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The Rural Developer - 2nd Quarter 2009


Quarter II, 2009

In this issue:

Message from the President

Save Energy, save your community!

Can small towns really be cool?

All hands on deck

Energy bill will impact rural communities

Conferences and Training

2009 Board of Directors

Henry Fischer, president
Rick Nelsen, first vice president
Eric Phillips, second vice president
Tom Lambrecht, secretary-treasurer
Pat Merritt, past president
Fred Baughman
Mark Gaddy
Jada Ackerman
Hondo Powell

Ron Ebenkamp
Dana Baker
Clare Gustin
Bobby Davis
Rand Fisher
Jane Marden
Lori Fischetti
Andrea Cumpston
Brad Captain
Lynn Harkin
Molly Lopez

NREDA Staff:

Membership dues, billing, and registrations:
Kelly Kipping at

Lynn Harkin

Rural Developer:
Mary Logan Wolf

NREDA Conferences:
Sharyn Baudler

NREDA Web Site:
Darcy Watson

Useful links:

Statistics & Demographics
Economic Development Courses
Government Sites
Business & Economic Information
Regional Economy
National Economy
Sites to Help You Find Things
Search Engines

NREDA members appreciate sharing ideas, suggestions, and development solutions. What's going on in your area? Is there a resource or solution you think other member should know about? Let us know:

Member Updates
Update your membership information at

ED 411
Get support and feedback on your rural development questions. ED 411 links you with a fellow NREDA member who is ready to help you.
Get answers now.

Effective Lobbying
Download the NREDA Guide to Lobbying your Legislators for advice on how to approach your leaders and present rural development issues in a way that nets results.

Post a Job
NREDA members and non-members may post a position on the NREDA Web site and have a one-time email distribution about the job to NREDA members.
Get more info.

Job Openings
View postings for economic development positions.

Get involved
Serve on an NREDA committee and share your ideas for strengthening your organization through membership, training, conferences and more. More info.


Cool towns, Big Box Botox and more at 2009 NREDA Conference
By Henry Fischer, NREDA president

NREDA has an outstanding professional development seminar scheduled in Minnesota on June 24-25, and we are starting to gear up our promotions for this year's NREDA Annual Conference, November 8-10 in Destin, Florida. The conference will feature an outstanding lineup of nationally known presenters all focused on our conference them of "Positioning Rural America for Success."

Our keynote speaker, Dave Ivan from Michigan State University, will lead off the conference with a presentation entitled, "Can Small Towns Be Cool?" that will showcase examples of how communities are positioning themselves for economic development success. Other sessions will address successful community-based entrepreneurship strategies, asset mapping, eMarketing and social networking, "Big Box Botox," and the impact of the current economic situation on rural communities. We also hope to have a high-ranking official in the Obama Administration join us for a candid discussion about how communities can access stimulus resources.

If you have further questions or would like to visit further, please contact me anytime at Thanks for your consideration!


Save energy, save your community: It's not too late!

Across the country, communities are looking at energy with increased interest in using less, saving more and helping the environment. The new paradigm is presenting economic development opportunities that stress sustainability while forging new partnerships. Find out how your community can benefit from smart energy strategies by attending NREDA's regional seminar "Save Energy, Save Your Community" on June 24-25 in Maple Grove, MN.

Great River Energy's LEED Platinum building, the site of the seminar, is a testament to the electric cooperative's commitment to renewable energy and energy efficiency.

With an agenda that features architects, planners, foundations, communities and revolving loan funds, the NREDA seminar promises the following. You will:
  • Head home with inspired, expanded and greener horizons
  • Take back ideas that excite and inspire you to go green
  • Meet the experts your community and organizations need to hear
  • Tour the LEED building and discover the thought and detail that went into its planning.
Seminar speakers include:
Dr. Massed Amin, D.SC., director, Center for the Development of Technological Leadership, University of Minnesota, is considered one of the nation's experts on the evolving Smart Grid. With a commitment to complex dynamic systems that are flexible, secure and efficient to handle a Smart Grid, Dr. Amin also oversees identifying new science, technology and R&D to address interdependent energy systems.

Formerly with Electric Power Research Institute, Dr. Amin lectures at MIT and testifies on Capitol Hill about updates on Smart Grid. Check this out...

