Join us for the 11th Annual Rural Policy Forum in Safford/Thatcher August 9, 10, 11
at Eastern Arizona College in the Activities Center on the NW corner of campus.
Wednesday, August 9
Join us a day early at noon for an economic development tour in the nearby region and meet fellow attendees and local leaders. Main conference programming begins on Thursday, August 10.
Economic Development Tour, 12:00 PM
Wednesday August 9th. Join us at noon for a fantastic economic development tour of the region. Learn first-hand about jobs and industries in Graham County. We bet you didn’t realize how much science and innovative technology is happening here! Join us for lunch and the tour of 5 of the region’s leading innovators and get to hear from experts and owners doing world class work. Meet at Discovery Park Campus, 1651 W. Discovery Park Blvd, Safford, 85546, at 12:00 p.m.
Wednesday, August 9
A Taste of Graham County Dinner: Official Launch Party, 5:30 PM
Wednesday August 9th. Join us at 5:30 for the spectacular launch of the 2017 Rural Policy Forum, “Taste of Graham County’ which will feature 5 regional restaurants, great food, entertainment, and the best networking in Rural Arizona! This event will be outside at the Golf Course with a cash bar and live music. Cost: $25 – Click here to get your ticket!
For this fabulous dinner, we will be treated to Mesquite Grilled Top Sirloin Steak Strips with Potato Skins from Copper Steer Steak House, Hawaiian food from local favorites Kainoa’s Grill, tamales and more from La Paloma and El Charro, plus an ice cream dessert bar from Taylor Freeze! Be sure to join us for this launch party to get the event started right!
Located on the beautiful greens of the Mt Graham Municipal Gold Course (3999 W Golf Course Rd, Thatcher, AZ 85552), we’ll be celebrating and networking under a large canopy with live music and great fun! $25
Thursday, August 10
The main conference program begins on Thursday at 7:30 AM and concludes on Friday at 3 PM. Join us for enlightening speakers, topics, and breakout sessions.
We will have our sessions updated regularly, so be sure to check back here soon and often. Schedule subject to change.
Thursday August 10th: All sessions below will be at the Student Center at Eastern Arizona College, 615 N Stadium Ave, Thatcher, AZ 85552 Click here for the Thatcher Campus Map and click here for the Activities Center Map.
Breakfast 7:30 AM- 9:30 AM
Josh Olmsted, Senior Vice President – North American Copper, Freeport-McMoRan Inc.
We will start the morning hearing from 5 rapid fire presenters, each sharing the inspiring work they’re doing in rural communities across the state in 10 minutes or less!
Hector Zelaya, Certified Public Manager Program at ASU
Dr. Thea Wilshire, Old Dominion Mine
Phillip Potter, The Armory, a business incubator for veterans
Anne Byrne, Leadership for Sustainable Communities Initiative
Charmaine Chidester, Dreambuilder Graham County
Thursday 10:00 AM- 11:30 AM
Four concurrent sessions:
1. New Approaches to Attracting and Retaining Small Businesses
Leadership for Sustainable Communities Cohort
Leadership for Sustainable Communities is an initiative of the ASU Lodestar Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Innovation and the Freeport-McMoRan Foundation to build sustainability in 11 communities where there is a FMI mine presence. Each community selected one economic development or education related issue to address through a cohort of community volunteers. Four communities, Ajo, Bisbee, Graham County and Green Valley – Sahuarita selected Attracting and Retaining Business as their issue area. At this panel, Leaders of these cohorts will share information about their efforts, process and aspirations in addressing this issue.
Anne Byrne, moderator, ASU Lodestar Center and Leadership for Sustainable Communities
Aaron Cooper, Executive Director, International Sonoran Desert Alliance, Ajo
Joe Goodman, Graham County Planning and Zoning Director
Jennifer Luria, Tourism Manager, Bisbee Visitor’s Center
Victor Gonzalez, Director, Town of Sahuarita Economic Development
2. Nonprofit Collaboration: How To Get More Done for Less
In this session, we’ll hear about amazing examples of diverse nonprofits coming together to achieve a common goal for the betterment of the greater community.
