DoubleTree by Hilton New Orleans
300 Canal St, New Orleans, LA 70130
The Southwest Region Economic Development Association (SWREDA), in partnership with the NADO Research Foundation, will hold the 2023 SWREDA Conference in New Orleans, May 3 – 5. The conference is designed for staff from Economic Development Districts, Tribal Planning Grantees, University Centers, Revolving Loan Funds, and others engaged in economic development across the region.
Topics to be covered include broadband; storytelling and concepts of a good website; outdoor recreation and tourism; water and the regional economy; affordable and accessible housing and healthcare; creative collaborations; and federal updates. Build Back Better and Good Jobs grantees will share their work. EDA will provide training on the new grants reporting software, EDGE.
And, new this year, there will be an Executive Directors Institute on Tuesday, May 2, from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. EDD Executive Directors, whether new to their organization, mid-career, or a seasoned professional, will find this to be an informative and timely opportunity to enhance your leadership skills.
SWREDA is located in the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) Austin Region which covers the five-state area of Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas. The EDA Austin Regional Office is providing support for this event. Please visit this page frequently as it will be updated regularly.
Two Mobile Workshops Added to the Agenda!
We’ve added two interesting Mobile Workshop to the agenda. There is a $35 to attend each one and you must pre-register for the Mobile Workshops. If you have already registered, it is easy to add a Mobile Workshop. Click here for easy instructions to add a workshop.
Thursday, May 4: 9:30 am – 12:00 pm | Ready, Set, Action: Nims Center Studios
With almost 100,000-square feet, the Nims Center Studios has five stages, four green screens, over 40 production offices and editing suites, a mixing room, and state-of-the-art sound and film equipment. Along with several other film production sites in Louisiana, the Nims Center has helped increase the state’s visibility as a go-to location for filing movies and television shows. With funding from EDA, the studios were expanded through include a 5,000-square foot incubator facility where young and talented film industry entrepreneurs now work and UNO students, staff and alumni are able to take advantage of the studios' technology, industry internships and project development opportunities. The workshop will include a tour of the facility, and a presentation from key staff about the Center and its impact on the city, state and regional economies. The Nims Center, along with RPC of New Orleans and the University of New Orleans received a Star of the Southwest Award in 2018. Limited to 25 attendees. The bus will depart promptly at 10:40 a.m. and return to the hotel in time for the noon luncheon.
Thursday, May 4: 1:45 – 4:00 pm | Café Reconcile Builds Hope and Changes Lives
Café Reconcile provides paid workforce development training to young adults interested in seeking careers in the hospitality field. The students prepare “soul-filled local dishes” in this destination, which is a favorite among New Orleanians. Founded in 1996, the program has three priorities: support young adults in the development of their self-confidence, help them attain financial stability, and earn education or employment opportunities suited to their skills sets. Café Reconcile’s workforce program has seen over 2,000 young adults (between the ages of 16 and 24) graduate. During this workshop you will learn about the program and enjoy a sampling of their delicious desserts. Limited to 20 attendees. The bus will depart promptly at 1:45 p.m. and return to the hotel in time for the Star of the Southwest Reception.
$345 Early Bird Rate (until April 21, 2023)
$395 Regular Rate (after April 21, 2023)
You can register for the two Mobile Workshops now by visiting the NADO portal, my.nado.org. Click here for easy instructions to add a workshop.
Registration is also open for the Executive Directors Institute on Tuesday, May 2, from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. EDD Executive Directors, whether new to their organization, mid-career, or a seasoned professional, will find this to be an informative and timely opportunity to enhance your leadership skills. You can add this workshop to your registration in the my.nado.org portal. There is no additional cost to attend.
If you need assistance registering, email NADO's Operations Manager, Krystal De Leon, [email protected]
Registrants who cancel their registrations will receive a full refund minus a $50 administrative fee.
DoubleTree by Hilton New Orleans
300 Canal St, New Orleans, LA 70130
This Canal Street location puts the best of downtown New Orleans in reach, from the French Quarter to the Superdome. They are next to Harrah's Casino and a five-minute walk from the Riverwalk and the Aquarium of the Americas. Enjoy city or Mississippi River views, and PJ's Coffee on the first floor. Every stay starts with a warm chocolate chip cookie.
Hotel reservation cut-off date: *April 10, 2023
*After this date, the discounted room rate is not guaranteed.
If you have questions about the hotel registration email NADO's Meetings and Membership Manager Brittany Salazar [email protected].
Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, locally known as MSY, is 14 miles from the conference hotel.
Questions about the hotel? Contact Brittany Salazar at [email protected]
Questions about conference registration? Contact Krystal DeLeon at [email protected]
Questions about the conference content? Contact Laurie Thompson at [email protected]
If you have questions about the conference content contact Deputy Executive Director Laurie Thompson at [email protected]
Wednesday, May 3
10:00 – 11:30 a.m. Plenary Session
EDGE: EDA’s New Platform for Grant Submission and Management
EDA has launched a new platform for grantees to use for grant applications and management. Attend this session to learn about the platform from EDA staff.
