Navigating Our Future: Best Practices Case Studies from the Tennessee Regions’ Roundtable Network

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A new publication from the Tennessee Regions’ Roundtable, sponsored by the NADO Research Foundation, highlights innovative community and economic development projects being implemented throughout Tennessee.  Stories presented from the state’s diverse regions and communities demonstrate collaborative leadership, strategic partnerships, and implementation-funding techniques that readers can put to use in their own communities.

The outstanding achievements showcased in this publication come from across the three regions of the state:  West, Middle, and East Tennessee.  Diverse in both geography and culture, these three grand divisions boast their own cultural, historic, natural, and economic assets, and each faces its own opportunities and challenges.  Over twenty case studies demonstrate a wide range of projects in both major metropolitan and rural Tennessee, including regional planning; neighborhood and corridor revitalization; historic preservation; transportation investments; entrepreneurship initiatives; tourism strategies; and others.  Through a combination of local, state, and federal funding, all of the projects are improving the quality-of-life for Tennessee’s residents and making the state a great place to invest in and do business.

Each case study is designed to provide useful and applicable insight into the process of leading community and economic development efforts, including information on project leaders, technical assistance providers, and funding sources.  A comprehensive contact and resources section at the end of the publication offers further information and expertise for each of the stories told.  The profiles of leadership, collaboration, and implementation are just a few of the countless stories waiting to be told across Tennessee.

The Tennessee Regions’ Roundtable is a statewide initiative supported by regional organizations, affiliate organizations, state and federal partners, and funders that are all working together to create an integrated network to catalyze current and future regional efforts throughout Tennessee.  For more information on the Tennessee Regions’ Roundtable Network, contact Dr. Bridget Jones, Cumberland Region Tomorrow Executive Director, at [email protected].

Click here to download the publication (PDF)

On April 16, 2014 the NADO Research Foundation and the Tennessee Regions’ Roundtable hosted a webinar highlighting stories from ‘Navigating Our Waters.’  Click here for more information or watch the recording below:


This publication was supported in part by funding under awards to the NADO Research Foundation from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Federal Highway Administration.  The substance and findings of the work are dedicated to the public.  The authors and publisher are solely responsible for the accuracy of statements and interpretations contained in this publication. Such interpretations do not necessarily reflect the views of the Government.  For more information, please contact NADO Research Program Manager 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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