the Research Triangle Park has generated successful development projects with projected capital investment of over $800 million and the projected creation of over 6,300 new, high-quality jobs. During his tenure, the Foundation assisted in recruiting 18 new firms and facilitating four expansions to the Park, compared to the historical average of one to two locates per year.

Before North Carolina, Rick led the Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC) from 1997-2004. During his tenure at the GPEC as President and CEO, he assisted 170 companies with expansions and/or relocations to Greater Phoenix, creating over 26,000 jobs with a total payroll of $1 billion. The average salary for jobs created under Rick's leadership increased from $33,597 to $41,945 from 1997-2004. The companies in the Greater Phoenix region generated $1.8 billion in capital investment, approximately $224 million in annual state, county and community revenues, and resulted in the absorption of 13 million square feet of industrial and office space.

Prior to arriving in Phoenix, Rick spent four years in Toledo, Ohio, where he served as President and CEO of the Regional Growth Partnership (RGP). Under his leadership, RGP assisted 119 companies with expansions and/or relocations, creating 4,016 jobs and generating $1.5 billion in capital investment. From 1991-93, Rick was President and CEO of the San Joaquin Partnership & Business Council in Stockton, California. In two years, the partnership brought 1,200 jobs and $100 million in capital investment to the area. From 1987-91, he was in North Carolina where he was President and CEO of Winston-Salem Business Inc. This organization brought 1,200 new jobs and $58 million in capital investment to the region.

An active speaker and leader in numerous economic development and science park organizations, Rick currently serves as the Immediate Past President of the International Association of Science Parks (IASP). From 2007-09, he served as the President of IASP-North American Division. During his two-year term as N.A. Division President, he served on the IASP's International Board of Directors, and The Research Triangle Park hosted the 2009 IASP World Conference on Science and Technology Parks.

Active in the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) since its inception, Rick, a Fellow Member, was awarded the designation of Honorary Life Member in 2007 and received the 2009 Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in Economic Development in honor of Edward deLuca. In 2002, Rick was elected as the first Chairman of the Board of the IEDC, an organization formed by the merger of the American Economic Development Council (AEDC) and the Council for Urban and Economic Development (CUED). He was elected to AEDC's Board of Directors in 1995, and in 1998 was appointed Western Regional Vice Chair of the Executive Committee. Rick chaired AEDC's Education Board (1994-96) and its Preeminence Task Force (1994-96). In addition, he has served on numerous gubernatorial-appointed task forces and working committees, including the Arizona Partnership for the New Economy (2000-01), the Ohio Economic Development Advisory Committee (1996) and Co-Chair of Reality Check, a joint effort of the Urban Land Institute and Triangle Tomorrow (2007-10). He is also a policy board member of the Team Florida Marketing Partnership, LLC.

Dale Wheeldon
President & CEO
British Columbia Economic Development Association
Chilliwack, BC, Canada

As President and CEO of the British Columbia Economic Development Association, Dale brings over 24 years of knowledge along with a varied background in economic development and local government, both in small and large communities. Previously Dale received his Certificate in Economic Development from the University of Waterloo. He has served as President of the BC Economic Development Association and as a Director of the Economic Developers Association of Canada. Dale and his teams have won numerous awards including Economic Development Officer of the Year Award, marketing, and the BCEDA Presidents award for work on disaster economic recovery. Dale has an excellent reputation of developing economic development strategies, business retention programs and more for communities in BC. In the past year Dale has delivered 28 workshops on economic development for local leaders in BC and Alaska.

The BC Economic Development Association membership represents 95% of all local governments in BC. The association has grown from 133 members in 2009 to over 425 members in 2014.

Virginia Sabia Wilkinson
Director of Strategy and Research
Detroit Economic Growth Corporation
Detroit, MI

Ms. Wilkinson has 20 years of experience in planning and economic development with work in private and public sectors.  Her primary career work has focused on developing strategy for natural resources and urban redevelopment efforts. Prior to joining the Detroit Economic Development Corporation, Ms. Wilkinson worked in public and private sector long-term planning for water resources development across the State of Texas.  Additionally Ms. Wilkinson's planning experience has focused on human-centered developments which support access to transit and amenities with an eye to complete neighborhoods.

