Bret Allphin, Development Director, Buckeye Hills Regional Council

Bret Allphin has 18 years of experience with Buckeye Hills Regional Council in Marietta Ohio, serving as Development Director since 2012. Buckeye Hills acts on behalf of communities and residents in an eight county region in Southeastern Ohio to provide a range of public project delivery services including grant administration, grant research, mapping and data research, transportation planning, small business development, and aging & disability services.  Mr. Allphin is currently completing his MPA degree from the Harry S. Truman School of Public Affairs at the University of Missouri, and holds a Bachelor’s degree from Marietta College in Political Science with a minor in Leadership Studies.

Jeffrey A. Bauer, Interim President, Shawnee State University

Dr. Bauer became the Interim President at Shawnee State University in 2018. He brings more than 30 years experience in higher education with a broad perspective in teaching and learning, student success, and serving the needs of first generation college students. He has used this experience to impact college access, affordability, and academic quality. He has been instrumental in cultivating partnerships with local government, business, and industry in order to improve the local and regional economy in southern Ohio.

Dr. Bauer joined Shawnee State University as its first geology professor in 1987 and has more than two decades of teaching and research experience. Since 2008, he has served in a variety of leadership roles, including Dean of Research, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and Provost & Vice President for Academic Affairs.

A graduate of The Ohio State University where he earned his Ph.D. and master’s degree, Dr. Bauer earned a baccalaureate degree in geology and business administration from Bowling Green State University.

Catherine Clark-Eich, Interim President, University of Rio Grande and Rio Grande Community College

Catherine Clark-Eich, Ph.D., LPC is interim president of University of Rio Grande and Rio Grande Community College. Clark comes to Rio after stellar careers in the public and private sectors.

Earning her Ph.D. in Counseling and Developmental Psychology from The Ohio State University, Clark has a strong background in higher education, human resources, leadership development, and strategic planning.  

Clark grew up in the Rio Grande, Ohio area, attending Rio Grande Elementary and graduating from Gallia Academy High School. Clark, who currently resides in Lancaster, OH, is a former student at Rio Grande. During her time at Rio, she was Homecoming Queen and a member of Alpha Mu Beta sorority. Later, she became a member of the Alumni Board, eventually receiving the Alumni Citation of Appreciation. 

She has been active in many personal and professional organizations including former regional vice president of Phi Kappa Phi National Board, United Way, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, and Vaud-Villities Productions, a non-profit performance group.  

Chris Cooper – Co-Founder and CEO of Intelliwave Broadband

Chris is a seasoned telecom executive with over 20 years in the Internet service industry. Chris’ career began with his co-founding of a regional dial up Internet service company, Eureka Networks, in 1995. Chris co-founded Intelliwave Broadband in 2002.  Intelliwave has grown to be a large fixed wireless and fiber optic broadband company providing voice, video and data services across 15 counties in southern and central Ohio.  Intelliwave is based in Athens, Ohio where Chris lives with his wife and two sons

Mark DeFalco, Manager, Appalachian Regional Commission

Mark has worked with broadband projects at the Appalachian Regional Commission for 18 years.  Prior to joining ARC, Mark had an extensive background in telecommunications regulation and policy – working for a number of private sector telecom companies.  He specialized in competitive market entry and intercompany compensation issues.  He has testified before state regulatory agencies in over 20 states. He is well versed on rural broadband issues and is involved with the current administration’s American Broadband Initiative and is a long term member of the FCC’s Consumer Advisory Committee.

Lisa Duvall, Communications Manager and EDA program manager, Ohio Mid-Eastern Governments Association

Lisa Duvall joined the Ohio Mid-Eastern Governments Association in April of 2018 as communications manager and EDA program manager. She is a graduate of Bellaire High School and West Liberty State College with a bachelor’s degree in secondary education. Lisa has worked in media, press relations and communications for 20 years, and she has also worked in business development, economic and community development throughout the OMEGA region. She is a life-long resident of Belmont County.

Katy Farber, Vice President, APEG

Katy Farber serves as the APEG vice president.  She joined the APEG team in October, 2012, as the project manager covering nine counties in the south central and “western” part of the region. In 2018, Katy was promoted to vice president and works with the APEG project management team to support investment and job creation throughout the region, while retaining direct project management responsibilities in Adams, Highland and Ross counties. She also coordinates business development efforts, sharing that outreach responsibility with APEG president, Mike Jacoby.

