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Link:  IEDC 2016 Federal Economic Development Forum | Arlington, VA | April 3-5


The Honorable Jane Campbell
Director Washington Office 
National Development Council
Washington, DC

In her new role as the Director of the newly established Washington Office of the National Development Council (NDC), Jane Campbell is bringing the expertise of NDC’s forty years of experience working to bring capital to underserved communities – both urban and rural- into the federal public policy debate. NDC works in over 100 communities across America building public facilities and creating commercial redevelopment, low income housing, all through public private partnerships and creative use of federal, state and local financing tools.

As the Senior Advisor to Senator Cantwell on the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, Campbell lead the committee’s work on access to capital and women’s entrepreneurship, while providing guidance to the committee’s Staff Director, a position she held under Senator Landrieu. As Staff Director, Campbell directed policy to support small businesses’ access to capital, federal contracting opportunities, business counseling, and engagement in international trade.  From 2009-13, Campbell served as Senator Landrieu’s Chief of Staff leading efforts to recover from both Katerina and the Gulf oil spill.

Campbell’s public service career included serving as the first woman mayor of Cleveland, five years as county commissioner for Ohio’s largest county, and six terms in the Ohio House of Representatives. Her public service focused on economic development, fiscal stability, child welfare, and health and human services policy. After successfully implementing welfare reform, Governing Magazine honored Campbell as 2000 Public Official of the Year.

Dennis Chrisbaum
Director, International Trade Finance 
U.S. Small Business Administration
Washington, DC

Mr. Chrisbaum serves as Director of International Trade Finance for the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). In that capacity, he oversees SBA’s export loan programs and the SBA staff who deliver those programs at U.S. Export Assistance Centers (USEAC) throughout the country. USEACs combine the international marketing resources of the U.S. Commercial Service and the trade finance expertise of the SBA at 21 U.S. locations. Over the past five years, Mr. Chrisbaum also has worked closely with the inter-agency Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee’s Small Business Working Group in drafting recommendations to expand small business exports under the President’s National Export Initiative.

Prior to assuming this new position in 2011, Mr. Chrisbaum served as SBA’s representative at the U.S. Export Assistance Center located in Denver, Colorado. In that role, he oversaw the SBA’s International Trade Finance Program in the five-state, Inter-Mountain West region, which included Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming. Before moving to Denver, Mr. Chrisbaum worked in Washington, D.C. for both the U.S. Small Business Administration, where he developed and oversaw SBA’s national export promotion program, and the U.S. Department of Commerce where he worked in various positions with the Office of High Technology Export Promotion, the Office of the Under Secretary for International Trade, and the President’s Export Council.

Mr. Chrisbaum has an MBA degree in Finance, Investments and Banking and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Arts from the University of Wisconsin, as well as Masters of Arts degrees from Columbia University and Atlantic University. He and his wife, Nancy, reside in Alexandria, Virginia.

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.

Alex Cocoziello
Director, Business Development & Program Management
InSitech, Inc.
Dover, NJ

A seasoned innovation intermediary, Alex Cocoziello brings over 15 years of cross-functional team leadership experience creating strategic partnerships among technology-focused organizations in the public and private sectors. He has held senior level business development and operational positions in both large and small companies in the engineering, software and professional services industries. To date Cocoziello has helped generate over $20 million in new revenues through the creation of strategic partnerships and other collaborative relationships that leverage technology innovation.

Presently Cocoziello serves as Director of Business Development & Program Management at InSitech, Inc., a not-for-profit, federal partnership intermediary that facilitates technology transfer and economic development activity between the US Department of Defense (DoD), other federal agencies and the private sector. Having forged strong working relationships with a broad portfolio of DoD clients, Cocoziello has facilitated dozens of technology collaboration agreements between DoD laboratories and private sector organizations. He has also architected and led numerous outreach programs to make emerging technology companies aware of partnering opportunities with DoD.

In 2012 Cocoziello led an effort to win and execute a US EDA grant to develop a TBED strategy focused on bioproducts for Kern County, CA, in cooperation with the Kern Economic Development Corporation.

As a result, at least one of the region’s major agricultural producers has pursued a strategic relationship with an emerging technology company that converts agricultural waste into marketable products. Cocoziello’s accomplishments also include helping a major US Navy R&D center develop and execute innovative collaborative programs to spur regional economic activity, as well as advising the center on high-stakes licensing negotiations for its portfolio of biofuels IP.

Cocoziello holds a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering with high honors from the New Jersey Institute of Technology. He has been a speaker at several DoD and university symposia on dual use technology.

Dennis G. Coleman, CEcD, FM, HLM
Co-Founder and President
Community and Economic Development Solutions
St. Louis, MO

Denny Coleman recently retired as CEO of St. Louis Economic Development Partnership. Since 1982, Coleman has overseen a multitude of economic development initiatives that have earned St. Louis national recognition for outstanding progress in the areas of community revitalization, business development and job creation. Prior to the Economic Development Partnership, Coleman was director of development for both St. Louis County and St. Louis City and managed neighborhood, housing, and economic development efforts. He also served as vice president for community development at Mercantile Bank (now U.S. Bank) when the bank’s community development corporation received the National Fair Housing Award and a Private Sector Initiatives Award from the White House. Coleman has a master’s degree in urban and regional planning from the University of Wisconsin and bachelor’s degree in urban geography from Saint Louis University. He also completed the Senior Executive Program at John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Coleman is a past chair for the International Economic Development Council (IEDC). He is an advisory board member for Saint Louis University. Coleman serves on numerous other boards and advisory committees for state and local governments, civic organizations, colleges and universities. Coleman and his wife, Bonnie, have been married over 36 years. They have two grown children, Mike and Emily.

Dr. James C. 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.

Rodney Crim
St. Louis Economic Development Partnership
St. Louis, MO

As President of St. Louis Economic Development Partnership, Rodney Crim leads the organization’s business development services, including business retention and attraction, innovation and entrepreneurship, international trade support, and business financing—all aimed at bringing people, jobs and investment to the St. Louis region.

Crim’s career reflects his passion for community and economic development. He was instrumental in the aligning of the City of St. Louis and St. Louis County economic development agencies in 2013 and works closely with CEO Denny Coleman in leading its efforts. Previously, he served as Executive Director of St. Louis Development Corporation and has held leadership roles in various industries such as manufacturing, financial services and retail for American Express, Shorebank and other companies.

A graduate of the University of Minnesota, Crim earned a Masters in Business Administration from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul. He has earned additional designations, including Certified Public Accountant and Certified Economic Development Finance Professional and has completed the Harvard JFK School of Government’s senior executive leadership program. He is the past chair for St. Louis District Council of the Urban Land Institute and has held various leadership positions in the International Council of Shopping Centers. He serves on a number of development boards, professional and service organizations, and has received local and national awards.

Calandra Cruickshank
President & CEO

Calandra Cruickshank is chief executive officer and co-founder of StateBook International, the first nationwide online marketplace for economic development and corporate site selection headquartered in NY. Calandra specializes in designing and implementing creative campaigns using sustainable and socially responsible programs and strategic alliances between for-profit and non-profit companies and government agencies. She has created and consulted for internet and mobile companies for the past 12 years.

