Connect With Experts

Local, county, business and government leaders share their expertise and invite your questions.

John_AccordinoWhy two words – ‘target’ and ‘focus’ – are vital

JOHN ACCORDINO

Dean, L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs
Virginia Commonwealth University
Phone: 804-827-0776
Email: jaccordi@vcu.edu

 

Jo AllisonDescribing the heart of Appalachia

JO ALLISON

Mystery Author
Retired professor of economics, Emory & Henry College (as Linda Dobkins)
Email: lhdobkins@gmail.com

 

James BaldwinPaying for costly water-sewer infrastructure upgrades

JAMES BALDWIN

Executive Director
Cumberland Plateau Planning District Commission
Phone: 276-889-1778
Email: jimbaldwin@bvu.net

 

Kitty BarkerThe promise of tourism

KITTY BARKER

Executive Director
Heart of Appalachia
Phone: 276-762-0011
Email: director@heartofappalachia.com

 

Don’t kid around when it comes to your town’s schoolchildren

RYAN BELL

CEO, Children’s Champion
Phone: 804-928-2135
Email:  childrenschampioninfo@gmail.com

Some towns succeed because they acknowledge their artists’ value

JAMIE BENNETT

Executive Director
ArtPlace America
Brooklyn, New York
Email: Jamie@artplaceamerica.org

Amy BrooksRecognizing arts and culture as community assets

AMY BROOKS

Program Director
Roadside Theater (Appalshop project)
Phone: 937-901-9205
Email: amy@roadside.org

 

Jim BrooksWhat small towns can learn from big cities

JIM BROOKS

Director, City Solutions
National League of Cities
Phone: 202-626-3163
Email: brooks@nlc.org

T. Allan CompEmbracing the ‘rebels’ in your small town

T. ALLAN COMP

Program Officer (retired)
DOI and OSMRE/VISTA Teams, Department of Interior
Email: allan@tallancomp.com

 

Andrew DavisStaking your claim to fame

ANDREW DAVIS

Author, Town Inc.
Phone: 804-287-1552
Email: adavis@monumentalshift.com

Ellen DavisHow the USDA can help improve your community services

ELLEN DAVIS

Former State Director
USDA for U.S. Rural Development
Phone: 804-287-1552

Eric DixonFinding funding in coal impacted communities

ERIC DIXON

Coordinator of Community Engagement and Policy
Appalachian Citizens’ Law Center
Phone: 606-633-3929
Email: eric@aclc.org

Matthew DolgeSeeking support from a regional council

MATTHEW DOLGE

Executive Director
Piedmont Triad Regional Council
Phone: 336-904-0300
Email: mdolge@ptrc.org

Grace Toney EdwardsTaking pride in a collective Appalachian heritage

GRACE TONEY EDWARDS

Professor Emerita, Radford University
Founder, Appalachian Regional Studies Center
Email: gedwards@radford.edu

Catherine FeerickReaching out to federal agencies

CATHERINE FEERICK

Downtown Revitalization Specialist
Appalachian Regional Commission
Phone: 202-884-7769
Email: cfeerick@arc.gov

 

Anthony FlaccaventoBuilding resilient economies by meeting local needs

ANTHONY FLACCAVENTO

Founder/President
SCALE, Inc.
Email: flaccavento@ruralscale.com

Tom FleckensteinBusiness-boosting organization can help small-town entrepreneurs get loans

TOM FLECKENSTEIN

Director
Virginia Highlands Small Business Development Center, Abingdon
Phone: 276-739-2515 or 276-739-2474
Email: Tfleckenstein@VHCC.edu

Beth FlowersUsing creativity to power community development

BETH FLOWERS

Director
AIR Institute of Berea College
Phone: 859-985-3220
Email: bflowers@airinstitute.org

Basil GoodenWhat the USDA can do for small towns

BASIL GOODEN

Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry
State of Virginia

 

Jody_Keenan

How to identify and leverage entrepreneurial opportunities

JODY KEENAN

State Director
Virginia Small Business Development Center
Email: jkeenan@gmu.edu

 Preserving the enviable environment of AppalachiaJosh Kelly

JOSH KELLY

Public Lands Biologist
Mountain True
Phone: 828-258-8737
Email: josh@mountaintrue.org

Ethan Kent

Building a vibrant community through public spaces

ETHAN KENT

Senior Vice President
Project for Public Spaces
Email: ekent@pps.org

Assistance in learning the lay of the landTarah Kesterson

TARAH KESTERSON

Public Relations Manager
Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy
Phone: 276-523-8146
Email: tarah.kesterson@dmme.virginia.gov

EPA offers menu of services to small townsMelissa Kramer

MELISSA KRAMER

Policy Analyst, Office of Sustainable Communities
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Phone: 202-564-8497
Email: Kramer.Melissa@epa.gov,
www.epa.gov/smartgrowth

Gary_LarroweWhat you can learn from small towns overseas

GARY LARROWE

County Administrator
Botetourt County, Virginia
Phone: 540-928-2006
Email: glarrowe@botetourtva.gov

