• SundayJune 4
  • MondayJune 5
  • TuesdayJune 6
8:30 AM

Registration & Exhibits

Time: 8:30 AM - 5:30 PM
9:00 AM

Educational Tour: Little Rock Port Authority $

The short trip from the Marriott Hotel will showcase the economic development entity that is the Little Rock Port Authority. The Port is home to 50+ companies employing over 4,000 people making such products as Skippy Peanut Butter, Welspun Pipes (supplier the Keystone XL pipeline), and LM Windpower (large wind turbine blades). Tour the Arkansas River Dock and the Slackwater Harbor area and dock. View firsthand the workings of the Little Rock Port Authority Railroad as you climb on board the locomotive. Reception at the Arkansas River Resource Center, a LEEDS certified, state of the art, new office facility for all of the Port's operations. The Arkansas River (McClellan Kerr Navigation System) is the fourth longest river in the US, and the most inland of all waterways. At the time of construction, it was the nation's largest infrastructure project.

Time: 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Price: $55

2:00 PM

Opening Plenary Session

IEDC's 2017 Economic Future Forum kicks off with welcoming remarks from the Host Committee and presentations from economic development leaders.

Time: 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM

Master of Ceremonies: Jim Fram, CEcD, CCE, FM, President and CEO, Greater Hot Springs Chamber and the Hot Springs Metro Partnership, Hot Springs, AR

Keynote Introduction:
Shelley Short, Vice President Programs and Partnerships, Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce, Little Rock, AR
Austen Steele, Senior Account Manager, Chmura Economics & Analytics, Richmond, VA

Keynote Speakers:
Del Boyette, President & CEO, Boyette Strategic Advisors, Little Rock, AR
Tom Stellman, President & CEO, TIP Strategies, Austin, TX

3:45 PM

Concurrent Sessions - Speed Sessions

Each Speed Session will be offered from 3:45 - 4:30 and from 4:40 to 5:25, allowing attendees to attend two different sessions during the 100 minute timeframe.

Circular Economy: What Goes Around Comes Around

Using and discarding products is quickly becoming an old way of consumerism. The circular economy is fostering the notion that products have a life after being used and do not end up merely as waste. This "new" way of doing business enables products to be recycled continuously. It is estimated that the circular economy could produce several trillion dollars in economic growth through recycling, maximizing underutilized assets, and extending product life. This smart new business model ensures that waste is not only minimized, but can be monetized, helping businesses increase their bottom line and moving your community to a sustainable future. Join this session and hear how you can help your local businesses understand and embrace this new trend.

What you'll learn:

• How the circular economy contributes to sustainable economic development
• How companies are repurposing waste to contribute to their bottom lines
• How you can rally local businesses around the concept of the circular economy

Moderator: Richard Cornelison, Economic Development Project Manager, OG&E, Oklahoma City, OK

Devin Howland, CEcD, Director of Economic Vitality, City of Fayetteville, Arkansas
SeonAh Kendall, CPA, Economic Health Manager, City of Fort Collins, Fort Collins, CO
Daniel Kietzer, Program Manager, US Business Council for Sustainable Development, Austin, TX

Hometown Advantage: Utilizing Former Residents for Your Economic Prosperity

Many people still have an affinity for their hometown and want to see it improve and prosper despite the fact that they now live elsewhere. Innovative communities have tapped into this hometown affection and have developed programs that recruit the diaspora to further economic development in their communities. Through their skills, entrepreneurial activity and financial resources, past residents are directly and indirectly contributing to their former tax bases merely by vouching for it. Attend this session for a look at how you can engage and draw from a boundless pool of talent.