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.

Lenny Eliason, MPA
Athens County
Athens, OH

He is the 1st Vice President of the National Association of Counties and serves on the NACO Membership Committee, the Rural Action Caucus and on the NACo Labor and Employment Steering Committee. A past member of the NACo Finance Committee, NACo Leadership and Governance Committee and the NACo By-Laws Committee. A member of the NACo County Leadership Institute Class of 2006.

Eliason earned a Master’s of Public Administration Degree from Ohio University.

In 2003, Eliason was appointed to serve on the PERRAC (Public Employees Risk Reduction Advisory Committee by Lt. Governor Jeanette Bradley. In 2007 he was appointed by the Ohio Supreme Court to the Indigent Defense Task Force. Eliason served on the CASA/GAL Study Committee from 2005-2007.

Gerri Fiala
Deputy Assistant Secretary
Employment and Training Administration
US Department of Labor
Washington, DC

Gerri Fiala recently joined the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Employment and Training. Prior to this, Gerri served as Staff Director to the HELP Subcommittee on Employment and Workplace Safety chaired by Senator Patty Murray. Here Gerri drafted Senator Murray’s “Innovations in 21st Century Careers” bill to make education more relevant for high school students. She also developed bills introduced by Senator Murray during the economic stimulus debate. Key components of these bills were ultimately included in Recovery Act funding provisions for the Department of Labor.

Before coming to Capitol Hill Gerri served in a number of workforce development positions that impacted workers and businesses in the U.S. and abroad. This includes her tenure as Director of Workforce Research for the Workforce Development Strategies Group at the National Center on Education and the Economy (NCEE). Accomplishments here include management of a project to help the Northern Ireland Department for Employment and Learning update its labor market information systems. Another project identified workforce development policies, best practices and models both in states and other countries to strengthen U.S. workforce development.

Gerri served for nearly eight years as Administrator, Office of Policy Development, Evaluation and Research, in the U.S. Department of Labor. This includes a year as a loaned executive to serve as Senior Counselor for Economic Development to the American Association of Community Colleges. As Administrator, she led interagency efforts to drive job training reform. This work culminated in the Workforce Investment Act of 1998, and Older Americans Act Amendments of 2000 (creating the Senior Community Service Employment Program). Her leadership on interagency teams also secured the Trade Adjustment Assistance Act, and Welfare to Work program, and provided direction to a DOL effort to craft and implement regulations for each of these programs.

Gerri has a Masters of Labor and Industrial Relations from Michigan State University, a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Iowa, and Associate of Arts from North Iowa Area Community College.

Jeffrey Finkle, CEcD
President & CEO
International Economic Development Council
Washington, DC

As President and CEO of the International Economic Development Council (IEDC), Jeff Finkle is a recognized leader and authority on economic development. With the formation of IEDC in 2001 following the merger of the Council for Urban Economic Development (CUED) - where he was president for 15 years - and the American Economic Development Council (AEDC), Jeff set the course for a more effective and influential organization. Today IEDC is the world's largest economic development membership organization and is a $5 million annual operation that is renowned for its leadership in professionalizing and diversifying the field of economic development.

Jeff previously served as Deputy Assistant Secretary in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and has received numerous awards over the years for his commitment to making sustainable economic development a priority in communities of all sizes. Significantly, in 2011 he was lauded by the U.S. Department of Commerce for his 25 years of stewardship over CUED and IEDC. Moreover, as a longtime leader in community service and philanthropy, in 2005 Jeff organized 250 economic development volunteers to work in Gulf Coast communities endeavoring to recover from Hurricane Katrina. In 1989 he also founded the Bollinger Foundation, a non-profit organization that provides financial assistance to children who have lost a parent who worked in the field of economic development.

A frequent lecturer and author of numerous articles, Jeff has appeared on CBS Sunday Morning, Fox television and the Journal Report on PBS. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in communications in 1976 from Ohio University in Athens and pursued graduate studies in business administration at Ohio State University. He maintains a strong connection with Ohio University’s Voinovich School for Leadership and Public Affairs.

Anne Flatness
Economist, Team Lead
Office of Trade and Policy Analysis, International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce
Washington, DC

Anne Flatness is an Economist and the Data Analysis Team Lead in the Trade and Policy Analysis office of the International Trade Administration. ITA’s Data Analysis team creates trade and industry data products that provide policy makers and the U.S. public with the resources help develop and evaluate trade policy. Anne came to ITA in 2014 after 9 years at the Bureau of Economic Analysis where she worked on trade in services statistics. Anne has a B.A. in Economics from the University of Virginia and an M.A. in International Trade and Investment Policy from the George Washington University.

Todd Greene, CEcD
Vice President, Community & Economic Development Research & Policy
Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta
Atlanta, GA

Todd Greene is vice president in the research department at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. Greene’s responsibilities include providing leadership, strategic direction, and oversight for the community and economic development department. With research, policy, and evidence-based best practices, and a focus on human capital development, small business, housing, and community and economic development finance, the group works to promote community and economic development and sustainable growth for all sectors of the economy.

Before joining the Atlanta Fed in 2008, Greene held leadership roles in the private, government, and education sectors. Most recently, he was a member of the general faculty at the Georgia Institute of Technology, where he served in various capacities, including center director, and oversaw research and programs related to applied economic development such as the Program in Science, Technology and Innovation Policy and the Center for Manufacturing Information Technology.

Currently, Greene is on the board of directors of the International Economic Development Council and is a member of the Southern Economic Development Council and the Georgia Economic Developers Association, for which he previously served as chairman. Greene’s community engagement includes serving on the Board of Visitors for Georgia Regents University, the board of directors of the Georgia Early Education Alliance for Ready Students (GEEARS) and a founding member of the Lorde-Rustin Giving Circle.

Greene is a graduate of the 2011 class of Leadership Atlanta, 2009 Leadership Georgia, and 2003 Buckhead Business Association Leadership Development programs. In 2002, he obtained the Certified Economic Developer designation (CEcD). Greene earned a bachelor’s degree in English and American literature and language from Harvard University, a master of arts degree in human resources management from Washington University, and a master’s degree in public administration from Georgia State University. He has completed executive education programs at Universidad ESAN (Lima, Peru) and Stanford Graduate School of Business.

George N. Harben, CEcD, CCR
Director, Existing Business
Prince William County Department of Economic Development
Manassas, VA

In June 2011, George N. Harben joined the Prince William County Department of Economic Development. In his current position, Mr. Harben works with local businesses on retention and expansion issues.

Prior to coming to Prince William County Mr. Harben was the vice president of the Greater Paducah Economic Development Council, KY. In this position he managed new and existing business projects, secured two Delta Regional Authority grants, maintained the site and building database, and developed an aggressive outreach program to site consultants.

Previously Mr. Harben managed the South Carolina Department of Commerce Research Division from 1999-2003. The division housed project research, target marketing, GIS system, sites and buildings database, and site certification. Accomplishments include substantially revising and enhancing the existing labor profile, converting the Industrial Directory from paper to an electronic version, producing in depth target marketing analysis and collateral data.

