NADO Announces the 2017 Innovation Awards

Congratulations to the 2017 NADO Innovation Awards recipients!  Each year, the Innovation Awards program honors NADO members for their creative approaches to advancing regional community and economic development and improved quality of life.  These projects have made significant impacts on their regions and demonstrate the diversity of services and program delivery provided by regional development organizations across the country.

The projects will be recognized at a special reception during NADO’s 2017 Annual Training Conference, scheduled for September 9-12  in Anchorage, AK and are featured in an interactive online Story Map created by our partners at Esri.  For additional information, contact NADO Research Foundation Program Manager Brett Schwartz at [email protected].

The 2021 class of awardees consists of 102 projects from 70 organizations spanning 24 states.  Click here to view a StoryMap that highlights the stories behind each of these projects.

For more information, contact NADO Research Foundation Associate Director Brett Schwartz at [email protected]

2017 NADO Innovation Awards Recipient

The 2017 class of award recipients consists of 80 projects spanning 21 states:


  • Lee-Russell Council of Governments, Red Clay Brewing Company
  • West Alabama Regional Commission, Pickens County Utility Systems Mapping


  • Greenlee County, Health – The Highway to Greenlee County, Arizona


  • Apalachee Regional Planning Council, Chattahoochee to Bristol Trail Feasibility Study
  • Central Florida Regional Planning Council, Avon Park Air Force Range Joint Land Use Study Public Awareness Videos
  • Central Florida Regional Planning Council, Greater Auburndale JPA Overlay District Land Development Regulations
  • East Central Florida Regional Planning Council, The Route Condition Tool
  • East Central Florida Regional Planning Council, Delivered Justice Full Scale Exercise
  • East Central Florida Regional Planning Council, Kissimmee Medical Arts District Program
  • North Central Florida Regional Planning Council, Experience North Florida By Bicycle
  • South Florida Regional Planning Council, Infrastructure Protection Resources: Improving the Planning Process to Protect Infrastructure Emerging from Coastal Flood Hazards
  • Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council, Village of Tequesta US Master Plan and Complete Streets Project
  • West Florida Regional Planning Council, rideOn Commuter Services
  • West Florida Regional Planning Council, Emerald Coast Transportation Symposium


  • Georgia Association of Regional Commissions, Georgia MAP-21 Program
  • Georgia Mountains Regional Commission, Sautee Nacoochee Center Campus Plan
  • Georgia Mountains Regional Commission, Lake Lanier Olympic Venue Project
  • Georgia Mountains Regional Commission, Nifco KTW America Building Construction Project
  • Middle Georgia Regional Commission, City of Perry Housing Assessment  
  • Middle Georgia Regional Commission, Wellness Sustainability
  • Southern Georgia Regional Commission, Valdosta and Lowndes County Complete Streets Suitability
  • Southern Georgia Regional Commission, Innovative Resource Management through Enhanced Web-Based Mapping Applications
  • Southern Georgia Regional Commission, Improving Citizen Service Through Improved Work Order Management


  • East Central Iowa Council of Governments, Facilitate, Fund, Flourish: Community Development Through Revolving Loan Funds   
  • Region XII Council of Governments, Public Transit to Support Employment


  • Northern Kentucky Area Development District, NKY Community Cat Diversion Project
  • Purchase Area Development District, Merryman House Expansion


  • Northern Maine Development Commission, Proper Planning for Small Business Success


  • Mid-Minnesota Development Commission, McLeod County Trails Plan
  • Region Five Development Commission, Sprout Growers and Makers Marketplace
  • Region Nine Development Commission, Climate Change Adaptation Planning  


  • Central Mississippi Planning & Development District, Copiah County Medical Center
  • East Central Planning & Development District, MCC-Riley Workforce Development Center
  • East Central Planning & Development District, Kemper County Economic Development Building Expansion
  • Northeast Mississippi Planning & Development District, Marshall County Rockfon Infrastructure Project
  • Northeast Mississippi Planning & Development District, Alcorn County/Public Building Improvements/Avectus
  • Northeast Mississippi Planning & Development District, Town of Byhalia Industrial Road Improvements
  • Three Rivers Planning & Development District, The Furniture Academy  

New Mexico

  • Southwest New Mexico Council of Governments, Southwest New Mexico Green Energy and Jobs

New York

  • Southern Tier East Regional Planning Development Board, Area Development Online Application

North Carolina

  • Eastern Carolina Council, Carteret County Waterway Prioritization System
  • Land of Sky Regional Council, Community Led Fall Prevention
  • Land of Sky Regional Council, RIDE (Ridership Independence for the Disabled and Elderly)
  • Land of Sky Regional Council, Backpacks to Briefcases
  • Piedmont Triad Regional Council, Collaboration for Greener Homes
  • Triangle J Council of Governments, TJCOG Livability Self-Assessment for Local Governments and Toolkit
  • Triangle J Council of Governments, Triangle J Transportation Demand Management
  • Triangle J Council of Governments, Triangle Area Water Supply Monitoring Project
  • Upper Coastal Plain Council of Governments, UCP Brownfields Coalition
  • Western Piedmont Council of Governments, Priorities First, Let’s Communicate