What you'll learn:

• How to identify, connect and tap into your city's diaspora network
• Different models and programs which benefit from the educated talent pool dispersed across the country
• Compelling examples of the range of benefits the diaspora can provide to economic development in your community

Moderator: Stephanie Quattlebaum, CEcD, Director of Economic & Workforce Development, Central Savannah River Area Regional Commission, Augusta, GA

Ted Abernathy, Jr., CEcD, Managing Partner, Economic Leadership LLC, Raleigh, NC
Charles Kimbrough, Director, Business Development, Oklahoma Department of Commerce, Oklahoma City, OK

Open Road, Wind in Your Hair, No One at the Wheel: The Future of Autonomous Driving

Driverless technology will have far reaching economic consequences. On the one hand, it threatens to put truck drivers and even taxi and Uber drivers out of business. On the other hand, it is creating high-tech jobs in former industrial communities like Michigan and Pittsburgh; it could provide more accessible and affordable public transportation to lower income groups; and it will contribute to safer, cleaner roads. This session will dive into the expected benefits and disruptions from autonomous driving technology.

What you'll learn:

• How your community can take advantage of these technological advancements
• Strategies for preparing for disruptions and changes to the transportation industry
• Examining the collaboration between different sectors and regulatory bodies to bring this technology to life

Moderator: Lesley Miller, Manager of the National Multistate Tax Services, Credits & Incentives, Deloitte Tax LLP, San Francisco, CA

David O’Neal, CDS, Director, Safety Services, Arkansas Trucking Association, Little Rock, AR
Trevor Pawl, Group Vice President, Group Vice President, Mobility, Trade and Supply Chain, Economic Development Corporation, Detroit, MI

7:30 AM

Registration & Exhibits

Time: 7:30 AM - 5:00 PM
8:00 AM

Primer for CEcD Exam

Time: 8:00 AM - 9:30 AM

8:30 AM

Monday Plenary Session

IEDC Chair welcomes attendees and serves as the Master of Ceremonies for this morning's session featuring speakers offering an exciting view of economic development from their perspective.

Time: 8:30 AM - 10:00 AM

Welcoming Remarks: Asa Hutchinson, Governor, State of Arkansas, Little Rock, AR

Master of Ceremonies: Michael Langley, FM, CEO, GREATER MSP, Minneapolis-Saint Paul, MN

Keynote Introductions:
Jim Fram, CEcD, CCE, FM, President and CEO, Greater Hot Springs Chamber and the Hot Springs Metro Partnership, Hot Springs, AR
Mike Maulden, Director of Business & Economic Development, Entergy/ Arkansas, Inc., Little Rock, AR
Tracye McDaniel, Founder and CEO, McDaniel Strategy Ecosystems LLC, Austin, TX

Keynote Speaker:
Jon Harrison, Owner / Founder, VIP2, Little Rock, AR
Joe Quinn, Senior Director, Public Affairs and Government Relations Walmart, Bentonville, AR

10:15 AM

Concurrents Sessions

Delightfully Unaffiliated: Supporting the Freelance Economy

The freelance economy is growing, with some estimates that put it at a stunning 35% of the U.S. workforce. Freelancers range from those that make their entire living through a continuous stream of project-based work, to those that moonlight and pick up some extra work on nights and weekends when not at their fulltime jobs. As the freelance economy continues to grow, economic developers must keep on top of the latest issues, trends and opportunities for this group of workers. This session will dive into a range of issues, from thorny topics; such as, how to coach freelancers on their legal rights, to incubator and mentoring programs to help them maintain their livelihood and bossless independence.

What you'll learn:

• The spaces, services and amenities that help freelancers succeed and participate in your community's economy
• Challenges and concerns from freelancers around savings, healthcare and insurance
• Prospects for future job growth and contributions to your community's talent pool

Time: 10:15 AM - 11:45 AM

Moderator: Gynii Gilliam, President, Coeur d'Alene Area Economic Development Corporation, Coeur D'Alene, ID

Herb Lawrence, Lender Relations Specialist, Arkansas District Office U.S. Small Business Administration, Little Rock, AR
Emily Leach, Founder / CEO, The Freelance Conference, Austin, TX
Jillian McGehee, Freelance Writer, Editor & Content Manager, Jillian Ink, Little Rock, AR

Managing the Talent Pipeline: A New Approach to Closing the Skills Gap

Education and workforce systems in the U.S. have failed to keep pace with the changing needs of the economy, and employers are struggling to find skilled workers who can contribute to their companies' growth. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation and others are engaging employers and their partners in developing a new demand-driven approach - talent pipeline management - to close the skills gap. Case studies show that this approach is already yielding positive results, so the time to scale up is now.