Katy is a native and current resident of Ross County, and a graduate of Ohio University. She and her husband own and operate a small business in Highland county.

John Glazer, Senior Executive in Residence for Strategic Development, Ohio University

Mr. Glazer has created an award-winning career in venture development and entrepreneurship, with a dedication to economic development initiatives in underdeveloped regions of the U.S. and abroad.   

As TechGROWTH Director from 2008 to 2019, he oversaw the $44M Ohio Third Frontier program at Ohio University’s Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs where he has been deeply engaged in entrepreneurial coaching, early-stage investing, fund management, technology commercialization, and venture development services for startups in SE Ohio.  He serves on the Boards of several portfolio companies and in executive roles in multiple nonprofits, social enterprises, and community development organizations.  

In 2019, Mr. Glazer was appointed Senior Executive in Residence for Strategic Development at the Voinovich School.  In this capacity, Mr. Glazer collaborates with research faculty and senior program leaders at the Voinovich School, across Ohio University, and with external community partners supporting program initiatives in economic development, social enterprise, regional development, and a variety of academic research, community engagements, and other applied programs and partnerships.

Mr. Glazer also serves as Technical Director in the SEE (Social Enterprise Ecosystem) project at the Voinovich School funded by the Appalachian Regional Commission.  SEE connects social enterprises and impact investors to develop sustainable, market-based solutions to pressing social challenges.  It is in this context that Mr. Glazer has championed projects to develop and apply the “Social Return on Investment” methodology measuring the social and public value created by enterprises, programs, and initiatives.  

John Hemmings, Executive Director, Ohio Valley Regional Development Commission (OVRDC)

John Hemmings is the Executive Director (August 2008 to Present) of the Ohio Valley Regional Development Commission (OVRDC) and has been with OVRDC since 1991.  The OVRDC, located in Waverly, Ohio, is a public regional planning commission that coordinates federal, state, and local economic and community development resources to encourage development in twelve southern Ohio counties:  Adams, Brown, Clermont, Fayette, Gallia, Highland, Jackson, Lawrence, Pike, Ross, Scioto and Vinton.  OVRDC serves as a Local Development District (LDD) for the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) and as an Economic Development District (EDD) for the U.S. Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration (EDA). In this capacity, OVRDC prioritizes development needs and sets priorities for projects to be funded by ARC and EDA.  OVRDC also serves as liaison for District 15 of the Ohio Public Works Commission and in 2015 was recognized as an Ohio Regional Transportation Planning Organization (RTPO) by the State of Ohio.  Established in 1967, OVRDC has a 50-year history of fostering economic development and job creation in the region.

Mr. Hemmings is a native of Scioto County, Ohio and lives there with his wife, Crystal, and his son, Jonathan.  Majoring in Business Economics, John graduated summa cum laude from Ohio University in 1989 with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration.

Jason Jolley, Associate Professor/Director EDA University Center, Ohio University

Dr. Jolley is an Associate Professor of Rural Economic Development and MPA Director at the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs at Ohio University. At Ohio University, he also serves as a Research Fellow in the Center for Entrepreneurship and directs Ohio University’s portion of the US Economic Development Administration University Center (joint with Bowling Green State University).

David Kilroy, Program Director, Shawnee State University’s Kricker Innovation Hub

David Kilroy has been working with the Shawnee State University Kricker Innovation Hub project for two years. Prior to Shawnee State, he worked with the LIGHTS Regional Innovation Network and the Perry County Community Development Corporation. He received a degree in City and Regional Planning from The Ohio State University, and his background helps foster positive university and community partnerships.

Faith Knutsen, Director, Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Ohio University

Faith Knutsen has served the Voinovich School since 2008. Faith directs the Social Enterprise Ecosystem (SEE) project, funded by the Appalachian Regional Commission. SEE has a dual mission: bringing venture development services to regional social enterprises, which combine a market-based approach with a mission for social good, and capacity-building for philanthropic funders interested in impact investment. Faith lectures on entrepreneurship and venture development and aids in regional K-12 and college pitch competitions. Before joining the Voinovich School, Faith worked for 12 years in an executive role at Sunpower, Inc., an Athens Ohio-based, 60-employee research and development engineering firm. Her early career in international development began with a tour as a Peace Corps volunteer in Central Africa and segued into international consulting. Faith holds a bachelor’s degree from Oberlin College and a master’s degree from Ohio University.

