Regional Development

With broad institutional knowledge, strong partners, networks, and staff expertise, RDOs are well-positioned to support numerous regional development initiatives. Many coordinate regional planning efforts that strengthen local communities and improve quality of life by leveraging local assets and opportunities. Most RDOs are also federally designated Economic Development Districts that write and maintain the region’s Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS).

The CEDS is a locally-based, regionally-driven economic development planning process and document that identifies regional strengths and weaknesses. It also brings together a diverse set of partners to generate good jobs, diversify the economy, and spur economic growth.

Through a variety of planning efforts, RDOs also promote economic and climate resilience to better prepare regions to anticipate, withstand, and bounce back from shock, disruption, or stress. These shocks can include natural disasters, hazards, and the impacts of a changing climate. Economic disruptions such as the closure of a region’s large employer, the decline of an important industry, changes in the workforce, and population fluctuations are also possible. Finally, RDOs work to better incorporate equity and economic inclusion principles into their plans, programs, and outreach efforts to ensure that all residents have an opportunity to help shape their community’s future.



EDDs in Action Case Studies Series

The EDDs in Action Case Studies Series demonstrates the wide breadth of programs, projects, and initiatives EDDs support and implement to improve their regions, making them more resilient, prosperous, and better prepared for the future 

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Supporting Resilient Water Systems

The Challenge of Retaining Institutional Knowledge at Small Water Systems An important but often overlooked management problem for small organizations is retaining institutional knowledge through the years. 

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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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