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IEDC 2015 Annual Conference | Anchorage, Alaska | October 4-7, 2015


Frank Altman
President and CEO
Community Reinvestment Fund USA
Minneapolis, MN

Frank Altman is President and CEO of Community Reinvestment Fund, USA. He pioneered the development of a secondary market for community and economic development loans when he established the organization. Under Altman’s leadership, CRF has grown from a small Minneapolis firm to a national organization serving community-based lenders across the country.

In addition, Altman is a founding member and first President of the Board of Directors of the New Markets Tax Credit Coalition. He helped design the creation of a federal tax credit to encourage private investment in low-income communities.

Prior to founding CRF, he served as Assistant Commissioner for Financial Management at the Minnesota Department of Energy and Economic Development, where he administered several loan programs designed to create jobs in energy-related industries, promote energy conservation in public and private buildings, and finance manufacturing facilities in small communities. Earlier in his career, he served as Manager of Energy Conservation and Residential Financing Programs at the Minnesota Energy Agency and as a housing officer at the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency.

In 2012, Altman was awarded the first Progress Minnesota Award. The Finance & Commerce Progress Minnesota awards program was established to recognize those individuals and companies who drive business and industrial growth and economic development in Minnesota in unique and innovative ways. In 2008, Altman and CRF received the Social Capitalist Award (“45 Social Entrepreneurs Who Are Changing the World”) from Fast Company magazine and Monitor Group. Altman also was named an Aspen Institute Fellow at the 2008 Aspen Ideas Festival, and Inc. Magazine recognized Altman in its 2004 Entrepreneur of the Year issue as one of the nation’s leading social entrepreneurs. The Small Business Administration recognized him as Financial Services Advocate of the Year in 1993.

He shares his expertise with numerous social and financial organizations across the country, including Center for Community Development Securities of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, The Financial Innovations Roundtable, Wall Street Without Walls, and US SIF—the Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment and the US SIF Foundation.

Roberto Alvarez
Executive Director
Global Federation of Competitiveness Councils - GFCC
Washington, DC

Executive Director of the Global Federation of Competitiveness Councils (GFCC – www.thegfcc.org), a network of 30+ organizations around the world devoted to accelerating competitiveness and prosperity. Before joining the GFCC, Roberto was a Senior Manager at the Brazilian Agency for Industrial Development (ABDI), where he designed and led bilateral innovation initiatives with the United States, Sweden and Germany, as well as economic integration initiatives with Africa and Latin America. He co-developed the C-Suite U.S. Brazil Innovation Summits and Innovation Learning Laboratory series, which catalyzed new BR-US joint ventures, research projects and policy learning. He also is the co-creator of the GFFC’s Competitiveness Decoder™ (decoder.thegfcc.org), a first-of-its-kind, data-based tool to visualize the key drivers of national competitiveness. Roberto worked as a management and operations consultant, co-founded 3 tech companies, taught graduated courses at different Brazilian universities and is an active angel investor. He has appeared in the media in Brazil and internationally. He was trained in Quality and Productivity at the Japan Productivity Center and is a SU GSP alumnus. He holds a B.S. degree in Civil Engineering and a M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in Industrial Engineering.

Susan Amring, CEcD, EcD
Director, Economic Development
City of Mississauga
Mississauga, ON

Susan Amring is the Director of Economic Development for the City of Mississauga, with more than 25 years of municipal government management experience covering, economic development, planning, communications and the Mayor’s Office. As her current responsibilities include business attraction, business retention, business start-up, marketing and research, Ms. Amring is always seeking opportunities to understand the evolving needs of business and match the offerings of the City of Mississauga with forward-looking businesses.

The City of Mississauga is a champion of business and continually strives to provide to its business sector the vital services and supports needed to flourish in a highly competitive market. As a first point of contact, the Economic Development Office (EDO) provides comprehensive services including: site selection assistance, government approval assistance, business start-up assistance, information and statistics, industry and business networks, and strategic business problem solving. With services tailored to meet the needs of each unique business, EDO takes an entrepreneurial approach to business problem solving and sees itself as part of its client’s team.

Ms. Amring has a Bachelor of Environmental Studies from the University of Waterloo and has received her designation as a Certified Economic Developer (Ec.D.) from the Economic Development Association of Canada.

Jason Anderson
Director, Economic Development
City of Rochelle/GREDCO
Rochelle, IL

Jason Anderson grew up in a small Midwestern industrial town of Sterling Illinois. He attended Texas A&M University where he earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in Management in 1979. Upon Graduation he went to work for Conoco Oil of Houston, Texas as an analyst in their Continental Pipeline Division. In 1983 he joined a small, but growing food packaging company by the name of Crest Foods, in Ashton IL (pop 1000). “Crest” is known as a premier contract packaging company for numerous Fortune 500 food companies. In 1989 Jason became the Director of Operations for Crest Foods and he was instrumental in spurring a 300% growth in sales and employment over the next decade. In 1998 Jason was appointed to the position of Northern Illinois Director for United States Senator Peter G. Fitzgerald. Jason’s primary responsibilities involved being a liaison between local units of government, state and federal agencies, local industries and Senator Fitzgerald’s Washington DC office.

In 2005 he became the Economic Development Director for the City of Rochelle, Illinois and the Executive Director of the Greater Rochelle Economic Development Corporation (GREDCO). Since assuming his duties in Rochelle (pop 9,574), the City has welcomed 15 new industries and facilitated 17 plant expansions. Since 2003 the City of Rochelle has experienced an increase of $1.2 Billion in industrial capital investment and added more than 2000 new industrial related jobs.

Jason is known for his passion for small communities along with a drive to promote regional collaboration among units of government and EDC’s . He is known as a motivational speaker who is willing to share the “secrets to economic success” that the City of Rochelle Illinois has discovered over the past 25 years.

Angelos Angelou
Founder & Principal Executive Officer
Angelou Economics
Austin, TX

During his 30 years of experience of Economic Development and Strategic work, including 11 years as Vice president of Economic Development of the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce, Angelos has sat on both sides of the negotiation table. He has represented numerous private clients, including fortune 500 companies as well as assisting many national and international EDOs during the negotiation process. He has sited over $18 billion in capital investment projects and has extensive experience with the specific needs and requirements for a variety of industries through work with clients such as Dell, Boeing, ConocoPhillips, Toyota, Dimension Advisors, GE, Oracle, Exodus Communications, Baryonyx Corporation and Sun Microsystems, including incentives negotiations ranging from $5 million to over $1 billion. Angelos’s work also includes site identification & analysis of in the U.S. and internationally; economic analysis of site alternatives, including weighted analysis and isolation of factors that could be affected by incentives; and support for corporate facilities groups seeking to explore what alternatives exist and their impact on the bottom line.

Katie Baker
Kauffman Foundation
Kansas City, MO

Katie Baker is a manager in Communications for the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. She joined the Foundation in 2007, and currently directs one of the Foundation’s Web platforms, iStart, a community for business competitions. She has been involved with iStart since its inception in early 2010, helping to develop and execute the community’s business model, implement an overall marketing campaign, and handle day-to-day operations to ensure the site’s success. Katie and her team have assisted in the running of over 560 competitions over the last 5 years. She is a pitch coach for many startups and has had several of the teams she has coached go on to win pitch competitions. In addition to her role with iStart, she also oversees many sponsorships, and the planning and execution of events.

Gary Ballew, CEcD
Director of Economic Development & Marketing
Port of Pasco
Pasco, WA

Gary has been in the Economic Development business for 19 years, both private and public. He is a Certified Economic Developer through the International Economic Development Council and is currently the Director of Economic Development and Marketing for the Port of Pasco and the Executive Director for the Wine Science Center Development Authority. Previously he was the Economic Development Manager for the City of Richland and his work at Richland included special projects, such as the Wine Science Center and Broadband Initiative, as well as managing economic development and redevelopment programs within the City. Gary received a Master of Science in Environmental Engineering, a Bachelor of Science in Civil and Environmental Engineering and a Bachelor of Arts in Hotel and Restaurant Administration, all from Washington State University. He is a former Governor’s Executive Fellow for the Department of Community, Trade and Economic Development and a Research Assistant for Battelle Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and Washington State Universities Laboratory for Atmospheric Research. Gary lives in Richland with his wife Karen, his daughter Emma (16), his son Sean (14), and the dog Shadow (8ish).

Doug Bartz
Workforce Development Manager
Kenosha County
Kenosha, WI

Doug Bartz is a 13 year veteran of the workforce development system. Doug currently serves in the capacity of Manager of the Kenosha County Job Center. He is also the Director of both the Local Kenosha County Workforce Board and the Southeast Wisconsin Workforce Development Board, covering the counties of Kenosha, Racine and Walworth. As a member of several different foundation boards, committees, and community organizations, Doug provides his workforce expertise as needed. Doug is a seven year Veteran of the US Army and National Guard, and was awarded the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal for his service overseas during Operation Uphold Democracy in Haiti.

Doug obtained his B.A. in Criminal Justice from Northwestern State University Louisiana. He also worked as a Federal Correctional officer which helped him realize the need for workforce development for those leaving the overloaded justice system.

Mark Begich
Former U.S. Senator
President and CEO of Northern Compass Group, LLC
Northern Compass Group, LLC
Anchorage, AK

Mark Begich is the President and CEO of Northern Compass Group, LLC. A businessman since age 14 and a public servant with decades of experience, Begich has built an impressive record of accomplishments. During his tenure in the Anchorage Assembly, as the mayor of Anchorage, and as U.S. Senator for Alaska, Mark Begich earned the reputation of a hard-working, pragmatic problem-solver who was willing to work across party lines to get things done.

Quickly rising to leadership positions in the Senate, Begich was Chairman of both the Steering and Outreach Committee and the Oceans Subcommittee. He also served on influential committees including Appropriations, Commerce, Veterans, Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, Armed Services, and Indian Affairs. In addition, Begich was appointed to the President’s Export Council, the national advisory board to the White House on important export and trade policy. Begich was also named Chair of the bipartisan U.S.-China Inter-parliamentary Group aimed at improving trade relations between the U.S. and China.

Christi Bell
Associate Vice Provost & Executive Director
University of Alaska Anchorage Business Enterprise Institute
Anchorage, AK

Susan Bell
McDowell Group
Juneau, AK

Susan Bell, McDowell Group Susan Bell is a principal with McDowell Group, a research and consulting firm that conducts community and business development plans, economic analyses, feasibility studies, and public opinion research for public and private sector clients. Susan recently rejoined the firm after serving as the State of Alaska’s Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development Commissioner. There, she led state initiatives to market Alaska domestically and internationally; develop Alaska’s renewable and traditional energy resources; and enhance the state’s business climate. She has served as State Co-Chair of the Denali Commission and as a board member for the Alaska Railroad Corporation, Alaska Energy Authority, Alaska Gasline Development Corporation, and Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority. Formerly a Goldbelt Vice President, Susan was responsible for acquisition and growth for many of the Alaska Native Corporation’s business ventures. Originally from Nome, Susan is a shareholder of Bering Straits Native Corporation and Sitnasuak Native Corporation. She volunteers for Big Brothers Big Sisters and enjoys spending time outdoors with her husband and Labrador retrievers.

David Berzina, CEcD, FM
Executive Vice President
Economic Development Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce
Fort Worth, TX

David Berzina is the Executive Vice President of Economic Development for the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce, a 2,200-member organization. He oversees a $1.5 million annual operating budget that funds initiatives designed for recruiting and retaining businesses, creating jobs, securing capital investment and generating tax revenue to support the greater Fort Worth region. Additionally, he interfaces with local, regional and state agencies in coordinating partnerships and facilitating economic incentives that have resulted in successful relocations and expansions of hundreds of companies, including Fortune 500 global leaders.

Berzina has played a pivotal role in building consensus among stakeholders on key issues such as impact fees and has also galvanized support among public and private sector partners on legislation affecting economic development policy and Texas’ pro-business environment. He was appointed by the Fort Worth Mayor to serve on an MWBE (Minority/Woman-Owned Business Enterprise) ordinance committee that was responsible for developing Fort Worth’s policy on city contracts with MWBE vendors.