Mr. Harben served for four and a half years as the Director of Research for the Virginia Economic Development Partnership. The division housed the project research, sites and building database, and target marketing. During his tenure, the division was reorganized to prioritize project response and initiated a comprehensive target marketing program.

Mr. Harben previously worked for the South Carolina Department of Commerce from 1989-1994 as the Associate Manager of Project Research and later as manager. Mr. Harben was the lead in Research for the BMW and the Mercedes-Benz projects.

In 1997 Mr. Harben earned the Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) designation from the International Economic Development Council. He earned the Council for Community and Economic Research (formerly ACCRA) Certified Community Researcher (CCR) designation in 2003.

Dr. Ellen D. Harpel, PhD
Smart Incentives
Arlington, VA

Ellen Harpel is the founder of Smart Incentives (, which helps communities make sound decisions throughout the economic development incentives process. She is also president of Business Development Advisors LLC (BDA), an economic development and market intelligence consulting firm.

Dr. Harpel speaks and writes frequently on incentive policies and programs for national audiences comprising economic developers, elected officials and finance professionals. Recent projects have addressed effective incentive use, competitive analyses of state and local incentive policies, and assessments of incentive management and evaluation practices.

Dr. Harpel is a Senior Research Fellow with the Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness and an affiliate with the Center for Regional Analysis at George Mason University. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service from Georgetown University, an MBA from the University of North Carolina, and a doctoral degree in regional economics from George Mason University’s School of Public Policy.

Joann Hill
Chief of the Office of Business Development
Minority Business Development Agency, U.S. Department of Commerce
Washington, DC

Ms. Joann J. Hill, a native of Columbia, South Carolina is the Chief of the Office of Business Development for the United States Department of Commerce, Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA). Ms. Hill has served at MBDA for more than a decade and in her current capacity has oversight of the Office of Business Development. She also serves as the lead federal program officer for the nationwide network of more than 40 Business Centers that generate $4 billion in performance goals annually.

She is responsible for the creation and implementation of strategies for business development in the areas of access to capital, access to contracts, access to emerging domestic and international markets and global supply chains. Additionally, Ms. Hill facilitates stakeholder collaboration with chambers of commerce and trade associations. She engages in international business initiatives both domestically and abroad, designed to promote business to business linkages.

Ms. Hill has served as Conference Director for the National Minority Enterprise Development (MED) Week Conference, the Nation’s largest federally sponsored conference on minority business enterprise. This Conference is held annually in Washington, D.C.

Ms. Hill holds a Masters of Business Administration degree from EmoryUniversity, Goizueta Business School and a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Benedict College. Prior to joining MBDA she worked in the areas of operations management, banking, and finance.

The Honorable Fred Hochberg
Chairman & President
Export - Import Bank of United States
Washington, DC

Fred P. Hochberg is Chairman and President of the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) and one of the highest ranking business leaders in the Obama Administration.

During his six years of leadership, Ex-Im Bank has supported more than 1.3 million American jobs and financed exports with a value exceeding $200 billion, while generating more than $2 billion in surplus revenue for U.S. taxpayers and reducing internal costs by 15 percent. During Hochberg's tenure, the Bank has increased its focus on customers, particularly America's small business exporters, and in each of the last several years, nearly 90 percent of Ex-Im Bank authorizations have directly supported small businesses.

Hochberg has also worked to expand the global footprint of key domestic industries in which U.S. exporters have a comparative advantage, such as renewable energy, space technology, construction and farm machinery, medical technology, agriculture, and avionics. In addition, he has streamlined processes, dramatically cut transaction times, and introduced innovative new financial products to better equip U.S. companies to win sales in an increasingly competitive global economy

From 2004 to 2008, Hochberg was dean of the Milano School of Management and Urban Policy at The New School in New York City. From 1998 through 2001, he served as deputy, and then acting Administrator of the Small Business Administration (SBA), where he helped quadruple lending to minority- and women-owned small businesses.

Prior to his service at SBA, Hochberg was the long-time President and Chief Operating Officer of the Lillian Vernon Corporation, where he led the transformation of a small, family-owned mail order company into an international, publicly traded direct marketing corporation.

Hochberg is a past board member of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the Citizens Budget Commission, and FINCA International Micro Finance. He has served as co-Chair of the Human Rights Campaign, and is a founder of the David Bohnett LGBT Leadership Fellows Scholarship at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. He was also an appointed representative to the New York State Financial Control Board.

A native of the greater New York metropolitan area, Hochberg received his undergraduate degree from New York University and his MBA from Columbia University. Hochberg's partner is writer Tom Healy.

Michael Jackson, MBA, CGBP
Director, City/State Partners
Export-Import Bank of the United States
Washington, DC

Mr. Michael K. Jackson currently serves as the Director of City/State Partners at the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank), an independent agency of the federal government. In this role, he creates and manages marketing partnerships with local, state, and regional economic development organizations across the nation to expand export opportunities for small businesses. He is also responsible for conducting training seminars and participating in various marketing outreach activities to educate U.S. exporters, foreign buyers and multipliers about Ex-Im Bank's programs. In addition to his duties at Ex-Im Bank, the Mr. Jackson is also an adjunct faculty member at Montgomery College where he instructs a course on small business exporting.

Immediately prior to joining Ex-Im Bank, Mr. Jackson served as the District International Trade Officer at the Small Business Administration's (SBA) Baltimore District Office where he conducted export-focused training workshops and seminars for SMEs, financial institutions, trade associations and economic development organizations. He also advised and assisted SMEs interested in beginning to export or expanding into new foreign markets.

Prior to beginning his career with the federal government, Mr. Jackson held sales and marketing positions with several large corporations in the banking and ICT industries. He is also a former small business owner. Mr. Jackson is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force and served in Ramstein, Germany and Warner Robins, Georgia.

Mr. Jackson earned an MBA in International Business from American Intercontinental University in Atlanta, GA and a B.S. in Government & Politics from the University of Maryland - University College Europe in Heidelberg, Germany. He also holds the NASBITE Certified Global Business Professional (CGBP) international trade certification. Mr. Jackson is a member of NASBITE International, the American Society for Training & Development (ASTD) and the International Economic Development Council (IEDC).

Kermit Kaleba
Federal Policy Director
National Skills Coalition
Washington, DC

As Federal Policy Director, Kermit directs the organization's Washington-based efforts to advance a national skills strategy within federal legislation, agency regulation and national funding initiatives. Kermit assists state and local leaders in federal policy advocacy both within Washington and in their home districts and works with National Skills Coalition field staff and partner organizations to help improve state and local implementation of federal programs. Kermit returned to NSC in 2015.

Kermit was previously NSC’s Senior Policy Analyst from 2008-12 before he left to develop his on-the-ground knowledge of workforce development and administration at the Washington DC Workforce Investment Council, where he rose to the position of Executive Director. In addition to helping set workforce development policies for the District of Columbia, Kermit was the primary author of the District’s five-year workforce development strategy. He also helped to develop DC’s first industry-focused workforce intermediary programs, as well as new programming for opportunity youth.

Kermit holds a J.D. and a bachelor's degree from the College of William and Mary. He is based in Washington, DC.

