NADO Announces 2016 Innovation Award Winners

Congratulations to the 2016 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 were recognized at a special reception during NADO’s 2016 Annual Training Conference  held October 15-18 in San Antonio, TX and are also 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].

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

2016 NADO Innovation Awards Recipient


  • Lee-Russell Council of Governments, LRCOG-Opelika Main Street Member Network


  • Rural Transportation Advocacy Council, Accelerate Arizona Road Show


  • Central Arkansas Planning & Development District, Inc., The Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub


  • Sonoma County Economic Development Board, Workforce and Talent Development Program


  • Region 9 Economic Development District of SW Colorado, SCAPE – Southwest Colorado Accelerator Program for Entrepreneurs


  • Apalachee Regional Planning Council, Planning for Disaster-Resistant Businesses – Franklin County Florida
  • Central Florida Regional Planning Council, 2015 Polk County Local Mitigation Strategy Update
  • Central Florida Regional Planning Council, Sebring Airport Encouragement Zone/Spring Lake Mixed Use Development (SAEZ/SLMUD) Area Overlay
  • North Central Florida Regional Planning Council, Natural Gas Pipeline Safety Training Project
  • Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council & East Central Florida Regional Planning Council, Coast to Coast Trail Urban-Rural Overlay Study


  • Coastal Regional Commission, Coastal GeoDesign
  • Georgia Association of Regional Commissions, Geospatial Information Office (GIO) for the State of Georgia
  • Georgia Mountains Regional Commission, Transition to Success
  • Georgia Mountains Regional Commission, Forsyth County Drug Free Communities Project
  • Georgia Mountains Regional Commission, City of Toccoa Cemetery Project
  • Middle Georgia Regional Commission, E3 Career Jump Start Program 
  • Middle Georgia Regional Commission, Middle Georgia … Growing Strong
  • Northwest Georgia Regional Commission, Northwest Georgia Regional Workforce Partnership
  • Northwest Georgia Regional Commission, Northwest Georgia Mobile Career Center
  • River Valley Regional Commission, Talbot County Comprehensive Plan
  • Southern Georgia Regional Commission, Area Agency on Aging Improving Quality of Life with Assistive Technology 
  • Southern Georgia Regional Commission, A Clean Sweep of Data Collection
  • Southern Georgia Regional Commission, Pilot Shuttle Program


  • Clearwater Economic Development Association, Launch of the Re-emerging North Central Idaho Wine Industry


  • Bi-State Regional Commission, Fostering Intergovernmental Relationships
  • Western Illinois Regional Council, Macomb Transit Facility


  • Indiana 15 Regional Planning Commission, Tell City Workforce Development Project


  • East Central Iowa Council of Governments, USDA Solid Waste Management Project
  • Southwest Iowa Planning Council, Small Town Municipal Management and Mentoring


  • Bluegrass Area Development District, Sanitary Sewers for Burgin Kentucky 
  • Green River Area Development District, McLean County Regional Water Commission
  • Green River Area Development District, International Economic Summit
  • Kentucky Council of Area Development Districts, Kentucky Agricultural Development Information System
  • Pennyrile Area Development District, Todd County Career Path Institute
  • Pennyrile Area Development District / Pennyrile Area Agency on Aging and Independent Living, Kentucky Veterans Directed Care
  • Purchase Area Development District, Restoration of Fulton County Medical Clinics


  • South Central Planning and Development Commission, MyGovernmentOnline


  • Northern Maine Development Commission, Community Guided Planning and Zoning


  • Eastern Upper Peninsula Regional Planning & Development Commission, Elevating the Eastern Upper Peninsula
  • Networks Northwest, A Framework for Growth and Development on US-131: A Regional Economic Development Strategy for the US-131 Corridor


  • Region Nine Development Commission, Creating a Dementia Friendly Community


  • Central Mississippi Planning & Development District, City of Raymond City Hall and Courtroom Renovations
  • Central Mississippi Planning & Development District, McNeely Plastics Expansion
  • Central Mississippi Planning & Development District, Town of Pelahatchie Comprehensive Plan
  • East Central Planning & Development District, Town of Mize Recreational Complex
  • East Central Planning & Development District, Clarke County  Courtroom Renovation
  • North Central Planning & Development District, Holmes Community College Attala Center
  • Northeast Mississippi Planning & Development District, Holly Springs Airport Improvements
  • Northeast Mississippi Planning & Development District, NEMCC Virtual Reality Welding Simulator
  • South Delta Planning & Development District, Inc., GRAMMY Museum Mississippi
  • Three Rivers Planning & Development District, Itawamba – Mississippian Railway
  • Three Rivers Planning & Development District, Enhance Mississippi, LLC


