Delta Regional Authority
November 12, 2018  
follow us

Delta News Round-up

In this Issue: DRA Begins 2018-19 Leadership Class | Senator Cassidy Hosts Economic Development Forum in Louisiana | Helena-West Helena Celebrates DRA Funding

DRA Begins 2018-19 Leadership Class

Thirty-one fellows from across the Delta region have joined the Delta Leadership Institute (DLI) Executive Academy class for 2018-19.

The fellows will participate in the 10-month program to improve their skills in community leadership and policy development, promote regional collaboration and help drive economic growth in DRA’s eight-state region.

The fellows, who were selected by their state’s governor and DRA leadership, represent a diverse cohort of community leaders. The class includes three members from Alabama; six from Arkansas; four from Illinois; two from Kentucky; five from Louisiana; five from Mississippi; one from Missouri; and five from Tennessee. 

Since 2005, DLI has worked to strengthen the knowledge and skills of community leaders across the Delta by broadening their understanding of regional issues and building a corps of alumni that have a regional and national perspective. Upon graduation, the 31 new members will have a toolkit of resources for addressing issues facing their local communities and providing the training and professional development needed to extend the pipeline of skilled local leadership within Delta communities. 


  • Steven Layton of Brewton | Public Land Manager/Economic Development for the City of Brewton 
  • Veronica Triplett of Tuscaloosa | Director, Center for Business & Entrepreneurial Services at the University of West Alabama 
  • Martha Vignes of Montgomery | Executive Director for the Southeast Alabama Area Health Education Center 


  • Tiffny Calloway, Jonesboro | Director of Community Development for the City of Jonesboro 
  • Aaron Germany, Helena | Director of Career and Technical Education at Phillips Community College of the University of Arkansas 
  • Amy Hopper, North Little Rock | Program Officer for Winrock International 
  • Jennifer Reaves, Jonesboro | Community Development Specialist at the Arkansas Department of Health 
  • Eddie Thomas, Pine Bluff | WIOA Area Manager or the Southeast Arkansas Economic Development District 
  • Jordyn Williams, Lake Village | Program Technician – CDC Obesity Reduction at the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service 


  • Ted Gutierrez, Carbondale | Managing Director at the Jackson County Mass Transit District
  • Deborah Johnson, Mounds | Trio Educational Talen Search Director at Shawnee Community College
  • Steven McKeown, Herrin | President of Kindled Flame Ministries
  • Travis Zettler, Sesser | City Alderman for the City of Sesser


  • Raymond Hagerman, Madisonville | President of the Madisonville Hopkins County Economic Development Corporation
  • Dr. Michael Ramage, Benton | Director for the Center for Telecommunications Systems Management at Murray State University


  • Daryl Fortenberry, Monroe | Chief Executive Officer of Ghost Tactical
  • Staci Mitchell, West Monroe | Mayor of the City of West Monroe
  • Stacey Neal, Amite | Director for Community Competitiveness at Louisiana Economic Development
  • Rachel Shields, New Orleans | Chief of Staff at GNO, Inc.
  • John Thompson, Pineville | Community Development Specialist at USDA Rural Development


  • Christopher Hinton, Ridgeland | Community Development Manager at Entergy Mississippi, Inc.
  • Theresa Kennedy, Ridgeland | Senior Advisor at fifty-five twenty, LLC
  • Janie Mortimer, Winona | Project Manager at the Grenada County Economic Development District
  • Chelesa Presley, Batesville | Outreach Coordinator for Tougaloo College’s Delta HealthPartners Healthy Start Initiative
  • Lauren Wilson, Brandon | Community Development Officer & Compliance/CRA Specialist at State Bank and Trust Company


  • Brian Gerau, Jackson | Executive Director of the Jackson Area Chamber of Commerce


  • Michael Banks, Brownsville | Attorney at the Banks Law Firm, P.A.
  • William Martin, Huntingdon | Doctor of Chiropractic at Southern Chiropractic and Acupuncture
  • Joey Mehlhorn, Martin | Parker Chair of Excellence at the University of Tennessee at Martin
  • Katherine Milligan, Memphis | Chief of Staff at Start Co.
  • Erica Plybeah Hemphill, Cordova | Founder & CEO of Medhaul and Clinical Informatics Project Manager at the Memphis Bioworks Foundation
Click Here for the News Release

Senator Cassidy Hosts Economic Development Forum in Louisiana

DRA joined U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, (R-LA), and business and community leaders from North Louisiana at the Delta Region Economic Development Summit sponsored by the senator. The event was held in Monroe, LA, and included participation from the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Education and the Interior as well as the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Several state agencies focusing on economic development, education and workforce training, and small business assistance also participated in the forum, which provided information on how businesses can tap into the resources available through federal and state agencies.

Senator Cassidy put together the forum to help residents and businesses in the Louisiana delta region connect with local government and federal agencies to improve job prospects and enhance economic development opportunities in the region.

The summit was provide at no cost to attendees.

Helena-West Helena Celebrates DRA Funding

DRA Chairman Chris Caldwell joined community and business leaders in Helena, AR, to celebrate the agency’s funding of sewage treatment improvements in Helena-West Helena.

DRA is investing $225,000 to help repair exterior levee walls supporting treatment ponds in the city. The antiquated levees are deteriorating and a breach would cause untreated sewage to flow onto farmland and a nearby subdivision, and into the Mississippi River.

The upgrade will protect area residents and businesses from unsafe and unsanitary conditions and improve life for 4,600 families. 

Upcoming Events:

Click Here To Submit An Event

DRA Newsroom:

Delta Regional Authority

236 Sharkey Avenue - Suite 400
Clarksdale, MS 38614
(662) 624-8600 | DRA.GOV

View online | Unsubscribe