Michael Fischer, AIA, LEED AP, LHB Corporation, states "Reinvesting in core neighborhoods lifts people up, it doesn't push them out. When you involve people who know and care about the neighborhoods, the chance for success is much greater." Michael Fischer's community approach to sustainability is evident in every project he works with.

Doug Pierce, AIA, LEED AP, Sr. Associate, Perkins + Will, designs with the triple bottom line in Sri Lanka, where he focuses on sustainable design that is interconnected with society, the economy and the environment. Pierce also incorporates the local culture in his design specifications. From Sri Lanka to Maple Grove, Minn., Pierce puts sustainability first. Learn how he interconnects workforce considerations, the environment and the economy.

Tom Lambrecht, sustainable development leader, Great River Energy, reinvented GRE's new loan portfolio to promote energy efficiency in the C&I community. Using the money saved as an integral part of the credit analysis of loan recipients makes the loan fund more flexible, accountable and greener. Learn how the Minnesota G&T is structuring its revolving loan fund to meet current needs, promote sustainability and help businesses committed to like values.

Seminar space is limited to the first 60 people registered. Find workshop details, hotels, and registration on the NREDA Web site, (Register online and save $25!). For a map and directions to Maple Grove from the Minneapolis Airport, click here.

Nominate your best for NREDA leadership award
Do you know someone who should be recognized for his or her outstanding leadership in the field of rural economic development? If so, the National Rural Economic Developers Association (NREDA) seeks to honor deserving individuals for that purpose with their Rural Economic Development Leadership Awards program.

At the 2009 NREDA Annual Conference (November 7-10, 2009 at the Hilton Sandestin, Destin, FL) outstanding individuals will become the recipients of the 2009 Rural Economic Development Leadership Awards.

If you know an exceptional candidate, please complete the attached nomination form and return it along with the appropriate support materials to NREDA no later than June 23, 2009. Questions? Contact Fred Baughman at (317) 477-2200 or via email at

Thanks for considering a nomination for this important award!

NREDA needs all hands on deck!
NREDA relies on volunteers to keep the organization flowing and growing. One of the ways individuals can get involved is by joining one of the many NREDA committees. NREDA committees meet via conference call throughout the year. Please consider serving on one of the following committees: Annual Conference, Legislative/Government Affairs, Membership, Professional Development, Publications/Website Communications, Strategic Alliances and more.

The nominating committee is also looking for individuals interested in becoming an NREDA director. The NREDA board of directors is responsible for the supervision and direction of the affairs of NREDA. Each director is elected to serve a three-year term. Board meetings are held quarterly: two of the four meetings are conference calls, one meeting is held at a specified meeting location (usually in conjunction with another NREDA event), and one meeting takes place at the NREDA Annual Meeting.

If you're interested in serving on a committee or as a director, please contact: Pat Merritt nominating committee co-chair, or 404-521-7611; or Lynn Harkin, NREDA executive director,, 515-284-1421. Deadline to express interest in leadership to Pat Merritt is July 15, 2009.

Members respond to survey
Rick Nelsen, chair of the NREDA membership committee, thanks all members who responded to the recent member survey. "We had an outstanding response rate of 31 percent among members. The board of directors will discuss the findings at their June 25th board meeting, and results will be shared in future issues of the Rural Developer," Nelsen said. "Member input will only serve to help make NREDA an even greater value to our members."

Welcome new NREDA members
Stephen Davis, general manager, SC Telcom, Medicine Lodge, KS;
Jessie Gueorguieva, NRECA, Arlington, VA;
Chris Panian, Central Electric Cooperative, Inc, Parker, PA; and
Kate Paris and Teresa Spaeth, Agriculture Utilization Research Institute, Crookston, MN.


Federal energy bill will impact rural communities
By Clare Gustin, NREDA legislative committee chair

The U.S. Congress House Energy and Commerce Committee passed the Waxman-Markey energy-climate bill in a 33-25 vote the last week of May 2009. While this is not the only energy bill Congress is considering at this time, it has perhaps the most widespread impact for rural communities. For the full story, visit the NREDA Web site.