Peter Kotses, Baileys Mountain Bike Trail Project

Peter Kotses is a good listener and willing to work with everyone, traits gained as a small business owner and an elected official in city government. As a community member, Peter has volunteered for many different initiatives. Peter started conversations to reestablish mountain bike recreation in 2 state parks after users were banned for over a decade. On the Athens Lands and Conservation Advisory Commission he assisted in establishing a state nature preserve to connect a city and a state park. He served on the Athens Hock-Hocking Bikeway Committee for over a decade and in 2015 was invited to the initial conversations that re-sparked the Baileys Mountain Bike Trail Project. With lifelong community connections he was able to build a collaborative foundation that allowed the Baileys project to thrive. Peter holds a bachelor degree in History from Ohio University and possess his mother’s work ethic and his father’s reflective insight.

Marsha Lewis, Associate Professor and Senior Associate Dean, Ohio University

Marsha Lewis currently teaches in the MPA program and manages applied research projects related to education and public sector strategy development. She also serves as a senior data analyst for research and evaluation projects. Marsha helped develop the Ohio University Executive Leadership Institute and served as the Institute’s managing director for five years. She holds a Ph.D. in educational research and evaluation with concentrations in statistical analysis and psychometrics. Marsha is one of Ohio University’s lead researchers in the Ohio Education Research Center.

Bill McKell, CEO, Horizon Telcom

Bill McKell is CEO of Horizon Telcom, a regional fiber-optic network provider offering broadband services in southern and eastern Ohio, the Columbus and Indianapolis metropolitan markets and parts of West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Michigan with headquarters in Chillicothe. Bill previously served as CEO of Horizon PCS, a Sprint PCS affiliate serving most of those same areas and parts of 8 other states. He is a member of the board for the Greater Chillicothe and Ross County Development Partners organization and serves on the board of the Ohio Telecommunications Association. Bill is completing his ninth year on the Regional Coordinating Council for Ohio University- Chillicothe. Bill is an avid storyteller and writer who serves on the committee that hosts the Southern Ohio Storytelling Festival in Chillicothe every September.

John Molinaro, President, CEO, Appalachian Partnership Inc (API)

John Molinaro serves as President, CEO of the Appalachian Partnership Inc (API) and its subsidiary Appalachian Growth Capital.  Before joining API as CEO and launching its APEG subsidiary in 2012, Molinaro was co-director of the Community Strategies Group at the Aspen Institute in Washington, D.C.

Molinaro has been recognized as a leader in growing the economies of rural areas through holistic, sustainable placed-based approaches, focused on economic and community development throughout his 40-year career.  He has launched, operated and advised programs and organizations working in economic development, community development, workforce development, community-based philanthropy, business consulting and technical assistance, manufacturing assistance and technology transfer, small business lending and regional planning.

Julie Needs, Executive Director, The Sustainable Opportunity Development Center, Inc.

Julie is the Executive Director of the Sustainable Opportunity Development Center (SOD Center) in Salem, Ohio.  The SOD Center is an Economic Development non-profit organization promoting Workforce Development and Education, Business Development & Entrepreneurial Support, Business Retention & Expansion, and Downtown Revitalization in Salem and the surrounding area.

Julie joined The SOD Center in February 2018 after a 24 year career in the financial industry working throughout Western Pennsylvania and Northeast Ohio.  Her strategic management and extensive experience in the business world has assisted in growing The SOD Center Organization and bringing economic development to the region.

Dr. M. Duane Nellis, President, Ohio University

Dr. M. Duane Nellis was named the 21st president of Ohio University on February 22, 2017. As an internationally recognized scholar and national higher education leader, Dr. Nellis brings nearly four decades of experience in academia as a president, provost, dean and professor to Ohio University. He has led the institution toward strategic pathways that elevate academic quality, diversity and inclusion, and global engagement with a commitment to a sustainability ecosystem.

