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Leisa Finley
Alabama Director

Executive Director
Elmore County Economic Development Authority
P.O. Box 117
Wetumpka, AL 36092
Bus: (334) 514-5843,

Joseph (Joey) Dean
Arkansas Director

Executive Director
Metro Little Rock Alliance
One Chamber Plaza
Little Rock, AR 72201
Bus: (501) 377-6006

Joey Dean graduated from the University of Arkansas with a Bachelor of Science in
Business Administration in May of 1991.  He began his career the summer of 1991 in the Washington, DC office of Senator Dale Bumpers.  What began as a summer internship evolved into a permanent position that kept him in D.C. for several years.  At the time he left Senator Bumpers office he was a Legislative Aide working on Energy, Environmental and Interior Issues. 

Upon returning to Arkansas, he began working at the Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC) in January of 1996.
  In 2001, he was promoted to Director of Business Development for AEDC and served in that capacity for the next five years.

In July of 2006, he left AEDC to join the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce as Vice-President for Economic Development where is also serves as Executive Director for Metro Little Rock Alliance (MLRA).
  MLRA’s mission is to cultivate regional growth and prosperity throughout the area by marketing the region’s strengths and advantages to prospective companies and site location consultants for the purpose of attracting investment and creating jobs. 

In 2004, Joey was named by
Arkansas Business as one of the “40 under 40” top business leaders in Arkansas.  He was also named by Southern Business and Development as one of the “Top Ten People Who Made a Difference” in 2008.  He currently serves as President of the Arkansas Economic Developers (AED), is a graduate of Leadership Greater Little Rock and the Economic Development Institute (University of Oklahoma).   His peers at the Arkansas Economic Developers association awarded him the honor of   “Outstanding Economic Developer” for 2009.

Joey lives in Little Rock with his two daughters, Caroline and Mary Corinne.




Scott Frederick
Florida Director

Taylor County Development Authority
103 E. Ellis St.
Perry, FL 32348
Bus:  850-584-5627
Mobile: 850-843-0952,

Scott has 25 years of economic development experience at the international, state, regional, city and county levels. He has located over 50 industries, totaling 13,000 new jobs and netting $1.7 billion of new investment for communities he has represented.

Pat Topping, CEcD
Georgia Director

Senior Vice President
Macon Economic Development Commission
P.O. Box 169
Macon, GA, 31201
Bus: (478) 621-2030

Pat has been in the economic development industry since 1991. He has served as president of chambers in Milledgeville/Baldwin County, Georgia and Cumming/Forsyth County, Georgia. Currently he serves as the Senior Vice President for the Macon Economic Development Commission (MEDC) the private/public agency responsible for new business recruitment and existing business retention in Macon and Bibb County, Georgia. Pat served as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Georgia Economic Developers Association (GEDA) in 2009/2010, a member of the Executive Committee and continues as a member of the organization.   Pat has published economic development articles in trade publications including ED Review and has taught a section of the Development Authority Board Member Training course offered by UGA in addition to teaching part-time for over 20 years at Georgia College & State University and Macon State College in the Business and Marketing Department. Pat and his lovely wife, Shirley, are the proud parents of three young adults and two super grandsons.


Gabe Schlickau
Kansas Director

Economic Development Manager
Black Hills Corporation
2330 N. Hoover Rd
Wichita, KS, 67205 
Bus: (316) 941-1656

Gabe Schlickau is the Economic Development Manager for Black Hills Energy in Kansas.  He works closely with Black Hills Energy communities and customers on initiatives aimed at strengthening the local and regional economy.  Gabe holds a bachelor’s degree from Kansas State University and has achieved the designation of Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) as accredited by the International Economic Development Council.  He is a past President of the Kansas Economic Development Alliance and Immediate Past President of the Wichita Manufacturers Association.  Gabe’s career in economic development began with the Kansas Department of Commerce, prior to joining Black Hills Energy in 2004.



William Beasley
Kentucky Director

Managing Director
Beasley Enterprises, LLC, 
623 North Main Street, Henderson, KY, 42420
Bus: (270) 556-4995

Mr. Beasley is a graduate of Henderson County High School and Murray State University with a B.S. in Agriculture. He is the Managing Director of Beasley Enterprises, LLC and Jackson Purchase Area Consulting, economic development consulting firms; former President/CEO of the Purchase Area Regional Industrial Authority and the West Kentucky Megasite. He represents Kentucky on the Southern Economic Development Council Board of Directors and was recently elected a SEDC Regional Director.

