Delta Regional Authority
April 18, 2016  
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Delta News Round-up

In this Issue: DRA announces Regional Development Officers | DLN hosts annual state meetings
MS River Geotourism Program hosts town hall meetings | RegionSmart Strategy Summit in Memphis April 28

New regional economic and community development officers hired to support, grow capacity of Delta communities

DRA is expanding its outreach and support services for Delta communities with new staff based throughout the region to work directly with communities to address their local economic, infrastructure, workforce, and business development needs.

The regional economic and community development officers (RDOs) will support communities by helping to identify and fill capacity needs in support of local and regional project development efforts. The RDOs will serve as a key resource for project development, coordination of outreach and information sharing, funding acquisition, and implementation of local and regional projects that emphasize place-based strategies. 

The following RDOs will serve four distinct regions:

  • Christina Wade: Illinois, Kentucky, and Missouri
  • Jason Smedley: Arkansas, northeast Mississippi and Tennessee
  • Grover Ainsworth: Alabama, southeast Arkansas, northeast Louisiana, central Mississippi
  • Buddy Boe: Louisiana and southwest Mississippi

You can see which region your county or parish falls in here

Meet your RDO >

Delta Leadership Network alumni hold annual state meetings

The Delta Leadership Network state councils have begun holding their annual state dinners and lunches across the region. Each year the DLN alumni of each state meet for fellowship and a continuing education component that helps build their own professional development but also further grows the collaborative network that DLN serves to create in the Delta.

Louisiana hosted the first of these events with a luncheon in Vidalia, LA, featuring remarks from Toye Taylor, deputy chief of staff for Governor John Bel Edwards. Arkansas last week held its state dinner in Forrest City, AR, with a speech from Dr. Cliff Jones, vice chancellor for Arkansas State University Mid South, on the leadership strategies he's gained from his time in higher education.

Upcoming dinners include: 

  • Mississippi - April 20
  • Alabama - June 16
  • Missouri - June 23

Illinois and Tennessee held their planning meetings this month and will have dates confirmed soon. Kentucky will be meeting in the coming weeks. For more information, contact the Delta Center for Economic Development at or your state regional advisory council chairperson.

Learn more about the Delta Leadership Institute >

Tourism town hall meetings across Mississippi Delta build up to coming website on Mississippi River

The Mississippi River Geotourism Program hosted seven town hall meetings to raise awareness of its soon to launch geotourism website featuring the places, businesses, and attractions that make the Mississippi River, especially the Delta, a great place to visit. More than 150 local residents and business owners attended the meetings, held from Clarksdale to Natchez, to learn how to nominate their business, tourist site, or event in their community. 

Nominations can be submitted any time even after the launch of the website, which is scheduled for summer 2016. Go to to begin a nomination today. 

Learn about the Mississippi River Geotourism Program >

RegionSmart Mid-South Strategy Summit come to Memphis April 28

The Mid-South Mayors' Council has partnered with the Urban Land Institute, Delta Regional Authority, and others to host its first regional strategy summit on Thursday, April 28 with a diverse group of leaders from government, economic development, planning, architecture, and engineering sectors.

The summit, which will be held in downtown Memphis, will have participants discussing topics around demographic shifts and their impact on the Delta economy, education & workforce development, placemaking, city building, and suburban retrofitting, and regional transportation.

Register today and see the agenda >

Upcoming Events:

Register or Apply Today

April 25, 2016 - April 26, 2016
ECRC Training on Economic Development- Marion, Illinois
April 28, 2016 - April 29, 2016
ECRC Training on Disaster Recovery- St. James, Missouri
May 9, 2016 - May 10, 2016
ECRC Training on Disaster Recovery- El Dorado, Arkansas
May 12, 2016 - May 13, 2016
ECRC Training on Disaster Recovery- Baton Rouge, Louisiana
May 23, 2016 - May 24, 2016
ECRC Training on Economic Development- Gilbertsville, Kentucky

Click Here To Submit An Event

Announcements From Our Partners:

Delta Regional Authority

236 Sharkey Avenue - Suite 400
Clarksdale, MS 38614
(662) 624-8600 | DRA.GOV

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