Brian Kroll
Senior Economist
Virginia Economic Development Partnership
Richmond, VA

Brian is the Senior Economist in VEDP’s Research Division and leads the Economic Research Group. He has been with VEDP for over 12 years. Brian’s responsibilities include analyzing economic and industry trends.

Before joining VEDP, Brian was the economist for the trade association Footwear Industries of America, and performed business research for AMT – The Association for Manufacturing Technology.

Brian earned a bachelor’s degree from the College of William and Mary and a master’s degree from the University of Richmond.

Paul L. Krutko, FM
President & CEO
Ann Arbor SPARK
Ann Arbor, MI

Paul Krutko is Ann Arbor SPARK’s president and CEO. Ann Arbor SPARK is a public-private partnership of business, government and academic institutions working to create economic prosperity in the Ann Arbor region.In his role as CEO, he leads the organization’s efforts to expand the regional economy through initiatives to support entrepreneurs and early stage companies accelerating their growth to full potential. SPARK also supports the retention, expansion and attraction of mature companies that will grow the region's GDP. SPARK convenes the Ann Arbor region's public-private leaders and other stakeholders to implement a strategic framework designed to maintain and to enhance the region's global competitiveness.

Paul has 35 years of economic and community expertise. Before joining Ann Arbor SPARK, he led San Jose, California's economic development efforts, where he served as chief development officer. He has also worked in economic development for the cities of Cleveland OH and Jacksonville FL. In addition to his economic development leadership for San Jose and other cities, Paul founded Peloton Development, a consultancy devoted to advising businesses and municipal, regional, state and national governments on economic development and climate prosperity strategies and on creating high performing economic development leaders and teams.

He earned a Bachelor of Urban Planning and Design degree from the University of Cincinnati, College of Design, Architecture and Art. In addition to his responsibilities as SPARK CEO, Paul Krutko is honored to serve as chair of the preeminent professional economic development organization in the world, the International Economic Development Council (IEDC). He was designated a Fellow Member of IEDC in 2009.

F. Michael Langley, FM
President & CEO
Greater MSP
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 3.5 million residents and a Gross Metropolitan Product of over $230 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.

Since the formation of GREATER MSP in 2011, the Minneapolis Saint Paul region has achieved strong job growth and record unemployment, and has been recognized widely for its diverse and resilient economy. The Atlantic recently published an article citing “The Minneapolis Miracle” and CNBC’s 2015 “Best States for Business” ranks Minnesota #1. The Greater MSP led “Minnesota Medical Manufacturing Partnership” was also awarded the “Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership” (IMCP) designation from US Department of Commerce in July 2015.

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.

Michael’s community service includes leadership on the Board of the Minnesota Orchestra, the Metropolitan State University Foundation Board of Trustees, the Super Bowl LII Host Committee Executive Board, the NAIOP Board of Directors, and the Board of the International Economic Development Council (IEDC). Michael was named one the "Top 50 Economic Developers in North America" by Consultant Connect in 2015, and was designated as a "Fellow Member" by IEDC in 2015 for his contributions to the Economic Development profession.

Julie Lenzer
Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship
U.S. Economic Development Administration
Washington, DC

In May 2014, Julie Lenzer was appointed to lead the Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (OIE) within the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA). In her capacity as Director of the OIE, she is charged with driving programs and policies that support innovative economic development such as innovation-based entrepreneurship and regional innovation clusters.

Formerly, Ms. Lenzer was the Executive Director of the Maryland Center for Entrepreneurship (MCE), an initiative of the Howard County Economic Development Authority focused on igniting the entrepreneurial culture and bringing together the entrepreneurial ecosystem across the state. During her short tenure, the MCE quadrupled its client base and saw the creation of new programs such as 3D Maryland, a leadership initiative connecting resources in additive manufacturing; the Conscious Venture Lab, an accelerator focused on Conscious Capitalism; and a technology transfer accelerator in partnership with Johns Hopkins Advanced Physics Lab and other leading research institutions. A serial entrepreneur, Ms. Lenzer was also the co-chair of Startup Maryland as well as co-founder and former CEO of the Path Forward Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, a nonprofit that helps women expand economic opportunity by starting and building growth-oriented businesses using technology transfer. It is also the home of the award-winning ACTiVATE program.

Regina Lindsey
Chief Executive Officer and President
Greater Beaumont Chamber of Commerce
Beaumont, TX

Regina Lindsey is the chief executive officer and president of the Greater Beaumont Chamber of Commerce in Beaumont, Texas. Prior to her role as chamber president, Lindsey was the chief development officer and vice president of economic development for the Greenspoint District in Houston, Texas. Lindsey joined the District in 2009 in the joint role of manager of Greens Bayou projects for the District and executive director of the Greens Bayou Corridor Coalition (GBCC), a 501(c)(3) organization supported by the District. In 2012, she relinquished her staff position with GBCC to head the District's newly created Economic Development Department. She now lends her expertise to GBCC as a member of its Board of Directors and Public Policy Committee. Lindsey led the Greenspoint District's economic development strategic planning process and now manages the execution of that plan, which includes business attraction efforts focused on energy, logistics and technology. She also works to attract foreign direct investment to Greenspoint and leads Greenspoint's public policy efforts. In 2010, Lindsey earned the designation of Certified Economic Developer from the International Economic Development Council (IEDC). She currently serves as Vice Chair on IEDC's Public Policy Advisory Committee. Active in economic development efforts across the region, Lindsey works closely with the Governor's Office of Economic Development and Greater Houston Partnership's economic development team to attract business to the region. Previously, Lindsey served as executive director for the Silsbee Economic Development Corporation, with responsibility for developing relationships and marketing strategies to attract business to the area. In addition, she was Silsbee's mayor from 2003 to 2005. Before her roles in Silsbee, she was the executive director of the Southeast Texas Arts Council in Beaumont, TX. Lindsey graduated summa cum laude from Lamar University in Beaumont, TX.

Mark Loewenstein
Division Chief, Office of Employment Research and Program Development
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor
Washington, DC

Nate Loewentheil
Senior Policy Advisor
National Economic Council, The White House
Washington, DC

Nate Loewentheil hails proudly from Baltimore, MD. He currently serves as a Senior Policy Advisor at the National Economic Council at the White House, where he covers surface transportation, aviation, broadband, and maritime policy issues, and leads the President’s Taskforce for Baltimore City.

Previously, Nate helped launch and later led the Roosevelt Campus Network, a national student organization with more than 125 chapters and 10,000 members around the country. Founded in 2004, Roosevelt recently won the MacArthur Foundation Award for Creative and Effective Institutions. He has founded or been a part of many other organizations that help empower young people in politics, including the Millennial Action Project and the New Leaders Council.

Nate has worked across policy areas and engaged in policy debates at the state and national level. He has written commentary in the The New York Times, Salon, Politico and The Democracy Journal, submitted testimony to Congress on Social Security, and published policy papers on housing and climate change. He is the editor of a 2008 book, Thinking Big: Progressive Ideas for a New Era. He holds both a B.A. and J.D. from Yale University.

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 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.