Economic development projects that Berzina has recruited and secured have resulted in excess of 16 million square feet of building space, $3.7 billion in capital investment, more than 25,000 jobs, and more than $1.3 billion in annual payroll. Notable company names include General Motors, General Electric, Novartis, Q-Edge, RadioShack, Whirlpool Corporation, Bell Helicopter, and American Airlines.

Prior to joining the Fort Worth Chamber in 2004, Berzina served for 16 years in CEO and executive management positions for chambers of commerce and economic development organizations in Texas, Michigan, and Louisiana.

Berzina is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and also holds the designation of Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) from the International Economic Development Council. He is also a graduate of the ACCE Institute for Organizational Management at the University of Delaware. He serves on the national Board of Directors of the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) as well as on the Texas Economic Development Council board.

In 1993, Berzina was named one of the outstanding Leaders in Geo Economics by Site Selection magazine. In 2012 Site Selection magazine recognized the Fort Worth Chamber as one of the nation’s “Top 20” economic development organizations for the fifth time in eight years; the Fort Worth Chamber is the second organization under Berzina’s leadership to receive this prestigious designation.

Locally, Berzina serves on the executive committee of the Dallas/Fort Worth Marketing Team, which represents 62 communities and a population of 6.6 million people in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, the nation’s fourth-largest MSA. He also serves on the board of Workforce Solutions of Tarrant County and Fort Worth Sister Cities and serves on the Mayor’s Commission for the Homeless, the City’s Development Advisory Committee, and the City’s Minority and Women’s Business Advisory Council. He is a past president of the Greater Fort Worth Area Economic Development Association.

Berzina and his wife, Kim, have a 13-year-old son, Christopher, and a 7-year-old daughter, Brooke. He is in his 7th year of coaching football and basketball for the YMCA.

Caroline Beteta
President & CEO
Visit California
Sacramento, CA

Caroline Beteta serves as President & CEO of the industry-led Visit California, a nonprofit organization created to market California as a premier travel destination and to increase the state’s share of tourism-related revenues.

Caroline recently finished a term as Chair of the Board of Brand USA, where she provided strategic direction for the $200 million global program. Before that, she served two years as Vice Chair of Operations. During a two-year term as National Chair of the U.S. Travel Association, she guided the successful merger of the Travel Industry Association with the Travel Business Roundtable (to form the U.S. Travel Association). Additionally, she has received numerous awards for her creative work and leadership in the travel industry, including 2009 State Tourism Director of the Year and the Robert Mondavi Wine & Food Award in 2013.

Caroline simultaneously serves as the Director of Tourism in California’s Governor’s Office of Business & Economic Development (GO-Biz). In her dual capacity, she is responsible for implementing Visit California’s $100 million global marketing program and serves as the lead spokesperson for California’s $117 billion travel industry. Caroline has shepherded the growth of Visit California into a global marketing franchise whose brand advertising alone generated incremental visitor spending returns of more than $9.5 billion in 2013. Under her leadership, California’s share of U.S. domestic travel has grown by more than 1 percent, bringing tens of millions of additional visitors to the state every year.

Caroline holds a bachelor’s degree in International Relations from the University of California at Los Angeles. She obtained a master’s degree in Public Administration/Intergovernmental Affairs from the University of Southern California. She has also completed the Stanford Graduate School of Business Executive Marketing Management Program.

For more about Visit California, visit industry.visitcalifornia.com

Jon Bittner
Vice President
Anchorage Economic Development Corporation
Anchorage, AK

Barry Broome
President & CEO
Greater Sacramento Area Economic Council
Sacramento, CA

Barry Broome is the first President & CEO of the Greater Sacramento Area Economic Council (“Greater Sacramento”) in California’s capital region. Greater Sacramento was created when a group of area CEOs united behind a vision to significantly boost economic development in the region with a more active, hands-on role in the region’s economic development organization.

Broome was previously at the helm of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC), one of the longest-standing regional public-private partnerships for economic development. He is a proven leader with nearly 25 years of experience in community building and economic development, new company creation, formation of public-private partnerships, and public policy design. Broome’s tenure at GPEC led to the attraction of 225 companies, creating 40,500 jobs and more than $8 billion in capital investment to Greater Phoenix. Broome recently worked to secure Apple in Mesa, a game-changing project that will create 700 jobs and more than $1 billion in capital investment. He’s also worked to attract investment from many notable companies such as Intel, GoDaddy, Yelp, PayPal, Amazon, and scores of others.

In 2013, Broome was named Economic Developer of the Year by the Arizona Association of Economic Development and was the recipient of the Greater Phoenix Black Chamber of Commerce’s Chairman Award. Under his leadership, GPEC was ranked the No. 1 regional economic development organization in the U.S. among site selection consultants in 2011 and was recognized that same year by the Arizona Association for Economic Development as Organization of the Year. Broome is credited with developing economic development programs that have redefined public policy and improved statewide competitiveness.

Broome has been an invited guest lecturer at Arizona State University, University of Arizona, Kalamazoo College, Western Michigan University, University of Chicago, and the University of Notre Dame. He graduated from John Carroll University where he was a state wrestling champion and nationally ranked captain of his wrestling team.

Aaron Brossoit
Chief Operating Officer
Golden Shovel Agency
Little Falls, MN

Aaron Brossoit is a partner and Chief Operating Officer at Golden Shovel Agency, a Minnesota based company specializing in web solutions for economic development. Aaron has over 12 years experience in economic development markets and has developed cutting-edge interactive work for hundreds of communities all across the country. Aaron is a board member for the Mid-America Economic Development Council and on the communications committee for the National Rural Economic Development Association.

Martin Buser
Iditarod Champion
Big Lake, AK

Born in Winterthur, Switzerland in 1958, Martin became fascinated with sled dogs while still a teen. He came to Alaska in 1979 to enhance his knowledge of care and training of sled dogs. He began working and training with long-time Alaskan mushers Earl and Natalie Norris and ran his first Iditarod in 1980. Martin and wife Kathy Chapoton, reside in Big Lake, Alaska, where the family owns and manages Happy Trails Kennel. Their sons, Nikolai and Rohn, both named after Iditarod checkpoints, have been involved with dogs at various times in their lives. Nikolai currently resides in Seattle. Rohn lives near the kennel and is currently an integral part of the kennel operation Rohn completed his first Iditarod in 2008, as a senior in high school.

Martin spends a great deal of time speaking in schools on the humanitarian care of animals and the spirit of the Iditarod. A favorite celebrity of the children of Alaska, Martin treats them with surprise visits from his dogs and puppies.

Martin runs the race each year with his dogs to test the success of their breeding, training and physical endurance. He regards his racers as true competitive athletes and prides his team on their longevity and spirit of competition. Says Martin, “I run the Iditarod to prove that my dogs, bred, trained and raced by Happy Trails Kennels, are the best amongst the world’s long distance athletes.” For nine years, Martin’s 2002 team held the record for the Fastest Iditarod by completing the race in 8 days, 22 hours, 46 minutes and 2 seconds.

As tribute to his treatment of his racers, Martin was awarded the coveted Leonhard Seppala Award in 1988, 1993, 1995, 1997, and again in 2014, for the most humanitarian care of his dogs. The award was named for the most famous Alaskan musher who ran the longest and most dangerous stretch of the 1925, 674-mile diphtheria serum run from Nenana to Nome, which saved hundreds of lives.

Following Martin’s 2002 Iditarod victory, the process for his becoming a naturalized citizen of the United States was completed under the burled monument. He then turned around in Nome and made the trip from Nome to Big Lake with his family by snow machine.

Upon completion of the 2005 Iditarod after a woodworking accident four days prior to the race start, resulting in the amputation of a part of his finger; he was awarded both the Sportsmanship and Most Inspirational Awards by his fellow mushers.

Martin is an honorary member of Rotary. He is always involved with some project around the kennel or house. While he and Kathy moved into the retirement home that Martin built, they are still working on finishing all the details, your typical Alaskan self-built home that is never quite finished.

In the summer, Martin and his family give tours of their working kennel. The tour begins with a DVD trip from Anchorage to Nome narrated by Buser and includes his unique anecdotal stories gathered over 23 Iditarods. Visitors are offered a glimpse of a mockup of the Cripple Checkpoint complete with campfire and wall tent. Veterinary and dog care topics are discussed and of course, there’s the cuddling of puppies. The tour ends with a riotous symphony of dogs barking as a team is hooked up and taken on a demo run to show folks the dogs in action.

Martin is currently the musher with the most consecutive Iditarod finishes, 29 races completed in row, 30 total finishes. We are looking forward to many more and working diligently toward a fifth Iditarod win. While the race is always the final exam, the year round interaction and relationship with the dogs is the most valuable aspect of this lifestyle. On a daily basis, we are amazed by the stamina, loyalty, honesty, and joy of our dogs. Author Brian Jacques went on a ride with Martin and the team many years ago and described the dogs as “eternal children.” We couldn’t agree more. It is our good fortune to be able to take care of them.

Christopher Camacho
Interim President
Greater Phoenix Economic Council
Phoenix, AZ

Chris Camacho was recently named Interim President by the Board of Directors at one of the longest standing public private partnerships for economic development across the country. He previously served as the organization’s Executive Vice President.

He is a proven leader with over ten years in executive management roles and was recently appointed to the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) Board of Directors.

Camacho oversees organization’s top line performance measures. During his tenure, GPEC has led the attraction of 174 companies creating 26,688 jobs and $2.2 billion in capital investment. Some of the more notable projects include Silicon Valley Bank, Zenefits, GoDaddy, Yelp, Amazon, Garmin, General Motors and many others.

He oversees the domestic and international business development and market strategies while serving as GPEC’s executive leader in community interface. He has particular expertise in emerging technology, tax policy and international economic development. Since 2008, he has taken an active role in addressing the region’s competitiveness position on cost and taxation.

Camacho was instrumental in the design and implementation of the Renewable Energy Tax Credit Program, Quality Jobs Tax Credit, Qualified Facilities Tax Credit and other economic development policies in place today. He holds leadership roles in several of GPEC’s strategic councils including the International Leadership Council, Community Building Consortium, Economic Development Directors Team and Healthcare Leadership Council.

In 2013, he was named among an international group of “40 Under 40” by Development Counsellors International, a New York-based firm recognizing rising talent in economic development. And in 2012, he also received a “40 Under 40” award from the Phoenix Business Journal, which each year identifies talent throughout Arizona. Camacho is the past president of the Arizona Association of Economic Development (AAED), the statewide association of economic development practitioners. In 2011, AAED named him Economic Developer of the Year. He is also involved in the community boards including the Chicanos Por La Casa, United Way Campaign Cabinet and the Phoenix Regional Sports Commission.

Jane Campbell
Director Washington Office
National Development Council
Washington, DC

Mike Catsi, CEcD
Business Development & Communications Director
Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority (AIDEA)
Anchorage, AK

Mr. Catsi was appointed to this position in 2010. In this capacity he oversees the internal and external communications of the Authority including, public outreach, marketing, media, website and annual reports to raise awareness of the Authority and its programs around the state. He also works closely with AIDEA’s department heads and development staff to provide an efficient and effective intake process for prospective projects. Prior to joining the Authority, he managed and developed rural economic development organizations on local and regional levels as executive director of the Southwest Alaska Municipal Conference and the Skagway Development Corporation. Mr. Catsi has served as president of the Alaska Partnership for Economic Development, was elected to the Skagway City Council, and served on the boards of the Alaska Municipal League and the Alaska Manufacturing Extension Partnership. Mr. Catsi is a graduate of the University of New South Wales, Australia with a Bachelor of Science in Geography, and he is a Certified Economic Developer (CEcD).

Helen Cauthen, CEcD
Central Virginia Partnership for Economic Development
Charlottesville, VA

Helen Cauthen serves as president of the Central Virginia Partnership for Economic Development, a nonprofit, public/private regional economic development organization with the mission of fostering job creation and new capital investment in eight counties and the City of Charlottesville. To closely align economic development and workforce development, Ms. Cauthen also is Executive Director of the Piedmont Workforce Network, the region’s workforce investment board.

A certified economic developer, Ms. Cauthen was founding president & CEO of Team Volusia Economic Development Corporation in Daytona Beach, Florida and vice president of the Greensboro Economic Development Alliance in North Carolina.