What you'll learn:

• How employers are taking a new role as end-use customers of education and workforce partnerships
• The role economic developers can play in proactively organizing and managing talent supply chain partnerships
• What software programs, measurements and incentives tied to performance are trending now

Time: 10:15 AM - 11:45 AM

Moderator: Jennifer Hackman, Account Executive, Emsi, Moscow, ID

Sharon Miller, CCMP, Michigan Talent Architect, Consumers Energy , Jackson, MI
Carrie Samson, Manager, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, Washington, DC
Angela White, CEcD, Senior Vice President, North Louisiana Economic Partnership, Monroe, LA

The Bonds That Bind Us: Facilitating Trust and Cooperation in Clusters

Strong clusters thrive on the collective sharing of information and resources. Trust between firms and within the cluster is a necessary prerequisite for this to happen. As an economic developer, you have a role to play in helping firms realize the value that comes with supporting each other for the good of the cluster. This session will introduce case studies of innovative and resilient clusters and how economic developers played a role in building their competitiveness.

What you'll learn:

• The importance of information sharing between firms in a cluster
• How to encourage the pooling of resources and voices in order to help prioritize resources and talent needs
• How economic developers can facilitate removing the barriers of mistrust between competing firms

Time: 10:15 AM - 11:45 AM

Moderator: Tim Chase, CEcD, FM, President and CEO, Hutto Economic Development Corporation, Hutto, TX

Mike Baker, Executive Director, Bluewater Wood Alliance, Hanover, ON
Carol Kraus Lauffer, Partner, Business Cluster Development, Palo Alto, CA
Diane Lupke, CEcD, FM, President, Lupke & Associates, Manitowoc, WI

12:00 PM

Keynote Luncheon

The most extensive plenary session of the conference, this luncheon features a presentation on economic development from senior leaders.

Time: 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM

Master of Ceremonies: Barry Matherly, CEcD FM HLM, President & CEO, Greater Richmond Partnership, Richmond, VA

Keynote Introduction:
Jay Chesshir, CCE, President & CEO, Metro Little Rock Alliance, Little Rock, AR

Keynote Speaker:
The Honorable Rodney Slater, Partner, Squire Patton Boggs, Washington, DC

1:45 PM

Concurrents Sessions

EDRP Research Report: Place Matters: The Role of Placemaking in Economic Development

Quality of place, or placemaking, is a community and economic development strategy that seeks to use local assets to create appealing and unique places where people want to live, work, and play. As communities have transitioned from economies centered around commodities and natural resources to economies centered on knowledge, quality of place has become a key differentiator in being able to recruit and retain talent. EDRP's new research examines how economic development benefits from placemaking, and why it should be pursued as a strategy for growth.

What you'll learn:

• Why placemaking is relevant to economic development
• The role of the economic developer in placemaking
• Different ways that communities can utilize placemaking

Time: 1:45 PM - 3:15 PM

Moderator: Allison Thompson, CEcD, EDFP, Director of Economic Development and Tourism, City of Cedar Hill, Cedar Hill, TX

Molly Howey, Vice President and Business Development and Attraction, GO Topeka, Topeka, KS
Michael S. Neal, CCE, CCD, HLM, IOM, President and CEO, Tulsa Regional Chamber, Tulsa, OK
Roy H. Williams, CCE, President and CEO, Greater Oklahoma City Chamber, Oklahoma City, OK

Agribusiness: Literally Growing Your Own

From waves of grain to fruited plains, there is no doubt that American has both land and opportunity. From the production of commodities, to value-added items, to agrotourism, to vertical growing in the middle of a city, agribusiness provides boundless and bountiful opportunities for economic development from sea to shining sea. This session will explore proven ways to maximize the agriculture cluster in your community and introduce you to the latest trends.