Bobby Davis, Economic Development Director, Visit Rim Country, Payson
Pats Shriver, Regional Director, Arizona Community Foundation of Flagstaff
Devonna McLaughlin, Executive Director of Housing Solutions of Northern Arizona
Royce Hunt, Executive Director, SEACUS, Safford
3. AAED presents: Successful Community Conversations – Hands on Workshop
The Arizona Association for Economic Development has facilitated community dialogues on economic development impediments throughout Arizona. Those attending this session will leave with a tool to host their local conversations no matter the community topic. Prepare to roll up your sleeves and be engaged in this session.
Mignonne Hollis, AZED Pro, Executive Director, Arizona Regional Economic Development Foundation
Joyce Grossman, AZED Pro, Executive Director, Arizona Association for Economic Development
4. Arizona Commerce Authority Presents: Getting Your Community Industry Ready
The Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA) is leading the nation in entrepreneurial activity, focusing on helping communities attract new businesses and assess their current infrastructure and capacity to be competitive. Join us in learning about the latest resources available, as well as current and past success in rural Arizona.
Ramsay Wharton, Program Manager, Office of Film & Digital Media, ACA
Kiva Couchon, Director of Industry Affairs, Arizona Office of Tourism
Keith Watkins, Senior Vice-President, Economic/Rural Development, ACA
11:45 AM-1:15 PM
LUNCHTIME with KEYNOTE SPEAKER PETER KAGEYAMA,
“For the Love of Great Places”
LUNCH DEBRIEF: Debra Socia will share outcomes from Digital Southwest: A Regional Broadband Summit earlier this year
Thursday, 1:30 PM- 3:00 PM
Four concurrent sessions:
1. Increasing Local Government Capacity
Bob Ramsey Executive Education is the only nationally accredited provider of the Certified Public Manager (CPM) credential in Arizona. The ASU Certified Public Manager Program is accredited by the National CPM Consortium and is designed to develop the effectiveness of municipal, county, state, tribal, and federal public managers.
Hector Zelaya, Director, Bob Ramsey Executive Education
2. Food: Refueling Rural Arizona
The local food movement has moved from small farmer’s markets to a major economic engine for many rural communities. Find out more about building healthy food systems, job creation, tourism development, and increased healthy food access in this exciting session about locally produced foods.
Mila Besich-Lira, Mayor of Superior
Karalea Cox, Southern Gila County CDC
Nina Sajovec, Center for Sustainable Agriculture, Ajo
Kate Radosevic, Local First Arizona Foundation and Good Food Finder
Max Crain, Our Neighbor’s Farm and Pantry, Graham County
3: Why Planned Giving is Important for Rural Arizona Nonprofits
We may be rural, but our residents have resources, and everyone has an estate! Like any other gift, you must ask for it, and you must have a stable and trustworthy organization. In this session we will hear about some EASY planned gifts to promote and will walk away with resources for developing a planned giving program.
Judi Smith, Director of Planning Giving, Arizona Community Foundation
4. Interactive Breakout Session with Peter Kageyama 1:30-3:00
Join Peter for a deeper dive into the ideas about great place making that he lays out in his keynote presentation. Learn how to inexpensively implement these creative ideas back home and gain some key insights into elements to consider in any plan that involves the “co-creators” in your community. Creating a sense of place can help support strategies for diverse objectives such as increasing tourism, attracting small businesses or retaining more youth. This is a highly interactive session with opportunities for questions and discussion.
Thursday 3:15 pm – 4:45 PM
Four concurrent sessions:
1. Microloans: Getting the Job Done By Capitalizing Small, Rural Businesses
Microloans might be the tool that finally gets the deal done. Do you want to try to start a microloan program from scratch or use one that exists? Come here about organizations that are lending in rural areas with an eye toward community development. Dialogue and cases studies to be shared showing a variety of ways to achieve success.