Richard E. May
Staff Director
Committee on the Budget, United States Congress
Washington, DC

Rick has more than 37 years of experience in public policy primarily in the areas of budgeting, policy development, relationship building with policymakers, and strategic planning and management at both the state and federal government levels. He is also one of the few budget experts in the country who has played a significant role in balancing both the federal budget and a state budget during times of high budget deficits.

Rick is currently the Staff Director of the U.S. House Budget Committee under the chairmanship of U.S. Rep. Tom Price, MD (R-GA). Rick’s public service career also includes serving as Chief Executive Officer of the New Mexico Finance Authority, Cabinet Secretary of the New Mexico Department of Finance and Administration, Staff Director of the U.S. House Budget Committee under then Chairman John R. Kasich (R-OH), Federal Affairs Counsel with the National Conference of State Legislatures, Executive Director of the Ohio Broadcast Educational media Commission, Legislative Director to former U.S. Rep. John R. Kasich, Chief Budget and Tax Analyst in the New Mexico House of Representatives, and Legislative Assistant in the Ohio Senate. Other work experiences have been in the area of government relations with Sandia National Laboratories, and two successful government relations/law firms in Washington, D.C. Rick also started a public policy/government relations consulting firm in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Mr. May holds a master’s degree in political science with a concentration in public administration from Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. Rick obtained his undergraduate degree also from Ohio University with a major in chemistry and earth science.

Melissa Maynard
Officer, Economic Development
The Pew Charitable Trusts
Washington, DC

Melissa Maynard is an expert on economic development tax incentives with The Pew Charitable Trusts’ state fiscal health and economic growth project. She provides technical assistance to lawmakers who are proposing legislation that requires regular and rigorous evaluation of tax incentives. She also assists state analysts in studying the results of tax incentives. During her time at Pew, Maynard has researched topics ranging from state government management practices to children’s dental policy. She previously wrote about state policy issues for Governing magazine and for Stateline, a Pew publication that provides analysis on trends in the states. Her work has been featured in The Washington Post, The New York Times, Newsweek, Government Technology, and The Fiscal Times. A native of Michigan, Maynard earned a master’s degree from the University of Missouri School of Journalism. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in government analytics at Johns Hopkins University.

Tracye McDaniel
President & CEO
Texas Economic Development Corporation
Austin, TX

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

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

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

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

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

Kenny McDonald, CEcD
Chief Economic Officer
Columbus 2020!
Columbus, OH

Kenny McDonald, CEcD, serves as the primary leader of all economic development and business attraction efforts for the 11-county Columbus Region in his position as chief economic officer of Columbus 2020. McDonald has an extensive background in site selection, regional economic development, community marketing, business recruitment and international business development.

He holds the professional designation of Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) and serves as an elected member of the Board of Directors for the International Economic Development Council. In addition, McDonald serves locally on the boards of Columbus Crew, MidAmerican Global Ventures, NAIOP, SciTech and Transportation Research Center.

Previously, McDonald served as the executive vice president of the Charlotte Regional Partnership, a public-private economic development organization covering a 16-county region in North and South Carolina. McDonald's 16 years of economic development experience also include leadership positions at the Albuquerque Economic Development Corporation, Fluor Daniels Global Locations Strategies and the Savannah Economic Development Authority. McDonald received a Bachelor of Science in business administration from Dickinson State University and a Master of Public Administration from Georgia Southern University.

McDonald writes weekly about economic development and Columbus 2020's activities on the Columbus Region blog, Economic Development Matters.

Michael Meek, CEcD
Greater New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce, Inc.
New Braunfels, TX

Michael Meek is the President and CEO of the Greater New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce, Inc. He also serves as the Executive Director of the Greater New Braunfels Economic Development Foundation.

He has been with the Chamber since 1988 in various capacities, assuming the CEO position in 1995. Prior to moving to New Braunfels, Meek worked for Johnson and Johnson and Texas Instruments in Sales and Marketing Management nationally. He holds a BBA and is a Certified Economic Developer, one of only 1,000 nationally.

The Greater New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce has the responsibility for recruitment via professional services agreements with the City of New Braunfels, County and Economic Development Foundation. The Chamber also manages the affairs of the local Economic Development Foundation. He is a graduate of the Institute of Organizational Management and the Economic Development Institute.

During Meek’s time in New Braunfels, he has been a catalyst for bringing post-secondary education to the community, a major expansion and remodeling of the Civic Center, the founding of the Communities in Schools Organization, bringing 9,000 new jobs to the community with dozens of companies, the Leadership New Braunfels program and a major remodeling of the Chamber offices. The local newspaper named Meek their Citizen of the Year in 2002 for his efforts in creating the Central Texas Technology Center. The Chamber membership has doubled in size in his tenure and receives many honors statewide for its programs.

Meek is a Past State Chairman of the Texas Economic Development Council (2006) and served as State Chairman of the Texas Chamber of Commerce Executives in 2003. He serves as the Secretary-Treasurer of the Comal County Industrial Development Authority, Braunfels Foundation Trust, and staffs the New Braunfels Industrial Development Corporation (4B Board).

Ann Marie Mehlum
Associate Administrator
Office of Capital Access, U.S. Small Business Administration
Washington, DC

Ann Marie Mehlum is a member of the senior leadership team at the SBA, and is responsible for balancing the need to make capital available to small businesses, with the obligation to provide appropriate monitoring and oversight to protect taxpayer dollars, and ensure program sustainability. Ann Marie oversees the operation of a network of programs and services, such as its 7(a) and 504 loan programs, that make capital available to small business borrowers, working primarily through financing partners to reach those seeking to start new businesses or expand existing enterprises.

Mike Neal, CCE, CCD, HLM, IOM
President and CEO
Tulsa Regional Chamber
Tulsa, OK

Michael S. Neal, CCE, CCD, HLM, IOM, is in his 10th year as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Tulsa Regional Chamber. The American Chamber of Commerce Executives named the then Tulsa Metro Chamber as the Nation’s Best Chamber for a record three consecutive years of eligibility, being named the National Chamber of the Year in 2010, 2008 and 2005.

Tulsa People named Mike the 2011 Tulsan of the Year for his limitless energy, can-do optimism and tireless efforts toward making Tulsa a better place. They called him Mr. Tulsa. Southern Business and Development in 2011 recognized him as one of the Top 10 Economic Developers in the South. The Southern Economic Development Council named Mike an Honorary Life Member (HLM) in 2012. In 2010 he was named the Chamber Executive of the Year by the Oklahoma Chamber of Commerce Executives. And the Louisiana Chamber of Commerce Executives named him their Chamber Executive of the Year in 1998 and 2000.

Mike received the Distinguished Graduate Award from Leadership Oklahoma in 2013. A graduate of Class XXI, Mike was recognized for the significant impact he has made locally, statewide and nationally in his post at the Chamber, and the many volunteer roles he fills in the Tulsa community. Leadership Oklahoma recognized Neal for exemplifying the highest standards of the organization, whose activities have achieved results and has set an example of statewide significance.

