Delta Leadership Institute Graduates 7 LA Leaders Poised to Support Economic Development Efforts

July 30, 2018

Left to right: Makesha Judson, Lee Jones, Ardyn Thriffiley, Leslie Durham (DRA board designee), Chris Caldwell (DRA chairman), Donna Isaacs, Hunter Fife, George Mack, Jr., and David Cavell.

PADUCAH, Ky. – The Delta Regional Authority (DRA) congratulates seven new Louisiana 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 Louisiana and the Delta region.

The seven 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 Louisiana 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.

“We need well-trained leaders who understand the value of our Delta regions and are committed to helping the economies of these vital communities grow, which is exactly what the DLI provides,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said.  “Congratulations to all of the graduates.  I’m excited to see the innovative and effective ways in which you will use your new skills to create opportunities that will improve the lives of the hardworking families in our rural communities.”       

 The Louisiana graduates are:

  • David Cavell, Thibodaux | District Director, U.S. Congressman Garret Graves
  • Hunter Fife, Rayville | Manager-Ag Operations, Lamb Weston
  • Donna Isaacs, Campti | Executive Director, Campti Field of Dreams, Inc.
  • Lee Jones, Alexandria | Assistant to the State Director, USDA Rural Development
  • Makesha Judson, Baton Rouge | Office of Mayor-President Sharon Broome
  • George Mack, Jr., Ruston | Board Member, Lincoln Parish School Board
  • Ardyn Thriffiley, New Orleans | President, Ardyn M. Thriffiley & Associates, Inc.

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 Louisiana 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