  • Buckeye Hills Regional Council, Marietta Collaborative Parking Inventory


  • Greater Eastern Oregon Development Corporation / Northeast Oregon Economic Development District, Supporting Eastern Oregon’s New Natural Resource Economy
  • Mid-Columbia Economic Development District, Gorge Night Sky
  • Southern Oregon Regional Economic Development, Inc., SOREDI “Edge” Campaign
  • Southern Oregon Regional Economic Development, Inc., SOREDI Virtual Buildings


  • SEDA-Council of Governments, Central PA Asset Based Economy – Outdoor Recreation and Tourism as an Economic Engine
  • SEDA-Council of Governments, Flood Mitigation and Resiliency Planning  

South Carolina

  • Berkeley Charleston Dorchester Council of Governments, BCDCOG Blog
  • Catawba Regional Council of Governments, Chester County Industrial Site Analysis
  • Catawba Regional Council of Governments, Chester County Gateway Master Plan
  • Central Midlands Council of Governments, Central SC Stronger Economies Together (SET)
  • Santee-Lynches Regional Council of Governments, Heartfelt Patriotism
  • Santee-Lynches Regional Council of Governments, “Hire Me” – Industry-Specific Regional Hiring Events for Economic Development Prospects
  • Santee-Lynches Regional Council of Governments, Understanding the Green Heart of South Carolina: Santee-Lynches Green Infrastructure Inventory  
  • Upper Savannah Council of Governments, Greenwood Genetic Center Strategic Plan
  • Waccamaw Regional Council of Governments, WIOA Young Adult Career Readiness Boot Camp
  • Waccamaw Regional Council of Governments, Career and Technology Education (CATE) Employability Initiative

South Dakota

  • South Eastern Council of Governments, Solid Waste Management Financing Partnership


  • First Tennessee Development District, CareerQuest TN
  • Southwest Tennessee Development District, MyRide West TN
  • Southwest Tennessee Development District, REDI College Access Program – Any College Simulation
  • Upper Cumberland Development District, Clay County Comprehensive Plan Project


  • Alamo Area Council of Governments, Securing the Future of Joint Base San Antonio through Regional Land Use Coordination
  • Ark-Tex Council of Governments, Paris Metro Fixed-Route Bus Service
  • Central Texas Council of Governments, Veterans Directed Health Care Program
  • Heart of Texas Council of Governments, Bringing State-of-the-Art 9-1-1 Technology to the Rural HOTCOG Region


  • Six County Association of Governments/Economic Development District, Six County Area Sector Analysis Process (ASAP)


  • New River Valley Regional Commission, Mapping and Data Partnership with the New River Health District
  • Richmond Regional Planning District Commission, The Capital Region Collaborative
  • Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission, Where the Sidewalk Ends: RIDE Solutions Mobility Tour


2023 Impact Awards

The primary applicant must be a NADO member. Project partners, both NADO and non-members, can be recognized under "Project Partners" below.

Primary Project Contact:
This person will be the designated point of contact for all future awards-related correspondence and will receive the printed award certificates and other hardcopy materials should the project win an award.

Organization Address

Project Location (if different from Organization Address)

Executive Director

Additional Organizational Information
Please upload your organization's logo which will be included on the winning project award certificate.

Project Information
This title will be printed on the award certificate for winning projects and in all 2022 NADO Impact Award materials and cannot be changed.

Project Summary & Questions
Please craft clear, thoughtful, and engaging responses to the following questions. Use the following sections to tell us how your project has made an impact, such as its use of creative funding mechanisms, efforts to create efficiencies or reduce costs, unique partnership models, and emphasis on building resilience and/or enhancing your region's quality of life.

For award-winning projects, the information provided below may be used verbatim to inform project descriptions that will be published in the 2023 NADO Impact Awards materials and included on the NADO website.

Please submit at least one photo showing your project in action. Please keep file size to a minimum (<2Mb) and use JPEG format. If uploading multiple files, ZIP files prior to submitting. If you have trouble uploading images they can be directly emailed to Brett Schwartz at [email protected] Include the project title they correspond to in the subject line of your email.

Note: Submitted photos may be used in NADO Impact Awards materials and in other NADO published materials with credit to your organization. Please also consider submitting photos for NADO's 2023 Photo Contest, which will be held this summer.

Your application is not submitted until you are directed to a confirmation page. If you have any questions or are unsure if your application has been submitted, please contact Brett Schwartz at [email protected]

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Joe McKinney serves as Executive Director of the National Association of Development Organizations (NADO). Headquartered in Washington DC, NADO provides advocacy, education, research, and training for the nation’s 500+ regional planning and development organizations.

Joe has thirty-one years of experience having served in city, county, regional, national association, and government management since 1991. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Public Policy Analysis from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is a candidate for a master’s degree in Public Administration from UNC-Chapel Hill.

McKinney has provided congressional testimony on numerous occasions regarding the importance of regional development organizations in helping shape the nation’s economic growth. He is nationally recognized for promoting innovative solutions in areas such as planning and economic development, workforce development, transportation and transit, and aging services.

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