Delta Leadership Institute Graduates 5 IL Leaders Poised to Support Economic Development Efforts

July 30, 2018

Left to Right: Jenny Pruitt, Karen Stallman, Mark York, Kristy Stephenson (DRA board designee), Chris Caldwell (DRA chairman), Tom Harness, and Tiffany George.

PADUCAH, Ky. – The Delta Regional Authority (DRA) congratulates five new Illinois 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 southern Illinois and the Delta region.

The five 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 Illinois 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.

“Congratulations to the Illinois graduates of the Delta Leadership Institute Executive Academy,” said Gov. Bruce Rauner.  “I appreciate their commitment to their communities, southern Illinois and the Delta region.”

The Illinois graduates are:

  • Tiffany George, Villa Ridge | Executive Director, Southern Five Regional Planning District & Development Commission
  • Tom Harness, Carterville | Owner, Harness Digital Marketing
  • Jenny Pruitt, Broughton | District Aide, U.S. Congressman John Shimkus
  • Karen Stallman, Ellis Grove | Director of Community Relations, Southern Illinois University Carbondale
  • Mark York, Equality | Finance Chair, Gallatin County Board

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 Illinois 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