New Year’s Message: Looking Back on a Good Year and Looking Forward to AnotherDecember 31, 2015
Literary greats have often described the New Year as a blank book, with many pages yet to be written, but in a region like ours we know history lives on with us, and for the DRA our past work lays a strong foundation for a great year ahead.
As we look back on an exciting and busy year, the Delta Regional Authority remains committed to spreading the good word of the Delta region and working hard for the future of our communities, families, and businesses. 2015 has seen the DRA expand our investments, create new programs, advance policy initiatives, and strengthen the effectiveness and efficiency of our operations.
Reflecting on the past year, the following headlines of accomplishments and opportunities for Delta communities come to mind:
- January: New website launches new tools to drive investment, innovation, entrepreneurship
- January-March: DRA launches the Delta Entrepreneurship Network and Delta Challenges to identify, strengthen entrepreneurs in Delta
- March: ACT and DRA announce partnership designed to boost workforce, sustain economic growth
- April: DRA, Arkansas State University lead in formation of eight-state research consortium
- April: National Rural Health Association recognizes DRA-US Military partnership as 2015 Outstanding Rural Health Program
- May: Global experts meet in Memphis to discuss rural competitiveness for the 21st Century
- July: Memphis, South Louisiana named as 2015 Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership designated communities
- July: DRA commits funding to reach $1 million invested into Jobs for America's Graduates
- July: Delta Leadership Institute graduates 48 from tenth class of Executive Academy
- August: DRA launches Today's Delta online research tool to support local leaders with economic development
- September: Federal partners announce dates and locations for economic development and disaster recovery workshops
- October: DRA partners with Mississippi mayors to support infrastructure improvements in Delta communities
- November: Delta Leadership Institute sends local leaders to Harvard for executive training
And most recently this month, Congress has empowered the Delta Regional Authority to do more in helping to create jobs, build communities, and improve the lives of the nearly 10 million people living in the Delta region by expanding our budget to nearly $30 million.
Beginning with a new website and ending with a new budget is a great way to bookend a positive, impactful 2015. We will use this foundation to continue onward into 2016, working hard to make strategic investments into the future of the Delta region, its communities, and its people. On behalf of the DRA's board members and staff, I thank you for all the work you have done to create economic opportunities for your neighbors and for your continued support of the Delta Regional Authority. May we together write into history an even more successful 2016!
Chris Masingill and Mike Marshall
Delta Regional Authority