Ms. Cauthen has over twenty-five years of experience in nonprofit management, including the Louisville Area Chamber of Commerce, The Valley Hospital Foundation in the New York City area, and the National Electrical Manufacturers Association in Washington, D.C. She is a graduate of University of Missouri where she majored in business administration.

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.

Thomas Christopulos, EdD, CEcD
Business Development Manager
Ogden City Corporation
Ogden, UT

Over the past 30 years Tom has had a diverse mix of private and public sector experiences both as an entrepreneur and economic development professional. Currently, he is the Director of Community and Economic Development with Ogden City Corporation. Tom and his organization have directly facilitated the creation of over 30 major projects in the City of Ogden, generating over $150 million dollars of new property taxes, sales tax revenue increases of $2 million, and the creation of over 6,000 jobs. Ogden is now recognized as one of the fastest growing job creation centers in the United States. In 2012, Tom founded the Ogden Reinvestment Company, a Community Development Financial Institution, for the purpose of generating capital support for businesses and housing development in Ogden. He helped create the Utah Economic Alliance in 1996 and acted as its first president. Tom was the Founder of Singleedge Inc., a Data Center. He also continues to work with rural communities through his consulting company Rural Designers. He graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in International Relations and obtained a graduate degree in Organizational Development from Pepperdine University.

Barbra Coffee, CEcD, EDFP
Director, Economic Development/Redevelopment
City of Henderson
Henderson, NV

Barbra Coffee serves as the Director of Economic Development/Redevelopment for the city of Henderson. She is responsible for the city’s economic development strategy, which includes local business retention and expansion programs, business attraction, strategic business alliances and business ombudsman activities. Her division is also responsible for the management of the Redevelopment Agency, which includes the five redevelopment areas of Cornerstone, Downtown, Eastside, Lakemoor Canyon and Tuscany.

Before starting with the city in June 2013, Barbra was the Economic Development Director for the city of College Park, Ga. While director, she oversaw the development of more than 200 acres of city-owned property and coordinated the activities of the College Park Business and Industrial Development Authority, focusing many of her efforts on downtown redevelopment and corridor revitalization.

Barbra has also managed economic development for a number of other municipalities. From 2003-2009, Barbra held numerous positions while coordinating and implementing several different redevelopment strategies for the city of Goodyear, Ariz. Her career in Goodyear culminated as a Senior Development Manager for their Economic Development department, where she coordinated business recruitment and marketing efforts for the city. Prior to her time in Arizona, Barbra was involved in the revitalization efforts of downtown Houston and the Main Street Project of Marlin, Texas.

Barbra actively participates in several international and national organizations that focus on key aspects of economic development and redevelopment. In 2003, she joined the International Council of Shopping Centers and from 2011-2013 served as their Georgia State Alliance Co-Chair. In addition, she is a member of NAIOP and the Urban Land Institute.

She received her Bachelor of Science in Radio-TV-Film from the University of Texas at Austin in 1990, followed by a Master of Liberal Arts in International Studies from the University of St. Thomas in Houston, Texas. In 2008, she earned her Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) designation from the International Economic Development Council and attained her Economic Development Finance Professional (EDFP) credential from the National Development Council in 2012.

James Collard, PhD
Director of Planning and Economic Development
Citizen Potawatomi Nation
Shawnee, OK

James currently serves as the Director of Planning and Economic Development for the Citizen Potawatomi Nation and is developing a rail-anchored industrial park on tribal trust land. His duties also include evaluating and facilitating numerous business development proposals and tribal franchise opportunities and implementing the tribal strategic economic development plan. Previous economic development activities include serving as Chair of the Morgan County, CO Economic Development Corporation and as a member of the Executive Committee for the St. Charles County, MO Economic Development Corporation. He has facilitated and packaged numerous economic development projects and agreements over the last 20+ years and guided the development of a community-based Fiscal Impact Tool and a Computable General Equilibrium Model. He has traveled extensively internationally on business ventures including accompanying the Missouri Governor on a trade mission to Asia. Currently Dr. Collard serves as the Immediate Past Chair of the Oklahoma Governor’s International Team. His previous experience includes over seventeen years in city management and five years as an executive in the environmental services industry.

Lyz Crane
Deputy Director
ArtPlace America
Brooklyn, NY

Lyz Crane is the Deputy Director for ArtPlace America, a ten-year collaboration among a number of foundations, federal agencies, and financial institutions that works to position arts and culture as a core sector of comprehensive community planning and development. Previously, she served as the Communications Director at ArtHome, an organization that helps artists and their communities build assets and equity through financial literacy; and the Director of Program Development and Program Manager of the Shifting Sands Initiative at Partners for Livable Communities, a national nonprofit leadership organization working to improve the livability of communities by promoting quality of life, economic development, and social equity. In 2009, Crane was named a ‘Next City Vanguard’ by urban affairs magazine Next City. She received her MPA in policy analysis from the Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service at New York University.

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

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

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

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

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

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

J. Vann Cunningham
Assistant Vice President, Economic Development
Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway Company
Fort Worth, TX

Vann Cunningham is assistant vice president, Economic Development, with responsibility for developing and leading programs that encourage rail-oriented industries to locate or expand their facilities on BNSF. He also has responsibility for planning and developing various rail-owned and rail-served industrial, intermodal and transload facilities throughout BNSF’s service area. In this role, he has written and spoken extensively on the impact of transportation, logistics and the evolving global supply chain on corporate site selection, economic development and real estate development.

Vann has over 40 years of corporate site selection and economic development experience including major domestic and international projects in the public and private sectors. He began his Economic Development career at the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), where he was initially responsible for the TVA power plant siting program. Subsequently, he served as Chief of Regional Planning, Field Manager for the Economic and Community Development Program, and Senior Manager of Industrial Development. At TVA, he worked with such companies as Saturn, Sharp Electronics, Nissan and LG Electronics on corporate site selection projects for facilities locating in the region.

Dariel Curren
Senior Vice President
Development Counsellors International
New York, NY

With nearly 30 years of experience in public relations and marketing, Dariel has worked for Development Counsellors International since 1995 and was named director of the company’s Economic Development Division in January 2010. Known as the “Leader in Marketing Places,” DCI specializes in economic development and tourism marketing and has helped more than 400 cities, regions, states and countries attract business investment and visitors since the firm was founded in New York City in 1960.

Dariel’s clients have spanned the world, including destinations from Maine to Miami and New York to New Zealand. She has created award-winning marketing programs that integrate high-profile media exposure with high-impact websites, direct marketing and digital strategies.

Raised on a dairy farm in the Finger Lakes region of New York State, Dariel is a graduate of Brown University.

Kendrick Curtis, PhD
Assistant Executive Director
Middle Tennessee Industrial Development Association
Nashville, TN

As the Assistant Executive Director for the Middle Tennessee Industrial Development Association (MTIDA), Kendrick represents and promotes economic development in 38 counties in central Tennessee. An association of the electric power distributors in the region, MTIDA provides support services for industrial recruitment in cooperation with the State of Tennessee and Tennessee Valley Authority. Prior to joining MTIDA, Kendrick served as Community and Rural Development Director for the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development (TNECD). With responsibility for the state’s Select Tennessee Industrial Site Certification, Main Street, National Flood Insurance, Retire Tennessee, and Adventure Tourism programs, Kendrick led TNECD’s efforts to foster economic development in rural areas and small towns. Previously Kendrick served as TNECD’s Technical Program Director where he developed and administered the state’s industrial site certification program and coordinated efforts related to supplier preparation for the Uranium Processing Facility at Y-12. Prior to serving in this capacity, Kendrick worked in the state’s Local Planning Assistance Office where he served as both the agency’s GIS Manager and as a Principal Planner. Kendrick holds Ph.D. and MS degrees from the University of Tennessee and a BA from the University of North Alabama. Kendrick currently lives in Nashville with his wife and two daughters.

Deborah Davidson
Vice President
Gateway Technical College
Sturtevant, WI

Deborah Davidson serves as the Vice President of Business & Workforce Solutions at Gateway Technical College in Kenosha, WI where she oversees five advanced technology centers focused on transportation, information technology, health and emergency response occupations, engineering and manufacturing, and a high school academy with dual enrollment. She is additionally responsible for outreach to business and industry, customized training and business partnerships, along with connecting the community to the resources of the college. She has over twenty years experience in higher education and is a past-president of the National Coalition of Advanced Technology Centers (NCATC). She also serves on the Board of the National Coalition of Certification Centers and the Walworth County Economic Development Alliance. Her current work includes oversight for Gateway’s Boot Camp training programs for CNC Machine Operators, Welding and Fabrication, and Industrial Machine Repair Technicians providing accelerated, rigorous training opportunities that boast a 95% job placement rate. Mrs. Davidson holds a Bachelor’s degree in Management and Communication from Concordia University Wisconsin and a Master’s degree in Adult Education from National Louis University (IL).

Tom Davis
Senior Planner, Planning Division
Municipality of Anchorage
Anchorage, AK

Tom Davis is a Senior Planner with the Municipality of Anchorage Planning Division, and has been a land use planner with the department for 15 years. Tom has expertise in residential, commercial, and industrial buildable land supply and capacity analysis, including comparisons of land demand and supply for the Anchorage area. Recent projects include the Anchorage Housing Market Analysis (2012) and Industrial Lands Assessment Update (2015). Tom was also a lead project team member on the city’s comprehensive rewrite of its land use regulations, adopted in 2013. That project included an economic impact analysis of the proposed new land use regulations, focusing on impacts to property value and costs of development at the individual lot level. Tom is currently lead team member on an update to the city’s land use plan.

Gene DePrez
Founder & Partner
Global Innovation Partners
Sparta, NJ

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

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

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

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

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

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

Karen Dickson, CEcD
Vice President of Economic Development
Brooks Development Authority
San Antonio, TX

Vice President of Economic Development Karen Dickson is responsible for developing and implementing the economic development program and oversees the master planning program for the 1,200-acre, mixed-use community. Karen previously served as Vice President of Economic Development for the Denton Chamber of Commerce in Denton, TX. Dickson is a member of the Board of Directors of the Texas Economic Development Council and serves on various International Economic Development Council committees. Dickson began her economic development career in 1999 as a marketing manager with the Clear Lake Economic Development Foundation. Dickson received a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of North Texas and a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science from the University of Houston-Clear Lake. She is a Basic Economic Development Course instructor, a Certified Economic Developer and a graduate of the Economic Development Institute at the University of Oklahoma. Karen is also a Rotarian.

Tom DiFiore
National Community Development Services
Atlanta, GA

Tom DiFiore is President of National Community Development Services, America’s oldest and largest firm specializing in community and economic development fundraising. Since 1977, NCDS has conducted over 600 campaigns in 44 states, raising more than $1.6 billion.

Tom has over 15 years experience helping chambers of commerce and EDOs design and fund multi-year strategic initiatives to enhance economic growth and sustainability. As president, he directs the firm’s resources in securing capacity level support from both public and private sector stakeholders in client communities. NCDS’ proven process and methodologies have assisted clients ranging from single county EDCs in small communities to regional partnerships in major metros to statewide chambers. Over 100 organizations have utilized NCDS for multiple campaigns, including several that have relied on the firm’s expertise to fund their efforts for over 20 consecutive years.

Tom is an active member of several economic development and fundraising associations, and recently served on the board of The Giving Institute, which establishes professional and ethical standards for fundraising professionals. Tom holds a B.A. in economics from The University of Virginia and an M.B.A from Georgia State University in his hometown of Atlanta, where he resides with his wife and three children.

Brett Doney, CEcD
President & CEO
Great Falls Development Authority, Inc.
Great Falls, MT

Brett Doney is the President & CEO of the Great Falls Development Authority, a public/private economic development partnership serving the Great Falls Montana trade area. GFDA’s mission is to grow and diversify the Great Falls economy and support the creation of high wage jobs. GFDA is active in business retention and expansion, entrepreneurship, business attraction, downtown and riverfront revitalization, and workforce development. In 2012, GFDA became the first economic development organization in the Rocky Mountain West to be accredited by the International Economic Development Council.

GFDA is a Community Development Financial Institution, and hosts a Small Business Development Center and a Procurement Technical Assistance Center. Doney also leads High Plains Financial, a SBA Certified Development Corporation that is affiliated with GFDA, and the Great Falls AgriTech Park LLC, developer of a 1,300 acre rail industrial park.