Under his leadership, the Tulsa Regional Chamber is the only Chamber in America to earn three accreditations, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s highest recognition, five-star accreditation, the International Economic Development Council’s prestigious Accredited Economic Development Organization distinction, and the Destination Marketing Association International’s Destination Marketing Accreditation Program. In 2013, the Chamber earned the Oklahoma Quality Foundation Quality Award for Commitment based on Malcolm Baldrige criteria. In 2015, the Tulsa Regional Chamber also received the American Society of Association Executives’ Summit Award.

He leads the Chamber’s full-time professional staff of 73 in the areas of regional economic development, convention and visitor development, government affairs, education, workforce development, small business, sports, young professionals, downtown and river development, political action and membership services, while managing a $15.6 million budget. Through 3,100 member organizations, the Chamber represents more than 180,000 regional employees and utilizes 3,500 volunteers to achieve its mission. He led the creation of the Tulsa Regional Chamber Coalition and their OneVoice Regional State and Federal legislative agendas.

Neal previously served as the president and CEO of the Nashville, Tenn., Area Chamber of Commerce for four years. Prior to that, Neal spent 12 years as president and CEO of the Monroe, La., Chamber of Commerce in his hometown.

Mike served as the 2013-2014 Chairman of the Oklahoma Governor’s Economic Development Marketing Team.

Neal is heavily involved in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and serves on its Chamber of Commerce Committee of 100 and Transportation Infrastructure & Logistics Committee. He is a graduate of the Chamber’s Institute for Organization Management at Southern Methodist University and spent six years on the faculty, at six different University Institute locations.

An active member of the American Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE), Neal has earned several professional designations, including the Certified Chamber Executive (CCE) designation and the Certified Community Developer (CCD). He received the prestigious Chairman’s Award, the highest national award given by ACCE. Neal was a long-time member of the ACCE Board of Directors and is currently Chairman-elect of the ACCE Benefits Trust, a member of the Metro Cities Council, Economic & Community Development Committee and Past Chairman of the CCE Certification Commission. He is a graduate of the Center for Creative Leadership and Aspen Institute.

In addition to those, Neal currently serves on the boards of the Western Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives, the Southern Economic Development Council, The State Chamber of Oklahoma, Oklahoma Business Roundtable, Oklahoma Academy for State Goals (Salute Committee Chairman and Town Hall Co-Chair), Oklahoma Business & Education Coalition, the Tulsa Area United Way, the Salvation Army, Friends of the Tulsa County Fairgrounds Foundation, VisitTulsa (Tulsa Convention & Visitors Bureau), Tulsa Sports Commission, Tulsa’s Future II, TulsaBizPac and OklahomaBizPac. He was Vice President of Programs and Golf Tournament Chairman of the Foundation for Tulsa Public Schools.

Mike was appointed by Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin to her Oklahoma Task Force on Economic Development. He is a graduate and Life Member of Leadership Oklahoma and Leadership Louisiana, serves as a member of the Governor’s International Team, International Economic Development Council, Oklahoma Economic Development Council, Oklahoma Chamber of Commerce Executives, Oklahoma Conference for Community and Justice, American Highway Users Alliance, TRUST – Transportation Revenues Used Strictly for Transportation, INCOG Transportation Advisory Council and Economic Development District Board, Research Institute for Economic Development and Oklahoma Historical Society.

Neal was recently appointed by Tulsa Mayor Dewey F. Bartlett, Jr. and the Tulsa City Council to the Arkansas River Infrastructure Task Force, charged with formalizing plans for river development.

He serves on the Advisory Council for the Tulsa Young Professional’s (TYPros), the Urban League of Metropolitan Tulsa and the Junior League of Tulsa. He is a member of the Rotary Club of Tulsa, The University of Tulsa Friends of Finance, Golden Hurricane Club, Center for Legislative Excellence, Southern Hills Country Club, Tulsa Country Club, Patriot Golf Club, Summit Club, Tulsa Press Club, First Presbyterian Church of Tulsa, Folds of Honor Foundation, Philbrook Museum, Cascia Hall Parent Faculty Association and Athletic Boosters Club, University of Louisiana Monroe Alumni Association, Athletic Scholarship Foundation and Letterman’s Club, and Ole Miss Athletics Foundation. He is a former board member of Downtown Tulsa Unlimited and i2E. Mike was the founder of and charter graduate of Leadership Monroe/Ouachita Parish, and graduate of Leadership Nashville and Leadership Music.

Neal and his wife Jana have two daughters, Cambridge, age 20, a junior at Ole Miss, and Caroline, age 17, a senior at Cascia Hall Preparatory School.

Jennifer Platt
Vice President of Federal Operations
International Council of Shopping Centers
Washington, DC

Jennifer Platt serves as Vice President of Federal Operations for ICSC, where she supervises the political, policy and public affairs for federal initiatives with a special focus on capital markets, tax, and insurance issues. She also oversees the strategic direction and fundraising for the ICSC Political Action Committee and directs the Marketplace Fairness Coalition.

Jennifer brings a wealth of Congressional and public affairs experience to ICSC. She came to ICSC from Capitol Hill where she served as Legislative Director for former Congresswoman Katherine Harris (FL-13), managing the legislative team, the overall policy agenda, and responsibilities related to the House Committee on Financial Services. Jennifer has also worked with Congresswoman Mary Bono (CA-44) and (former) U.S. Congressman Bill McCollum (FL-8.)

In addition to her public sector experience, Jennifer has provided public affairs consulting, government relations and presentation services for the real estate development community. While with Tynan Group Public Affairs, in Santa Barbara, CA, Jennifer created programs to bring developers together with local government officials and community activists to assist in the formation of wireless communications networks, transportation and tourism projects.

Jennifer is a 1997 graduate of Westmont College in Santa Barbara, CA and lives in Alexandria, VA with her husband, Mike, and son, Trace.

Alma R. Plummer
Economic Development Representative
Economic Development Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce
Philadelphia, PA

Ms. Plummer serves as the Economic Development Representative for Maryland, District of Columbia, U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico for the US Department of Commerce – Economic Development Administration. Specifically, she develops and manages economic development investments on behalf of EDA. She has a key role in the solicitation, analysis, monitoring and quality assurance of investments in line with EDA’s funding priorities and strategy. She cultivates relationships with key businesses, educational institutions, civic community organizations, and local government partners; assessing regional economic trends, strengths, and weaknesses in order to identify the highest-impact policy-priority projects in development-ready distressed communities.

She formerly served nine years as Vice President of Project Management and Planning at the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC). Ms. Plummer’s role was instrumental in the economic development activities for the City of Philadelphia. During this tenure, she implemented critical EDA investments on behalf of PIDC which resulted in EDA Excellence in Innovation in Economic Development awards. In previous work experience, she practiced architecture throughout the New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania tri-state region. She extends her economic development activities in various professional global organizations. She holds a BArch/Urban Planning degree from New Jersey Institute of Technology.

James Reddish
Associate Director, Workforce and Economic Development
Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL)

Since joining the CAEL team in 2015 James has worked in several communities on issues ranging from comprehensive supply/demand analysis, to career pathway mapping, to alignment between educational offerings and economic growth. James began his economic development career seven years ago and is an active member of the International Economic Development Council (IEDC).

