NREDA Banner

Titanium Level Sponsor


NREDA is grateful for to all of our sponsors. Find out how to become a NREDA Sponsor.

Contact Us Today

Interested? Questions? Comments?

The Rural Developer - 4th Quarter 2009

To view this email in your browser please go HERE

Quarter IV, 2009

In this issue:

Letter from the President

NREDA Conference Review

Rural Resources

Membership Highlights

Professional Development

Training Opportunities

2009 Directors & Officers

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

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

NREDA Staff:

Membership dues, billing, and registrations:
Kelly Kipping at

Lynn Harkin

Rural Developer:
Shawnna Silvius

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

back to top

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.

back to top

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.

back to top

back to top

back to top

back to top

By Henry Fischer, NREDA president

As 2009 draws to a close and we celebrate over the holidays, we especially recognize Pat Merritt (Georgia EMC) and Mark Gaddy (Berkeley Electric Cooperative) for their years of service on the NREDA Board of Directors. Pat chaired our Past Presidents Council and Nominating Committee this year while Mark did a yeoman's job organizing our annual golf event, as he has faithfully done for many years. Their commitment to rural development and to NREDA has been simply outstanding!


NREDA "Weathers" Storm and Hosts the 20th Successful Annual Conference
By Rick Nelsen, NREDA 1st Vice-President

Not even the threat of Tropical Storm Ida and a downturn in the economy could dampen the spirits of the attendees at the 2010 NREDA Annual Conference. From start to finish the event lived up to its theme "Positioning Rural America for Success!" with an enthusiastic line up of speakers and ample networking opportunities.

As you will read elsewhere in this newsletter and in future editions, the top notch presenters provided insight and information that we can use to "position" our organizations and communities. The conference kicked off with the answer to the question, "Can Small Towns Be Cool?"-- (the answer is a resounding YES!) and ended with "The Importance of Being Enthusiastic and How It Can Benefit You". Over the course of the two days, conference attendees were given ideas and tools to put into practice at home. Other topics covered during the conference included "Asset Mapping Techniques," "Developing a Community-Wide Brand", "Defining Broadband and How to Get It Done in Your Community", "Social Networking", "Economic Development Through Diversification", "Entrepreneurship Strategies" and "A Look Behind The Board Room Door During the Site Selection Process". The breakfast address by USDA Under Secretary Dallas Tonsager was another conference highlight.

Dallas Tonsager
Message Highlights from Under Secretary for Rural Development
Opening Remarks by Under Secretary Dallas Tonsager by Dana Baker, Director

On Tuesday, conference attendees were fortunate to hear a breakfast address by Under Secretary Dallas Tonsager. He mentioned a shared focus by President Obama and the theme of the conference on assisting and promoting small business opportunities. He also suggested electric utilities play a role in modernizing impacts for our community. In highlights, he mentioned the establishment of energy conservation as a central theme and top priority for their Department; and he shared that the USDA is considering all aspects of its programs, services and actions to improve both the conservation of energy and the development and promotion of new energy opportunities.

"Positive Action Together Now...Asset Mapping"
By Linda Salmonsen from presentation by Luther K. Snow

Luther Snow
Asset Mapping Groups
Asset Mapping Activity

Monday's lead off speaker at the NREDA annual meeting engaged the participants in an interactive exercise to help change our tendency to speak in terms of our needs to identify and build on our assets. By changing the context of our conversations, we no longer focus on what's missing or wrong, but on our opportunities. Asset mapping reminds us of all the assets we have around us and helps us create and take asset-based action for community benefit. Using the adage "use what we've got, to get what we want," Luther helped us discover our ability to innovate and be empowered to act together to get things done instead of looking (or expecting) someone else to do things for us or to us. The message is that by fostering a "my gain is your gain is our gain" attitude we can change the conversation. First we must recognize our physical, human and business assets, etc.; then, connect the assets in new and nontraditional ways; and finally, encourage broad participation throughout the community, ultimately moving from doom and gloom attitudes to cutting edge action. To learn more about Asset Mapping, Luther's work, and how to apply it in your community, check the NREDA web site and Google Luther Snow.

Don Sims
Economic Development Through Diversification
By Pat Merritt, CEcD, Director from presentation by Don Sims

This rural south, Georgia community (located just 23 miles from Tallahassee, FL) has taken advantage of its prime location just north of a highly populated state. Thomasville–Thomas County, Georgia. Thomasville has been actively involved in traditional industrial development for over 20 years. The city was first named a Main Street community in 1998 and was awarded the "Best Places to Visit in the U.S." designation in 1999. The community has been actively pursuing retirees since a study was completed in 2004.

The lessons learned by this community can apply to any rural community in America...Focusing on entrepreneurial manufacturing companies, developing their historic downtown and through tourism, attracting visitors who are looking for a place to retire.


