NADO Annual Training Conference 2022​


NADO Annual Training Conference 2022
October 15 – 18
Wyndham Grand Pittsburgh

NADO’s 2022 Annual Training Conference Re-cap

Thank you to all NADO members, federal agency staff, and others who convened in Pittsburgh October 15 – 18 for NADOS’s 2022 Annual Training Conference. With over 400 attendees, the conference energy was strong, and the city was abuzz with regional development practitioners and policy makers.  Conference attendees represented 160 different organizations, including 128 RDOs, and came from 40 states plus DC, Puerto Rico, and American Samoa. 

Learning Lab workshops covered a variety of topics—strategies to share your successes to your various stakeholders; becoming an effective EDD executive director; redeveloping brownfields as part of an economic strategy; equity and inclusion;  strengthening partnerships between EDDs and states; and effective EDD leadership.  Roundtables and conversation cafés provided opportunities for attendees to share ideas and seek solutions from peers.  Best practice sessions covered metrics for success; tapping into BIL funds; CEDS, with a focus on resiliency and recovery; digital inclusion for broadband; riverside development; workforce development; age-friendly communities and regions; main streets and placemaking; RDOs and housing; outdoor recreation and the economy; state association best practices; and much more.  Visit the conference program to learn more about the sessions and events.

Plenary sessions throughout the conference covered a host of topics.  Philanthropic futurist Trista Harris, President of FutureGood, challenged attendees to predict their region’s futures and be prepared for the coming realities their communities will face.  Attendees also learned about strategies that Pittsburgh and the Northwest Commission (Oil City, PA) are employing to evolve from “Rust Belt to Smart Belt” through partnerships with schools, community members, higher education, and industry to re-envision workforce development through STEM education.  U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) Deputy Assistant Secretary Craig Buerstatte provided insights and updates about EDA’s current programs. 

During the conference, many of the 107 2022 Impact Award Winners participated in the Impact Awards Reception where they showcased their projects.  This year’s class of awardees included 71 NADO members form 21 states.  And all 90 photos submitted during this year’s Photo Contest were shared throughout the conference, recognizing the five winners.  Thank you to all NADO members who submitted their projects and photos to these contests.  Not only do they share your accomplishments with your peers and a national audience, but they are also useful to NADO staff for advocacy purposes, case studies, and reports. 

During NADO’s 2022 Annual Business Meeting, held on the final day of the conference, the Association elected the 2022 – 2023 Executive Committee:

  • President: Chris Fetzer, Executive Director, Northern Arizona Council of Governments, Flagstaff, AZ
  • 1st Vice President: Chris Brown, Executive Director, Ark-Tex Council of Governments, Texarkana, TX
  • 2nd Vice President: Rick Hunsaker, Executive Director, Region XII Council of Governments, Carroll, IA
  • Treasurer: Matthew Dolge, Executive Director, Piedmont Triad Regional Council, Kernersville, NC
  • Secretary: Charlie Baker, Executive Director, Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission, Burlington, VT
  • Immediate Past President: Misty Crosby, Senior Executive in Residence for Local Government Services, Buckeye Hills Regional Council, Marietta OH

Thank you to Three Rivers PDD (Pontotoc, MS), Pennsylvania Local Development Districts, and MarksNelson (St. Louis, MO) for sponsoring the conference! 


Questions about  registration?  Contact Krystal DeLeon at [email protected]

Questions about the hotel? Contact Brittany Salazar at [email protected]

Questions about content? Contact Laurie Thompson at [email protected]

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Registration Fees

The early bird registration deadline was September 25, 2022.

 Early BirdLate Bird
Associate & General
Partner & Sustaining
Platinum & Platinum Plus


Cancellation Policy

Registrants who cancel their registrations will receive a full refund minus a $50 administrative fee.

Substitution Policy

To substitute a registrant, please contact NADO’s Operations Manager, Krystal De Leon at [email protected]

Not a NADO Member?

Become one today to get the member discounted rate!

Wyndham Grand Pittsburgh Downtown

600 Commonwealth Place | Pittsburgh, PA 15222


About the Hotel

Where Pittsburgh’s famed three rivers meet soaring skyscrapers, Wyndham Grand Pittsburgh awaits to offer you an inspired experience in the heart of downtown. Its located within walking distance of Heinz Field, PPG Paints Arena, PNC Park, the Cultural District, and 80+ restaurants, bars, entertainment venues & shopping.