Michael H. Williams
General Manager
City of Toronto, Economic Development & Culture Division
Chair of the 2017 Annual Conference Host Committee
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Mike joined the City of Toronto in 2009. His main responsibilities include the implementation of the City’s Economic Development Strategy, Collaborating for Competitiveness, and its Culture Plan, Creative Capital Gains. He also sits on the boards of a number of local agencies connected to the City of Toronto, and in a volunteer capacity, the board of George Brown College. Mike has spent the majority of his career in general management, research, marketing and consulting, locally and internationally.

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

Mike can be contacted at

Tina Winner
Executive Vice President
Pittsburgh, PA

Tina Winner serves as Partner for Jobplex, Inc., a DHR International Company, based in Pittsburgh, PA. DHR is the only major search firm with a dedicated Economic Development practice sector. Tina serves as a core member of this team as well as the firm’s Commercial Real Estate and Construction and Non-Profit practice groups.

Her practice includes successfully executing searches for clients in many industries including: Industrial Manufacturing, Heavy Equipment Manufacturers/Dealers, Oil & Gas/Energy, Financial/Professional Services, Private Equity, Consumer Packaged Goods, Life Sciences/Medical Devices/Healthcare, Distribution, Automotive, Aerospace, Construction, Education, Non-Profit/Economic Development, and Utilities.

Tina joins Jobplex from Boyden World Corporation, where she co-led the creation of Boyden Interim Management, a temporary manager / executive level contract labor practice.

Concurrently, Ms. Winner built a nationwide database of over two thousand senior leaders in various competencies and developed numerous best-in class resource tools for Boyden North America.

Previously, Ms. Winner served as a Project Manager for Legend Financial Advisors, Inc. Legend is an investment advisory firm providing Wealth Advisory Services, Comprehensive Financial Planning and Investment Management to affluent and wealthy individuals, business entities and nonprofit organizations.

Ms. Winner began her career in life sciences at Meridian Bio-Medical, Inc., a division of ALK-Abello A/S (Copenhagen: ALK-B), the world leader in allergy vaccination working within operations, customer service and then sales. Ms. Winner then advanced into training and sales roles with Laboratory Corporation of America (LabCorp-NYSE:LH) a pioneer in genomic testing and one of the world’s largest clinical laboratories.

Actively involved in community affairs, the Association for Corporate Growth (ACG), and Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW), Tina is a frequent speaker on job search strategies, executive recruiting, and personal branding. She serves as the co-facilitator for the Pittsburgh Chapter of ExecuNet.

Brian J. Wishneff
Brian Wishneff & Associates
Roanoke, VA

Mr. Wishneff oversees all BW&A operations including tax credit syndication and consulting, economic development consulting and real estate development. In this position, he has been involved in over $3 billion of business and real estate development throughout the U.S. He has a long history of consulting on a full range of governmental, development and economic planning issues, attended Virginia Tech, earning a B.A. in Political Science in 1975 and an M.A. in Urban and Regional Planning in 1977. Past positions include Director of the Hotel Roanoke Conference Center Commission and Chief of Economic Development for the City of Roanoke, VA. He is also a former adjunct faculty member at Virginia Tech’s School of Urban Planning and Affairs. Brian has been a frequent speaker at a variety of conferences on the subject of tax credits and other financial incentives.

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

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

Leah Woolford
Founder and CEO,
USDM Holdings
Austin, TX

Leah Woolford is one of the earliest marketers to experience firsthand the metamorphosis of the digital landscape. She continues to be a futurist peering at the next wave of digital innovations and mapping a path ahead of the curve. Woolford works with Public and Private Sector Development and Travel clients, as well as global brands, to guide strategy, develop emerging business models and advise on Smart Data marketing. Leah is an international author and speaker and has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Ad Age, ADWEEK, and others. Leah is a valued resource for private equity groups, public sector and worldwide brands.

USDM is a digital consultancy and marketing services company developing highly effective strategies for public and private economic development and travel. The company creates IMPACT through business insights, branding, digital strategy, customer engagement and digital advertising to generate sales. The firm’s methodology utilizes a Smart Data strategy to identify, reach, engage and motivate consumers in highly competitive marketplaces. USDM is headquartered in Austin, Texas, working with clients worldwide.



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