Doney has 28 years of experience in urban and rural community economic development from the various perspectives of the non-profit, public and private sectors. His prior positions include President & CEO of Enterprise Maine, a family of community economic development organizations dedicated to creating economic opportunity and enhancing the quality of life in rural western Maine, Director of the Ft. Devens Reuse Center, a 9,600 acre army base redevelopment effort in Massachusetts, and President of Doney Associates, a Boston-based consulting firm focused on urban revitalization.

Doney’s efforts have won awards from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the American Economic Development Council, the International Economic Development Council, the National Association of Development Organizations, and the Finance Authority of Maine. His professional certifications include Master of Corporate Real Estate (MCR), Senior Leader of Corporate Real Estate (SLCR), Certified Economic Developer (CEcD), American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP), RMA Credit Risk Certification, LEED Accredited Professional, Federal Grants Management and Economic Development Finance Professional (EDFP). He is a graduate of the Economic Development Institute of the University of Oklahoma. Doney earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of California at Santa Barbara and a Masters in Public Policy from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Doney has taught and given presentations for a number of state, national and international organizations. He serves on the boards of the Montana Economic Development Association, NeighborWorks Great Falls, the Downtown Great Falls Partnership and Montana Ambassadors. He is an active Rotarian and past President of the Great Falls Rotary Club.

Melissa Ehlinger
Senior VP - Strategy and Business Development
New Orleans Business Alliance
New Orleans, LA

Melissa Ehlinger serves as the Senior Vice President for Strategy and Business Development for the New Orleans Business Alliance. In this role, she has been an integral part of crafting the organization’s overall economic development strategy and has overseen day-to-day business attraction and retention functions, as well as the organization’s research department. Her previous experience in urban economic development includes work with the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority, where she worked as a Project Manager in residential and commercial corridor redevelopment. Melissa previously served as an Attorney with the United States Department of Transportation. A native New Orleanian, Melissa holds a BA in Political Science from the University of Texas at Austin, Phi Beta Kappa; a JD from The George Washington University; and a Masters in Urban Planning from the University of New Orleans.

John Finke
Senior Program Manager and Team Leader
NDC HEDC Public-Private Partnership
New York, NY

Michael Finney
Senior Advisor, Economic Growth
Office of Governor Rick Snyder
Lansing, MI

Simon Galpin
Director General of Investment Promotion
Invest Hong Kong
The Government of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region
Hong Kong

Dr Simon Galpin is the Director-General of Investment Promotion at Invest Hong Kong (InvestHK), the Government Department responsible for attracting and facilitating foreign direct investment into Hong Kong. Simon joined InvestHK as Associate Director-General of Investment Promotion in 2001, soon after the establishment of the Department. His contribution in shaping the strategy and business planning process has helped establish InvestHK as one of the world's leading investment promotion agencies. With senior management experience in both the private and public sectors, Simon is also actively involved in promoting Hong Kong’s expanding start-up ecosystem. Prior to joining InvestHK, Simon spent ten years with Scottish Enterprise – at that time Europe’s largest economic development agency. He was initially posted to Hong Kong in 1992 but also worked in Glasgow, Taipei, Sydney and London. Simon holds Masters degrees in Business Administration, Local Economic Development and International Business Law and recently graduated as a Doctor of Juridical Science.

Ernestine Garey
Executive Vice President & COO
Invest Atlanta
Atlanta, GA

Ernestine W. Garey is the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Invest Atlanta, Atlanta’s Development Authority. Invest Atlanta’s programs and initiatives focus on developing and fostering public-private partnerships to accelerate job creation, economic growth, workforce housing, neighborhood revitalization and innovation and entrepreneurship.

In her capacity as COO, Ms. Garey manages and directs the day to day activities of five operating departments and is the strategic liaison fortifying relationships with the Board of Directors, Atlanta City Council and other governmental and community stakeholders. Invest Atlanta’s economic toolkit includes bond financing, revolving loan funds, housing financing, tax increment financing and tax credits.

She previously served with the agency as Managing Director of Housing Finance from 1998-2010. During this tenure, she guided the successful implementation of over 60 multifamily and single family tax exempt bond initiatives. She has been instrumental in the issuance of over $1 billion in housing revenue bonds, creating over 15,000 units of affordable workforce housing, both rental and homeownership, in the City of Atlanta.

From 1989-1997, Ms. Garey served as Deputy Director at the Urban Residential Finance Authority of the City of Atlanta. She holds a Master’s Degree from Clark Atlanta University in French with further studies at Georgia State University in Urban Policy. A graduate of the 2014 class of Leadership Atlanta, she is on the Board of Directors for the National Association of Local Housing Finance Agencies (NALHFA), the premier advocacy group of affordable housing professionals. She also serves on the Board of Directors for Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. and is Chair of the Board of the Diabetes Association of Atlanta.

Lea Glembot
Vice President of Economic Development and Marketing
Lehigh Valley Economic Developement Corp.
Bethlehem, PA

Ms. Glembot is responsible for managing the organization’s business development and retention efforts, as well as overseeing the marketing of the Lehigh Valley region’s collective economic assets. She has more than 22 years of professional experience in both the private and public sectors. Most recently, she worked as a real estate broker in Virginia, specializing in commercial real estate brokerage and real estate investing with Long and Foster/Webber and Associates. Previously, she worked at the Virginia Port Authority, where she managed the U.S.-based sales staff and had direct responsibility for the sales and marketing of the Virginia Inland Port, a truck/rail intermodal facility in northern Virginia. She holds a Master of Business Administration degree with a concentration in International Marketing and Management from Old Dominion University, as well as a Bachelor of Science degree with a dual concentration in Clinical and Industrial/Organizational Psychology.

Charles Hayes, CEcD
President & CEO
Research Triangle Regional Partnership
Cary, NC

Charles A. Hayes is president and CEO of the Research Triangle Regional Partnership (RTRP), the public-private partnership that leads economic development for the 13-county Research Triangle Region of North Carolina.

He is active in numerous professional organizations including the University of North Carolina Board of Governors, N.C. Partnership for Economic Development, N.C. Economic Developers Association (past president), International Economic Development Council, RTI Board of Directors, Kennan Fellow Advisory Board, and UNC Center for International Understanding

He is a frequent speaker on strategies for promoting economic growth and prosperity in a knowledge-based economy.

• Hugh Shelton Leadership Conference
• National Governors Association
• IBM Leadership Event

During his tenure, RTRP has been widely recognized as an exemplary economic-development organization. It has received the following awards/recognitions:

• International Economic Development Council’s regional collaboration award
• U.S. Economic Development Administration's National Award for Excellence in Economic Development Regional Competitiveness Strategic Planning
• Council for Entrepreneurial Development’s Outstanding Service to Entrepreneurs Award
• Goodmon Award for Exemplary Regional Leadership by an Organization and an Exemplary Regional Partnership.

Hayes received bachelors and masters degrees from East Carolina University and economic development certifications from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the International Economic Development Council. Hayes served in the US Army, a Vietnam Veteran. Hayes is married with 3 children and 2 grandchildren and teaches Sunday school at the St. Luke Methodist church in Sanford NC.

Joseph Jacobson
Vice President of Business Development
Huna Totem Corporation
Juneau, AK

Joe began working with Huna Totem Corporation (HTC) in March 2015 and is tasked with expanding Huna Totem Corporation's existing tourism business at Icy Strait Point. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Outdoor Studies from Alaska Pacific University and a Master's Degree in International Relations from the City College of New York. Before working for HTC, he oversaw the State of Alaska's tourism marketing, small business finance, and economic development efforts as the director of the Division of Economic Development (DED). Prior to his role at DED, Jacobson served as international program director at the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, overseeing Alaska's international seafood marketing efforts across 21 countries.

Robin Keegan
Director, Community Resilience
GCR Inc.
New Orleans, LA

Robin Keegan has extensive experience in the field of disaster recovery and redevelopment. She currently oversees a team of subject matter experts who provide technical assistance services in disaster recovery management to New York State’s Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery supporting the State’s successful recovery from Superstorm Sandy, Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee. In this role, Ms. Keegan assists the State of New York in developing compliant policy and program development and deciphering CDBG-DR regulations, disaster recovery processes, reporting needs and operational needs assessments. Ms. Keegan has also supported the City of New York and the State of New Jersey on their initial response to Superstorm Sandy. Ms. Keegan also led GCR’s team that officiated the first strategic economic development plan for New Orleans on behalf of the New Orleans Business Alliance. This process culminated in ProsperityNOLA: A Plan to Drive Economic Growth for 2018, the first comprehensive strategic plan for economic development in New Orleans. Following Hurricane Katrina, Ms. Keegan served first as the Director of Economic Recovery and then as Executive Director of the Louisiana Recovery Authority, the state-created entity established to oversee $14 billion in federal funding for housing, infrastructure and economic development initiatives following the 2005 hurricanes.

Susan Kelsey
Economic Development Officer
City of Lake Forest
Lake Forest, IL

Susan Kelsey is the Economic Development Officer for the City of Lake Forest, Illinois. A 30 year career spanning both private and public sectors that includes business development, economic development, sales and marketing. Most recently, Susan is excited about mobile technology and the possibilities of connecting people and businesses. Accomplishments include starting new economic development department for the city, launching a new open air market and creating a new business accelerator program for local entrepreneurs. Susan is currently completing her Certificate in Creative Cities & Economic Development at New York University. She has a Masters' in Health law & Adminstration from De Paul University and a Business degree from the University of Iowa.

Janice Kleinwort
Executive Director of Economic Affairs
Arizona State University
Scottsdale, AZ

As Executive Director of Economic Affairs at Arizona State University (ASU), Janice connects companies and economic development organizations into the ASU innovation ecosystem. She actively recruits companies to join SkySong the ASU Scottsdale Innovation Center and leads a variety of special projects to continually expand the innovation economy of Greater Phoenix.

Previously Janice was Director of Employer Relations at Thunderbird School of Global Management, she taught and advised students at the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences and was Division Manager for Gima mbH, an international trade show organizer. Janice has a BA in international studies, a Masters in nonprofit studies and speaks fluent German. She is also a UEDA board member.

Jeffrey Kline
CEO & President
Charlotte, NC

Jeff Kline is an accomplished entrepreneur with a successful track record spanning three decades in software product development, office automation and Internet technology. As CEO and president of both Accrisoft and Accrinet Corporation, he provides operational guidance and strategic vision for all aspects of the businesses. Jeff has special expertise in software strategies and website development. Over the last decade, he has helped website design, development and hosting companies leverage the Web and digital marketing to grow their organizations. Jeff is a frequent guest speaker on content management systems, web strategies for business success, email marketing, social media, personalized news, Web analytics and other critical topics.

Christopher Knight
International Sales Manager
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 Kucharski, CEcD
President & CEO
Buffalo Niagara Enterprise
Buffalo, NY

Thomas A. Kucharski, a Buffalo native, returned home to serve as President & CEO of the Buffalo Niagara Enterprise on February 1, 2000. Kucharski most recently served as head of the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation, Eastern Pennsylvania’s first regional economic development corporation, which was established in 1995 and credited with attracting 18,000 jobs and $1 billion in investment. In his last year, the LVEDC was cited in Site Selection magazine as one of the top 20 Economic Development Corporations in the United States. LVEDC was also awarded thirteen Northeast Economic Development Association Awards, including the President’s Award, the most awards received by a single entity in one year in NEEDA history. In his leadership role at LVEDC, Kucharski was successful in “rebranding” what was known as the rust-belt region Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton, Pennsylvania, into one nationally recognized for effective re-use of brownfields and for attraction of a diverse range of employers. Previous to his position at Lehigh Valley he served as executive director of the Horizon Council of Southwest Florida from 1992-1995, the first regional public/private partnership including Sarasota, Ft. Myers and Naples, Florida.

As BNE President, Tom Kucharski focuses on regional image building, business attraction marketing and the implementation of a region-wide prospect management system. He will work closely with a number of public and private sector economic development entities, as well as the real estate development community.

Kucharski has an undergraduate degree in Business Management and a Masters degree in Economics from SUNY at Buffalo. He also earned his Certified Economic Developer (CED) professional designation at the American Economic Development Institute at University of Oklahoma.

