DRA Round-up: September 2012
New Faces, Continued Dedication
New Board members attend orientation and get straight to work to improve the Delta Region
The Delta Regional Authority is pleased to officially welcome five new leaders to the Authority Board. David Vaught has been appointed as Illinois Designee and Alternate; Tony Wilder has been named Kentucky Designee and Alternate; Chris Champion serves as Mississippi Designee and Alternate; and Allen Borden and Brooxie Clayton have been appointed as Tennessee Designee and Alternate, respectively. This year's new Board members recently joined DRA staff and fellow board members at the September board meeting to begin their duties. “The work we do is imperative to help create jobs, build communities, and improve lives in the Mississippi River Delta. I look forward to working closely with David, Tony, Allen, and Brooxie on the issues that we face in the Delta region and collaborating with them and the rest of the board to continue moving the Delta forward," DRA Federal Co-Chairman Chris Masingill said.
David Vaught currently serves as Director of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Development, where he oversees the state agency tasked with growing Illinois’ economy. Prior to his appointment by Governor Pat Quinn in April 2012, Vaught served as director of the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget (GOMB). As budget director since 2009, Vaught increased efficiencies in state government while strategically investing in areas that support economic growth. “I look forward to working with the other members of the Delta Regional Authority on economic development for our region,” Vaught said.
Tony Wilder serves as Commissioner of the Department for Local Government (DLG) in April 2008. He also serves Governor Beshear as his Appalachian Regional Commission Alternate. In conjunction with his role as Commissioner, he sits on the Kentucky Housing Corporation Board, is a member of PRIDE, and is Chairman of the Kentucky Infrastructure Authority. Prior to his appointment, Commissioner Wilder served as Boyle County Judge Executive for over 14 years.
Chris Champion holds the position of policy advisor for Governor Phil Bryant. Chris’s portfolio includes advising the Governor on energy, transportation, agriculture, environment, marine resources, and fish and wildlife issues. He also serves as the Governor’s designee and alternate to the Appalachian Regional Commission and the Southern States Energy Board. Prior to joining Governor Bryant’s staff in 2012, Chris worked as a special assistant to United States Senator Roger Wicker in Washington, D.C.
Allen Borden presently serves as Assistant Commissioner of Statewide Operations for the State of Tennessee's Department of Economic and Community Development, which focuses on job creation across the state. “I am honored to join the Delta Regional Authority Board and look forward to working with my fellow board members and the Delta communities to further enhance the quality of life and economic opportunities for area residents,” said Borden. “Tennessee’s DRA counties benefit greatly from this organization’s work and support, and I am excited about the prospects for further community and economic development throughout the entire region.”
Brooxie Carlton serves as director of federal programs for the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development. In this position, Carlton oversees administration of Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), Delta Regional Authority (DRA) funding, Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) Grants and CDBG-Disaster Grants. Previously, Carlton served as program manager for the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants (EECBG) and as a regional economic development specialist at ECD.
The Delta Regional Authority would like to express its gratitude to outgoing board members Senator Larry Woolard
of Illinois, Ms. Stacia Peyton
of Kentucky, Ms. Rebecca Staples
and Mr. Paul Fassbender
of Tennessee. These state designees have served well the people and communities of the Delta Region.DRA renews investment in Save the Children in order to improve child literacy rates across Delta region
Chairman Masingill and Mark Shriver read with students from Lee County Elementary School in Marianna, AR
LITTLE ROCK - Delta Regional Authority Federal Co-Chairman Chris Masingill joined with Save the Children Senior Vice President for US Programs, Mark K. Shriver, to celebrate the partnership and a new commitment to invest $200,000 in Save the Children. The initiative helps support training and infrastructure expenses for thirty school-based literacy programs in rural areas of Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee. Today’s announcement is a renewal of DRA’s past commitments totaling $580,000 and leveraging more than $4.5 million in other public and private funds.