What you'll learn:

• Characteristics of the most successful and impactful agribusiness clusters
• Exploring the certifications of products to increase their value and desirability
• Stepping through the seamless connections needed in the supply chain - transporting from field to market

Time: 1:45 PM - 3:15 PM

Moderator: Jan Rogers, CEO, Regional Economic Development for Eastern Idaho (REDI), Idaho Falls, ID

Holly Beaumier, CTIS, Director, Florence SC Convention and Visitors Bureau, Florence, SC
Carrie Chenery, Executive Director, Shenandoah Valley Partnership, Harrisonburg, VA
Gilberto Salinas, Interim Executive Director, Greater Brownsville Incentive Corporation , Brownsville, TX

It's a Need, Not a Want: The Importance of Retail in Economic Development

Retail development does several things for a community: it keeps money local, contributes to the quality of life for residents, and helps create a healthy buzz of activity on main streets. However, it is also an industry that is extremely susceptible to greater forces in the economy and to consumers ever changing preferences. Given recent news of several major retailers closing stores around the US, this session will dive into the trends in retail development and how economic developers can keep the retail scene healthy in their communities.

What you'll learn:

• Trends in retail including online shopping and technology to enhance the shopping experience
• Challenges for retail in communities ranging from rural towns to big cities
• Helping retail establishments contribute to a lively social scene on the Main Streets and downtowns

Time: 1:45 PM - 3:15 PM

Moderator: Danny Games, CEcD, Executive Vice President, Global Business, Arkansas Economic Development Commission, Little Rock, AR

Jason E. Claunch, President, Catalyst Commercial, Inc., Dallas, TX
Hrishue Mahalaha, Senior Partner, Innovation Economy Partners (IEP), Cleveland, OH
Rose M. Washington, Executive Director, Tulsa Economic Development Corporation, Tulsa, OK

2:00 PM

Educational Tour: Venture Center, Little Rock Tech Park & Innovation Hub$

Within steps of the River Market are three of Arkansas's most innovative communities: the Venture Center, Little Rock Tech Park, and Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub. Housed inside the Tech Park, the Venture Center helps startups obtain customer validation and reach viability through systematic programming, premium mentorship that leverages best practices in lean methodology, and strategic acceleration with an eye on reaching scale and creating measurable economic impact. Tour their startup incubator and learn about their innovative programs putting entrepreneurs on the map. You will tour the high-quality space geared to stimulate and manage the flow of knowledge, collaboration and technology among universities, research & development institutions, educators, technologists, entrepreneurs and markets to catalyze the creation and growth of innovation-based companies.

Tour the facilities and see the advanced manufacturing stations with 3D printers, prototyping stations, metal shop, design studios, and co-working space.

Time: 2:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Price: $55

3:30 PM

Concurrents Sessions

Hosting the World: How to Garner Broad Tourism Interest

There is nothing like hometown pride and joy when your community hosts visitors from near and far. Tourism also quickly spreads export dollars into your community, touching as many as 10 industries with multiplier income. Join this session to explore how to create a continuous buzz with tourists by selling your community's uniqueness and offering them experiences that make their visit unforgettable.