Casey Rooney, Verde Valley Regional Economic Organization
Rachel Burgoyne, Loan Officer, Accion
Jeff Hays, Community Programs Director, USDA Rural Development
Susan Craig, Communications Director, Water Infrastructure Finance Authority of Arizona (WIFA)
Sara Konrad, Environmental Program Supervisor, Water Infrastructure Finance Authority of Arizona (WIFA)
2. Innovative Resources and Strategies for Mental Health and Substance Use in Rural Communities
This session is brought to you by Cenpatico, a southern Arizona organization focused on new programs and approaches to increase access to treatment as an alternative to incarceration, all in partnership with law enforcement. Learn what’s been working, what barriers have been encountered, and what’s on the horizon.
Stacey Cope, Overdose Prevention Coordinator, Sonoran Prevention Works
Jason Rivera, Associate Director of Prevention Services, Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation
More Speakers TBA
3. Telling a Better Story for Rural Communities
With the ever increasing divide between rural and urban communities, rural people need to work on telling our powerful and engaging stories so that our stories don’t get told for us.
Gary Kellogg, Lake Havasu City
Karalea Cox, Common Sense Facilitation, Eagar
Sebra Choe, Town of Camp Verde
JJ Lamb, Founder, Arizona Storying, Vail Preservation Society
4. Youth Councils and Great Ways to Engage Students
Having a hard time retaining bright young folks in your town? Hear about effective communication for Millennials (and younger!) and programs that keep them engaged, productive, and rooted in place.
Dustin Runyan, Lake Havasu City
Bryan Seppala, Rural by Choice in the Copper Corridor
Bobby Narcho, G-squared in Ajo
Sebra Choe, Camp Verde Youth Council
Thursday Night Dinner, 5:30 PM
Thursday evening, join us for a special Chuckwagon Cookout at the Manor House (415 US-70, Safford, AZ 85546)! Continue to network and dance into the night. Click here for tickets
5:30 PM- 10:00 PM
The main course features Dutch oven cooked pulled beef and will also feature Arizona wines grown in the region, freshly-made fry breads, a Salsa Trail Tasting Bar, and locally-made pastries. The event will be hosted at Manor House Convention Center from 5:30pm – 8:30pm on August 10, 2017. Tickets $30.
Friday, August 11
Friday August 11th, Eastern Arizona College
Breakfast 7:30 AM- 9:30 AM
We will start each morning hearing from 3 rapid fire presenters, each sharing the inspiring work they’re doing in rural communities across the state in 10 minutes or less!
Pats Shriver and Devonna McLaughlin, Tax Credit Coalition
Dustin Runyon, Engaging Millennials
Jill Bernstein, Keep Arizona Beautiful
BREAKFAST KEYNOTE DEB NELSON – “The Power of Grassroots Initiatives”
Successfully accomplishing change in a rural culture can be difficult and painstakingly slow. Learn how the rural energy counties of western North Dakota were able to 1) reach consensus on how to improve infrastructure; 2) maintain its rural quality of life; 3) work to sustain the region through economic diversification strategies; and 4) affect policy for the region and the state. During this session, participants will learn how the multi-jurisdiction Vision West ND has led a grassroots effort to affect all these essential objectives to ensure a long-term sustainable future for western North Dakota.
Friday 10:00 AM-11:30 AM
Four concurrent sessions:
1. Role Sharing: Creating a Strategic Plan and Sticking To It
Accountability and execution are essential parts of any community or organizational plan. How do we keep folks in their own lane and get results? We’ll have a robust conversation about holding people accountable while keeping them engaged.
Casey Rooney, Economic Development Director, City of Cottonwood
Bobby Davis, Economic Development Director, Town of Payson
Larry Catten, Economic Development Planner, Southeastern Arizona Governments Organization (SEAGO)
2: Historical Landmarks that Drive Tourism; Funding Historical Tourism
Arizona is rich with cultural landmarks and history, which bring visitors from around the world. Learn about creative and affordable marketing strategies, as well as little-known resources, that can work to bring new visitation to your place.