Prior to joining CAEL, James served as Vice President of Economic and Workforce Development for Greater Louisville Inc., where he led the organization’s program of work within economic development as well as education and workforce development. In 2014, James guided GLI through a fundamental redesign of its economic and workforce development efforts, creating a new approach to regional economic development which included fifteen counties across two states. In his time at GLI, James played a leadership role in several significant community initiatives including the Brookings Institution Metropolitan Business Plan for Louisville/Lexington as well as co-chairing the certification of Jefferson County Public Schools as a Ford Next Generation Learning community. As a project manager, James assisted 86 companies who combined to invest over $1.4 billion dollars in new capital and add nearly 5,000 new jobs within the region.

Over his career, James has served on the boards of several community organizations including the Louisville Sports Commission, Junior Achievement of Kentuckiana, the Kentuckiana Regional Planning & Development Agency and the Advanced Manufacturing and Logistics Network.

A native of the Washington, DC metro area, James holds a bachelor of science degree from James Madison University and a master’s of arts degree from the University of Louisville.

Lynn Richards
President & CEO
Congress for the New Urbanism
Chicago, IL

Lynn Richards is President and CEO of the Congress for the New Urbanism. Previously, Richards had a long and distinguished career at the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), holding multiple leadership roles over 13 years including Acting Director and Policy Director in the Office of Sustainable Communities. She worked with dozens of state and local governments to implement placemaking approaches by developing policies, urban design strategies, and environmental solutions for vibrant, prosperous neighborhoods. Additionally, she produced groundbreaking research on water and land use strategies.
Before joining the EPA, Richards worked briefly in the private sector at a consulting firm. She lived and worked in the former Soviet Republics from 1988 to 1995, helping environmental groups increase their organizational and political effectiveness.
Richards was awarded a Loeb Fellowship in Advanced Environmental Studies at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design in the 2012-2013 school year. She has a dual Masters in Environmental Science and Public Affairs from Indiana University. 

The Honorable Denise Turner Roth
United States General Services Administration
Washington, DC

Denise Turner Roth assumed office on August 5, 2015 and is the 21st Senate-confirmed Administrator of the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA). Drawing on 18 years of public service, Roth continues GSA’s efforts to deliver the best value in real estate, acquisition, and technology services to government and the American people.

Roth arrived at GSA in March 2014 as Deputy Administrator, providing overall organization management that helped improve performance throughout the agency. As Deputy, she worked at every level of GSA to support the mission and goals of the agency through the use of strategic and performance planning, measurement and analysis, and regular assessment of progress and performance data.

Roth’s dedication to public service began on Capitol Hill in the office of Congressman Jim Moran. Later, she served as a special assistant for legislative affairs in the office of District of Columbia Mayor Anthony Williams and the public space manager for D.C.’s Department of Transportation, implementing and overseeing a $36 million revenue stream and managing public space access for major utility and telecommunication companies.

Before joining GSA, Roth served as the City Manager for the City of Greensboro, N.C., where her leadership helped pave the way for several new and creative management changes in the city, including the reorganization of city departments and divisions to promote efficiency and improve service delivery.

Roth also helped establish the district office of North Carolina Congressman Brad Miller and served as district liaison. In her capacity as Vice President for Governmental Affairs at the Greensboro Partnership, Roth successfully advocated for $60 million in state funds to establish the North Carolina A&T State and UNC Greensboro Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering.

During her career, she has received a variety of accolades, most recently being named one of D.C.’s “Top 50 Women in Tech” by FedScoop for her use of technology as a force multiplier to push government and industry to the next level. She also received the Young Alumni Achievement Award from the Bishop O’Connell High School in Arlington, Virginia for her significant accomplishments in her business life.

Denise Turner Roth received her Bachelor’s Degree in Government and Politics from the George Mason University, which also awarded her an honorary doctorate in 2015. She is a graduate of the Public Executive Leadership Academy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Denise lives in the District of Columbia with her husband Chip Roth and their son.

Jeffrey Stout
Director, State Small Business Credit Initiative
Office of Small Business, Community Development, and Affordable Housing Policy, United States Department of the Treasury
Washington, DC

Jeff Stout is the Director of the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) at the U.S. Department of the Treasury, a program that funds state efforts to support private sector financing of small businesses. Prior to joining Treasury in 2011, Jeff was the Senior Vice President and Director of Business Development for City First Bank of DC, a CDFI bank. Jeff spent his early career leading two start-up companies. He earned undergraduate degrees in Economics and Philosophy from the University of Iowa and a Master of Public Policy from Georgetown University.

Derieth Sutton, CEcD, EDFP
Director of Economic Development & Government Relations
Niagara Bottling, LLC
Groveland, FL

Derieth L. Sutton handles Economic Development & Government Relations for Niagara Bottling, LLC, the largest family-owned and operated bottled water manufacturer in the United States. Sutton brings over 22 years of public and private sector experience to that position.

Prior to joining Niagara, Sutton served as the Lake County Regional Director for the Metro Orlando EDC where she worked recruitment, expansion and retention projects within the Orlando region. Her experience in economic development can be traced back to positions held with the Kansas Lottery, the Kansas Department of Commerce & Housing, and the City of Kansas City, KS. She has also worked as the Economic Development Specialist for the City of Palm Bay, the Business Development Coordinator for the City of Fort Pierce and Director of Economic Development for Worcester County (MD) Government.

In her current position, Sutton is responsible for both new and existing domestic and international plant expansions, establishing and maintaining cooperative relationships with governmental partners and the implementation of incentive opportunities that ultimately position the company for growth while reducing operational costs. She also coordinates community initiatives for 13 plants across the country which help introduce the company to the respective communities and allow the Niagara to give back to those with the greatest need. Her work at Niagara has led to the expansion of nine of the company’s 13 plants—which equates to a capital investment of over $650 million and the creation of over 600 jobs since 2008.

Sutton has earned a bachelor of art degree in electronic journalism from the University of Oklahoma and a master of science in public administration from Lacrosse University. Her commitment to the process of economic development is evident through her active membership in the industry’s leading professional association—the International Economic Development Council (IEDC). Sutton is a member of IEDC’s Public Policy Advisory Committee (PPAC), PPAC’s Workforce Development sub-committee and IEDC’s Mentoring Program. She has also served as a volunteer through IEDC’s Economic Recovery Volunteer Program which provided counseling and technical assistance to businesses adversely impacted by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. She is an avid supporter of IEDC’s Certification Process and serves as an instructor for IEDC’s Certification Prep Course which is taught at OU EDI.

Sutton is a Leadership Lake County class of 2002 graduate and has worked over the years with the Greater Umatilla Historical Society, the Umatilla Community Development Block Grant Review Committee, the Lake-Sumter Community College Cooperative Education Advisory Board and the Lake County Advisory Board for Community, Secondary and Vo-Tech Education. She is also one of four individuals instrumental in the creation of a Business Assistance Center that serves entrepreneurs and growing businesses in Lake and Sumter counties. She also participates in the Manufacturers’ Council of the Inland Empire and is committed to supporting programs that invest in the enhancement of skill sets for employees.