According to the partnership, the Authority’s commitment to investing in Save the Children will provide:
-high-level skills training to 180 program employees and at least 180 teachers;
-books and computers to 30 Save the Children programs; and
-quality after-school programming at no charge for families living in poverty.
“As America faces historic childhood poverty rates, we must look to education as the most viable way out of this crisis,” said Mark Shriver, Senior Vice President of U.S. Programs at Save the Children. “Through our partnership with the Delta Regional Authority, we are giving thousands of children the tools they need to succeed in school. In addition to helping children, these funds support jobs and provide training to staff in a region hard-hit by the recession. These investments are critical to breaking the cycle of poverty and we are grateful to the DRA and Chairman Masingill for their leadership.”
To read the full story, click here.
SEDAP Project Highlight
Missouri: Ozarks Small Business Incubator expands facilities and services for students and young entrepreneurs
Budding entrepreneurs in the community of West Plains will soon have an outlet for learning, networking, and developing their own business. The Ozarks Small Business Incubator (OzSBI) is putting the finishing touches on its new IDEA Center, a 2,000 square foot renovated space attached to OzSBI, which will be a pre-incubation space geared to students and young entrepreneurs from West Plains. The IDEA Center, with a planned opening of early November 2012, will target local high school students, students from Missouri State University-West Plains, and young entrepreneurs who are not yet ready to become a tenant at the neighboring incubator.
The center will feature co-working space for IDEA Center members to network with each other as well as local business leaders and to learn about business development. OzSBI has reached out to organizations such as Students in Free Enterprise, a student group at MSU-WP, and Southern Ozarks Alliance for Rural Development, who plan to use the IDEA center for programs and business training. Interest in the new center also comes from beyond regular college students, attracting community members looking for an opportunity to develop their business ideas and skills, explains Toney Aid, Executive Director of OzSBI.
The IDEA Center is planning to host its own programs that reach groups that are not necessarily served by the incubator. There are plans for a Mother’s Day Out, targeting women who work from home for online businesses and e-commerce. This program will provide women entrepreneurs an opportunity to share knowledge and skill sets with other home-based workers. The center will also host OzSBI’s Summer Boot Camp for high school students. Aid says, “Our purpose behind the IDEA Center is to provide a co-working environment where students and community members can learn from each other by sharing ideas and skills as well as develop their business plans and professional capacity.”Each month the Delta Regional Authority highlights one of the projects funded by DRA's States' Economic Development Assistance Program, which in nine funding cycles has created over 9,000 jobs, leveraged $1.5 billion in private investment, and helped 25,000 families gain access to clean water and sewer service.Delta’s Distinguished
Alabama: City of Selma and Mayor utilize available programs and resources to develop community
Since his election in 2008, Mayor George Evans has actively supported and initiated numerous programs in his hometown of Selma, Alabama. A lifelong educator and public servant, Mayor Evans was superintendent of the Dallas County, Alabama Schools system before serving as Chief Academic Officer for the State of Alabama. He is proud to have served as Selma’s City Council President before being elected as Selma’s mayor in 2008.
Most recently in May 2012, Mayor Evans worked closely with the Delta Regional Authority to bring 250 servicemen and servicewomen into the Black Belt of Alabama to assist health professionals in providing health care to Selma and the surrounding communities. For a town to host an Innovative Readiness Training (IRT) mission, the local leadership must support the implementation of the program but also assist in preparing housing for the IRT physicians, gathering community support, building a coalition between the nearby towns, and ensuring awareness among residents. Mayor Evans proved to be a key part of making the IRT mission in May a success, with an estimated 18,000 to 20,000 people from Selma and neighboring communities seen by doctors, optometrists, and dentists.