What you'll learn:

• How to develop attractions and products that will encourage more international and domestic visitors to spend money in your community
• How to use niche attractions to reach the right visitors
• How to set up a tourism dashboard that will continuously measure your progress

Time: 3:30 PM - 5:00 PM

Moderator: Linda DiMario, Vice President, Economic Development & Tourism, Irvine Chamber of Commerce

Emily Manz, President, EMI Strategy, Newark, NJ
Annette Rummel, PhD, CEO, Great Lakes Bay Regional Convention & Visitors Bureau, Saginaw, MI
Kane Webb, Director, Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, Little Rock, AR

Cybersecurity: Password = J0b$

Could John le Carré have predicted that cybercrime, espionage and hacking was the next great plot? In today's world, criminals are targeting individuals, corporations and countries via the web regardless of borders. As unfortunate as the circumstances are, it has given rise to enormous job growth in this field. By some estimates, Cybersecurity will be a $170 billion industry by 2020 with several million job opportunities in the coming years. This session will explore where the jobs are and how to bring them to your community.

What you'll learn:

• What it takes to support a cybersecurity company in your community
• Typical profile and education requirements of cybersecurity professionals
• Trends and opportunities in the industry for massive job creation

Time: 3:30 PM - 5:00 PM

Moderator: Steve Weathers, CEcD, President & CEO, Erie County Industrial Development Agency, Buffalo, NY

Rachel Busch, Strategic Projects Manager, Lee County Economic Development Office, Ft. Myers, FL
Gerald Gordon, FM, HLM, President & CEO, Fairfax County Economic Development Authority, Vienna, VA
Roland Mower, CEcD, President and Chief Executive Officer and Ex-Officio Member of the Board of Directors, Port San Antonio, San Antonio, Texas
Anshuman Singh, Ph.D., Cybersecurity Program Coordinator, Assistant Professor of Computer Science, School of Computer Science and Mathematics, University of Central Missouri, Warrensburg, MO

Home Health Care Industry: The Business of Caring

The aging Baby Boomer population has created a bounty of jobs and investor opportunity in the healthcare industry, specifically in the home health care sector. Seniors that are healthy enough to live at home but need help with certain tasks will have created an estimated 1.3 million jobs by 2020 and companies and franchises are popping up all over the country to meet this demand. Home healthcare creates a range of job opportunities for people, from licensed medical professionals to professional caregivers. This session will look at both the business and the employment opportunities in the fastest growing medical field.

What you'll learn:

• Profiles of the range of workers that are employed in the home healthcare industry
• Supporting companies and franchises that are looking to establish themselves in your community
• Examples from a wide variety of communities from big cities to small towns and rural markets

Time: 3:30 PM - 5:00 PM

Moderator: Danielle Casey, CEcD, EDFP, Director, Economic Development, City of Scottsdale, Scottsdale, AZ

Lisa Hill-McCay, Vice President, Public Sector Division, The Buxton Company, Fort Worth, TX
Kay O'Dell, Senior Program Manager, Workforce Solutions for North Central Texas, Arlington, TX
Paul Umbach, AMDP, Founder & President, Tripp Umbach, Pittsburgh, PA

6:00 PM

Networking Reception

Transportation from the Marriott will be provided.

The Clinton Presidential Center is a world-class educational and cultural venue offering a variety of special events, exhibitions, educational programs, and lectures throughout the year. Located on the banks of the Arkansas River in Little Rock, Arkansas, it has welcomed more than 4.2 million visitors from around the world since opening in 2004. Most importantly, the Clinton Center offers a unique perspective of the work – past, present, and future – of the 42nd President of the United States. Learn more at, on Facebook at, and @ClintonCenter on Twitter and Instagram.

Time: 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM

7:30 AM

Registration & Exhibits

Time: 7:30 AM - 12:00 PM
8:30 AM

Plenary Session

The Economic Future Forum continue with this morning's session featuring speakers offering an exciting view of economic development from their perspective.

