Delta Leadership Institute Graduates 10 AR Leaders Poised to Support Economic Development Efforts

July 30, 2018

Left to right: Erica Tait, Denver Peacock, Ateca Williams, Amy Fecher (DRA board designee), Chris Caldwell (DRA chairman), Len Blaylock, Mark O’Mell, Ben Gilmore, Carla Sparks, and Gregory Dale.

PADUCAH, Ky. – The Delta Regional Authority (DRA) congratulates 10 new Arkansas graduates of the Delta Leadership Institute (DLI) Executive Academy who now have the tools to support DRA’s efforts to create jobs, build communities, and improve lives across Arkansas and the Delta region. 

The 10 graduates completed the year-long DLI Executive Academy, a training program that brings together public, private, and nonprofit-sector leaders from each of the eight states served by DRA. The program equips participants with the tools, experiences and networks that will help them create new economic opportunities in Delta communities as well as support the growth of the region’s economy.

“DLI is an important tool to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of economic development efforts in the Delta region,” DRA Chairman Chris Caldwell said. “We are investing in these Arkansas leaders who are ready to help us and our partners contribute to job growth for Delta residents.”

The graduates participated in six training sessions over the past year to educate them on the regional and local economic and community development tools that are working for Delta communities to spark ideas that can be implemented in their own communities.

“Another class of top-notch graduates from the Delta Leadership Institute ensures that we will continue to improve life for everyone who lives and works in the Delta,” said Gov. Asa Hutchinson. “Congratulations to these 10 professionals for completing this training. I am grateful for your commitment to this work and for the good you will do.”

The Arkansas graduates are:

  • Len Blaylock, Warren | Executive Director, Bradley County Economic Development Corporation
  • Gregory Dale, Wynne | Southern Region Community Economic Development Coordinator, USDA Rural Development
  • Ben Gilmore, Crossett | Deputy Chief of Staff, Office of Lieutenant Governor Tim Griffin
  • Moses Goldmon, Monticello | Vice Chancellor for Student Engagement, University of Arkansas at Monticello
  • Mark O’Mell, Marianna | Executive Director, Crossroads Coalition
  • Denver Peacock, Little Rock | Principal, The Peacock Group
  • Carla Sparks, Little Rock | Rural Outreach Coordinator, Arkansas Children’s Hospital
  • Hillary Starnes, Jonesboro | Community Service Manager, City of Jonesboro
  • Erica Tait, Jonesboro | Director, Jonesboro Metropolitan Planning Organization
  • Ateca Williams, Little Rock | Deputy Chief of Staff of Internal Operations, Office of Governor Asa Hutchinson

DLI fellows learn from local, regional and national experts in infrastructure and transportation, small business and entrepreneurship, workforce training, public health and other fields necessary for economic growth in the Delta region.

Since 2005, DLI's Executive Academy has enhanced the leadership skills, policy knowledge and networks of community members in the Delta region. After graduation, the Arkansas graduates become members of the Delta Leadership Network, which includes more than 500 community leaders who understand the importance of regional collaboration, resource sharing and innovative thinking.

DLI is a program of DRA in partnership with three institutions of higher education in the Delta region: The University of Alabama, Arkansas State University-Jonesboro and the University of Louisiana Monroe.

Contact: Andrew Moreau