DeAnnethea Begay, Operations Assistant Manager, Moenkopi Legacy Inn and Suites
James Surveyor, Operations Manager, Moenkopi Developers Corporation
Ken Zoll, Director, Verde Valley Archaeology
Jennifer Luria, Tourism Manager, Queen Mine tour in Bisbee
Joanna Brace, Arizona State Parks
3. Leveraging Rivers and Waterways to Drive Visitation and Build Economic Opportunity
Tourism in Arizona is a booming industry that brings new dollars and jobs. Find out more about how towns of all sizes are leveraging their existing waterway assets to create economic opportunities.
Debbie Cress, Tanto National Forest
Doug Von Gausig, Verde River Institute
Mary Hamilton, Parker Regional Chamber of Chamber and Tourism
4. The Rural State of Mind: Grassroots is an Attitude <<Workshop>>
This workshop will provide us with an opportunity to take a close look at ourselves as rural people. We’ll laugh and shake our heads a little as we look at our customs and culture and see why and where we may be misunderstood. We’ll drill into the grassroots attitude and how to leverage that attitude to help others understand who we are and why rural matters! We’ll identify specific methods and steps for igniting a grassroots initiative in your community.
Deb Nelson, Vision West
Karalea Cox, Southern Gila County EDC
LUNCH 11:45- 1:15 PM
We will enjoy lunch while hearing from 4 rapid fire presenters, each sharing the inspiring work they’re doing in rural communities across the state in 10 minutes or less!
Arlene Alen, Nonprofit capacity building
Jon Ford, Vitalyst Foundation: Year of Healthy Communities
Kimberly Termain, Arizona at Work, Graham County
Kal Mannis, RAIN and Science Happens Here
LUNCH DEBRIEF- Robin Hanson Alliance of AZ nonprofits- Leveraging Non Profit Partnerships for the VISTA program
Friday, 1:30 PM- 3:00 PM
Three concurrent sessions
1. Events: Learn from others roundtable.
If you have an event that is in need of an overhaul, or you need fresh perspective on what would make it better, this session is for you! Come here from peers across the state, many of whom have faced similar situations. The panel will give you ideas and constructive feedback!
Julia Brooks, Wickenburg Chamber of Commerce
Luis Heredia, Tamale Festival, San Luis
Sue Anderson, Superior Chamber of Commerce
David Baird, Manager Four Eight Wineworks, Vintner, Co-Owner Oddity Wine Collective
Rod Keeling, Willcox Wine Festival, Keeling-Schaefer Vineyards
More info on how to apply for review coming soon!
2.Cleaning Up: Local Waste Solutions Lead to More Vibrant Rural Communities
Many rural communities struggle with keeping towns clean. From waste diversion challenges such as illegal dumping and lack of recycling options to dealing with dilapidated buildings and contaminated sites, there’s a lot to do to keep towns clean and healthy. Discover resources and strategies you can bring home to improve the quality of life for your community.
Jill Bernstein, Keep Arizona Beautiful
J.B. Shaw, Recycling Coordinator, AZ Department of Environmental Quality; Board member, AZ Recycling Coalition
Jennie Cure, Brownfields Coordinator, AZ Department of Environmental Quality
Christy Sangster-Begay, San Carlos Apache, Keep Apache Lands Beautiful
Kathy Valenzuela, City of Gila Bend, Social Services Director
Jenny Howard, Utility Director, City of Safford
3. Putting Your Oxygen Mask on First: How to Avoid Burnout and Help Others Succeed
Are you part of the STP in your hometown? Being part of the Same Ten People who do all the work can be taxing. Work, family, volunteer opportunities and social commitments often leave us feeling drained and stressed. Even with proper time-management tools in place, why can’t you ever gain control of your schedule? Come learn what successful people are doing to avoid burnout and find the ever elusive “balance” in life. These strategies can be used to expand the level of satisfaction of your paid or unpaid workforce to keep them engaged!
Charmaine Chidester, Small Business Development Center, Eastern Arizona College
Rural Policy Forum Concludes at 3:00 PM
Stay Tuned for Weekend Activities and Recommendations!
*Subject to change; check in for all of the latest updates! We are adding to this agenda regularly, so check back.