Broadband impacts economic development
Craig Settles surveyed ED directors in 2008 and posted two excellent reports on the results. These snapshots are available for free and are a good resource:

1. Economic Development Impact of Municipal Broadband

"Elected officials and thought leaders are coalescing around the fact that high-speed access to the Internet is a 21st century utility that is, or should be, as much a part of an infrastructure focus as waterways, roads and electricity."

2. Fighting the Next Good Fight: Assessing what our national broadband strategy should be

"This report shows what a national broadband strategy should accomplish on a wider scale: attract businesses into economically depressed areas, create new businesses, prepare workers for a digital economy and produce a new generation of workers skilled in next-generation technology. More importantly, it is an assessment of what's needed by the people who deploy and use the technology solutions this strategy hopefully produces."


The Power of entrepreneurial development systems
Several years ago, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation provided grants to six rural regions to begin an effort to develop local entrepreneurial development systems, which were designed to provide a range of support services to aspiring entrepreneurs and existing businesses. The Aspen Institute recently published an evaluation of these pilot projects.

The study finds that the demonstration projects located in Nebraska, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, South Dakota, and West Virginia helped "change the conversation" about economic development in their regions. Local leaders now recognize the critical importance of entrepreneurship to regional prosperity. The projects were also successful in expanding local entrepreneurship education programs, and in building a more positive political, regulatory, and community environment for local entrepreneurs.


Resource for Renewing the Countryside
If you're looking for a source of interesting stories and insights, sign up for Renewing the Countryside. The electronic newsletter "strengthens rural areas by championing and supporting rural communities, farmers, artists, entrepreneurs, educators, activists and other people who are renewing the countryside through sustainable and innovative initiatives, businesses, and projects." Sign up for the newsletter and learn more about their good work.

Lessons from rural Michigan
The Rural Partners of Michigan (RPM) is a public/private partnership whose charge is to develop new, collaborative approaches to build sustainable communities and to enhance the future of Michigan citizens. The emphasis of the Rural Partners' work is on finding new, innovative, non-traditional ways to address the issues, problems and needs of rural Michigan. On their find links to presentations by a number of familiar faces across the rural development spectrum discussing how rural communities can thrive and prosper.

Small towns, big ideas
Looking for successful small town strategies to implement in your hometown? Check out the case studies compiled by Will Lambe, associate director of the community and economic development program at the School of Government and the North Carolina Rural Center. The report includes 45 case studies of small towns across the United States that are using a wide range of community and economic development strategies to advance their communities' vision for prosperity.
Download the full report.

Sexy small town?
Author Kim Huston is looking for small town stories about why people stay, why 'Boomerangers' came back to their home town and why "small town can mean big business." Share your story with the author. Your story might be selected for appearance in the upcoming book, Small Town Sexy. Send your story, photos, and/or YouTube video links to Kim Huston


New Mexico co-ops committed to renewable energy
In New Mexico, electric cooperatives lead the way in smart grid deployment and are committed to incorporating renewable energy. Learn more from an article in the May 2009 issue of the Enchantment, New Mexico Rural Electric Cooperative's statewide magazine.


Investments in the Future of Rural America
The CHS Foundation is committed to investing in the future of rural America, agriculture, and cooperative business through education and leadership development. The Foundation supports national efforts related to its mission as well as programs within the CHS trade territory for regional, multi-state, or statewide projects. Foundation funding focuses on the following program areas: cooperative education, rural youth and leadership development, farm and agricultural safety, returning value to rural communities, and university partnerships. All applications are accepted on an ongoing basis, with the exception of Cooperative Education applications, which are due in the fall of each year. Visit their Web site for a description of each grant category and online application instructions.

New economic development finance publication
The Council of Development Finance Agencies (CDFA) has published a soup-to-nuts guide on organizing the financing of economic development. The book's promotional flier says, The Practitioner's Guide to Economic Development Finance is the only comprehensive resource dedicated to building and utilizing the development finance tool box. From bonds, tax increment finance and special districts to tax credits, seed and venture capital, revolving loan funds and much more, this guide outlines the financing tools required for succeeding in today's competitive economic development climate."


The Rural Developer E-Bulletin is published
monthly for members of the
National Rural Economic Developers Association
100 East Grand Avenue, Suite 330 Des Moines, IA 50309
Tele: 515-284-1421 FAX 515-243-2049

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