Past President's Council Chosen to Award the First Annual Community Development Award
By Pat Merritt, CEcD, Director

Three NREDA Past Presidents volunteered to be reviewers for the Foundation for Rural Service's (FRS) First Annual Community Development Award.

The Foundation for Rural Service Community Development Award recognizes an NTCA Member's outreach to rural communities and awards the company for their commitment to improving the lives of the customers they serve. Awardees are recognized for their efforts in the areas of rural economic development, education, volunteerism, and philanthropy. The award is given on an annual basis to a NTCA Member or Associate Member Company and/or individual employee(s) of their companies who have made a significant impact in their community.

DOL Announces Green Jobs Grant Winners
(Source: Economic Modeling Specialists, Inc. and the US Department of Labor)

The Department of Labor recently announced green jobs grants to states and organizations throughout the United States totaling nearly $55 million. The majority of the ARRA-funded grants ($48.8 million) will go to state labor market information offices and multi-state groups. These funds "will support the collection and dissemination of labor market information, and will enhance the labor exchange infrastructure to provide career opportunities within clean energy industries," according to a release distributed by the US Department of Labor. A list of grant allocations per state is located at the bottom of the release. Descriptions of projects and projected outcomes are detailed.

In June, EMSI released a guide to responding to the green job training grants. But the data isn't just helpful in applying for these grants — they can also help in implementing projects. With their data they can build custom occupation and industry clusters so that you can model the employment trends, wages, skill levels, training needs, and training programs for any of these areas. EMSI users can also find the green O*NET sectors inside the Economic Forecaster tool. (To find them, go to the "Occupation" tab and click on "Occupation Report." Once there, you'll see the sectors in the "Groups" tab in the lower right-hand corner.) If you would like more information on how EMSI can help carry out these projects, email Rob Sentz ( or call 866.999.3674.


NREDA Welcomes Our Newest Members!

New Members

Monica Boyken, Executive Director
Phelps County Development Corporation
502 East Avenue
PO Box 522
Holdrege, NE 68949
(308) 995-4148

Brad Day, Executive Director
Tift County Development Authority
P.O. Box 165
Tifton, GA 31794
(229) 382-6200

Michael Dinkins, Commissioner
Peach County Board of Commissioners
205 West Church Street
Fort Valley, GA 31030
(478) 825-2535

Trista Fugate, Community Development Supervisor
Pedernales Electric Cooperative, Inc.
PO Box 100
Kyle, TX 78640
(830) 868-6041
AMY Holloway

Amy Holloway, President & CEO
Avalanche Consulting, Inc.
1601 D. West 6th Street
Austin, TX 78703
(512) 472-1555
Amy Holloway is the energetic leader of Avalanche Consulting, an economic development research, strategy, and marketing firm. For the past 15 years, she has traveled the planet helping communities improve their economies. She approaches projects from a unique perspective that blends economist with a creative type. Amy founded Avalanche in 2005, and has the privilege of working for great organizations such as Team Texas, the Greater Houston Partnership, Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative, the Upstate South Carolina Alliance, Coahuila Mexico, the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance, the Metro Orlando EDC, and many other communities. For 10 years prior to establishing Avalanche, Amy was vice president at AngelouEconomics. She holds BBS and MS degrees in environmental economics from Baylor University. She is an active member of IEDC and the Texas Economic Development Council. Amy is a top-ranked instructor of IEDC's CEcD certification program and a nationally recognized speaker on the topic of economic development marketing. In her position, she enjoys the priceless reward that comes when a strategy she creates leads to real jobs, investment, and positive economic change in her client communities. She enjoys working with rural economic development organizations and electric cooperatives. Through the NREDA, she hopes to become even more familiar with the issues facing rural American economies. Amy resides in Austin, Texas, with her husband and two tenacious terriers. She's seen the power of volunteerism in her client communities, and places a high value on community service at home in Austin. She serves as Chair of Catalyst 8, a donor organization that supports The Long Center for the Performing Arts, and she is a graduate of Leadership Austin. In 2009, she was a finalist for Austin Under 40's Austinite of the Year award.
Heidi Peper, Sr. Community Development Specialist
SEH St. Cloud
1200 25th Avenue South
Po Box 1717
St. Cloud, MN 56302-1717
(320) 229-4386
As the Senior Community Development Specialist for Short Elliott Hendrickson, Inc. in St. Cloud, MN, Heidi coordinates affordable financing packages, including grants, low-interest loans and other financial incentive programs, for SEH municipal clients' projects. She also provides economic development services to clients. She received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Local and Urban Affairs from St. Cloud State University (1995); and she successfully completed National Development Council Economic Development Finance courses including Business Credit Analysis and Real Estate Finance. Her professional association memberships, outside of NREDA, include the Economic Development Association of Minnesota, where she serves on the Board of Directors and Co–chair the Membership Committee; and the Wright County Economic Development Partnership, where she serves on the Marketing Committee. In her position, she enjoys the variety of clients she works with from small towns of 200 to large cities and the variety in community development needs from infrastructure to economic development to planning. She would like to learn how to achieve economic development success in rural communities from other NREDA members. She and her husband reside in Clearwater, MN, with three children - a 9 year old son and twin 5-year old daughters. She is active in their church and their local youth baseball association. Together, they enjoy (most) all outdoor activities - when they can in the MN climate!