As Evans begins his second term as mayor, he can relish in bringing other successful programs to Selma. He has initiated programs over the past two years that have brought together church leaders and congregations to better serve their surrounding neighborhoods, recognized local students for extraordinary service to their community, and begun the fight to combat childhood obesity. With a passion for growing his community and serving his neighbors, Mayor Evans has used his past experiences as well as training from the Delta Leadership Institute and his vast network of community members and leaders to create partnerships that directly benefit Selma. Delta Regional Authority proudly recognizes each month a community leader who has dedicated his or her life's work to serving the Delta region and inspiring lasting change throughout their community, state, and nation.Small Business Spotlight
Mississippi: Hemline Ridgeland finds success in personal touch and community focus
Alex Edgin can recognize a strong, successful business model when she sees one. After working nine years for a women’s boutique in New Orleans, Edgin decided that she was ready to open her own shop. Having moved to the Jackson area, Edgin found that there was demand for high end fashion at an affordable price, and coupled with the diligent customer service that she had been trained to provide in New Orleans, she knew that she could provide the service and quality of a Hemline store in her new home.
Edgin utilized her local Small Business Development Center at Hinds County Community College to guide her in developing her business plan and obtaining financing for her venture. She recognizes James Bennett, SBDC Business Counselor, for his guidance in setting up her corporation and preparing her for her business proposal presentation to the Hemline board, serving as her “go-to guy for the development phase” of opening her business.
Once the doors were opened in June 2012, Edgin turned her attention to maintaining the powerful name recognition that Hemline has across the South and Midwest. She has been strategic in offering high quality clothing lines that fit into a variety of budgets, attracting a diverse customer base. She specifically chose a mixed-use neighborhood outside Jackson to locate Hemline Ridgeland, appreciating the customer-centric and friendly environment that her boutique could provide. She has also proudly led the community of retailers in pooling together ideas for marketing and collaborating with other stores on major community events. Edgin explains, “It is a collective effort. Everyone benefits from our group marketing.” Hemline has shown that a focus on customer and community needs can provide positive growth for both business and community.Every month the Delta Regional Authority recognizes a small business in our region that demonstrates a commitment to growing the entrepreneurial environment of the Delta and contributing to its local economy, bringing new ideas and services to our communities.
Delta Regional Authority hosts summit to expand Broadband across the region
Through partnership with the Delta region’s eight state broadband advocacy groups, the Delta Regional Authority will be hosting the DRA Broadband Summit on October 22nd and 23rd. Panels will explore the progress of Gigabit cities in Delta states and successful statewide initiatives; the funding sources available for city and county broadband projects; and the potential impacts of Broadband availability on jobs and education in the Delta.
“A more connected Delta region is a more productive Delta region,” DRA Federal Co-Chairman Chris Masingill said. “Broadband availability in our communities connects our people to increased educational and professional opportunities and creates jobs in the region. This convening of regional, state, and local leaders is a strong step towards connecting the Delta and its people to economic growth and opportunity. It will be a great opportunity for Delta states and their Governors to work together towards a more digital Delta.”
The DRA Broadband Summit is free and open to the public and will take place at the FedEx Institute at the University of Memphis. To register online, click here
. For more information regarding the event, contact Amanda Richardson at email@example.com
or (501) 912-5722. Winrock International to Offer Five Operation Jump Start Classes in Arkansas
Winrock International, through funding from the Delta Regional Authority, will be offering Operation Jump Start – First Step classes in five communities in the Arkansas Delta region. Project Director Lynda Richardson and Sherry Howard, director of the Arkansas Women’s Business Center (AWBC) will host this year's classes.The AWBC provides valuable assistance to the students in the class with a successful history of several businesses that have been launched or expanded soon after the course.
The Operation Jump Start class is designed to help people interested in starting a business determine feasibility before investing money. Participants in the class will receive workbooks, instruction, and assistance from professionals in accounting, marketing, and other specialties at no cost other than the course tuition. Thanks to the funding from the Delta Regional Authority, students will be able to attend classes at reduced tuition rates with successful graduates receiving a partial tuition reimbursement upon course completion. Classes are 36 hours in total length and all require an advance application.