Robert Lamb, EcD, CEcD
Township of Tay
Ontario, Canada

Robert Lamb joined the Township of Tay as their new CAO in October of 2013. Robert came to the Township from the County of Simcoe where he was the Manager of Economic Development and hired to establish the County’s new economic development office in 2009. Prior to that, he spent eight years as Manager of Economic Development for the City of Orillia and 3 years as the Managing Director for the Downtown Orillia Management Board (BIA Association). Professionally, he was the lead facilitator in the creation of the new Lakehead University – Orillia Campus, as well as led the negotiated to bring TeleTech Canada to Orillia.

Mark Lange
Executive Director, Entrepreneurship and Economic Development
University of Wisconsin Extension
Madison, WI

Mark Lange is the executive director of the Division for Business and Entrepreneurship at the University of Wisconsin - Extension. The division fosters, supports and coordinates business and entrepreneurship development activities occurring at the University of Wisconsin System campuses and the communities they serve. This is done through partnerships with governmental entities, educational institutions, non-profit organizations and the business community.

Prior to assuming his UW-Extension responsibilities Lange was the executive director for the Edward Lowe Foundation, a non-profit organization seeking to accelerate entrepreneurship and its impact on community and economic development. He was responsible for day-to day operations and overseeing the foundation’s national advocacy for second-stage entrepreneurs, economic gardening, and the development of www.Youreconomy.org.

Before his work at the foundation, Lange served as the director of the Lundquist Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Oregon. He co-founded CVT Productions, a video-production and software-distribution company and has served as an adjunct faculty member in entrepreneurship at the Mendoza College of Business at the University of Notre Dame

Lange received both a bachelor’s degree in finance and a bachelor’s degree in marketing education from the University of Northern Colorado.

Michael Langley
Minneapolis Saint Paul Regional Economic Development Partnership
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.

Kimber Lanning
Executive Director
Local First Arizona
Phoenix, AZ

Kimber Lanning is an entrepreneur, business leader and economic development specialist who works to cultivate strong, vibrant communities and inspire a higher quality of life for people across Arizona. In 2003, Lanning founded Local First Arizona, a non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness of the economic benefits provided by locally owned businesses. LFA has gained recognition for community-based business development across the state. Along with an advisory board of dedicated local business owners and civic leaders, Lanning pursues the dual goal of establishing vibrant and culturally unique businesses at the forefront of the state’s identity, as well as creating a sustainable and healthy region through the implementation of resilient local economies. She works to educate and motivate consumers to support local enterprises, and encourages policies that enable locally owned businesses to thrive. She has worked extensively on Phoenix’s building code as it relates to the adaptive reuse of existing buildings. She encourages municipalities to streamline their code in order to encourage, rather than discourage, new businesses in old buildings. She has contributed to several planning studies and advocated for smart growth throughout the region, earning her the Distinguished Citizen Planner award from the American Planning Association, Arizona branch, in 2013.

Allison Larsen, CEcD
Yakima, WA

With extensive experience in economic development, international business management and sales, Allison Larsen’s core competencies include competitiveness assessments, action-oriented strategic planning, target industry analysis, workforce development, marketing, visual meeting facilitation; and economic development training.

Her perspective of understanding the needs and wants of targets, as well as community stakeholders, contributes to creative and effective solutions. Her ideas spawn from her diverse background – from growing up in a small rural community in California to award-winning salesperson at a Fortune 100 Company. Allison’s entrepreneurship endeavors did not start with TadZo. She established an international distribution network for a venture capitalist, and even put herself through college by raising a herd of sheep.

Working at Madera Industrial Development Corporation and the EDC serving Fresno County, she sited companies yielding >9,000 jobs. Allison worked 12 years as Principal of Chabin Concepts, consulting for local, regional and state economic development organizations. She helped create CompetitiveReady, a community certification program.

Allison is a graduate of University of California, Davis; OU EDI; California Agricultural Leadership Program. She enjoys running with her two dogs, Tadich and Enzo (yes, they are the inspiration behind the TadZo name). She’s hiked Yosemite’s Half Dome, run 8 half-marathons and “Hood to Coast”.

Ray Laughter
Vice Chancellor for External Affairs
Lone Star College System
The Woodlands, TX

Ray Laughter serves as Vice Chancellor for External Affairs for the Lone Star College System, one of the largest and most progressive community colleges in the nation with over 90,000 students on six comprehensive campuses. He is responsible for marketing and communications, government affairs, grants and resource development, the Lone Star College Foundation, and community and economic development partnerships and programs. These economic development programs are unique for a higher education institution and include the coordination of the regional North Houston Economic Development Alliance, the Center for Business and Economic Development, the regional Small Business Development Center, the Community Development Institute.

He has served on numerous boards and committees related to economic and community development International Economic Development Council Higher Education Advisory Committee and 2012 Conference Host Committee Texas Economic Development Council Board of Directors Southern Economic Development Council – Chair Community Development/Leadership Committee Community Development Council Board of Trustees Gulf Coast Workforce Development Board Greater Houston Partnership Economic Development Committee The Woodlands Economic Development Partnership Board of Directors Magnolia Economic Development Partnership Board of Directors. Prior to joining the college he served as Chief Administrative Officer for an international helicopter manufacturer and President of the Business Services Assistance Corporation.

Andrew 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.

Gail Lewis
Assistant Director
Arizona Department of Transportation Economic Development Office
Phoenix, AZ

Gail Lewis is the Assistant Director for the Arizona Department of Transportation. She was formerly Policy Advisor for Economic Development to Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano. In that capacity, she advised the Governor on economic development issues, helps to set economic development policies and priorities for the state, and acts as the liaison to the Department of Commerce and the Office of Tourism. Prior to joining the Governor's staff in 2003, she spent 10 years as the Director of Economic Development and Constituent Outreach at Arizona State University, where she oversaw activities designed to make the resources of the university more accessible to the Arizona business and economic development communities. She has worked extensively on technology development, international trade, and long term policy issues, and has done consulting work in Australia, France, Saudi Arabia, Mexico and around the US. Gail has a Master's degree in International Affairs from Columbia University and a bachelor's degree in international affairs and journalism from the University of Southern California. Gail sits on the board of the Phoenix Sister Cities Commission, World Affairs Council, Arizona-Mexico Commission and Arizona Bioindustry Association. She also sits on the national Board of Directors of the International Economic Development Council.

Robert Lewis, CEcD, AICP
Principal and President
Development Strategies, Inc.
Saint Louis, MO

Bob directs economic research and planning projects at Development Strategies, based in St. Louis. He joined the Development Strategies team in 1978 after two years working for the St. Louis County Department of Planning. He was named president in 2000 and became the largest stockholder in 2007. The focus of his professional work is analyzing the market, economic, and organizational forces that influence urban planning, economic growth, and real estate development. His consulting services typically yield strategic recommendations for clients seeking to maximize economic value. Clients include private property owners, corporations, government agencies, non-profit development organizationss, and institutions all around the United States.

A native of Glencoe, Illinois, in the Chicago area, Bob holds a master's degree in city and regional planning from Southern Illi¬nois University at Edwardsville (1976) and a bachelor's degree in business economics from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio (1973).

Bob is a member of the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) where he is a certified economic developer (CEcD), the American Planning Association where he is also a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP), the National Association for Business Economics (NABE), the American Statistical Association (ASA), and the Urban Land Institute (ULI). He has been an adjunct senior faculty member teaching business economics for the Keller Graduate School of DeVry University since 1995.

David Lloyd, JD
Director, Office of Brownfields and Land Revitalization
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Washington, DC

David Lloyd is the Director of the Office of Brownfields & Land Revitalization in the EPA Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response. David assumed this position in January of 2006 after holding a variety of positions in the areas of private and Government legal practice, real estate development and operations. David received his undergraduate degree in English Literature from the George Washington University in 1985, and a law degree from Washington and Lee University in 1988.

Scott Marquardt, CEcD
Vice President
Southwest Initiative Foundation
Hutchinson, MN

Barry Matherly, CEcD, FM
President & CEO
Greater Richmond Partnership
Richmond, VA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kenneth Meter, MPA
Crossroads Resource Center
Minneapolos, MN

Ken Meter is one of the most experienced food system analysts in the U.S., integrating market analysis, business development, systems thinking, and social concerns. As president of Crossroads Resource Center in Minneapolis, Meter holds 41 years experience in inner-city and rural community capacity building. His “Finding Food in Farm Country” studies have promoted local food networks in 85 regions in 30 states and one Canadian province. As coordinator of public process for the City of Minneapolis Sustainability Initiative, he guided over 85 residents in creating a 50-year vision for the city including sustainability measures. He served as an advisor for the USDA Community Food Projects including managing the proposal review panel, and serves as a contributing editor to the Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development. He is convenor and co-chair of the Community Economic Development Committee for the former Community Food Security Coalition. Meter taught economics at the University of Minnesota, and at the Harvard Kennedy School.

William Michalerya
Associate Vice President, Government Relations & Economic Development
Lehigh University
Bethlehem, PA

William Michalerya has primary responsibility for developing Federal, State and regional programs in research and economic development for Lehigh University and developing strategic alliances and technology partnerships.

Prior to the Government Relations post, Mr. Michalerya served as Associate Vice Provost for Research at Lehigh. Previously he held the position of Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Competitive Technologies of PA, Inc., a firm partly owned by Lehigh University with a mission of new company formation and intellectual property management. Other duties at Lehigh University included the position of Manager of Industry Liaison and Technology Transfer for the Center for Advanced Technology for Large Structural Systems (ATLSS) the first Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Technology Alliance (PITA), a state-funded initiative with Lehigh University and Carnegie Mellon.

Currently he also serves in multiple leadership positions in Regional, State and National initiatives in Economic Development. This includes election as a 2nd Vice Chair for the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC), and former Chair of the Innovation, Talent and Entrepreneurship Committee. He also co-chaired the LVEDC Strategic Plan Committee that authored the five-year plan. Other leadership roles include Executive Committee of the Southside Bethlehem Keystone Innovation Zone (KIZ), a state-funded partnership of public /private members that fund startup companies and student internship programs. He served as a member of the Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority for more than ten years.

On a national level, he is Past President of the University Economic Development Association (UEDA), an organization of more than 120 members focused on Economic Development. In addition, he led the efforts to win three Best Practices Awards from UEDA, based on partnership programs and startup company creation. He is also active in the International Economic Development Council (IEDC), serving on the Higher Education Committee (charter member). He led the team that won the 2008 IEDC Award for Partnerships with Educational Institutions, with the City of Bethlehem, LVEDC and Lehigh University.

At Lehigh he is a member of the newly created Board of LaunchBayC with a role to mentor and advise new student startup companies. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Award by Lehigh University and he was awarded the Ben Franklin Innovation Award for an Academic Partner by the Ben Franklin Partners of Northeast PA.

Rodrick Miller
Detroit Economic Growth Corporation
Detroit, MI

Rodrick Miller is a results-oriented leader with over 10 years of experience in economic development, strategic planning, trade and foreign investment, and project finance. He has emerged as one of the foremost economic development leaders in the country, respected globally for his ability to maneuver in extraordinarily complex political and business environments, and craft strategies and structure deals to provide long-term value to communities and investors. His skills as a negotiator, policy expert, and corporate strategist have been honed in over 10 countries.

Currently, Miller is serving as President & CEO of the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC). The DEGC is a private, nonprofit corporation devoted exclusively to supporting Detroit’s economic development by providing technical, financial, negotiation, and development assistance to the City and the private sector business community.

As CEO of DEGC, Miller is firmly committed to enhancing strategies and programs that are aggressive and effective, thoughtful and focused, and that play to the inherent strengths of the local market. Miller aims to work collaboratively, yet provide strong leadership, and to continue to communicate a shared path forward.

Previously, Miller served as the founding president and CEO of the New Orleans Business Alliance (NOLABA), the official economic development organization responsible for ensuring the long-term economic vitality and driving job growth for the City of New Orleans. As the chief economist and thought leader on economic recovery, Miller has focused the organization’s efforts on lowering barriers to entry in the marketplace, increasing transparency, and developing strategies for urban economic growth. Results since their founding in 2011 include state legislation allowing for benefit corporations, a policy framework to guide the use of tax incentives in economic development, and the attraction of more than $600 Million in new investment and 4,000 new jobs through proactive attraction and expansion of corporate projects in the New Orleans market. In June of 2013, NOLABA launched ProsperityNOLA, the first ever comprehensive economic development plan for the city of New Orleans. Miller led his team in crafting this 5 year plan with a keen eye on ensuring the plan would diversify the economy and present economic opportunities for all the citizens of New Orleans.