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

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

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

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

Carroll Thomas
Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership, National Institute of Standards and Technology, U.S. Department of Commerce
Gaithersburg, MD

Ms. Carroll A. Thomas, Director of the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) leads a nationwide network of centers focused on helping U.S. manufacturers strengthen their supply chain integration and access new technology thereby helping them to compete globally. MEP is a $300 million public-private partnership program leveraging federal support by teaming with industry as well as state and local organizations. With over 400 manufacturing extension offices located in all 50 states and Puerto Rico, MEP provides companies with services and access to resources that enhance growth, improve productivity and expand capacity.

Prior to being selected as the MEP Director, Ms. Thomas was appointed as the Associate Administrator for the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Office of Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) in November 2012. At SBA, Ms. Thomas was responsible for program and policy development, implementation and oversight of the $113 million grants program that funds the Small Business Development Centers located in every state plus the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, American Samoa and the U.S. Virgin Islands in more than 900 service locations.

From 2000–2012, when Ms. Thomas was initially employed by MEP, she served as Program Manager for Supplier Scouting and as the Partnership Catalyst to help government service providers seamlessly assist small manufacturers. She implemented pilots to support Buy America procurement provisions by matching U.S. manufacturers with opportunities from publically-funded projects and co-founded the Interagency Network of Enterprise Assistance Providers. Earlier in her career, Ms. Thomas was a small business manufacturer/retail franchise owner; negotiated product deals with over 23,000 U.S. inventors and small manufacturers for electronic retailer QVC and directed marketing efforts for the National Gallery of Art’s vast reproduction portfolio.

With more than 30 years of entrepreneurial and small business development experience, her accomplished public/ private sector career demonstrate her leadership expertise as a catalyst for creating innovative partnerships and advocating economic development by supporting dynamic innovation ecosystems.

Ms. Thomas is a graduate of Leadership Washington and a former Regional Director of the Fashion Group International of Greater Washington, DC. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Drexel University in Design and a Master of Business Administration from Johns Hopkins University in International Business.

The Honorable 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.

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.

Mark A. Troppe
Director of Partnerships and Program Development
NIST Manufacturing Extension Partnership, US Department of Commerce
Gaithersburg, MD

Mark is the Manager of Strategic Partnerships at the US Department of Commerce’s NIST Manufacturing Extension Partnership Program (MEP). He is currently assigned to work with the White House Council on Automotive Communities and Workers as a point of contact for MEP and the Commerce Department. His role is to ensure that the resources and expertise of DOC agencies are fully deployed to support the transitions of communities, suppliers, and workers in regions impacted by the restructuring of the auto industry.

At NIST MEP, Mark is primarily responsible for State Relations, working to ensure that MEP centers are well-integrated into states’ economic development strategies. He facilitates MEP’s collaborations with other federal and state programs and non-governmental organizations to provide leverage for transforming small manufacturers and aligning with state strategies. In addition, Mark helps to shape MEP centers’ workforce development and renewable energy/sustainability activities to address to address manufacturers’ needs through partnerships with other organizations. Mark has worked and written extensively over the last 20 years on workforce and economic development issues, serving as Director of Economic and Workforce Development for the Workforce Strategies Group at the National Center on Education and the Economy, and 15 years prior in the US Departments of Labor and Commerce.

Jason Tyszko
Senior Director, Policy & Programs
Center for Education and Workforce, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation
Washington, DC

Jason A. Tyszko is senior director of education and workforce policy and programs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation where he advances policies and programs that preserve America’s competitiveness and enhance the career readiness of youth and adult learners. This includes launching the Talent Pipeline Management initiative, the Foundation’s signature workforce development strategy.

Tyszko’s prior experience focused on coordinating interagency education, workforce, and economic development initiatives. In 2009, he served as a policy adviser to Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn’s administration. In addition, Tyszko was deputy chief of staff and senior policy adviser to the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

Tyszko received his Master of Arts from the University of Chicago and his Bachelor of Arts from DePaul University. He is a certified teacher in the state of Illinois.

Marty Vanags
Saratoga County Prosperity Partnership
Saratoga Springs, New York

In May of 2015 Marty Vanags assumed the position of President of the Saratoga County Prosperity Partnership, the official economic development organization for Saratoga County, New York. As President, Marty is responsible for creating a new economic development organization that will be proactive, and aggressive in seeking out new investment for Saratoga County. Previously Vanags was the Vice President for Regional Economic Development and Executive Director of the Indy Partnership a business unit of the Indy Chamber. Starting in February 2013 Vanags lead a group of professional economic developers whose mission was to market and promote the nine-county Indianapolis region as a place to invest and grow business. While in Indy Vanags lead an effort that has consistently produced well over 10,000 jobs each year with over $2 billion in capital investment.

Vanags has also held economic development leadership positions in Bloomington-Normal, Freeport, and Rockford, all communities in Illinois. He also has experience in private sector real estate development and city management.

Vanags is a graduate of Illinois State University and Northern Illinois University (MPA) and has over 25 years of experience in community and economic development, private commercial real estate development and business management. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the International Economic Development Council (IEDC). He has served as Chairman of the Illinois Development Council, Chair of International Economic Development Council Public Policy Advisory Committee, and member of the same organization’s Economic Development Research Partners (EDRP). He has served two terms on the Illinois State University Alumni Board, and the Board of Advisors for the Means Center for Entrepreneurship at ISU’s College of Business. Vanags also is a co-founder and creator of the Center for Emerging Entrepreneurs, a business incubation and development program at Illinois State University.

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.

Ashley Zuelke
Senior Advisor for Export Policy, Promotion and Strategy
International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce
Washington, DC

Ashley Zuelke serves as a senior advisor at the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration and leads policy development and promotion efforts to help more U.S. businesses export and reach international customers. Ashley coordinates Commerce and government-wide efforts to help more U.S. businesses increase exports, expand into new markets, and compete globally. Efforts Ashley leads on include the President's National Export Initiative, announced in 2010, and its next phase, “NEI/NEXT”, a strategy to help more U.S. businesses start exporting and expand exports through the delivery of focused assistance and information.

Ashley works closely with public and private sector partners across the United States to promote the benefits of exports and raise awareness of opportunities and services for exporters. Ashley also directs Commerce efforts under the “Made in Rural America” export and investment initiative, announced by President Obama in February 2014 as a charge for the Administration to bring together federal resources to help more rural businesses and leaders access new customers and markets abroad.

Ashley has served as a Presidential appointee at the Department of Commerce since 2010, starting as a legislative assistant in the Office of the Secretary and serving as a liaison for Congressional members and staff on trade promotion and policy. Prior to joining Commerce, Ashley served as an international trade associate at the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance under then-Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT). While at the Senate, she authored and designed a guide for rural Montana exporters. Ashley also has served in the economic section at the U.S. Embassy in Paris.

In addition to her government experience, Ashley has previously held several news editing and design positions, working as a copy editor for the Tacoma News Tribune through the Dow Jones Newspaper Fund and establishing the design concept for a startup magazine promoting history and conservation efforts in Glacier National Park and surrounding areas. Born in Helena, Montana, Ashley graduated summa cum laude from the University of Montana with degrees in journalism, international relations, and comparative politics. She lives with her husband in Washington, D.C.