Classes begin on September 29th, October 2nd, October 6th, and October 8th. More information on locations and dates and the application can be found on Winrock International's website
.NASA seeks SBIR and STTR Proposals from Small Businesses
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration has released its FY2013 Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer solicitation. Within this solicitation, NASA requests proposals from small businesses and their university partners that support the development of new technologies in the fields of aeronautics research, human exploration and operations and science.
Both SBIR and STTR Phase I contracts will be awarded in the amount of $125,000. SBIR has a six-month period of performance and STTR has a 12-month period of performance before Phase II proposals should be submitted. Phase II contracts award $750,000 and a 24-month period of performance. The deadline for Phase I proposals is Nov. 29, 2012.
Interested applicants are encouraged to carefully review the evaluation criteria identified in the solicitation before submitting proposals.Visit the NASA SBIR/STTR website to find more information about NASA's research interests, helpful tips for first-time applicants, and answers to frequently asked questions.
Emergency funding provided for $66,000 rebuilding project in the Town of Kensett
KENSETT, AR -- Residents in the City of Kensett and the surrounding areas of White County will receive a major emergency investment in resources, targeting the rehabilitation of the city courtroom and council chambers following a devastating fire in January 2012.
The Delta Regional Authority was notified by Governor Mike Beebe’s office that emergency funding was needed, and the project was approved by the DRA last week. The Authority will contribute $60,000 in total investment for the project. This investment will remove hazardous asbestos waste from the buildings, alleviating the threat to the health and safety of area residents and allowing the city to rebuild its facilities.
For the full release, click here.
Delta Grassroots Caucus holds Fall Conference in the Delta region
The Delta Grassroots Caucus will hold its annual fall meeting on October 23rd and 24th in West Memphis, AR - in the heart of the Delta. This will be the first time that the fall meeting will be held outside of Washington, DC.
"We look forward to working with Mid South Community College and many other partners in our host city of West Memphis. We believe it will be a good change of pace to hold the conference in a smaller community in the heart of the Delta," the Delta Grassroots Caucus stated.
For registration and conference information, visit their website.
Delta Leadership Network convenes for
fall membership conference
Community leaders and alumni of the Delta Leadership Institute will take part in the 2012 DLN Fall Conference to be held on October 22nd and 23rd in West Memphis, AR. Speaking at the conference will be John Barry, author of Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How it Changed America, as well as Lee Powell of the Mississippi Delta Grassroots Caucus and DRA Federal Co-Chairman and Alternate Federal Co-Chairman, Chris Masingill and Mike Marshall.
The deadline for registration is October 9th. For more information, contact Christy LeGrand at 573-651-2078.
October 4-7, 2012
King Biscuit Blues Festival
October 9-11, 2012
Opening session of Delta Leadership Institute
St. Louis, MO
October 22-23, 2012
DRA Broadband Summit
Delta Leadership Network Fall Conference
West Memphis, AR
October 23-24, 2012
Delta Grassroots Caucus Annual Fall Conference
West Memphis, AR
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Board of Governors
Governor Jay Nixon - Missouri
Mr. Bill Ransdall - Designee
Dr. Jon Hagler - Alternate
State of Alabama
Governor Robert Bentley
Mr. Jim Byard - Designee
Mrs. Bea Forniss - Alternate
State of Arkansas
Governor Mike Beebe
Mr. Steve Jones - Designee & Alternate
State of Illinois
Governor Pat Quinn
Mr. David Vaught- Designee & Alternate
Commonwealth of Kentucky
Governor Steve Beshear
Mr. Tony Wilder - Designee & Alternate
State of Louisiana
Governor Bobby Jindal
Mr. Doyle Robinson - Designee
Mr. Matt Parker - Alternate
State of Mississippi
Governor Phil Bryant
Mr. Chris Champion - Designee & Alternate
State of Tennessee
Governor Bill Haslem
Mr. Allen Borden - Designee
Ms. Brooxie Carlton - Alternate
Delta Regional Authority
236 Sharkey Avenue -
Clarksdale, MS 38614