Growing Rural Oregon

COICCOIC, a leader in rural community development in Oregon, provides the expertise, management, and area connections needed to support GRO. COIC has 50 years of experience heading initiatives in Crook, Deschutes and Jefferson counties, the cities of Bend, Culver, La Pine, Madras, Metolius, Prineville, Redmond and Sisters, as well as the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs. COIC employs more than 100 people and provides services in the following areas: employment and training, alternative high school education, business loans, transportation, and community and economic development. COIC is a dynamic, and trusted leader in economic development across the state, an ideal home for Growing Rural Oregon.

Visit: www.coic.org

COIC Team

Janel Ruehl

Janel Ruehl
COIC Program Administrator & GRO Project Manager

Janel is honored to serve as Project Manager for GRO, representing COIC and OEDD. She has 8+ years of experience in community development and non-profit management, with a special passion for rural communities. In addition to GRO, Janel developed and manages COIC’s Rural Community Building Program in partnership with Ford Family Foundation. She is also passionate about and engaged in local food system development, serving as COIC’s representative on the Oregon Community Food System Network, of which COIC was a founding member. She has supported many other regional projects during her time at COIC, including community wildfire preparedness, biomass energy, and rural broadband. When she’s not at work, Janel loves to play outside: gardening, hiking, cross country skiing, and paddle boarding are all favorites. She grew up in Sherwood, OR and although she spent more than ten years traveling across the country and abroad, she has always found “home” in the wild places and rural spaces of Oregon.

Janel Ruehl
Scott Aycock
COIC Director of Community & Economic Development & GRO Project Supervisor
Scott Aycock has been a leading voice in Economic Development in Central Oregon and across the state for more than 20 years. Working on a wide array of projects in transportation planning, community development, regional governance, natural resource management and more, Scott’s leadership, skills in project development and management, partnership and collaboration, and problem solving make him an invaluable leader at COIC. He is excited about the possibilities that GRO provides Central Oregon and the state as a whole to build stronger and more resilient rural economies.

The Ford Family Foundation was established in 1957 by Kenneth W. and Hallie E. Ford. Its mission is “successful citizens and vital rural communities” in Oregon and Siskiyou County, California. The Foundation is based in Roseburg, Oregon, with a scholarship office in Eugene.

Visit: www.tfff.org

The Ford Family Foundation Team

Kathleen Flanagan
Kathleen Flanagan
Director of Community & Economic Development
Kathleen Flanagan develops and implements strategic grantmaking areas on economic development in rural communities. This effort includes policy and practice in workforce development, entrepreneurship, rural economic development and promoting family economic success. She joined the Foundation in February 2016 from the Wildhorse Resort and Casino in Pendleton, Oregon, which is an enterprise of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation.

At the Wildhorse Resort and Casino, Kathleen was the business development manager for 18 years and created a microenterprise development program that offered Native Americans counseling, technical assistance and business training. She partnered with Greater Eastern Oregon Development Corp. to establish a revolving loan fund for Native American entrepreneurs. She also co-wrote a 20-year small business master plan and secured a $200,000 Native American Social Entrepreneurship Initiative grant.

Kathleen has been active in the Oregon Microenterprise Network Board of Directors where she served as president in 2013. She was appointed by the Oregon Governor’s Office to serve on the Grow Oregon Council (2012-2014). She is also a past president of the Pendleton Chamber of Commerce and is a graduate of the Ford Institute Leadership Program (2010).

Kathleen has a bachelor’s degree in business administration and economics (with honors) from Eastern Oregon University.

Kathleen Flanagan
Katie Jameson
Field Coordinator
Katie Jameson came to the Foundation in 2018 from the South Central Oregon Economic Development District in Klamath Falls where she supported the Rural Klamath Connects Network, a regional collaborative of five small, rural communities along the Oregon/California border. She worked to strengthen relationships and build partnerships with community members, organizations and local stakeholders. She assisted community volunteer teams with organizing, fundraising and project planning for community economic development, downtown revitalization and tourism initiatives.