October 15 – 18, 2022

Room Rate:$185 + tax
Room Rate Deadline: September 25

Get There

From Pittsburgh International Airport

Taxi cabs can be found on the lower level of the Landside Terminal (underground access is available from the Airside Terminal).  It can take 30 – 45 minutes to get to the hotel, depending on traffic.  The average fare is about $50.  Valet parking at the hotel is available for $35/day.

28X Airport Flyer bus service can be found directly outside baggage claim.  The closest stop to the Wyndham is Liberty Avenue.  It takes approximately 45 minutes from the airport to Liberty Avenue.  The cost is $2.75 each way (as of August 24, 2022).  Tickets can be purchased at a ticket machine at Lower Level Baggage Claim, Door #2 or you can pay on the bus but note that exact change is required.

Driving (Valet parking at the hotel is available for $35/day)

From the North: Take 79S, merge onto 279 S to Pittsburgh. Exit 1A on left to Ft. Duquesne Boulevard. Turn right at Stanwix Street. Stay right on Penn Avenue. Turn right on Commonwealth Place.

From the South: Travel 79N, merge to 376 E via exit 59A to Pittsburgh. Exit 70A to Liberty Avenue. Turn left on Commonwealth Place.

From the East: Take 376W, exit 70D on left to Stanwix Street. Turn left at Ft. Pitt Boulevard. Turn right on Commonwealth Place.

From the West: Take 376 E, exit 70A to Liberty Avenue. Turn left on Commonwealth Place

From Airport:  Go North on Airport Blvd and bear slight left to exit Airport. Take 376E towards Pittsburgh to 279N. Exit at 70A for CONSOL Center and take Blvd of Allies/Liberty Avenue exit. Make left at end of ramp onto Commonwealth Place.




Conference Agenda

NADO’s 2022 ATC will offer over 30 plenary and concurrent sessions, learning labs, conversation cafés, and mobile workshops that fall under three tracks: Organizational Capacity Building, Regional Resilience, and Infrastructure and Regional Development.  Sessions have been designed specifically for RDO executive directors, staff, and board members.  Click here (PDF) for the latest agenda.

Fun and Interesting Things to Do in Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh is an exciting city that has much to offer for everyone!  Diverse neighborhoods full of amazing restaurants, a broad spectrum of entertainment venues, professional sports teams, hiking and running trails, museums, art galleries, and much more!  The downtown area is very walkable, and the city has a robust bike share program and a free fare zone on the light rail in the downtown area.  Check out the city’s official tourism site, VisitPITTSBURGH, for all the details!  Here is a brief list of some of the many things happening in October.

Know Before You Go

NADO welcomes you to this year’s Annual Training Conference (ATC) in Pittsburgh, PA on October 15-18, 2022. The reference guide found here (PDF) contains general information to help participants prepare to attend the conference.

Three Mobile Workshops have just been added to the agenda. All three require pre-registration and an additional fee. You can register here, even if you have already registered for the conference! See more information for each workshop below.

Brownfields Tour:  A Visit to Hazelwood Green and RIDC Mill 19

Saturday, October 15, 2022 | 1:30 – 3:30 p.m.

Pre-registration is required; additional fee of $40

This tour, hosted by the Regional Industrial Development Corporation (RIDC) and Technical Assistance to Brownfields (TAB) team, will visit a major redevelopment project that is transforming a former mill and industrial plant into a mixed-use neighborhood.  Hazelwood Green is located on 178 acres along the Monongahela River, part of Pittsburgh’s Greater Hazelwood neighborhood and the historic site of Jones & Laughlin Steel Company’s first industrial plant.  RIDC Mill 19 is the first development on the Hazelwood Green site. It is the catalytic redevelopment of one of the mills at Hazelwood Green and has been transformed into a green, sustainable advanced manufacturing research center. The mill’s steel superstructure supports the largest rooftop solar array in the U.S., generating over two million kilowatt hours (kWh) per year, enough electricity to power 380 homes.  RIDC Mill 19 is home to advanced manufacturing and autonomous innovation partners including Carnegie Mellon University’s Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing (ARM) and Manufacturing Futures Initiative, Catalyst Connection, and Motional, and its third and final building will be completed in 2022.

