2024 NADO Annual Training Conference

October 21-24, 2024

New Orleans Marriott
555 Canal Street
New Orleans, LA 70130

The NADO Annual Conference is a highly anticipated event that brings together industry leaders, policymakers, and professionals from across the country to explore new ideas, share best practices, and discuss emerging trends in community and economic development.

NADO’s Code of Conduct/Anti-harassment Policy (PDF)
Reviews from the 2023 Annual Training Conference:


Registration is now open for the 2024 NADO Annual Training Conference. Early bird registration rates are available until September 19.

See registration rates below. Email Karron Grant, [email protected], for assistance registering your group, to register NADO member complimentary spouse/guest registrations (to see if your membership level has complimentary ATC guest registrations click here), and with registration questions. 

 Early BirdLate Bird
Associate & General
Partner & Sustaining
Platinum & Platinum Plus
Early bird deadline: September 19, 2024

Cancellation Policy

Registrants who cancel their registrations by October 11, 2024 will receive a refund minus a $150 administrative fee.


About the Hotel

New Orleans Marriott on Canal St. is nestled between the French Quarter and the Warehouse District. It is a short walk from Jackson Square, the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas and Harrah’s Casino. The hotel is also near the cruise port, the Convention Center and Caesars Superdome. 

Hotel nightly room rate:  $259 + tax

Hotel reservation cut-off date:  Thursday, September 19, 2024

Please be advised, if you plan to extend your stay in New Orleans outside of the normal conference dates, availability at the Marriott and surrounding hotels is VERY limited due to three Taylor Swift shows beginning 10/25. Current rates are $600+/night plus tax. If you do plan to stay in the area before or after the ATC, we encourage you to seek out affordable accommodations as soon as possible.

Airport & Transportation

Mobile Workshops

Monday, October 21

12:30 – 3:30 p.m.                   Mobile Workshop: University of New Orleans Green Energy Lab

See how the University of New Orleans (UNO) is working with regional stakeholders through the H2theFuture Build Back Better Regional Challenge Coalition to develop a testbed and development center for hydrogen-fueled ships at their new EDA-supported Green Energy Lab. The UNO Green Energy Lab will further research into ‘green hydrogen’ as a fuel source for the shipping and maritime industries, reducing logistics costs and the carbon footprint of the global shipping industry. The workshop will include guided tours at the UNO Engineering facility and discussions with UNO research staff leading the project on what these technology advancements will mean for the local, regional, and national economies. This workshop is limited to 19 participants. Plan to meet in the lobby at 12:30 p.m. for a bus departure at 12:45 p.m. The group will return to the hotel by 3:30 p.m. This is a bus/walking tour, so plan to wear comfortable shoes. Pre-registration is required and there is an additional fee of $50.

12:45 – 3:45 p.m.                   Mobile Workshop: Brownfields Redevelopment Tour

Join the National Technical Assistance to Brownfields (TAB) team and other subject matter experts for an excursion to successful redevelopment projects in New Orleans. Participants in this Brownfields Bus Tour will visit former blighted sites being transformed into productive properties for the community. Invited speakers for the tour include the property developer and officials from the Brownfield Programs of both the Regional Planning Commission and the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality. These local experts will describe the use of brownfields resources as a component of the property revitalization. Note: The bus tour will include some walking at project sites. This workshop is limited to 40 participants. Meet in the lobby at 12:45 p.m. for bus departure at 1:00 p.m. The group will return to the hotel by 3:45 p.m. Pre-registration is required and there is an additional fee of $50.

Tuesday, October 22

10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.         Mobile Workshop: Café Reconcile

Take advantage of this opportunity to enjoy a delicious lunch at Café Reconcile while learning about the organization’s incredible workforce development training for young adults interested in seeking careers in the hospitality field. Founded in 1996, the program has three priorities: support young adults in the development of their self-confidence, help them attain financial stability, and earn education or employment opportunities suited to their skills sets. Café Reconcile’s workforce program has seen over 2,000 young adults (between the ages of 16 and 24) graduate. This workshop is limited to 15 participants. Meet in the lobby at 10:30 a.m. for bus departure at 10:45 a.m.  The group will return to the hotel by 12:30 p.m. Lunch will be provided (shortly before the workshop, NADO will reach out to attendees with menu options).  Pre-registration is required and there is an additional fee of $60 which covers lunch and transportation.

10:15 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.         Mobile Workshop: Lafitte Greenway

Explore the Lafitte Greenway, a 2.6-mile-long linear park and multi-use trail in the heart of New Orleans, that features public art, recreational facilities, fitness and cultural programming, open green space, and innovative stormwater management features. The Greenway is New Orleans’ premier example of post-Katrina sustainable stormwater management known as “Green Infrastructure,” with features such as bioswales, permeable pavement, and bio-retention cells. The Greenway opened in 2015 after years of democratic, volunteer -led, community driven support to turn a formerly abandoned railroad corridor into a public green space that connects an array of diverse New Orleans neighborhoods. This workshop is limited to 20 participants. This is a bus/walking tour; wear comfortable shoes.  Meet in the lobby at 10:15 a.m. for bus departure at 10:30 a.m. The group will return to the hotel by 12:30 p.m. Pre-registration is required and there is an additional fee of $50.

