OVRDC in Washington DC

OVRDC Attends Annual Development Associations Conference

Last week, OVRDC staff members travelled to Washington DC for The National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) and the Development District Association of Appalachia (DDAA) conference held Sunday, March 13 to Wednesday, March 16, 2022. OVRDC is a member organization of both NADO and DDAA.

The conference featured four days of panels, sessions and meetings focused on regional development, the federal landscape, and program successes. Attendees gain insights on policy and advocate for important priorities for our regional stakeholders.

On Monday, Executive Director John Hemmings took part in the discussion on advocacy, Raising Your Voice: The Importance of Connecting and Aligning for Impact. During this session, panelists discussed how they are conducting advocacy and promoting messaging around local priorities, to highlight how local community leaders in Appalachian Ohio are making connections, overcoming barriers, and partnering on issues of local and regional importance.

Executive Director John Hemmings took part in the panel discussion on advocacy, Raising Your Voice: The Importance of Connecting and Aligning for Impact. The panel also included Amista Lipot, Ohio University Director of External Relations and Strategic Partnerships for the Voinovich School of Leadership & Public Service and the Executive Director for the Mayors’ Partnership for Progress www.mayorspartnership.org

“Advocacy requires patience; you are not always going to be successful on the first try but you can’t give up based on prior results,” said John Hemmings, Executive Director, Ohio Valley Regional Development Commission; President, Ohio Rural Development Alliance.

In addition to the conference, OVRDC met with staff members of the Ohio Congressional delegation to thank them for their continued support and collaboration during an organized Lunch and Learn presentation on the annual impact of the Ohio Local Development Districts (LDD).

Staff visited Senator Rob Portman’s office to present to him the DDAA Congressional Award in recognition of his support. The collaboration between leadership, federal agency representatives, and stakeholders is essential to continued growth and economic development projects that make an impact in the region.

“It was great to be back in person for our first DDAA/NADO conference in Washington, D.C. The theme of the conference was advocacy, and our staff were privileged to get to spend time advocating for Appalachian Ohio on Capitol Hill, including a meaningful and productive visit with Senator Portman, who graciously took time after the presentation of his Congressional Award to speak personally with us and other Ohio LDD representatives about the challenges and triumphs in our regions,” said Jessica Keeton, OVRDC Economic Development Coordinator who attended the conference.

L to R: Stephanie Gilbert-OVRDC, Jessica Keeton-OVRDC, Julia Hinten-Governor’s Office of Appalachia (GOA), Director John Carey-Director GOA, John Hemmings-Executive Director OVRDC, and Austin Ward-GOA.

John Carey, Director of the Governor’s Office of Appalachia, received the DDAA 2022 John D. Whisman Vision Award in recognition of his dedication to the region and collaborative work to bring opportunities and resources to local leaders.

“It is always nice getting to build relationships with others who do what we do in other areas of the state and country. Sharing best practices and lessons learned enhances our ability to serve the region in the best way possible,” said Stephanie Gilbert, OVRDC Transportation Coordinator, who attended the conference.

The NADO/DDAA Conference is an annual event to bring together stakeholders from throughout Appalachian states and the nation to talk about the future of regional development and build relationships that encourage successful partnerships and projects.

OVRDC Executive Director John Hemmings presents on project successes with members of the district’s legislative staff.