Pittsburgh’s Downtown Riverfronts—A Walking Tour of Revitalization in Action

Sunday, October 16, 2022 | 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.

Pre-registration is required; additional fee of $15

Riverlife is a nonprofit organization formed in 1999 to create a plan for the redevelopment of Pittsburgh’s downtown riverfronts. Working from the feedback of the community, Riverlife released a vision plan in 2000 for Pittsburgh’s 15-mile, an 880-acre loop of riverfront parks, trails, and public open spaces. The riverfront park system has been realized piece by piece, with Riverlife working with landowners, developers, neighborhood groups, and elected officials to build and connect Pittsburgh’s downtown riverfront experience. Through Riverlife’s leadership, more than 85% of the 15-mile loop has been established and improved for public use. In 2022 Riverlife released the Completing the Loop plan for how they intend to close the remaining gaps and make major improvements to the loop over the next decade. The organization has led a $132 million investment in Pittsburgh’s downtown riverfront experience over the past 15 years which helped catalyze nearly $4.2 billion in total riverfront and adjacent development in downtown Pittsburgh. The tour will be led by Riverlife staff and will take participants on a walking tour to the West End Bridge to see this development in action.  Please note the tour will include stairs and the walk will be about 3 miles.

The Carrie Blast Furnaces: Then & Now   

Monday, October 17, 2022 | 1:45 – 4:45 p.m.

Pre-registration is required; additional fee of $40

Declared a National Historic Landmark in 2006, Carrie, as it’s affectionately known, entices visitors to marvel at the scale and legacy of its industrial might.  A remnant of the legendary U.S. Steel Homestead Steel Works, the Carrie Blast Furnaces are a vestige of Pittsburgh’s 20th-century domination of the steel industry.  On the tour, you’ll hear stories about the site’s technology (including why it is nationally significant) as well as get to know the culture of its workers. You’ll also learn a bit about the iron-making process, from the movement of the raw materials to the tapping of the furnaces that produced fiery molten iron.  The tour will also highlight how creatives, from guerrilla artists and graffiti writers to curators and designers, have been inspired by—and left their mark on—this revered landscape, highlighting contemporary art installations, graffiti murals, the Iron Garden, and the famous Carrie Deer.

Saturday, October 15, 2022

1:30 – 3:30 p.m.

Mobile Tour 

Learning Labs

  • Sharing your RDO’s Impact through Effective Storytelling
    • Erica Allison, Founder, Formation PR, Hendersonville, NC
    • Lindsay Vanderbilt, Director of Communications, East Texas COG, Kilgore, TX
  • EDD Speed Networking and Listening Session

4:00 – 5:00 p.m.

NADO 101

Sunday, October 16, 2022

10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Learning Labs

  • Becoming an Effective EDD Leader: Skills Building for New and Emerging Leaders
    • Steve Etcher, Manager, MarksNelson, Kansas City, MO
    • Laura Lewis Marchino, Executive Director, Region 9 EDD of Southwest Colorado, Durango, CO
    • Misty Crosby, NADO President and Senior Executive in Residence for Local Government Services, Voinovich School of Leadership, Ohio University, Athens, OH
  • Brownfields: Redeveloping for Resilience
    • Jacob Keeney, Assistant Executive Director, Business Development Corporation of the Northern Panhandle, Weirton, WV
    • Blase Leven, Director of TAB Programs, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS
    • Colette Santasieri, Executive Director, New Jersey Institute of Technology TAB, Newark, NJ
    • Katie See, Brownfields Redevelopment Specialist, West Virginia University TAB, Morgantown, WV
    • Marvin Six, Executive Director, Business Development Corporation of the Northern Panhandle, Weirton, WV

1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Learning Labs

Monday, October 17, 2022

9:00 – 10:15 a.m.   

Conference Welcome and Opening Plenary: The Future Started Yesterday

  • Trista Harris, President, FutureGood, Santa Monica, CA 

10:30 – 11:45 a.m.