1:30 – 4:00 p.m.                     Mobile Workshop: Claibourne Corridor Cultural Innovation District

Claiborne Avenue, the main street in Tremé, one of the oldest African-American neighborhoods in the United States, was irrevocably changed in 1969 when the elevated Interstate-10 was constructed above the Avenue. The Claiborne Corridor Cultural Innovation District (CID) is a 19-Block transformation of Claiborne Avenue that supports local entrepreneurs and works to achieve equitable and sustainable community development goals. It is a resident-driven effort focused on providing direct pathways to business ownership, workforce development, and community capacity building. Join this tour to learn about the youth programming, health, environmental, and social services, community projects, workshops, and special events the District provides for neighborhood residents. This workshop is limited to 25 people. Meet in the lobby at 1:30 p.m. for a bus departure of 1:45 p.m.; the bus will return to the hotel at 4:00 p.m. This is a bus/walking tour, so plan to wear comfortable shoes. Pre-registration is required and there is an additional fee of $50. 

1:30 – 4:00 p.m.                     Mobile Workshop: “America’s Rocket Factory”: NASA Michoud Assembly Plant

The countdown to liftoff begins in New Orleans. NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility is one of the largest manufacturing facilities in the world and has been the nation’s premiere site for manufacturing and assembly of large-scale space structures and systems for more than 60 years. Join this tour to visit “America’s Rocket Factory” and learn about the critical impact this facility has on the regional economy and the national space program. Attendees will also learn about innovative workforce training partnerships at nearby Nunez Community College–home of Louisiana’s only Aerospace Manufacturing Technology program. Meet in the lobby at 1:30 p.m. for a bus departure of 1:45 p.m.; the bus will return to the hotel at 4:00 p.m. This is a bus/walking tour, so plan to wear comfortable shoes. Pre-registration is required and there is an additional fee of $50. 

Wednesday, October 23

8:30 – 11:45 a.m.                    Mobile Workshop:  Old Algiers Downtown

Want to explore a charming neighborhood of New Orleans off the beaten tourist track? Join us for a trip on the ferry across the river to Old Algiers! We’ll be accompanied by Algiers Economic Development Foundation staff who will take us on a walking tour of the downtown to learn about its revitalization, including changing demographics, supporting local small businesses, the ‘food policy landscape’, a high school student workforce program, and more. This workshop is limited to 19 people. This is a walking tour and will include a ferry across the Mississippi River to and from Old Algiers; participants should plan to wear comfortable shoes and clothes. Meet in the hotel lobby at 8:30 a.m. for an 8:45 a.m. departure. Pre-registration is required and there is an additional fee of $25 to participate.

8:45 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.           Mobile Workshop: Tour of New Orleans’ Cooperative Businesses and History

What comes to mind when you think about New Orleans history and culture? You may not know that much of what people appreciate about New Orleans was either created, or heavily influenced, by their many mutual aid societies, which were often the source of cooperative business development. During this tour, you’ll learn about the communities, businesses, people and struggles behind the city’s food, festivities, and freedom. From the philanthropic work of a devout nun, to the economic resurgence of a community devastated by the 1963 construction of a federal highway, to the ever-growing cultural and economic development on a street named for a civil rights pioneer, you’ll hear accounts of innovation in philanthropy, education, mutual aid, entrepreneurship, and more. Join us for this session in National Cooperative Month! This workshop is limited to 28 attendees. Meet in the hotel lobby at 8:45 a.m. for a 9:00 a.m. departure. Pre-registration is required and there is an additional fee of $50 to participate.





As a sponsor, you will also get a cost-effective opportunity to market products and services to a diverse network of local elected officials, city managers, regional council staff and development professionals in our conference exhibit area. Your sponsorship will allow you to attend conference meals and events, providing you with maximum opportunities to meet face-to-face with potential clients.

Check back soon for 2024 Sponsorship details.

The registration form for Exhibitors will be made available soon. Please check back.

Conference organizers are seeking presentation abstracts to be considered for NADOs 2024 Annual Training Conference being held October 21-24, 2024 in New Orleans, LA.

This conference emphasizes peer learning for regional economic development practitioners and their partners. As a result, presentation abstracts are especially sought from individuals affiliated with regional planning and economic development organizations (RDOs), and/or organizations partnering with them. In addition, state and federal agency staff; national organizations; and researchers or consultants working on projects in collaboration with RDOs are encouraged to participate.

Please submit abstracts by July 1, 2024.

Follow this link for more information and to submit your proposal.

For more information, contact Ciara Ristig at [email protected]. To view an agenda or materials from a previous conference as a sample of typical session content, click here.

Questions about the hotel or sponsorships? Contact Brittany Salazar.
Questions about conference registration? Contact Karron Grant.
Questions about the conference content? Contact Laurie Thompson.

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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 nado.org 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

Contact Krystal De Leon

Contact Brittany Salazar

Contact Laurie Thompson

Contact Mirielle Burgoyne