He is a member of the Kentucky Association of Economic Development, Southern Economic Development Council, Henderson Chamber of Commerce, Paducah Area Chamber of Commerce, Henderson River City Renaissance, Henderson First United Methodist Church and works with the American Red Cross as a disaster relief volunteer and has served in Kentucky, Louisiana, Florida, California and Oregon as a manager of logistics, material supply services and bulk distribution services.

He is married to Charlene Whitledge and they have two daughters and four grandchildren.



Gregg Gothreaux
Louisiana Director

President/ CEO
Lafayette Economic Development Authority
211 East Devalcourt Street
Lafayette, LA, 70506
Bus: (337) 593-1416

Gregg began his career as an economic developer with Gulf States Utilities in Lake Charles in the 1980s. In July 1995, Gregg was appointed President and CEO of the Lafayette Economic Development Authority. In his nearly twenty years at LEDA, Gregg has contributed substantially to the economic growth and stability of Lafayette through the organization’s role in retaining and attracting some of the area’s most influential businesses. Gregg serves on the board of several organizations such as the Regions Bank Regional Advisory Board, Lafayette Central Park, Inc., the Southern Economic Development Council, and the Acadiana Economic Development Council. Gregg and his wife, Alisa, enjoy their job as parents to son, Conner Thomas, and daughter, Eliza Grace.  In addition to his hard work throughout the community, Gregg is proud to be recognized as a certified Louisiana Master Gardener. 



Jennifer Tanner
Maryland/ DC Director

Industrial Development Manager
CSX Transportation
4724 Hollins Ferry Rd
Baltmore, MD, 21227
Bus: (615) 627-8990,

Jennifer Tanner brings more than 20 years of experience in economic development and site selection- consulting projects to her role as Manager of Industrial Development at CSX Transportation.  Prior to joining CSX, Jennifer co-owned her own consulting business and was a Sr. Project Manager for CH2M Hill and Lockwood Greene Engineers. She is a certified Professional Community Economic Developer.  Jennifer has consulted with communities across the nation to improve their ability to compete for new and expanding business.  Currently, Jennifer is managing all new business projects for CSX in Maryland, New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania.  Jennifer earned her MBA from the University of Phoenix and her Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Texas at El Paso.

Jon Maynard
Mississippi Director

Executive Vice President
Oxford-Lafayette County EDF
299 Jackson Avenue West
Jackson, MS, 38655
Bus: (662) 234-4651

Kevin Welch
Missouri Director

The Joplin Regional Partnership of SW MO & SE KS
320 East 4th Street
Joplin, MO 64801
Bus: (417) 624-4150,

Kevin is the Director of the Joplin Regional Partnership, which is a regional economic development organization that covers seven counties in three states. The Joplin Region encompasses 3 counties in Southwest Missouri, 3 counties in Southeast Kansas, and 1 county in Northeast Oklahoma. Kevin markets the Joplin, MO region to companies and site selectors evaluating locations for relocation or expansion. Kevin has been working in the economic development field for the last 13 years.

The Joplin Regional Partnership provides relocation or expansion assistance for a host of industries including Renewable Energy, Advanced Manufacturing, Food Processing, Warehousing/Distribution, Logistics, Transportation, Call Centers, Retail, & Medical.

Kevin attended the University of Missouri & Western Illinois University but is an avid Arkansas Razorback fan. He has also been the play-by-play voice for Joplin High School Athletics for the past 20 years.

Kevin lives in Joplin, MO with his wife Tracey and his 2 daughters Carly and Bailey.