Prior to that position, Miller served as the Executive Vice President of the Baton Rouge Area Chamber where he managed day-to-day operations, developed strategic initiatives, and helped deliver on the firm’s $20M capital campaign. Under his leadership, the Baton Rouge market was ranked the Number 1 Mid-Market for Deals in 2010 by Site Selection Magazine.

Before moving to Louisiana, Miller was Vice President of International Economic Development for the Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC) where he managed international development activities, which included foreign direct investment attraction and increasing the region’s international competitiveness. He crafted the Arizona Global Network, a statewide collaboration of economic development organizations responsible for marketing the state globally. He also headed the Strategy Practice where he developed the organization’s action plan which resulted in delivery of nearly 10,000 jobs in just 2 years. Before GPEC, Rod held several positions in the public and private sectors.

Miller holds a Master of Public Policy from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and a Bachelor of Science degree in international business from St. Augustine’s College. He also gained a Graduate Diploma in Finance from the Monterrey Institute of Technology (ITESM) in Mexico while completing a Fulbright Fellowship. Miller is an intellectually curious professional whose interests lie at the intersection of economic development, international commerce, innovation, and community action. A scholar practitioner, he is a sought after lecturer and contributes to various publications. He is a term member of US Council on Foreign Relations, is a board member of the International Economic Development Council, and served as a fellow of the International Career Advancement Program at the Aspen Institute. Miller has received numerous accolades including Ebony Magazine’s 30 under 30, Phoenix Business Journal’s Top 40 under Forty, Top 100 Tech Influencers in the Silicon Bayou, Young Economic Developer of the Year by the International Economic Development Council, and numerous others. He enjoys playing the piano, reading, and spending time with his son. Miller is fluent in Spanish and proficient in Portuguese.

Ioanna Morfessis, PhD, HLM
President & Chief Strategist
Phoenix, AZ

Ioanna Morfessis is the President and Chief Strategist of IO.INC, a worldwide business and economic development consulting firm. With her distinguished track record and reputation as an economic development executive and founder of three best-of-class organizations, Dr. Morfessis has devoted her professional life to helping companies and communities grow and prosper. Based in Phoenix, AZ, IO.INC is a visionary consulting practice that delivers expert strategies and solutions to help leaders, organizations and places grow. Among IO.INC’s clients are cities and regions; global and domestic companies, publicly traded and privately held; master planned community developers, and nonprofit organizations. Prior to starting her own company, she was the founding President/CEO of the Economic Alliance of Greater Baltimore and the Greater Phoenix Economic Council, and the inaugural director of the Montgomery County, MD Department of Economic Development. In these posts, she led efforts to recruit and expand more than 300 firms that combined, invested over $27 billion in private capital and generated more than 250,000 direct new jobs. Dr. Morfessis also served as the Chairman of the International Economic Development Council and is an Honorary Lifetime Member. She is a founding director of the Helios Education Foundation, and serves on numerous civic boards.

Simon Millcock, ACEcD
Queensland State Practitioner Network Economic Development Australia
Townsville, Queensland

Simon has 16 years experience in the field of Economic Development and was an active Economic Development Australia (EDA) National Director from 2008 -2014 which included development of the EDA Regional and Remote Training Program. Simon has delivered 15 pro-bono training programs across regional Australia.

Sophie Minich
President and CEO
Cook Inlet Region, Inc.
Anchorage, AK

Sophie Minich became CIRI’s president and chief executive officer in January 2013. As CIRI president and CEO, Minich is responsible for the development and implementation of the company’s corporate strategies, programs and policies and procedures. She oversees all the company’s business operations and is the primary contact with the company’s stakeholders.

Minich is Athabascan and a CIRI and Doyon shareholder who grew up in Seward, Alaska. She joined CIRI in 1993 and has served as chief operating officer, senior vice president of business development, chief financial officer, vice president of administration and director of accounting. She is a current director and former chair of the Anchorage Economic Development Corp.’s board of directors, as well as a trustee of Alaska Regional Hospital and CIRI Elders’ Settlement Trust. Minich also serves on the Wells Fargo Bank Statewide Advisory Board and is a former member of the Great West Division Board of the American Cancer Society.

Minich chaired the 2010 United Way of Anchorage community giving campaign. She was inducted into the Athena Society in 2008, is a 2011 YWCA Women of Achievement Award recipient and the recipient of the 2013 UAA Alumni of Achievement Award. She earned a bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Alaska Anchorage.

John Morand
Hope, Ontario, Canada

Fred Morley
Executive Vice President & Chief Economist
Greater Halifax Partnership
Halifax, NS

Fred Morley is Executive Vice President and Chief Economist of the Greater Halifax Partnership. Mr. Morley has designed and driven many of Nova Scotia’s and Halifax’s high profile economic and business initiatives, several of which have won international economic development awards. He is a regular media commentator and the author of more than 100 articles on economic issues. His views are sought by organizations, companies and governments around the world.

The Honorable Lisa Murkowski
Senator for Alaska, United States Senate
Washington, DC

Senator Lisa Murkowski is the first Alaskan-born Senator and only the sixth United States Senator to serve the state. The state’s senior Senator, Lisa Murkowski is a third-generation Alaskan, born in Ketchikan and raised in towns across the state: Wrangell, Juneau, Fairbanks and Anchorage. Since joining the Senate in 2002, Senator Murkowski has been a strong advocate for Alaska on the important issues facing the state, including energy, health care, education, military/veterans’ affairs and infrastructure development.

Only the 32nd female to serve in the United States Senate since its founding in 1789, Senator Murkowski has assumed leadership roles quickly. She is the Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and also serves on the Senate Appropriations Committee, where she is the Chairman of the Interior and Environment Subcommittee. Senator Murkowski is a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee – the first Alaskan to serve on that panel – and also is a senior member of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee.

She earned a B.A. in economics from Georgetown University in 1980 and a law degree from Willamette University in 1985. Prior to her appointment to the United States Senate, Senator Murkowski practiced commercial law in Anchorage and served three terms in the Alaska State House of Representatives. She was elected to a full six-year U.S. Senate term in 2004, and was re-elected in 2010 in a historic write-in campaign, the first successful write-in effort to the Senate since 1954.

Senator Murkowski is married to Verne Martell and they have two sons. She enjoys spending time with her family in the Alaska outdoors.

Mayor Rick Mystrom
Former Mayor of Anchorage & Author/Business Owner
Anchorage, AK

Rick Mystrom is the former Mayor of Anchorage. (1994 to 2000).

While Mayor he was Chairman of Alaska’s Conference of Mayors and twice named Alaska’s Elected Official of the Year. In 1982 Rick was named Alaska’s Small Businessman of the year and one of America’s Top Three Small Businessmen. From 1985-1989 he was Chairman of the United States Olympic Committee Bid for the Olympic Winter Games.

Rick was also the founder of the Big Brother’s Big Sisters program of Alaska; founder of Bridge Builders of Anchorage, an organization to promote respect among all cultures and races and a founding director of the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame.

Rick was awarded the Alaskan of the Year Denali Award for continuing public service and has been recently been inducted into the Alaska Business Hall of Fame.

Dan Parks
Senior Director, Strategy & Innovation, Office of Outreach & Engagement - Associate Executive Director
Industrial Extension Service NC State
Raleigh, NC

John Parrott, AAE
Airport Manager
Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport
Anchorage, AK

John attended the USAF Academy and graduated with a BS in Chemistry in 1978. During his 20 year USAF career he flew the AT-38, F-4, F-16 and B-1.

John began working at the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport after retiring from the USAF in 1998. He has served as the Airport Security Manager (1998-2001), the Operations Manager (2001-2004), the Deputy Director (2004-2008) and is currently the Airport Manager.

John is an Accredited Airport Executive, Past President of the Northwest Chapter of the American Association of Airport Executives, serves on the Armed Services YMCA of Alaska Board, is an Ex Officio Advisor to the Visit Anchorage Board, Ex Officio member of the AEDC Board and member of the UAA College of Business and Public Policy Advisory Board.

John is married and has a 6 year old daughter.

Christopher Perez
Program Officer
Rasmuson Foundation
Anchorage, AK

Christopher Perez is a Program Officer at the Rasmuson Foundation. He also manages the Foundation’s program-related investments (PRIs). Immediately prior to joining the Foundation in June 2008, he served as a senior program officer for the F. B. Heron Foundation, located in New York City, managing a diverse portfolio of grants and investments with an emphasis on rural communities. His prior philanthropy experience includes positions in the corporate philanthropy department of Pfizer Inc, serving as a program officer for the Pfizer Foundation, and as a graduate intern at the William Randolph Hearst Foundations. Previously, he held positions with New York City and New York State governments focusing on urban development. Chris holds a M.P.A. in nonprofit management and finance from New York University and a B.A. in history and art history from Wesleyan University.

Chris has been active in the leadership of several national philanthropic organizations, currently serving on the steering committee of Mission Investors Exchange. Locally, he is on the operations board of The Foraker Group and serves on the board of his son’s nonprofit preschool.

Alana Peterson
Program Director
Haa Aani
Anchorage, AK

Alana Peterson was born and raised in Sitka Alaska, where she currently resides with her husband and two children. Alana’s Tlingit name is Gah Kith Tin, a Raven of the Luknahadi (Coho) clan in Southeast Alaska. Professionally Alana has earned a Bachelor’s of Science and Masters Degree, both in Business Administration. She served as a small business development volunteer in the Peace Corps Peru from 2009-2011. Since then her work has focused on developing programs to address the many challenges of economic development in Southeast Alaska. Currently Alana works at Haa Aaní, LLC, an economic development corporation, whose mission is to promote the cultural, social, and economic viability of S.E. Alaska’s Tlingit, Haida, & Tsimshian communities through collaboration, innovation, & direct resource investment in community sustainability. Alana is the Program Director for Sustainable Southeast Partnership, a growing network of organizations in Southeast Alaska working together to create sustainable communities.

Jonas Peterson
President & Chief Executive Officer
Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance
Las Vegas, NV

Jonas R. Peterson currently serves as the President & Chief Executive Officer of the Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance (LVGEA), a rapidly growing public-private partnership charged with diversifying Southern Nevada’s economy. 

Prior to joining LVGEA, Peterson served as President & CEO of the Santa Clarita Valley Economic Development Corporation (SCVEDC). During his tenure, SCVEDC quickly emerged as one of the most productive economic development organizations in California.

Peterson has conducted considerable research on comparative advantage and quantitative marketing. Recent publications include “Vegas 2.0: Rebooting Nevada’s Economic Engine” and  "Minding Our Own Businesses: a Practitioner's Guide to Regional Business Retention and Expansion.”

Jonas received a M.S. in Community and Economic Development from Pennsylvania State University and a M.B.A. from North Dakota State University. He is a Certified Economic Developer (CEcD), graduate of Oklahoma University's Economic Development Institute (OUEDI), graduate of Stanford University’s Executive Program, Certified Business Retention and Expansion Consultant and has completed the Leadership Series at Harvard’s Kennedy School.

In 2010, Jonas was recognized as Arizona’s “Economic Developer of the Year” by the Arizona Association for Economic Development and as the “New Economic Developer of the Year” by the International Economic Development Council.

Bill Popp
President & CEO
Anchorage Economic Development Corporation
Anchorage, AK

Bill Popp has spent more than 30 years in both the Alaska private and public sectors. As President & CEO of the Anchorage Economic Development Corporation, he sets the strategic direction in marketing Anchorage and Alaska to companies and global industries considering Anchorage as a place in which to do business and assists local businesses looking to expand outside of Alaska.

Prior to joining AEDC, Popp served as special assistant to Mayor John J. Williams of the Kenai Peninsula Borough (KPB) with a focus on oil and gas development. From 1996 to 2002, he held an elected position on the KPB Assembly and, in 2000, he presided over the Assembly as president. He also has private industry experience as a small business owner.