Time: 8:30 AM - 10:00 AM

Master of Ceremonies: Craig Richard, CEcD FM, President and CEO, Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation, Tampa, FL

Keynote Introduction:
Todd Greene, CEcD, Vice President, Community & Economic Development, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, Atlanta, GA
Teresa Nortillo, CEcD, Vice President of Business Development and Consulting Services, StateBook International, Hoffman Estates, IL

Keynote Speakers:
Charles Morgan, Chairman & CEO, First Orion, Little Rock, AR
Mike Preston, Executive Director, Arkansas Economic Development Commission, Little Rock, AR

10:15 AM

Concurrent Sessions - Speed Sessions

Each Speed Session will be offered from 10:15 - 11:00 and from 11:10 - 11:55, allowing attendees to attend two different sessions during the 100 minute timeframe.

Intrapreneurs: Fueling Growth from the Inside

Intrapreneurs are innovative employees that look for improvements in productivity and root out new viable business opportunities for their organizations, whether it be a corporation or nonprofit. They know the organization so well that they can see the golden opportunities and know how to bring their ideas to fruition. These intrapreneurs can take your community's existing businesses to the next level, but they also need mentors and resources like traditional entrepreneurs. This session will look at some programs that are helping intrapreneurs succeed and will dive into some notable accomplishments of intrapreneurs.

What you'll learn:

• Coaching businesses to recognize an intrapreneur and understand their value
• How to help intrapreneurs take their visions to reality
• Existing networks and mentoring programs that cater to intrapreneurs

Moderator: Sandy Pratt, CEcD, FM, President, The Pratt Group Inc., Oklahoma City, OK

Susan Boyle, Senior Consultant, GEI Consultants, Inc., Mount Laurel, NJ
Tristan Kromer, Founder, Kromatic, San Francisco, CA

Beyond Millennials: Appreciating the Coming Power of Generation Z

The next unique generation that economic developers will have to contend with is Generation Z. Generation Z are those individuals born in 1995 and beyond, were raised in a world saturated by technology and are old enough to remember the impacts of the Great Recession on their working parents. Given that this will be the next influential generation making decisions about where to live, work and play, it is essential that economic developers are familiar with this cohort. This session will dig deeper into what motivates Generation Z.

What you'll learn:

• Understanding the career ambitions and entrepreneurial mindset of Generation Z
• Exploring their relationship with marketing and how they interact with companies and brands
• General understanding of how Generation Z perceives the world and their role in it and in your community

Patrick Vanderpool, Executive Director, Greater Tucumcari Economic Development Corporation, Tucumcari, NM

Eboni Council, CEcD, Deputy Executive Director, Coliseum Central Business Improvement District, Hampton, Virginia
Donna Merriweather, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resource Officer, Bear State Financial, Little Rock, AR

Meeting the Challenge of Trailing Spouses: A New Key in the Business Attraction Puzzle

EDOs are increasingly finding that companies list the issue of trailing spouses as one of their top concerns when considering site location decisions. Increasingly, companies know their talent will be hesitant to relocate to a community that offers like jobs prospects or support for a trailing spouse. A revelation such as this feeds into the overall change in business attraction and location decisions which focus on quality of life for their employees and their families. Join this session to hear about EDOs that are proactive in solving the issue of trailing spouses.

What you'll learn:

• Identifying the biggest issues that make the transition to a new city hard for spouses and families
• Case studies of EDOs that are increasing their chances of landing companies because of their work to help trailing spouses
• Successful programs from communities across the country that work to incorporate trailing spouses into the community

Bryan T. Daniels, CEcD, CCE, IOM, President & CEO, Blount Partnership, Maryville, TN

Cynthia Reid, Vice President, Marketing and Communications, Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce, Oklahoma City, OK
Christina Winn, Director, Business Investment Group, Arlington Economic Development, Arlington, VA

12:00 PM

Educational Tour: National Center for Toxicological Research $

Located just 30 minutes south of Little Rock, the National Center for Toxicological Research (NCTR) is the only FDA Center located outside the Washington, DC metropolitan area. With one-million-square-feet under roof, NCTR’s team of 750 scientists and staff protect public health by inventing tools and approaches that determine the safety of medicine, medical products, and food.

Time: 12:00 PM - 3:00 PM

Price: $55