Raul Peralta
North Carolina Director

Regional VP - Business Development
ECS Carolinas, LLP,
4811 Koger Boulevard
Greensboro, NC 27407  
Bus: (336) 856-7150

Michael A. Southard, AICP, PCED
Oklahoma Director

President & CEO
Ada Jobs Foundation
209 West Main Street
Ada, OK, 74820
Bus: (580) 235-0070

Michael Southard is the President and CEO of the Ada Jobs Foundation and the Ada Area Chamber of Commerce. He has also worked in Oklahoma City, Shawnee, and Muskogee. Mike is a graduate of The University of Oklahoma (Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Regional and City Planning) and a graduate of the OU Economic Development Institute. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) and is a certified Economic Development Finance Professional. He is the current President of the Oklahoma Professional Economic Development Council and Chair-elect of the Governor’s Economic Development Marketing Team. Mike is the past President of Oklahoma Southeast and the Oklahoma Chapter of the American Planning Association and he previously served on the AICP Commission as the Region 3 (Southeast US) Commissioner. He also serves on the Oklahoma State Chamber Board of Directors and on both The University of Oklahoma College of Architecture Board of Visitor and the division of Regional and City Planning BOV. Mike and his wife, Sheila, have two boys, Matthew and Jackson.

Jay Schwedler
South Carolina Director

President/ CEO
Sumter Development Board
32 East Calhoun Street
Sumter, SC 29150
Bus: (803) 418-0702

GC Hixson
Tennesee Director

Executive Director
JECDB of Wilson County
115 N Castle Heights Avenue, Suite 102
Lebanon, TN 37087
Bus: (615) 443-1210

G.C. Hixson serves as Executive Director of the Joint Economic & Community Development Board, JECDB of Wilson County, TN.  Prior to his selection he held multiple positions within the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development including the Director of Marketing where he was responsible for the department’s domestic marketing staff and programs. Since joining the JECDB the agency has been involved in the location of TACLE Seating, Kenwal Steel, Wilson Sporting Goods, ViJon, Permobil,  Leviton and the  Nissan and Amazon distribution and fulfillment centers   The JECDB also serves as the coordinating agency for both existing industry programs and retail development throughout Wilson County.

James O'Donley
Texas Director

Regional Manager Economic Development
BNSF Railway Company
P.O. Box 961051
Fort Worth, TX 76161-0051 
Bus: (817) 867-6137

Michael Lehmkuhler
Virginia Director

Vice President, Business Attraction
Virginia Economic Development Partnership
P.O. Box 798
Richmond, VA 23219
Bus: (804) 545-5722

Mike is Vice President, Business Attraction, responsible for working with state, local and regional authorities to proactively develop unique and timely real estate solutions for major employment and investment projects. Mike previously served as leader of the Transportation Team in Business Development for eleven years.  This team was comprised of a group of project managers tasked with promoting Virginia for foreign and domestic investment and job creation within the automotive, motorsports, aerospace and logistics sectors. The automotive industry remains an individual area of focus.Mike graduated from the University of Virginia in 1975 with a B.A. in Economics & Foreign Affairs.  He received an M.B.A. from Columbia University in 1977, with concentrations in Finance and Money & Financial Markets. Prior to a career in economic development, Mike was involved in
foreign currency trading for sixteen years.  He started with Mellon Bank in Pittsburgh & London, and later worked for both First Chicago in New York and Fidelity Bank in Philadelphia.  In 1986, he joined Signet Bank in Richmond, Virginia and created the bank’s foreign exchange department, which he successfully directed as vice president and manager for seven years.  Mike also leased computer systems to corporations as a vice president of CCA Financial prior to joining VEDP as an international project manager in January, 1997.

Robbie Morris
West Virginia Director

Executive Director, Executive Director
Randolph C. Development Authority
10 Eleventh Street
Elkins, WV  26241
Bus: (304) 637-0803 

Robbie Morris is the Executive Director of the Randolph County Development Authority and West Virginia Wood Technology Center.  Mr. Morris is charged with business recruitment and retention, as well as workforce development efforts in Randolph County, West Virginia.  Mr. Morris was the Executive Director of the Elkins-Randolph County Chamber of Commerce for two years prior to joining the RCDA in 2011. He is a graduate of West Virginia Wesleyan College, where he obtained undergraduate
degrees in political scienceand history, and a master’s degree in business administration. In addition to the RCDA, Mr. Morris is an adjunct professor of business for Pierpont Community & Technical College.  Mr. Morris serves on the boards of many financial and economic development organizations including Citizens Bank of West Virginia, Woodland’s Community Lenders, Central Appalachian Development Organization, West Virginia Economic Development Council, West Virginia Hardwood Alliance Zone, and the Corridor H Authority.  Mr. Morris is a 2009 graduate of the distinguished “Leadership West Virginia” program.