NEWS: Delta Leadership Institute graduates 50 from 2015-16 Executive Academy, 8 from Tennessee

August 11, 2016

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Fifty community leaders have successfully completed the year-long Delta Leadership Institute Executive Academy, a program of the Delta Regional Authority. The Executive Academy is a training program that brings together business and community leaders from each of the eight states of the Mississippi River Delta and Alabama Black Belt regions for a collaborative leadership development experience, emphasizing regional approaches to growing local economies and creating opportunities for the people of the Delta region.

Each graduate completed leadership development coursework and field studies in the year-long program that included five sessions in Delta communities and one session in Washington, DC.

Eight DLI fellows, nominated by Governor Bill Haslam and DRA Federal Co-Chairman Chris Masingill, represented the State of Tennessee this year:

  • Landy Fuqua of Martin
  • Dennis Henderson of Jackson
  • Rodger Jowers of Jackson
  • Travis Martin of Jackson
  • Mayor William Rawls, Jr. of Brownsville
  • Nichole Saulsberry-Scarboro of Memphis
  • Mayor Allan Sterbinsky of Stanton
  • Jimmie Tucker of Memphis

“For our communities to grow and support strong economies that create opportunities for Delta residents, we need local leaders that understand the local and regional challenges that we face as well as the networks and resources that can help identify solutions and address these challenges,” Chairman Masingill said. “The Delta Leadership Institute’s dynamic programming and ever-growing alumni network are helping to meet this need and empower our region’s leaders to make the Delta a better place to live and work.”

In addition to the program certificate, participants graduate with an industry-recognized certification in Crucial Conversations. Present for the ceremony were Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, DRA Federal Co-Chairman Chris Masingill, Alternate Federal Co-Chairman Mike Marshall, and Ted Townsend, Chief of Staff for the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development and Governor Haslam’s designee to the DRA Board.

“The Tennessee DLI delegates selected by Governor Haslam exemplify the spirit of local leadership, and I’m thrilled to celebrate their completion of this noble pursuit,” said Ted Townsend, Chief of Staff of the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development and Governor Haslam’s designee to the DRA Board. “We are thankful to the Delta Regional Authority’s Board and especially Chairman Masingill for their support of the DLI program.  West Tennessee gets stronger every year that these talented, passionate community leaders take what they learn back to the communities they serve.”

About Delta Regional Authority

The DRA is a federal-state partnership created by Congress in 2000 to help create jobs, build communities, and improve lives through strategic investments in economic development in 252 counties and parishes across eight states. Through the Rural Communities Advancement Program, the DRA has provided leadership development to more than 400 community leaders over ten years and strengthened regional collaboration with its Delta Leadership Institute.


Media Contact: Spencer Lucker
(202) 744-3558,                                        

Program Contact: Amanda Richardson
(501) 912-5722,