Concurrent Sessions

  • Metrics for Success
  • Tapping into BIL Funds
    • Alex Clegg, Transportation Specialist, U.S. Department of Transportation, Washington, DC
    • Rob Hyman, Transportation Policy Analyst, U.S. Department of Transportation, Washington, DC
  • Equity and Regional Economic Development
    • Jessica L. González Martínez, Inclusive Economic Development Advisor, New Growth Innovation Network, Philadelphia, PA
    • Maura Kay, Analytics Consultant, Fourth Economy, Pittsburgh, PA
    • BJ Allen, Deputy Director, Region Five Development Commission, Staples, MN
  • EDDs and States: Collaborating for Success
    • Bob Isaacson, Senior Vice President for Economic Policy and Research, CREC, Washington D.C.
    • Mereb Hagos, Program Manager, CREC, Washington D.C
    • Brittany Sickler, Networks Program Manager, Office of Regional Affairs, U.S. Economic Development Administration, Washington, D.C.
    • Cindy Hultz, Executive Director, Mark Twain Regional Council of Governments, Perry, MO
    • Caroline Smith, Economic Development Manager, Apalachee Regional Planning Council, Tallahassee, FL
  • Conversation Café: RDO Board Roundtable

12:00 – 1:30 p.m.

Rust Belt to Smart Belt: Autonomy, Economic Development, and STEM Education Models for Inclusion, Change, and Vibrant Communities

  • Rachel Burcin, Carnegie Mellon Robotics Institute, Pittsburgh, PA
  • Tim Heffernan, Innovation Institute for Tomorrow, Pittsburgh, PA
  • Gina Masciola, WQED Media, Pittsburgh, PA
  • Lisa Kay Schweyer, Mobility 21 University Transportation Center, Pittsburgh, PA
  • Moderator: Jill Foys, Executive Director, Northwest Commission, Oil City, PA

1:45 – 3:15 p.m.

Concurrent Sessions

  • CEDS, Resilience, and Recovery Showcase
    • Geri Gamber, Executive Director, Southeastern Utah Economic Development District, Price, UT
    • Emily Hathcock, Associate Director of Planning & Development, Barren River Area Development District, Bowling Green, KY 
    • Amy Kessler, Director of Community Development & Regional Planning, North Central Pennsylvania Regional Planning and Development Commission, Ridgway, PA
    • Eric Sexton, Executive Director, Barren River Area Development District, Bowling Green, KY
  • Broadband: Digital Inclusion
    • Roberto Gallardo, Director, Purdue Center for Regional Development
    • Erica Anderson, Economic and Community Development Director, Land of Sky Regional Council, Asheville, NC
    • David Richardson, Executive Director, Lumber River Council of Governments, Pembroke, NC
    • Moderator: Bret Allphin, Senior Program Manager, NADO Research Foundation, Washington, DC
  • Riverside Development
    • Maria Riley, Riverfront Projects Manager, Riverlife, Pittsburgh, PA
    • Chun (Pure) Zheng, Community Engagement Coordinator, Riverlife, Pittsburgh, PA

1:45 – 4:30 p.m.

EDD Leadership Lab: Reaching New Heights  

  • Steve Etcher, Manager, MarksNelson, Kansas City, MO

3:30 – 4:30 p.m.

Concurrent Sessions

  • CEDS 101 and Best Practices
    • David Ives, AICP, Deputy Director, Performance, Research and National Technical Assistance Division, U.S. Economic Development Administration, Washington, DC
    • Jessica Metta, Executive Director, Mid-Columbia Economic Development District, The Dalles, OR
    • Brett Schwartz, Associate Director, NADO Research Foundation, Washington, DC
  • Building Regional Economies through Workforce Development
    • Pete Conrad, Superintendent of the Henderson County Water District/ Chairman of the GRADD Water Management Council, Owensboro, KY
    • Emily Gojkovich, Deputy Director, Southwest New Mexico Council of Governments, Silver City, NM
    • Dana Keller, Executive Director, Mexico Area Chamber of Commerce, Mexico, MO
  • Conversation Café/Listening Session: Ingredients for Successful Project Funding

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

7:30 – 8:30 a.m.

Plenary Breakfast

  • Craig Buerstatte, Deputy Assistant Secretary, U.S. Economic Development Administration, Washington, DC

8:45 – 10:00 a.m.