Membership Approves ByLaw Changes
By Claire Gustin, Director

NREDA members approved bylaw changes during the 2009 annual meeting held November 9, 2009. Proposed changes were provided to all NREDA members in October in advance of the annual meeting. Representatives of the ByLaws and Membership committees worked during the last year to streamline membership categories, clarify board membership and otherwise simplify bylaw language. The associate membership category was deleted from the bylaws. All members are individual members with no differentiation between not-for-profit or for-profit status. Language was added to the bylaws to insure that the majority of the board members are not-for-profit members. To review the suggested edits that were approved, click ByLaws.

NREDA Offers Value to Its Members
By Eric Phillips, NREDA 2nd Vice-President

The National Rural Economic Developers Association (NREDA) is an individual membership organization providing education, advocacy and networking opportunities to rural and suburban utilities, economic development organizations, and affiliated entities. For over 20 years, NREDA has been the voice of economic development in rural America providing a forum for multiple disciplines to recognize the successes, discover the opportunities, and develop the partnerships in rural America.

With the recent downtown in the economy, it is imperative that economic development professionals work together to find practices to spur business growth and development. The time is now to be an NREDA member and to become engaged in the organization. An NREDA membership offers:
  • Access to membership expertise in a variety of disciplines
  • Networking with professionals at workshops conferences
  • High quality educational programs
  • Leadership opportunities
  • Professional development
  • Career development opportunities
  • Online research resources
  • Partnership opportunities
  • Mentorship opportunities
We encourage you to consider NREDA for your career advancement and for creating opportunities. Please visit the NREDA website at for membership information. As a member, we hope you will share the benefits of NREDA Membership with others you feel will benefit.


Social Networking Rocks the Economic Development World
By Pat Merritt, CEcD, Director from Presentation by Glen Gould and Benjamin Turpin

Glen Gould

Ben Turpin
At the Annual NREDA Conference, Glen Gould and Benjamin Turpin from Inspiration Agents, Inc. opened participants' eyes to the growing importance of social networking. They suggested to conference attendees to "keep in mind you have access to people from anywhere in the world and while you may not be using Facebook® and Twitter®, your clients, customers, employees and future employees are."

Building Enthusiasm -- How to Face Difficult Times, Difficult People and Come out on Top
By Pat Merritt, CEcD, Director from Presentation by Glen Gould and Benjamin Turpin

Turpin shared the story of how he met Glen Gould while giving a speech at a Toastmaster's Club in Florida. Gould came up to him and said "So how long are you going to run from your destiny?" That was the beginning of their partnership in inspiring people to live their purpose with passion.

Gould spoke on the importance of having enthusiasm in whatever you do. Having excitement about what might happen can apply to you personally as well as the expectations of your organization and your community. What can we get excited about?

Upcoming Economic Development Marketing Webinars
These webinars are hosted and moderated and produced by Blane, Canada Ltd. It is part of the Professional Learning Laboratory economic development educational series. The Lab is a joint venture of dedicated professional trainers committed to the provision of high-quality content, and expert instruction without commercial messages.

If you are in economic development you are in marketing. By choice or by chance, you are in marketing. You have two, maybe three marketing challenges: Market my community; Market my organization; Market myself. Maybe marketing is your passion. Maybe it is your job. Maybe it just needs to get done and there is no one to delegate it to. Welcome to the club. Whatever your situation, there will never be enough time or enough money. Choices are essential. Mistakes are costly -- more than money is at risk. Effectiveness is critical.

You Will Learn:
  • Personal insights into the current state of economic development marketing
  • A look at the future of economic development marketing
  • What worked
  • What didn't work
Invest in your career. Invest in your community's success.

Click on date to learn more and to register.

Tuesday, December 15
1-2:30 PM (CT)
Janet Miller, CEcD, FM

Tuesday, January 19
1-2:30 PM (CT)
Jerry Mallot

Miller is the Chief Economic Development & Marketing Officer, Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, TN and Mallot is the Executive Vice President of Jacksonville Regional Chamber of Commerce, FL & President & CEO, Cornerstone Alliance.


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


NREDA | 1255 SW Prairie Trail Parkway | Ankeny, IA 50023 | Phone: (515) 284-1421 | Fax: (515) 334-1174