The Delta Regional Authority (DRA) has 48 new graduates of the Delta Leadership Institute (DLI) Executive Academy. The program is part of organization’s efforts to create jobs, build communities, and improve lives across the Mississippi River Delta region and the Black Belt of Alabama, according to DRA.
The 48 graduates completed the year-long DLI Executive Academy, a training program that brings together small business owners, economic development professionals, elected officials, educators, faith leaders, non-profit leaders and doctors from each of the eight states served by DRA. The program equips participants with the tools, experiences and networks that will help them create new economic opportunities in Delta communities as well as support the growth of the region’s economy.
“DLI is an important tool to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of economic development efforts in the Delta region,” DRA Chairman Chris Caldwell said. “We are investing in local leaders who are ready to help us and our partners contribute to job growth for Delta residents.”
The graduates participated in six training sessions over the past year to educate them on the regional and local economic development tools that are working for Delta communities to spark ideas that can be implemented in their own communities. DLI fellows learn from local, regional and national experts in infrastructure and transportation, small business and entrepreneurship, workforce training, public health and other fields necessary for economic growth in the Delta region.
DLI graduates become members of the Delta Leadership Network, which includes more than 500 community leaders who understand the importance of regional collaboration, resource sharing and innovative thinking. DLI is a program of DRA in partnership with three institutions of higher education in the Delta region: The University of Alabama, Arkansas State University-Jonesboro and the University of Louisiana Monroe.
Following are the Arkansas graduates and their employers.
Len Blaylock, executive director, Bradley County Economic Development Corporation
Gregory Dale, southern regional coordinator, USDA Rural Development Innovation Center
Ben Gilmore, deputy chief of staff, office of Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin
Moses Goldmon, vice chancellor for student engagement, University of Arkansas at Monticello
Mark O’Mell, executive director, Crossroads Coalition
Denver Peacock, principal, The Peacock Group
Carla Sparks, rural outreach coordinator, Arkansas Children’s Hospital
Hillary Starnes, community service manager, city of Jonesboro
Erica Tait, director, Jonesboro Metropolitan Planning Organization
Ateca Williams, deputy chief of staff of internal operations, Office of Gov. Asa Hutchinson