Concurrent Sessions

  • Main Streets and Placemaking
    • Bret Allphin, Senior Program Manager, NADO, Marietta, OH
    • Cerisse Grijalva, Transportation Planner, Southwest New Mexico Council of Governments, Silver City, NM
    • Wanda Christian, Economic & Community Development Coordinator, Northeast Mississippi Planning and Development District, Booneville, MS
  • Housing and RDO Roles
    • Jennifer Wilsie, Director of Housing, New River Valley Regional Commission, Radford, VA
    • Mike Norris, Executive Director, Southeast Iowa Regional Planning Commission, West Burlington, IA
    • Ed Nusser, Executive Director, City of Bridges Community Land Trust, Pittsburgh, PA
  • Outdoor Recreation and the Economy
    • Chris Perkins, Senior Director, Outdoor Recreation Roundtable, Washington, DC 
    • Davitt Woodwell, President, Pennsylvania Environmental Council, Pittsburgh, PA
  • Conversation Café: Maximizing Available Funding Opportunities 

10:30 – 11:45 a.m.

Concurrent Sessions

  • Planning Ahead for Aging: Age-Friendly Communities and Regions
    • Laura Poskin, Executive Director, Age-Friendly Greater Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
    • Rebecca Delphia, Advisor, AARP Livable Communities, Washington, DC
  • Strength in Numbers: Best Practices for State Associations
    • Jill Foys, Executive Director, Northwest Commission, Oil City, PA
    • Charlie Baker, Executive Director, Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission, Winooski, VT
    • Deb Smith, Regional Economic Planner, Clearwater Economic Development Association, Lewiston, ID
    • Dodd Snodgrass, Executive Director, Clearwater Economic Development Association, Lewiston, ID
    • Shane Whitehair, Executive Director, Region VII Planning and Development Council, Buckhannon, WV
  • Resiliency Means Business! Resources to Assist Your Water Utilities with Preparedness
    • Jack Kartez, PhD, Senior Advisor & Emeritus Director, New England Environmental Finance Center, Portland, ME 
  • Conversation Café: Leveraging Opportunities for Coal Communities

12:00 – 1:30 p.m.

President’s Award Luncheon

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Contact Joe D'Antonio

Regional Development Researcher Andrew Coker joined the NADO team in March of 2023 after spending two and a half years as the Regional Economic Resiliency Coordinator at West Central Arkansas Planning and Development District. Andrew holds a bachelor’s degree from Hendrix College and a master’s degree from the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service.

At NADO, Andrew conducts research on the newest economic and community development best practices from Economic Development Districts across the country. He helps produce easily digestible information on complex regional issues through case studies, tip sheets, and research reports. Andrew also hosts training and professional development opportunities including conference sessions and virtual webinars for member regional development organizations.

Andrew is one of our Missouri-based team members and enjoys reading and training for his next triathlon.

Jack Morgan came to the NADO team in 2022 after seven years with the National Association of Counties (NACo) as a Program and Senior Program Manager. Prior to NACo, Jack was a Policy Analyst for Friends of Southwest Virginia. Jack holds a bachelor’s in geography from Emory & Henry College and a master’s in geography from Appalachian State University.

As a NADO Senior Program Manager, Jack leads capacity-building and peer-learning work supporting energy communities in economic transition, regional resilience, and recreation economies. He also helps with the EDA-Austin training program Emerging Leaders.

Jack is certified by the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) and is a member of the American Planning Association (APA) in the Regional & Intergovernmental Planning division. He also serves on the Emory & Henry College Alumni Board.

Taking road trips, reading non-fiction, and indulging in top-notch barbecue and coffee round out Jack’s days. He loves maps, mountains, and of course, all things sports.

Karron Grant joined the NADO team in 2023 as Administrative Specialist and is the first face (or voice) you’ll see or hear when reaching out to NADO. As Administrative Specialist, Karron manages our database and coordinates NADO event operations. He ensures members’ needs are met, contact information stays current, and NADO’s office is running efficiently.

Karron came to NADO after four years in the classroom teaching at The New Century School and Old Mill Middle North where he received the Patriot of the Year award. He attended Towson University and the University of Maryland Global Campus and holds a bachelor’s in international studies and humanities.

Visiting art galleries and museums, playing basketball and bowling, and taking in movies and music are some of Karron’s interests and hobbies.

