Speakers and Stories

Aaron Bartley, PUSH Buffalo
Bartley leads a community organizing nonprofit that is building sustainable enterprises to employ community residents.

  • Deep Dive: Economic Development Resident Engagement

Todd Christensen, SW Virginia Cultural Heritage Foundation
Christensen coordinates several tourism value chains across Southwest Virginia.

  • Tourism Breakout Story: Southwest Virginia

Sam Cook, The Center for Heirs Property
Cook leads the Sustainable Forestry Program for the Center for Heirs Property in South Carolina.

  • Forestry Breakout Story: Sustainable Forestry

Sharice Davids, Thunder Valley Community Development Corporation
Davids is Deputy Director at Thunder Valley CDC where she supports the organization's housing development efforts.

  • Housing Breakout Story: Thunder Valley

Daniel Davis, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis
As Senior Manager of Community Development, Davis promotes community and economic development across a multi-state region.

  • Closing Panel

Molly Hemstreet, Opportunity Threads
Hemstreet runs Morganton, NC's Opportunity Threads, a central player in the development of the Carolina Textile District. 

  • Design Principles Story: Carolina Textile District

Peter Hille, MACED
Hille, President of MACED, leads his organization's efforts in energy and enteprise development.

  • Design Principles Story: MACED

Rita Hodges, Netter Center
Hodges is Assistant Director of the Netter Center at U of Penn where she studies the role of anchor institutions in economic development. 

  • Deep Dive: Anchor Institutions

Tami Hornbeck, Communities Unlimited
Hornbeck is Managing Director of Community Initiatives and coordinates energy value chains in the Arkansas Delta.

  • Energy Breakout Story: Communities Unlimited

Ted Howard, Democracy Collaborative
Howard, co-founder of Democracy Collaborative, helped develop Cleveland Foundation's Evergreen Cooperative Initiative.

  • Design Principles Story: Evergreen Cooperatives

Walter Isaacson, The Aspen Institute
Isaacson is President and CEO of the Aspen Institute and recent author of The Innovators and Steve Jobs.

  • Closing Keynote
Emily Kawano, Wellspring Collaborative
Kawano is co-director of Wellspring Cooperative Corporation, a network of worker-owned businesses in Springfield, MA.

  • Manufacturing Breakout Story: Wellspring Collaborative
Heidi Khokhar, Rural Development Initiatives
Khokhar directs operations for Rural Development Initiatives, an organization facilitating the development of value chains across Oregon.

  • Deep Dive: Regional Development Efforts
Kimber Lanning, Local First Arizona
Lanning is head of Local First Arizona. She is a business owner and advocate for local enterprise and responsible growth.

  • Practitioner Keynot
Cheryal Lee Hills, Region Five Development Commission
Lee Hills is Executive Director of Region Five Development Commission which coordinates economic development in North Central Minnesota.

  • Food Breakout Story: Minnesota Food System
John Littles, McIntosh Seed
Littles coordinates coops and food producers across Alabama and Mississippi to produce for larger markets.

  • Deep Dive: Coordinating Networks
John Molinaro, Appalachian Partnership for Economic Growth
Molinaro leads the Appalachian Partnership for Economic Growth, an organization facilitating economic development in Appalachian Ohio.

  • Practitioner Keynote
Cheryl Peterson, McIntosh Seed
Peterson coordinates coops and food producers across Alabama and Mississippi to produce for larger markets.

  • Deep Dive: Coordinating Networks
Harold Pettigrew Harold Pettigrew, CFED
As Director of Entrepreneurship, Pettigrew leads efforts to increase success for low- and moderate-income microbusiness owners. 

  • Closing Panel
Ines Polonius, Communities Unlimited
Polonius directs a multi-state CDFI that is actively leading multiple sector-based economic development strategies.

  • Energy Breakout Story: Communities Unlimited
Shanna Ratner, Yellow Wood Associates
Ratner leads Yellow Wood Associates, a consulting firm that helps develop value chains and train economic development professionals.

  • Deep Dive: WealthWorks Value Chains
Chris Rector, Northern Initiatives
Rector helps coordinate the Great Waters tourism value chain for Northern Initiatives in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

  • Tourism Breakout Story: Great Waters
Tom Redfern, Rural Action
Redfern coordinates food value chain work in Southeast Ohio that connects regional food producers with urban markets.

  • Food Breakout Story: Southeast Ohio
Mark Rembert, Energize Clinton County
Rembert co-leads Energize Clinton County, a nonprofit that seeks to revitalize Wilmington, OH after the departure of its largest employer.

  • Closing Panel
Rob Riley, Northern Forest Center
Riley is President of the Northern Forest Center which supports wood products manufacturers and other sustainable businesses.

  • Forestry Breakout Story: Northern Forest Center
Lisa Richter, Avivar Capital
Richter is a principal at Avivar Capital which helps develop families of funds to support health and community development.

  • Deep Dive: Economic Development Finance
Bonita Robertson, New Orleans Works
Robertson leads New Orleans Works, an effort to build a workforce pipeline for New Orleans area hospitals.

  • Health Breakout Story: New Orleans Works
Kelly Ryan, Incourage Community Foundation
Ryan is President and CEO of Incourage, a foundation working to create a community that works well for all people.

  • Closing Panel
Leslie Schaller, Appalachian Center for Economic Networks
Schaller is Director of Programs and has been a central player in the development of a food value chains across Southeast Ohio.

  • Food Breakout Story: Southeast Ohio
Mike Workman, Contraxx
Workman is CEO of Contraxx Furniture, a key piece of a manufacturing value chain growing in Southeast Ohio.

  • Manufacturing Breakout Story: Southeast Ohio
Barbara Wyckoff, Dynamica Consulting
Wyckoff is an economic development coach for social enterprises and communities pursuing transformative economies.

  • Deep Dive: WealthWorks Value Chains