Prior to arriving at OHIO, Dr. Nellis was president of Texas Tech University. While at Texas Tech, Dr. Nellis was committed to enhancing the University’s presence as a top tier national public research university. He led Texas Tech to designation as a Carnegie highest research activity national research university. The institution was also designated nationally as an Innovative and Economic Prosperity University and received special recognition for university engagement during Nellis’ tenure.

He is recognized nationally and internationally for his research that utilizes satellite data and geographic information systems to analyze various dimensions of the Earth’s land surface. This research has been funded by more than 50 sources, such as NASA, the National Geographic Society, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. His research has led to more than 160 articles and reports in a wide range of professional journals, and over 20 books and book chapters, and his selection as a Fellow of the prestigious American Association for the Advancement of Science and as a Fellow of the Explorers Club in New York City. He is past president of the American Association of Geographers.

William N. Ruud, President and Professor of Management, Marietta College

On July 3, 2016, Dr. William N. (Bill) Ruud became Marietta College’s 19th President.  President Ruud established his leadership goals early on and they include putting students and their experience at Marietta first, as well as establishing the brand recognition of Marietta College as one of the top contemporary liberal arts institutions in the region.

Prior to joining Marietta, Ruud served as the 10th President of the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls, Iowa, from 2013 to 2016. During his three years at UNI, the institution reversed a downward enrollment trend and experienced increased donations in excess of $50 million.

Marietta is Ruud’s third presidency, as he was the 15th president at Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania from 2007 to 2013. At Shippensburg, Ruud implemented a facilities master plan in connection with the university’s strategic plan, increased enrollment and fundraising, and led the university’s development of an Academic Master Plan.

From 1981-93, Ruud taught management, organizational behavior, strategy, policy, and ethics courses at the University of Toledo. He served as the Assistant Dean of Undergraduate Studies, Associate Dean and Coordinator of the MBA program, served as the Associate Vice President for Student Affairs, Assistant Director of the University Honors Program and eventually served as Interim Dean of the College of Business Administration while at Toledo. 

Jennifer Simon, Executive Director, Regional Innovation Network

Jennifer Simon became the Executive Director of Regional Innovation at Ohio University (OHIO) in 2016 to build the LIGHTS Regional Innovation Network. Ms. Simon manages a network of ten place-based makerspaces and incubators in a three-state region.

Previously, she directed OHIO’s Innovation Center (IC) providing a supportive environment where entrepreneurs flourish. Successful companies graduated and created hundreds of jobs in the community.

Before coming to Ohio University, Simon served as President of the Athens County Economic Development and the Athens Chamber of Commerce, and as the Assistant Director of the Governor’s Office of Appalachia. She holds three degrees from Ohio University: BA in Political Science; Master’s of Public Administration; and a Master’s of Business Administration.

Charles (Chip) Spann, Director, Engineering & Technical Services, Connect Ohio

Mr. Spann performs engineering oversight of Connect Ohio’s technical assistance programs and interfaces directly with Ohio’s 120+ broadband providers during regular mapping updates. He developed the drive testing methodologies used by the Universal Service Administrative Company for the Federal Communications Commission’s Auction 901 and 902 funding recipients in addition to conducting field verification and mobile drive testing outside plant audits including Native American tribal lands. 

During the State Broadband Initiative, funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, he created field validation and wireless design models which were adopted as best practices by the FCC and National Telecommunications and Information Administration from 2010-2014. 

Mr. Spann, considered by many as a pioneer in the development of 2-way, digital, and high-speed data services during the 1990s, has 32 years of multiple discipline experience in executive leadership roles within the telecommunications industry including CATV, telephony, fixed wireless, and mobile wireless.

He currently serves as a technical consultant to the Ohio Department of Transportation, under their TIGER VII grant program, as well as responsibility for engineering analysis and recommendations under the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development’s broadband grant program.

Megan Wanczyk, Vice President of Communications and Programs, Foundation for Appalachian Ohio

Megan joined FAO in 2009, where she leads the Foundation’s communications and programs strategy, including the management of grantee and partner engagement as well as development of the Foundation’s Pillars of Prosperity grantmaking strategy. Prior to joining the Foundation team, Megan, who received her MPA from Ohio University and is a graduate of the College of the Holy Cross, worked in public and community relations for theaters in Boston. 