Deputy Executive Director Laurie Thompson has been with NADO for 25 years. Laurie helps keep the NADO and NADO Research Foundation wheels turning through management of the daily operations of the Research Foundation, securing financial resources and overseeing grants management, and helping execute NADO’s Annual Training Conference each year.

Laurie holds a bachelor’s in public affairs and government from Mount Vernon College and a master’s in health services administration from The George Washington University. Prior to NADO, Laurie spent time as a Field Specialist and an Eagle Staff Fund Director at First Nations Development Institute.

When she’s taking a rare reprieve from her NADO work, Laurie enjoys traveling domestically and internationally to visit friends and family.

Jamie McCormick joined the NADO team as a Policy Fellow first in 2019, then moved into her current role as Legislative Associate in 2021. As Legislative Associate, Jamie keeps NADO members apprised of any policy and regulatory issues and communicates NADO’s policy priorities to federal stakeholders and partner organizations. She is also the first stop for members with inquiries on policy issues. The planning and execution of NADO & DDAA’s annual Washington Conference is also managed by Jamie.

Jamie holds a dual bachelor’s in political science and international relations from The State University of New York College at Geneseo and a master’s in international development studies from The George Washington University. In addition to her roles at NADO, Jamie also worked as a Legislative Assistant for the Northeastern Retail Lumber Association.

Outside of her NADO work, Jamie is an active volunteer with the VOLO Kids Foundation and a fundraiser for YMCA youth programs. She is also NADO’s resident baker regularly providing treats for those in NADO’s D.C. office. Traveling, taking her pup on walks, and hiking in the northeast keep Jamie busy. 

Brett Schwartz began at NADO in 2012 as a Research Fellow after earning his J.D. from the University of Baltimore School of Law. The following year, he was promoted to Program Manager and has now been leading as an Associate Director since 2018. Brett is responsible for managing NADO’s Economic Development District Community of Practice (EDD CoP), as well as researching and monitoring the latest trends in regional economic development and resilience, including best practices for the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS). With more than a decade of experience on the NADO team, Brett is a dynamic relationship builder helping connect and build capacity among the national network of regional development organizations.

Brett also holds a bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University and a master’s from Trinity College Dublin, as well as a certificate in mediation training. He’s a member of Catalyst Grantmakers of San Diego and Imperial Counties and was a participant in the 2021-22 Field Trips to the Future Cohort.

Brett is one of NADO’s West Coast team members residing in San Diego, CA where he enjoys spending time outdoors, attending concerts and festivals, and soaking up life as a parent of two young children.  

Communications Manager Katie Allison joined the team in 2023 to lead the strategic communication efforts of NADO. Katie creates and develops print and online materials, communicates NADO’s updates to members via weekly emails, and maintains content for and NADO’s social media channels. She also works with different departments to generate new ideas and strategies to effectively describe and promote the important work NADO is doing for EDDs and RDOs across the country.

An experienced nonprofit communications professional, Katie has worked for organizations in western North Carolina for nearly a decade. She holds a bachelor’s in communications from Wingate University where she was a four-year student athlete. Katie has also completed Vision Henderson County, a comprehensive leadership development program that promotes informed and committed civic volunteerism.

Katie stays busy trying to keep up with her two young sons whom she enjoys exploring the Blue Ridge Mountains with. Traveling to new and favorite places and cheering on the Atlanta Braves are some of her family’s favorite pastimes.

Senior Program Manager Ciara Ristig has been a member of the NADO team since 2021, and helps with NADO’s EDD Community of Practice, EDD staff capacity building and other grants on a range of subjects, including equity and solar energy. Before NADO, Ciara worked as a Planner for the County of Santa Barbara and an Assistant Project Manager for REM Consult. Ciara holds a bachelor’s in urban studies and French from Bryn Mawr and a master’s in urban studies from Ecole d’Urbanisme de Paris.

When she’s not traveling, you can find her outrigger paddling and serving on the board of the Blue Sky Center in New Cuyama, CA, near her home base of Santa Barbara.

Carrie Kissel has been a member of the NADO team since 2005 when she began as a Research Fellow. She later moved into the roles of Program Manager in 2006, and then Associate Director in 2011. Carrie holds a bachelor’s in anthropology from Ball State University and a master’s in public anthropology from American University. As Associate Director, Carrie oversees NADO’s work in rural transportation and rural wealth creation. She provides technical assistance and support to rural regions on transportation and economic development issues and develops training and peer exchange events on transportation issues and rural wealth creation as an economic development strategy.