  • Southeast Missouri State University, InnovateU Training Program & LMS


  • Bear Paw Development Corporation, Wild Horse Border Project


  • West Central Nebraska Development District, Breaking the Barrier of the Road

North Carolina

  • Centralina Council of Governments, CONNECT Our Future
  • Kerr-Tar Regional Council of Governments / Area Agency on Aging, Elder Abuse Awareness Walk
  • Land of Sky Regional Council, CEDS for a Changing Landscape
  • Piedmont Triad Regional Council, Strengthening the Fabric
  • Piedmont Triad Regional Council / Northwest Piedmont Workforce Development Program, Pepsi ACT: Achieving Change Together 
  • Upper Coastal Plain Council of Governments, UCPCOG Regional Infrastructure Rehabilitation and Expansion Program
  • Western Piedmont Council of Governments, City of Newton 2015 Strategic Growth Plan
  • Western Piedmont Council of Governments, Maiden NC Multi-Utility GIS Project


  • Buckeye Hills-Hocking Valley Regional Development District, Appalachian Ohio P-20 Council
  • Buckeye Hills-Hocking Valley Regional Development District, Ohio River Medical Mission
  • Ohio Valley Regional Development Commission, Jackson County Industrial Site Selection Study

South Carolina

  • Berkeley Charleston Dorchester Council of Governments, ReThink Folly Road: A Complete Streets Study
  • Berkeley Charleston Dorchester Council of Governments, Education 2 Employment (E2E)
  • Catawba Regional Council of Governments, “Eye in the Sky” – Imagery and Data Collection using Drone Technology
  • Lower Savannah Council of Governments, US 78 and US 321 Intersection Enhancement
  • SC Appalachian Council of Governments, InfoMentum Mobile
  • Santee-Lynches Regional Council of Governments, Partnering for the Workforce of Tomorrow: Work Experience Program
  • Santee-Lynches Regional Council of Governments, Charting a Course for the Future: VisionKershaw 2030
  • Santee-Lynches Regional Council of Governments, Creating Synergy with Linkages Between Education, Entrepreneurship, and Enterprise Development
  • Upper Savannah Council of Governments, Gateway Meadows
  • Waccamaw Regional Council of Governments, Waccamaw Sports Classic


  • First Tennessee Development District, Downtown Johnson City Redevelopment Loan Program
  • Southwest & Northwest Tennessee Development Districts, West TN Retail Academy
  • Upper Cumberland Development District, Senior P.R.E.P.
  • Upper Cumberland Development District, Upper Cumberland Tennessee Reconnect Community


  • Alamo Area Council of Governments, Supporting San Antonio’s Military
  • Brazos Valley Council of Governments, Text to 9-1-1
  • Brazos Valley Council of Governments, Community Loan Center of the Brazos Valley
  • Brazos Valley Council of Governments / Workforce Solutions Brazos Valley, Externships for Teachers
  • Capital Area Council of Governments, Potential Costs of an Ozone Nonattainment Designation to Central Texas
  • Heart of Texas Council of Governments, HOTEDD Revolving Loan Fund
  • Houston-Galveston Area Council, Designing for Impact
  • Lower Rio Grande Valley Development Council, Hoarding Hazards: Understanding the Chaos
  • South Plains Association of Governments, Economic Development & Agency Collaboration at Reese Technology Center
  • South Plains Association of Governments, NextGen Regional 9-1-1 Network


  • Northwest Regional Planning Commission, Northern Vermont Economic Development District Consortium
  • Two Rivers-Ottauquechee Regional Commission, Creative Economy Inventory and Action Plan


  • New River Valley Regional Commission, ReNew the New Expansions


  • Puget Sound Regional Council, Manufacturing Communities Partnership
  • Puget Sound Regional Council, NextGen LEAN
  • Puget Sound Regional Council, Composite Recycling Technology Center


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]

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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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