Mark Weinberg, Founding Dean, Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs at Ohio University

Mark L. Weinberg is a professor of Leadership and Public Affairs at Ohio University specializing in the areas of organizational strategy and public sector value creation. He is the founding and current Dean of Ohio University’s George V. Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs. In 2002, he was named the Appalachian Regional Commission’s Whisman Scholar and served in that capacity for three years.  He currently is a member of the Ohio Innovation Funding Commission.

Mark received his undergraduate and master’s degrees from the University of Maryland and his doctorate from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He has taught a range of management courses including the capstone seminar in Public Administration, Public Budgeting, Financial Management, and Public Policy Analysis and published in these areas.  He was on the faculty of The Ohio University Executive Leadership Institute from 1998 to 2010.

As Dean, Mark also provides strategic oversight of economic development at Ohio University, including a range of business technical assistance programs and equity funding for high-growth businesses in the Appalachian Region of Ohio.

Tasha Werry, Executive Director, Building Bridges to Careers

Tasha Werry started her professional career as a middle school teacher with Marietta City Schools and taught for 12 years. Moving into a grant coordinator’s position with the district propelled her into supporting the schools with implementation of school reform initiatives. Through this work, she realized a need for deepening the relationship between the community and local businesses and the schools, not just Marietta City Schools, but all of the schools in the county. Building upon collaborative efforts already in existence in the county, Tasha supported the founding of Building Bridges to Careers (BB2C) in 2012 to further connect students, teachers, and parents to business and community adults in order to increase career awareness for students. She went on to complete her Educational Doctorate in 2016, with BB2C as the focus of her research. BB2C has spent that last 7 years developing programs that work to engage all stakeholders and support the mission, and became an official non-profit in 2017. The most recent project is the Epicenter, which is a youth and entrepreneurial development center located in Marietta, Ohio, that includes a small business incubator, a community makerspace, and the BB2C offices.

James K. Woodell 

Dr. Jim Woodell helps to realize the economic and societal impact of higher education. He provides professional services to institutions of higher education, and to their current and prospective partners in the private, civic, and government sectors. 

Spanning multiple areas of impact, Dr. Woodell’s expertise includes: community development and improved quality of life in regions through higher education engagement, outreach, and public service; education, training, and workforce development, including strategies for design and delivery of programs; and R&D and innovation, including technological advancement, entrepreneurship, and regional technology-based economic development.

Dr. Woodell recently served as vice president for economic development and community engagement at the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), where he created the Office of Economic Development and Community Engagement. He worked with university presidents and chancellors, provosts, senior research officers—and associate and assistant vice presidents with responsibility for innovation, entrepreneurship, talent development, and community engagement—to highlight, advance, and scale effective practices. Through this work, Dr. Woodell maintained APLU’s strong presence in national issues related to the economic and social impacts of public research universities.

Prior to joining APLU, Dr. Woodell served as Assistant Director for Transformative Regional Engagement (TRE) Networks, focused on bringing together participants in the “quadruple helix” of business, government, universities, and non-profits for innovation-driven regional development. 

Having worked in distance education, instructional media, and e-learning for nearly 20 years, Dr. Woodell has experience ranging from the design and production of video for training, to coordinating the distribution of satellite-based videoconferences, to the development of online courses for teachers.  

Kathy M. Zook, ARC Program Manager, Eastgate Regional Council of Governments

Kathy Zook has been the ARC Program Manager for Eastgate Regional Council of Governments since 2009. Kathy is a graduate of the University of Akron and has worked in public service for over 21 years managing various programs such as the Eastgate ARC program, 5310 Specialized Transportation Program and OhioRideshare.

As a Council of Governments in Youngstown, Ohio, Eastgate represents the three counties of Ashtabula, Mahoning, and Trumbull.  Eastgate serves as a regional forum to discuss issues of mutual interest and concern, and to develop recommendations and plans to address those issues. Eastgate is committed to promoting cooperative regional efforts in the planning, programming, and implementation of public sector activities. Eastgate serves its member communities through its many state and federal designations such as being an, Economic Development District, ARC Local Development District, Ohio Public Works Commission District, Metropolitan Planning Organization, and Water Quality Planning agency.