Popp has served as chairman of the KPB Economic Development Criteria Task Force; project coordinator of the Challenger Learning Center for Alaska; vice chairman of the Alaska Stranded Gas Act Municipal Advisory Group; co-chair of Governor Murkowski's Agrium Task Force; chair of the Kenai Peninsula Development Coalition; consultant for the British Columbia Provincial Government's Offshore Oil and Gas Team; and, member of the Cook Inlet Natural Gas Pipeline Terminus Group. He is currently a board member of the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce, Anchorage Convention & Visitors Bureau and commissioner member for the Anchorage School District Education & Workforce Advisory Commission.

John Provo
Director, Economic Development
Virginia Tech Office of Economic Development
Blacksburg, VA

John Provo is Director of Virginia Tech’s Office of Economic Development. Provo provides leadership for the office in the design and implementation of applied research and technical assistance projects that link university and community resources to address the economic development needs of the Commonwealth. He builds program partnerships and secures funding as a major point of contact between the office, academic departments within the University, federal, state, and local governments, as well as other public and private sector leaders.

Provo provides leadership for the university in the design and implementation of its economic development mission. A “pracademic” with more than 15 years of economic development experience in higher education and government he builds partnerships that link university, community, and industry resources to address the economic development needs of the Commonwealth.

Provo received his Ph.D. from the School of Urban Studies and Planning at Portland State University. He received a master's degree in Urban and Regional Planning from Virginia Commonwealth University in 1999 and a bachelor's degree in government from the College of William and Mary in 1989. While in Richmond, he worked for Virginia's Secretary of Commerce and Trade on implementation of revisions to the state's workforce development system. He presents regularly before scholarly and professional associations, and maintains affiliations with the American Planning Association, Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning, University Economic Development Association, and Virginia Economic Developers Association.

Mary Rajek
Economic Development Associate
Redevelopment Resources
Madison, WI

Mary Rajek is an Economic Development professional with Redevelopment Resources focused on client project management, special project research and program implementation. She has had the privilege of providing economic development services and support at community, County, and Regional levels, as well as the opportunity to spearhead business and entrepreneurship support programming at the County level. Ms. Rajek has an educational background in Communications, Business and Economics from within the University of Wisconsin system. She is currently working towards her Certified Economic Developer designation through the IEDC, as well as her Economic Development Finance Professional certification through the National Development Council.

Tom Ralser, CFA
Convergent Nonprofit Solutions
Atlanta, GA

Tom has worked with organizations of all kinds, from Economic Development Organizations and Chambers of Commerce to religious organizations, national museums to rural health networks, and local youth organizations to international research institutes. He has personally been involved in over 500 nonprofit funding projects nationwide, helping nonprofits raise over an estimated $1.1 billion. Tom pioneered the concept of applying return on investment (ROI) principles to nonprofit fundraising, and fundraisers have described his work as the “silver bullet” that justifies larger investments in nonprofit organizations. Clients across the nonprofit sector have benefited from increased funding by using his innovative ROI analyses and applications.

Lyneir Richardson
Executive Director, Center for Urban Entrepreneurship and Economic Development
Rutgers Business School
Newark, NJ

Lyneir Richardson is the Executive Director of The Center for Urban Entrepreneurship and Economic Development (CUEED), a research and practitioner oriented center at Rutgers Business School in Newark, NJ. He is also a lead consultant to Chicago TREND a MacArthur Foundation funded initiative aiming to stimulate retail development to accelerate neighborhood transformation.

Lyneir is the former Chief Executive Officer of Brick City Development Corporation, where he had overall responsibility for real estate development, small business services and business attraction in Newark, NJ. Before Brick City, he was Vice President of Urban Development at General Growth Properties, Inc. where he led the national initiative to bring quality shopping centers to ethnic neighborhoods in large U.S. cities. Prior to General Growth, Lyneir founded Lakeshore Development & Construction Company and was recognized by the U.S. Small Business Administration as "Illinois Young Entrepreneur of the Year". Lyneir started his career as an attorney at the First National Bank of Chicago.

Lyneir is a graduate of Bradley University and the University of Chicago Law School He serves on numerous non-profit and civic boards, committees and commissions.

Rex Rock, Sr.
President and CEO
Arctic Slope Regional Corporation

Todd Rohl
Deputy CEO, Logan Office of Economic Development
Logan City Council
Logan, Queenslands

Anne Roise, MCP, CEcD
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.

David Rumbarger, CEcD
Community Development Foundation
Tupelo, MS

David has over 30 years of economic development/existing industry and chamber of commerce management. He has been involved on the local/state level and working with natural gas and electric utilities.

Since August 2000, David has served as president/CEO of the Community Development Foundation of Tupelo, Mississippi. Under his leadership, Tupelo/Lee County has experienced exceptional growth. His most recent recruit, Grammer Inc. USA, employs 650, and the company located in a shell building in Tupelo/Lee Industrial Park. Grammer Inc. USA now makes Tupelo its North American headquarters. In December 2008, David successfully led a team to retain the 1200 jobs at Cooper Tire and Rubber Plant. The team then aimed higher, and in 2014, he helped them secure an equipment upgrade of over 170 million dollars for the plant. Job retainment is a constant goal for David, and in 2006, he pursued the designation of the U.S. Foreign Trade Zone #158. This trade zone saved approximately 950 sewing and furniture jobs. Through his efforts as a one of the team leaders for the Wellspring Project site located in Pontotoc, Union, and Lee Counties, David played a pivotal role in locating Toyota’s Corolla Plant in North Mississippi. David made the first call in New York to market the Wellspring Project Site to Toyota leadership in 2006. That plant now employs 2000 with over one billion dollars of capital investment. Site Selection magazine ranked Tupelo/Lee County #2 in the years 2013 and 2006 for micropolitan areas in projects, capital, and job growth. Southern Business and Development Magazine ranked Tupelo/Lee County #1 in small markets for the U.S. in 2008. Previously, David worked with North Carolina Power & Light and Energen, and was a cabinet member for Governor Hunt of Alabama working in the area of economic and community development.

David and his wife, Donna, have two grown children, a son who graduated from Mississippi State University and a daughter who graduated from the University of Mississippi. David graduated with a BS from Auburn University, holds a MS in Economic Development from the University of Southern Mississippi and a Management Certificate from Duke University.

Christian Saublens
European Association of Development Agencies (EURADA)
Brussels, Belgium

Christian SAUBLENS is Belgian and has an experience of more than 30 years in lobbying the European Community authorities.

He is the Executive Manager of EURADA, the European association of Development Agencies. The association has 140 members operating in more than 25 countries.

Christian helped the creation of EBAN, the European network promoting the stimulation of informal venture capital at regional or national level. He is currently supporting the network of Innovating Regions in Europe.

Christian has written several papers regarding the impact of EU regulations on regional development and the role of development agencies in Europe.

David Schwartz
Vice President
Economic & Planning Systems
Denver, CO

David Schwartz is a Vice President in the Denver office of Economic & Planning Systems, a national economics and land use consulting firm. Having joined EPS in 2006, David specializes in housing policy feasibility studies, forecasting, economic impact and industry analyses, as well as general economic and urban planning services. He consults to both public and private clients – land owners, developers, attorneys, non-profits, cities, counties, states, regional planning organizations, consortiums of governments, economic development entities, and industry trade associations. David works with public sector clients on housing demand analysis and economic forecasting, affordability need and gaps analyses, compliance planning documents, regulatory and non-regulatory policy feasibility studies, and financing strategies. Within the public, private, and non-profit sectors, David provides market and financial feasibility studies for a wide spectrum of residential, non-residential, and mixed-use development projects as well as for cultural and institutional facilities. He also works with economic development entities, trade associations, and other partnerships to identify the impacts of various economic activities, such as the operational and capital impacts of service-sector industries, energy-related industry activities, infrastructure development, and land use development. David holds his Master’s degree from Ohio State University and a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Cincinnati.

Charles Shoopman, Jr.
Assistant Vice President
University of Tennessee Institute for Public Service
Knoxville, TN

Chuck Shoopman is Assistant Vice President of the University of Tennessee’s Institute for Public Service (IPS). The Institute is composed of five outreach organizations that connect people and solutions to improve the efficiency and performance of businesses and governments across Tennessee. Chuck leads the organization’s efforts to help business and government leaders improve job retention, promote job growth, strengthen leadership capacity and build stronger, safer communities.

Shoopman is a Past-President of the University Economic Development Association (UEDA), representing over 170 member institutions across the U.S., and a current member of the Tennessee Center for Performance Excellence (TNCPE) Board of Directors.

Before rejoining UT in 2004, Shoopman worked over ten years with the Tennessee Valley Authority’s (TVA) Economic Development organization. While at TVA he served in a variety of leadership roles, including Acting Vice President of Economic Development. Program responsibilities ranged from managing the organization’s revolving loan programs and small business assistance efforts to international industrial development activities.

An alumnus of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and Vanderbilt University, Chuck and his wife Kathy are the proud parents of two adult sons and two adult daughters.

William Sproull, FM
President & CEO
Richardson Economic Development Partnership
Richardson, TX

William Sproull is President and CEO of the Richardson Chamber of Commerce (RCC), Metroplex Technology Business Council (MTBC) and the Richardson Economic Development Partnership (REDP). This unique and complex set of organizations he runs has two separate Board of Directors and a City Council to whom he reports.

He has led the revitalization of Richardson’s telecom based economy through a focus on industry and technology diversification . He built the MTBC into the state of Texas’s largest trade association for technology companies. He led the RCC in 2010 through the rigorous US Chamber Accreditation program successfully, earning the highest 5 Star rating conferred by the US Chamber for accreditation. Sproull and his REDP team are credited with bringing two catalyst economic development projects to Richardson: a 3,000 employee Bank of America operation in 2004, and a $3 billion Texas Instruments semiconductor factory in 2003.

In 2005, he helped lead a statewide coalition that got legislation passed in Texas to create the Texas Emerging Technology Fund, a half-billion investment fund. Governor Rick Perry of Texas has appointed him to three consecutive two-year terms on the Fund’s Advisory Committee, and appointed him as Chairman in 2010.

Previously he held senior economic development positions at the Greater Dallas Chamber, the McKinney Economic Development Corporation and at the EDC of Kansas City, Missouri. Sproull is a graduate of Baylor University, where he received a BA degree with a double major in Economics and Political Science.

Sproull is the Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of the International Economic Development Council, and serves on the Board of Directors of the University of Texas at Dallas, the North Texas Regional Center for Innovation & Commercialization, the North Texas Commission, and the Technology Councils of North America.

Sproull’s economic development accomplishments were recognized by the editors of Site Selection magazine when they selected the $3 billion Texas Instruments project as the Top Development Deal nationally of 2003; his economic development teams have been selected three times by Site Selection as one of the top 10 development groups in the U.S. in 1994, 1997 and 2004. He is a two-time recipient of the American Economic Development Council’s “Best of Class” marketing award. In 2010, the International Economic Development Council designated him with the distinction of being a Fellow Member.

The Metroplex Technology Business Council inducted Sproull as the inaugural member of their Hall of Fame in 2010 by declaring him a Tech Titan.

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

Jamie Stitt
Deputy Assistant Commissioner of Business Development
State of Tennessee
Nashville, TN

Jamie Stitt presently serves as Deputy Assistant Commissioner of Business Development for the State of Tennessee's Department of Economic and Community Development, assisting in effectively implementing Governor Haslam's nine regional "Jobs Base Camps" as part of the Jobs4TN initiative. Stitt assists Assistant Commissioner Allen Borden in overseeing all expansions of existing companies and recruitment of new companies to Tennessee as well as the FastTrack Incentive Team. The Business Development Division is focused on job creation across the state.

Ben Teague, EDFP
Executive Director
Economic Development Coalition for Asheville-Buncombe County
Asheville, NC

Over the past 15 years Benjamin has worked to place more than 60 economic development projects and over $1.5 Billion dollars in capital investment in multiple states. Ben has represented economic development organizations and private sector clients on statewide, regional and local levels.

Clients have called on Ben for governmental affairs at the Federal, State and local levels to advocate for strong public investment or ensuring the passage of project enabling legislation. He has also authored three federal studies between the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Energy.

Ben’s work has been featured in Forbes, Fast Company, Wall Street Journal, Popular Mechanics, National League of Cities Case Study, Business Expansion Journal, Trade and Industry Magazine and multiple local and regional media outlets.

