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.



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 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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