To nationally recognize the impressive efforts of regional development organizations, NADO sponsors two annual award programs and a member photo contest. Both awards provide an excellent opportunity for members to promote their successes to a national audience and with their regional and local partners. Applicants must be NADO members, and projects must show substantial quantitative or qualitative results in their region.

Aliceann Wohlbruck NADO Impact Award

Each year, through its awards program, NADO recognizes member organizations that demonstrate valuable and effective approaches to regional economic and community development. Since 1986, The Aliceann Wohlbruck Impact Awards (formerly known as the Innovation Awards), have recognized nearly 2,000 NADO member projects for their creative efforts in advancing regional economic development and improved quality of life. The breadth and scope of the winning projects is impressive and far-reaching and illustrate the important role NADO members have in supporting regional development. Previous award-winning projects have showcased efforts in multiple program areas including business and economic development, community health initiatives, emergency planning, brownfields, sustainability, technology, transportation, workforce development, and more. 

2022 NADO Impact Awards Announced

Congratulations to the 2022 Aliceann Wohlbruck NADO Impact Awards recipients!   The 2022 class of awardees consists of 107 projects from 71 organizations spanning 28 states.  These projects will be recognized on October 17 at NADO’s Annual Training Conference in Pittsburgh, PA.  Stay tuned for the release of a StoryMap later this month that will highlight the stories behind each of these projects.  Click here to see the full list. 

The Excellence in Regional Transportation Award

The Excellence in Regional Transportation Award, a program of NADO’s RPO America and the NADO Research Foundation’s Center for Transportation Advancement and Regional Development, recognizes noteworthy projects and practices in rural and small metropolitan transportation planning, programming, and service delivery.

See the awards’ titles and organizations by year below:

To view PDFs, use Adobe Reader.

NADO Photo Contest

This contest is an opportunity for our member organizations to tell the story of their regions through images that capture the people and places that make their communities great places to live, work, and play. Photos submitted are judged in four categories:  

  • Building Vibrant Places
  • Strengthening the Built and Natural Environments
  • Investing in Our Regional Economy
  • Sustaining Our Communities

Prizes are given to winning photos in these categories, as well as to a “People’s Choice” winner chosen online by the public via our Facebook page.  

Congratulations to the 2021 NADO Photo Contest winners and runners-up! Last year, members from around the country submitted about 100 images. who that demonstrated what makes their regions great places to live, work, and play.  Images were judged in five categories:  “Strengthening the Built and Natural Environments,” “Building Vibrant Places,” “Investing in Our Regional Economy,” “Sustaining Our Communities,” and “COVID-19 Response & Recovery.”  A “People’s Choice” winner was also chosen online by the public via our Facebook page.   

To view all of the photos that were submitted in this year’s contest, click here.


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.

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