Accessing the Regional Innovation Acceleration Network

On June 28, the NADO Research Foundation held the webinar “Accessing the Regional Innovation Acceleration Network” through the Know Your Region program, funded by the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA).  The Regional Innovation Acceleration Network (RIAN) is an EDA-funded project  developed by SSTI to serve as a virtual networking tool that bridges together people, ideas and resources as the basis for economic growth and development.

Led by Mark Skinner, Vice President and Director of RIAN, the webinar explored the benefits of the new RIAN web site and define the concept of Venture Development Organizations (VDO’s). Mr. Skinner showcased RIAN’s interactive site designed to help economic development practitioners identify their regional innovation colleagues, where they operate and how to connect with them. He also discussed regional innovation assets and VDO characteristics.  Webinar attendees learned how RIAN facilitates the growth of existing innovation networks and, for those regions where networks have yet to develop, provides the means for peer-to-peer sharing of information among existing and emerging VDOs.

To view the recording of this and other webinars that have been conducted through the Know Your Region program, visit


Joe McKinney has served as Executive Director of the National Association of Development Organizations since 2012. He previously served as the Executive Director of the Land of Sky Regional Council in Asheville, North Carolina from 2003 to 2012. Under his leadership, Land of Sky became recognized nationally for its innovation in program areas including planning and economic development, workforce development, transportation and transit, aging services, volunteer services, and geographic information systems. Joe has also held various other roles in city, county, association, and government management. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Policy Analysis from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from UNC-Chapel Hill.

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