Michael MaloneyEngaging citizens to find your town’s purpose

MICHAEL MALONEY

Urban Appalachian Community Coalition
Phone: 513-531-8799
Email: meamon@aol.com

Crystal Cook MarshallFinding alternative economic development in the hinterlands

CRYSTAL COOK MARSHALL

Virginia Tech Doctoral Student, Science and Technology Studies in Society
Former Outreach Coordinator, Appalachian Research Initiative in Environmental Science (ARIES)
Phone: 704-978-9404
Email: crystalcookmarshall@gmail.com

Jack MeadowsMaking your town hospitable to small businesses

JACK MEADOWS

Director of Planning and Community Development
Town of Siler City, N.C.
Phone: 919-742-2323
Email: jmeadows@silercity.org

Jerry MolesInvesting in your surrounding area

JERRY MOLES

Blue Ridge Plateau Initiative/Grayson LandCare
Phone: 540-797-9531
Email: jmoles@igc.org

Mayors can help a town believe in itselfSuzanne Morse Moomaw

SUZANNE MORSE MOOMAW

Associate Professor of Urban and Environmental Planning, University of Virginia
Academic Lead, Appalachian Prosperity Project
Phone: 434-924-6459
Email: SWM2x@virginia.edu

Liz PovarWhat every small town mayor needs to know about economic development

LIZ POVAR

Former Vice President for Business Expansion
Virginia Economic Development Partnership

 

The Dillon rule and other challenges to democracyDave Ress

DAVE RESS

Senior Political Reporter
Daily Press, Newport News, Virginia
Phone: 757-880-9194
Email: dress@dailypress.com

Randy Rose3 ways to identify and capitalize on your town’s greatest tourism assets

RANDY ROSE

Development Specialist
Virginia Tourism Corporation
Phone: 276-322-2044
Email: rrose@virginia.org

Leslie SchlenderUsing small businesses to boost their health of your community

LESLIE SCHLENDER

Economic Development Director
Town of Elkin, N.C.
Phone: 336-794-6468
Email: lschlender@elkinnc.org

Promising trends in Appalachian developmentBilly Schumann

BILLY SCHUMANN

Associate Professor, Appalachian Studies/Director, Center for Appalachian Studies
Appalachian State University
Phone: 858-262-4089
Email: schumannwr@appstate.edu

Small-town businesses can sell to the U.S. militaryBelinda Sheridan

BELINDA SHERIDAN

Program Manager, Procurement Technical Assistance Center
Phone: 276-964-7533
Email: Belinda.sheridan@sw.edu

Hillary Sherman Get engaged with your local Economic Development District

HILLARY SHERMAN

N.C. Economic Development Representative, U.S. Economic Development Administration
Phone: 404-730-3013
Email: hsherman@eda.gov

Kyle ShreveAgri-business is the backbone of small towns

KYLE SHREVE

Executive Director
Virginia Agri-Business Council
Phone: 804-643-3555
Email: Kyle@va-agribusiness.org

Small towns can sometimes beat the big guys in court

DAVID SLIGH

Conservation Director
Wild Virginia wildvirignia.org
Charlottesville, Virginia
Phone: 434-971-1553
Email: David@wildvirginia.org

Jimmy Neil SmithUse the power of storytelling to achieve your goals

JIMMY NEIL SMITH

Founder, International Storytelling Center
Email: jns@partnershipforabetterfuture.net

 

 Today’s small town can remain a viable forceAndrew Sorrell

ANDREW SORRELL

Coordinator, Office of Farmland Preservation
Virginia Department of Agriculture
Phone: 804-786-1906
Email: Andrew.Sorrell@vdacs.virginia.gov

 Creating agency in small townsMargaret Stout

MARGARET STOUT

Associate Professor
Department of Public Administration, West Virginia University
Phone: 304-293-7978
Email: Margaret.Stout@mail.wvu.edu

Bob_Stripling3 Ways to attract money and resources

BOB STRIPLING

Program Director and Professor of Practice at Virginia Tech
Phone: 540-231-5133
Email: chars08@vt.edu

Sandra Tanner

Every town has tourism potential

SANDRA TANNER

Tourism Development Specialist
Virginia Tourism Corporation
Email: chars08@vt.edu

 

Dennis TraczAttracting younger generations is a key for small-town success

DENNIS TRACZ

Board of Directors
NC Rural Center
Email: dtracz@gmail.com

Laurette Tucker

USDA Rural Development helps build communities

LAURETTE TUCKER

Rural Business Specialist, USDA
Phone: 434-392-4906 x125
Email: laurette.tucker@va.usda.gov

 

Telly Tucker

Collaboration is the keystone to economic development

TELLY TUCKER

Director of Economic Development
City of Danville
Phone: 434-793-1753
Email: telly.tucker@discoverdanville.com

Wayne_WaldropHow small business loans help small towns flourish

WAYNE WALDROP

Small Business Lending Manager
Virginia Community Capital
Phone: 804-344-5484
Email: wwaldrop@ccva.org

Tap into the power of an active communityAdam Wells

ADAM WELLS

New Economy Program Coordinator
Appalachian Voices
Phone: 276- 679-1691
Email: Adam@appvoices.org

Barry WhittemoreEmbracing Appalachian history to build for the future

BARRY WHITTEMORE

Lecturer, History
University of North Georgia
Phone: 706-864-1541
Email: barry.whittemore@ung.edu