Previously Katie worked in local government, higher education, outdoor recreation and with small agricultural businesses. She served as an AmeriCorps volunteer twice: with the community garden non-profit organization Grow Food, Grow Hope in Wilmington, Ohio and in the Klamath Basin as a Resource Assistance for Rural Environments (RARE) member through the University of Oregon.
As a field coordinator for The Ford Family Foundation, she works to build trusting relationships with community stakeholders to support long-term, sustainable action. She helps connect communities to resources from the Foundation and other sources.

Katie has a heart for rural and a passion for small-scale sustainable agriculture. She likes being on the water, enjoying the outdoors and new places, and is a huge music lover.

Originally from the Midwest, Katie holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Wilmington College, Ohio and master’s certificate in Geographic Information Sciences (GIS) from the University of Cincinnati.

e2E2 Entrepreneurial Ecosystems helps communities and regions connect, learn, and share best practices for building sustainable entrepreneurial ecosystems across North America.

With roots in rural America and more than 30 years of experience, we believe e2 Entrepreneurial Ecosystems is a go-to resource for communities and regions of all sizes wanting to pursue entrepreneurship as a development strategy for long-term, sustainable prosperity. You are invited to explore our long history in the field.

Our extensive network of partners, field-tested eCommunities development process and framework, books, custom analytics and more create robust learning opportunities for communities to build scalable ecosystem models that work.

Visit: www.energizingentrepreneurs.org

e2 Entrepreneurial Ecosystems Team

Don Macke
Don Macke
Vice President, e2 Entrepreneurial Ecosystems
Don Macke leads e2 Entrepreneurial Ecosystems (formerly the Center for Rural Entrepreneurship), an initiative with NetWork Kansas to build sustainable entrepreneurial ecosystems across North America. Don has over 40 years of community economic development and policy experience. He was most recently the Co-Founder and Co-Director of the national Center for Rural Entrepreneurship. Through this work, Don helps communities and regions throughout North America grow entrepreneur-focused economic development strategies and ecosystems. Don calls Nebraska home and he is a proud resident of America’s Great Plains Region.

Network KansasNetWork Kansas, a 501c3 nonprofit organization, is dedicated to making entrepreneurship a priority for economic and community development in the State of Kansas. NetWork Kansas connects aspiring entrepreneurs, emerging and established businesses, to a deep network of business-building and community development resource organizations across the state. NetWork Kansas facilitates the development of an entrepreneurial ecosystem within participating communities through the E-Community Partnership. Contributing factors to successful development include the availability of financial capital, support by local leadership, and development of educational resources. All of these factors combine to increase entrepreneurial activity in participating towns, leading to increased startup activity, business expansion, job creation, and more. NetWork Kansas is also the home of e2 Entrepreneurial Ecosystems (e2) and Entrepreneurial Growth Ventures.

Visit: www.networkkansas.com

Network Kansas Team

Steve Radley
Steve Radley
Chief Executive Officer, NetWork Kansas
Steve Radley is Chief Executive Officer of NetWork Kansas. A resident of Wichita, Steve began his career in the private sector as the 28th employee of a business startup technology company, Brite Voice Systems in Wichita. The company grew from $6 million to more than $175 million during the nine years Steve worked for Kansas entrepreneur Stan Brannan. Since then, Steve has co-owned two businesses including a manufactured housing dealership that was sold to the largest manufacturer in the country, Champion Enterprises. Steve’s work experience centers on business development and taking products and businesses from startup to maturity. Steve has an MBA from the W. Frank Barton School of Business at Wichita State University, an MA in Christian Ministry from Friends University, and a BA in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma.
Erik Pedersen
Erik Pedersen
President and Chief Operating Officer, NetWork Kansas
Erik is the President and Chief Operating Officer for the Kansas Center for Entrepreneurship DBA NetWork Kansas. Erik’s initial task was the development and growth of the NetWork Kansas referral center. Erik’s responsibilities have grown to oversee the Entrepreneurship (E-) Community partnership. This partnership, which has grown to 66 E-Communities, includes an injection of capital raised locally through the NetWork Kansas Entrepreneurship Tax Credit Program to help start and grow businesses in rural Kansas communities. Erik graduated from Friends University in 1988 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration. Erik began his career in 1990 when he went to work for a Wichita-based technology startup company, Brite Voice Systems, owned by Stan Brannan. At Brite Voice, Erik worked in marketing and business development. In 1997, Erik left Brite Voice to start a manufactured housing dealership with Steve Radley, President of the Kansas Center for Entrepreneurship. The business was later sold to the largest manufacturer in the country, Champion Enterprises, and Erik remained with Champion as General Manager until May 2005. Erik’s work experience centers on the overall operation and management of fast-growing businesses and organizations.
Erik Pedersen
Pam Bishop
GRO Community Coordinator