Carrie is a member of the Transportation Research Board (TRB) and secretary of TRB’s Rural Transportation Issues Coordinating Council. She is also a member of the American Anthropological Association and the National Association for the Practice of Anthropology.

Reading, gardening, hiking, and kayaking are a few of Carrie’s hobbies, and she organizes and facilitates a DEI/social justice-focused book club in her community.

Melissa Levy has worked at NADO as a Regional Development Researcher since February 2023 and is the Principal Consultant at her own firm specializing in wealth-based economic development consulting. With a career spanning nearly 30 years, Melissa brings a breadth of knowledge to her role as a Regional Development Researcher. Melissa provides in-depth research, coaching, and training on regional economic resilience, rural wealth creation strategies, and economic development.

Melissa is a North American Food Systems Network trained AgriCluster Resilience and Expansion (ACRE) facilitator and a WealthWorks coach, facilitator, and trainer. In addition to her professional work, Melissa serves on the Vermont Urban and Community Forestry Council, on the board of the Hinesburg Community Resource Center, and on the Hinesburg Economic Development Committee.

A true outdoorswoman, Melissa enjoys cross country and downhill skiing, paddleboarding, hiking, biking, and kayaking, as well as yoga, and teaching Tai Chi.

Program Manager Krishna Kunapareddy began her role with NADO in February of 2023 after 14 years of service at Boonslick Regional Planning Commission in Missouri. Krishna manages NADO Research Foundation’s Planning and Environmental Linkages and Center for Environmental Excellence projects. In addition to researching and writing, Krishna also conducts virtual workshops on innovative tools and techniques related to transportation planning.

She holds an undergraduate degree from Andhra University and a master’s from JNT University in India, as well as a master’s in city and regional planning from the University of Texas at Arlington. Krishna is also a certified Smart Cities Academy Practitioner and holds the Location Advantage certificate from geographic information system software company ESRI.

In her spare time, Krishna volunteers with Mentors4College helping high schoolers better plan for their post-high school paths. She is also a dedicated advocate for documented H4 Dreamers.

Krystal DeLeon joined the NADO team in October of 2020 as Database & Grants Manger, but in January of 2022 transitioned to her current role as Operations Manager. Krystal keeps NADO running through behind the scenes work of invoicing, solving any database issues that may arise, producing membership reports, and much more. Her organizational skills and thorough knowledge help the NADO team operate more efficiently across all departments.

Prior to NADO, Krystal was the Conference Services Coordinator for State Services Organization. She is a Certified Meeting Professional (CMP), a licensed realtor, and holds a bachelor’s in psychology from Liberty University. When she’s not keeping NADO’s operations in order, Krystal enjoys running and rock climbing, and adventuring with her husband and son.

Senior Program Manager Bret Allphin joined NADO in April of 2022 bringing with him a wealth of knowledge after a 20-year career with Buckeye Hills Regional Council in Marietta, Ohio. In addition to his bachelor’s in political science and master’s in public affairs, Bret is licensed Geographical Information Systems Professional (GISP). He is NADO’s go-to team member for all things mapping while also supporting members with transportation and economic development technical assistance services.

An avid sports aficionado and former collegiate athlete, Bret enjoys cheering on his Cincinnati Reds, hitting the trails on his mountain bike, and improving his golf game whenever possible. Bret is an involved community member in Marietta dedicating much of his spare time to serving on local nonprofit boards.

Contact Karron Grant

Applications cannot be saved and returned to at a later time. It is recommended you compile all of your information in advance in a word processor and cut and paste into the application below.

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.

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]

Contact Melissa Levy

Contact Krishna Kunapareddy

Contact Andrew Coker

Contact Lara Gale

Contact Katie Allison

Contact Jack Morgan

Content Questions Form

Registration Questions Form

Hotel Questions Form

New Speaker Inquiry

Job Listing Inquiry

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.

Contact Danny Tomares

Contact Dion Thompson-Davoli

Contact Ciara Ristig

Contact Bret Allphin

Contact Brett Schwartz

Contact Carrie Kissel

Contact Scott Brown

Contact Jamie McCormick

Contact Joe McKinney

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