He has been a featured speaker about economic development for Smithsonian Institute, International Economic Development Council (IEDC), Urban Land Institute (ULI), National League of Cities, National Association of Industry Specific Training and numerous local and regional economic development conferences.

Ben earned his Bachelor of Business Administration from Mississippi College and his Masters of Business Administration from the University of Mississippi serving as a John N Palmer fellow. Subsequently Ben furthered his professional education by completing the Economic Development Institute administered by the University of Oklahoma and has earned the designation of Economic Development Finance Professional (EDFP) from the National Development Council.

Vinai Thummalapally
Executive Director, SelectUSA
U.S. Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration
Washington, DC

Vinai Thummalapally serves as Executive Director of SelectUSA, part of the International Trade Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce. Established by Executive Order of the President, SelectUSA is the U.S. government-wide initiative to attract and retain business investment in the United States. As Executive Director, Ambassador Thummalapally manages the strategy and implementation of SelectUSA as it works to create jobs, spur economic growth, and promote American competitiveness. He also co-chairs, with the Director of the White House National Economic Council, the SelectUSA Interagency Investment Working Group to coordinate existing resources across the federal government to promote business investment and address federal regulatory barriers.

Ambassador Thummalapally brings a wealth of experience from both the private and public sectors. President Obama appointed him ambassador to Belize in 2009, where he served until 2013. In his role as Chief of Mission, Ambassador Thummalapally helped strengthen the bilateral relationship between the United States and Belize in the areas of citizen security, economic development, education, and health care. In addition, he found innovative ways to engage regional and international organizations and other embassies to promote the same.

Ambassador Thummalapally has had a distinguished 31-year career in the private sector. Prior to joining the foreign service, Ambassador Thummalapally served as President of MAM-A Inc., formerly Mitsui Advanced Media. MAM-A Inc. was the nation’s leading manufacturer and distributor of archival recordable optical discs. During his fourteen year tenure the company became the benchmark of the optical disc manufacturing industry.

Ambassador Thummalapally also served as the plant manager of WEA Manufacturing Inc., a division of Time Warner Inc.; the Managing Director for Clines Printing and Office Products; and Manufacturing Manager of Disc Manufacturing, Inc. In addition to holding two U.S. patents for design of optical disc manufacturing, he has received several Outstanding Service awards for his professional accomplishments.

Originally from Hyderabad, India, Ambassador Thummalapally moved to the United States in 1974 to pursue his engineering studies. He received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from California State University in 1977 and completed post graduate Business Administration courses from Cal State University in 1980 and University of Tennessee in 1995. He is also fluent in Telugu, Hindi and Urdu.

Ambassador Thummalapally and his wife Barbara have two children.

Douglas Tyler, CEcD
Deloitte Tax LLP
New York City, NY

Doug is a Director in Deloitte Tax’s National Multistate Tax, Credits & Incentives Practice. He has over twenty years of experience in economic development and public policy. Doug and his teams assist clients with evaluating alternative site locations with respect to various cost considerations including negotiating, securing, optimizing and implementing comprehensive statutory and discretionary economic development incentives for projects. Doug also serves as the US liaison for Global Credits & Incentives for Deloitte and is a member of the Global Incentives Leadership committee.

Fábio Veras, CEcD
Executive Director - Technical Board
Sebrae Minas
Minas Gerais, Brazil

He has over twenty years of professional experience managing sectorial projects and economic development in private business entities with intense relationship with the Federal Government and the Congress. He has been through the formulation and implementation of State Government public politics strategies, especially the territorial intelligence. The innovative programs for Startups(I), Sebrae Academy (Academia Sebrae) Campaign / Website to reframe entrepreneurship to teens (II), rescuing their self-confidence, Sensemaking / Storytelling(III) rescuing the ability of people to create meaning and sense in what they do, the Entrepreneurial Cities (Cidades Empreendedoras) (IV) and ProValor - Program to add value to the product of Minas Gerais (V), have achieved compelling results and even greater achievements.

Ellen Walkowiak, CEcD
Business Development Mgr.
City of Tacoma
Tacoma, WA

Ellen (Elly) Walkowiak is the Business Development Manager with the City of Tacoma, Washington, Economic Development Division, Community & Economic Development Department. Ms. Walkowiak has an M.S. in Resource Administration and Management from the University of New Hampshire and a B.A. in Environmental Anthropology from the University of Pittsburgh as well as various professional economic development and public management certifications from the National Development Council, Harvard University and Drake University. She has worked for over 20 years in land use planning and economic development. Ms. Walkowiak has extensive experience in negotiating development agreements with minimal public investment, brownfields redevelopment, attracting funding, including Congressional lobbying, recommending and critiquing legislation, and creating community capacity. She has also been involved in international exchanges. She has taught strategic planning in the Ukraine and has published brownfields redevelopment articles that she presented to international professionals in Brazil and in Spain. Ms. Walkowiak is a recipient of the George C. Askew award for excellence in public management. She excels in innovation, community consensus building, creating partnerships and project implementation.

Sandra Watson
President & CEO
Arizona Commerce Authority
Phoenix, AZ

Sandra Watson brings more than 20 years of economic development leadership experience to Arizona. She and her teams have successfully attracted to Arizona hundreds of companies that have invested billions of dollars in capital and created more than 75,000 quality jobs.

During her tenure with the Arizona Department of Commerce, and now the Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA), Ms. Watson served in multiple positions with increasing responsibilities and results. She has led Business Attraction, Business Development, Innovation & Technology, Workforce and Marketing. She has served as an Executive Director on the Governor’s Council of Innovation & Technology in advancing the state’s Innovation and Technology roadmap. Ms. Watson began her career in Canada and brings not only a wealth of knowledge on the regional, state and national levels but can execute effectively on an international scale.

Ms. Watson is a collaborative leader who excels in strategic thinking and relationship building. She worked tirelessly to implement the new vision for the Arizona Commerce Authority, providing invaluable leadership and stability during its transition from the Department of Commerce into one of the nation’s first public-private partnerships focused on economic development. She was instrumental in guiding the implementation of the ACA’s aggressive 5-year business plan promoting the state’s pro-business, competitive value proposition. Under her leadership, the ACA has transformed into Arizona’s leading economic development organization, and advances its three-pronged approach to strengthen the overall economy: recruit, grow, create – recruit out-of-state companies to expand their operations in Arizona; work with existing companies to grow their business in Arizona and beyond; and partner with entrepreneurs and companies large and small to create new jobs and businesses in targeted industries.

She earned an Honors Bachelor of Commerce degree, and has completed the Global Leadership Certification program at the Thunderbird School of Management. In addition to serving on numerous regional and statewide Boards of Directors, Ms. Watson serves on the National State Science and Technology Institute Board of Trustees and is a board member of Make-A-Wish Arizona.

In 2014, the Phoenix Business Journal recognized Ms. Watson as one of the 25 "Most Admired Leaders in Business" and Az Business selected her for its 2014-15 Az Business Leaders publication spotlighting Arizona’s most respected and influential business leaders. In 2013, Az Business also recognized Ms. Watson as one of the “50 Most Influential Women in Arizona Business.” The Phoenix Business Journal in 2012, recognized Ms. Watson among the "Top 25 Women in Business,” one of the 2008 “Power Players in the Phoenix Metro Area,” and in 2004, recognized her as an up-and-coming Arizona leader, with its “Forty Under 40” designation. Ms. Watson is also a two-time recipient of the Arizona Technology Council’s Chairman’s Award (2004 and 2010).

Jeff Welch
Bozeman, MT

One of the nation's leading thinkers at the intersection of travel and outdoor recreation, Jeff challenges audiences to stop conforming to traditional industry models and be themselves. In a world that is becoming increasingly homogenized, small and mid-size businesses can thrive if they emphasize their uniqueness and understand what today's consumer values. Approaching conference attendees with intelligence and a dry sense of humor, Jeff showcases the modern travelers' desires for authenticity, localism, shared humanity and how those three needs are creating seismic shifts in everything from where they travel to how they experience the outdoors, to what they buy and how you market to them. Jeff is the founder and CEO of MercuryCSC, a marketing firm that helps travel and outdoor brands connect with today's consumer. His firm has been ranked by Outside Magazine as one of the top places to work in the nation four consectutive years. A graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism, Jeff can often be found on a stream in Montana, wading saltwater flats in Central America or at home with his wife and two daughters on their small farm in Montana’s Shields Valley.

Heather Wessling, CEcD
Vice President, Economic Development
Kenosha Area Business Alliance
Kenosha, WI

With over 15 years of experience in different levels of advancing community and economic development programs and projects, I’ve been instrumental in bringing in new business as well as deploying resources to existing businesses that are expanding. In my current role as Vice President of Economic Development for the Kenosha Area Business Alliance, my primary duty is to implement business and retention strategy for Kenosha County to position businesses favorably within the Milwaukee-Chicago corridor by meeting with 100 businesses per annum. The Kenosha area is simply an advantageous climate with a diverse, rich base of businesses and, as a result, is thriving. I pursue leads for new and existing businesses by executing a targeted industry strategic approach. I support entrepreneurial efforts to connect our businesses to resources they need to continue to grow. I serve on several boards and committees in the community including the State’s economic development board, the Wisconsin Economic Development Association.

The Honorable Jay Williams
Assistant Secretary for Economic Development
Economic Development Administration, United States Department of Commerce
Washington, DC

Jay Williams was appointed by President Obama to serve as the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development and was sworn into office on Tuesday, May 20, 2014.

As the Administrator of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA), Williams is charged with leading the federal economic development agenda by promoting innovation and competitiveness, preparing American regions for growth and success in the global economy.

Prior to joining the Department of Commerce, Jay served as the executive director of the Office of Recovery for Auto Communities and Workers. In this capacity, he worked directly with state and local stakeholders in areas affected by the changing American automotive industry to deliver federal support to ensure they returned to better economic condition.

He also served in the White House as Deputy Director for the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs. In this position, he led efforts to engage mayors, city council members, and county officials around the country.

Williams served as the Mayor of Youngstown, Ohio from 2006 to August 1, 2011. During his tenure as Mayor of Youngstown, Williams led efforts that had a direct impact on improving the quality of life for the citizens of Youngstown.

Williams is the recipient of the 2007 John F. Kennedy New Frontier Award. The JFK Library Foundation, in conjunction with the Harvard University Institute of Politics, annually recognizes two exceptional young Americans- under the age of 40, whose contributions in elective office, community service or advocacy demonstrate the impact and value of public service in the spirit of President John F. Kennedy.

Prior to being elected, Williams spent five years as the Director of Community Development for the city. Before transitioning into public service, Williams enjoyed a distinguished career in banking, which included stints at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland and First Place Bank, as a vice president.

Assistant Secretary Williams was born and raised in Youngstown. He graduated from Youngstown State University with a B.S.B.A., majoring in finance.

David Wood, PhD
Director, Initiative for Responsible Investment
Hauser Institute at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
Cambridge, MA

David Wood directs the IRI’s research and field-building work on responsible investment across asset classes, and currently manages projects on RI strategy with pension fund trustees, mission investing by foundations, the changing landscape of community investing in the US, and impact investing and public policy. He holds a Ph.D. in History from The Johns Hopkins University.

Jennifer Worth
Senior Vice President Workforce and Economic Development
American Association of Community Colleges
Washington, DC

Jen Worth serves as senior vice president for workforce and economic development for the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC). In this role, Ms. Worth oversees projects that partner community colleges with workforce boards, economic development entities, labor market intermediaries, and other community organizations to drive workforce and economic opportunity. Striving to make promising practices into common practices, she interfaces with federal agencies and fosters relationships with foundations and industry partners looking to align talent pipelines from colleges into growing employment sectors. Ms. Worth also directs the annual Workforce Development Institute (WDI). She also staffs the Commission on Economic and Workforce Development and is the liaison for the following six AACC Affiliated Councils: Community Colleges of Appalachia, National Council for Continuing Education and Training, National Coalition of Advanced Technology Centers, National Council for Workforce Education, National Partnership for Environmental Technology Education, and Rural Community College Alliance. Ms. Worth has held positions at the National Center on Education and the Economy, the Academy for Educational Development, the Center for Post-Compulsory Education and Lifelong Learning, and the National Association of Workforce Boards. She holds a Master of Public Policy and Management degree from the University of Melbourne in Australia.