1:00 – 1:15 pm Conference Welcome
1:15 – 2:15 p.m. Plenary: Build Back Better Regional Challenge
Lacy McManus, Executive Director, Future Energy, Greater New Orleans Development Foundation, New Orleans, LA
Madison Jackson, Project Manager, Oklahoma City Economic Development Foundation, Oklahoma City, OK
Susannah Byrd, Director, Economic Development and Workforce Excellence Division, University of Texas at El Paso, TX
Jennifer Hankins, Chief of Strategic Partnerships, Tulsa Innovation Labs, Indian Nations Council of Governments, Tulsa, OK
2:30 – 3:30 p.m. Plenary: Good Jobs Challenge
Jennifer Carlson, Co-Founder and Executive Director, WTIA Workforce Institute and Apprenti, Seattle, WA
Monica Abeita, Executive Director, North Central New Mexico Economic Development District, Santa Fe, NM
3:45 pm – 4:30 pm Federal Legislative Update
Even though the mid-term elections are in the rearview and the 2024 elections already in motion, Congress has a full agenda over the coming months. During this session, you will learn about the latest development impacting the federal agencies that you work with on a daily basis.
Thursday, May 4
8:30 – 9:30 a.m. Plenary Session: Creative Collaborations
Across the five-state region, EDDs are partnering with a number of other entities engaged in various aspects of economic development. This session will highlight examples of EDD partnerships with universities, Native American tribes, chambers of commerce, other regional and economic development organizations. As well, you will learn about ways that EDA is encouraging interagency collaboration for local projects.
9:40 a.m. – 10:45 am Concurrent Sessions
Broadband: The Next Connection
As communities around the country work to capitalize on state and federal funding opportunities to expand broadband services in the most underserved locations, new challenges are emerging. In this session learn about digital equity and digital inclusion and how regional development organizations are ensuring that service expansions and implementations benefit those most in need.
The Power of Storytelling
Many economic development organizations (including Economic Development Districts, Councils of Governments, Regional Planning Commissions, and Regional Councils) are often not well-known entities in their communities despite their pivotal roles in regional development. Telling the story of your organization’s role in successful projects and programs will build your community of supporters, encourage greater participation in your public engagement endeavors, increase the public’s knowledge and understanding of your role as an economic development leader, and build confidence in your organization’s abilities and impact among your many stakeholders. Learn from an expert in public relations and creative approaches to storytelling.
11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Concurrent Sessions
Building Resilient Regions through Outdoor Recreation and Tourism
The outdoor recreation industry provides more than health and happiness to Americans; it helps drive the national economy with an economic output of $862 billion and 4.5 million jobs. As regions look to build more resilient economies, outdoor recreation planning, development, and branding have emerged as impactful strategies. Join this session to hear regional approaches advancing the outdoor recreation economy and interactive peer discussion on regional goals and challenges.
Communicating Water to Sustain Your Regional Economy
Water is life, and economies hinge on a consistent and safe supply. But our future is predicted to be hotter and drier, and we are already seeing frequent and prolonged droughts throughout the southwest. So why is it so hard to convince our citizens to protect and conserve something we can’t live without? Join this experiential session to explore effective communications approaches, techniques, and tools to build a more water resilient future.
12:00 pm – 1:30 pm Plenary Luncheon
U.S. Economic Development Administration Updates
Alejandra Castillo, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development, US Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration, Washington, DC
1:45 pm – 3:00 pm Concurrent Sessions
Affordable and Accessible Housing: Imperative for Strong Economies
Accessible and affordable housing for existing and prospective workforce housing is a challenge nationwide. Lack of housing presents challenges to communities and regions that are hoping to attract new businesses and industries, not to mention meeting the needs of current residents. During this session you will learn about successful approaches to creating housing opportunities from across the Austin region.
Rethinking Your Website as an Important Branding Tool
Is your website doing its job? It is providing the right information to your stakeholders? Is it easily found on search engines? Can users navigate it easily, finding the information they need? Does it look fresh and current? These are questions that should be considered as part of your public relations and outreach programs. This session will walk attendees through the elements of a good website, and provide tips on how to determine if your website needs a refresh.
3:15 pm – 4:30 pm Plenary
Stars of the Southwest: Lifting Regional Economies
Every year, the SWREDA Board of Directors selects five Star of the Southwest Awardees—one from each state—to showcase their positive impact on a community’s or region’s economic vitality. Learn about the projects, including funding, partnerships, impact, future plans, and much more during this session. And, during the Star of the Southwest Award Reception immediately following this session, you will be able to meet with key staff from the winning organizations.
Sasha Grist, Executive Director, Western Arkansas Planning Development District, Fort Smith, AR
Chris Brown, Executive Director, Ark-Tex Council of Governments, Texarkana, TX
Michael Sage, Economic Program Manager, Northwest New Mexico Council of Governments, Gallup, NM
Steve Mills, Executive Director, Southern Oklahoma Development Association, Durant, OK
Jamie Setze, Executive Director, Capital Region Planning Commission, Baton Rouge, LA
Friday, May 5
10:15 – 11:15 am Plenary Session
EDA State of the Region and SWREDA Membership Meeting
EDA’s investments in the Austin region over the past year have been significant. As the conference winds down, hear from Austin Regional Director Jorge Ayala as he recounts the success of the past year and share insights into the coming year.
11:30 am Conference Adjourns
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.
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.