Pam Bishop serves as the Community Coordinator for John Day and Independence. As Vice President of Economic Development at Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation for the last 15 years, Pam has worked with dozens of organizations to build collaborative ways to grow financial investment in companies, including High Technology, Manufacturing, Food/Ag, Service and Retail. Five years ago, they deepened their community program work to include the E2 program – called Rural Entrepreneurial Ventures (REV) in southern Minnesota. At the initial launch, they secured three years of funding through the Blandin Foundation, partnered with two organizations to support coaching capacity and successfully recruited 6 communities. Today, they are engaged with their 2nd REV cohort – 7 new communities – and have added an additional community coordinator. Dozens of new systems are in place and communities have amplified their focus to grow a locally driven economy using the framework of E2. Prior to their work with REV, Pam helped the organization leverage the work of John McKnight and John Kretzmann to implement their Community Growth Initiative. Working in over 30 communities, REV’s asset-based community development has led to over 100 projects, supported by local resources and people making a difference in their community.

Program and Policy
Program and Policy Insights is helping GRO to evaluate, measure, and share our programs strengths as we grow as an organization and learn alongside our inaugural cohort. Program and Policy Insight (PPI), LLC is dedicated to providing high-quality evaluation, research, facilitation, and technical assistance to government agencies and nonprofit organizations. PPI is a federal and state-certified woman-owned and emerging small business whose underlying mission is to improve social and economic opportunities for individuals, families, and their communities. PPI and our extensive network of professionals provide many substantive and methodological competencies that support equitable economic growth and social well-being, including: comprehensive evaluation design and implementation services; expertise in quantitative and qualitative research methods; capacity building services to promote data literacy and evaluation fluency; consensus-driven facilitation methods to elicit stakeholder feedback; public engagement strategies that share data decision-making with community stakeholders to facilitate greater social equity; and expertise in assessing gaps in outcomes, services, and structures to support more transparent and equitable policy and programmatic decisions.

Visit: programandpolicy.com

Program and Policy Insights Team

Kendra Lodewick
Kendra Lodewick
PPI Principal
Kendra Lodewick, Principal of Program and Policy Insight (PPI) since 2005, specializes in research, evaluation, and technical assistance that improves opportunities for underserved populations and their communities. Kendra has 20 years of experience conducting studies and facilitating policy related to the social and economic wellbeing of people and communities, including in the domains of economic and workforce development, education, human services, disability policy, and more. She uses her academic training and professional experience in quantitative and qualitative research methods to deliver accurate, actionable results for clients. In addition to her subject-matter expertise, Kendra is sought after as a skilled survey scientist, including providing survey design, data collection methods, data processing, and data analysis services.

Kendra has a Bachelor of Science in Public Policy Analysis and Management from Cornell University and a Master of Public Affairs and Policy Analysis from University of Wisconsin-Madison. Kendra is also a certified Results-Based Accountability Professional and Technology of Participation (ToP) consensus-based facilitator and strategic planner.

Kari Parsons
Kari Parsons
PPI Associate
Kari Parsons, president of Parsons Consulting, Inc. and a longtime PPI associate, has provided services in applied research, planning and facilitation, and community indicators since 2000. She is familiar with a wide range of cross-sector policy domains, including early childhood, housing and homelessness, health and human services, transportation, workforce development, and more. Kari has formal training and decades of experience in quantitative and qualitative research methods, including leading the development of the Family Financial Stability Index and conducting interviews, focus groups, and community workshops in diverse contexts. She excels at making her findings accessible and meaningful for broad audiences. Kari is trained in the Data Equity Framework and is committed to using her work to surface and eliminate inequities. She is also a Results Based Accountability certified professional, a certified Project Management Professional, and a trained Technology of Participation (ToP) facilitator and strategic planner. Kari has a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from Whitman College and a Master of Urban and Regional Planning from University of California, Irvine.

Visit: www.parsons-consulting.com