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Last Updated: 8/12/2022

Creating Conversations on the Challenges and Opportunities Facing Rural Economic Development

Rural Economic Development logo

For years, researchers have produced an incredible amount of literature on how to promote economic development in rural areas. However, rural stakeholders and community leaders may not be aware of the body of research that is available or best-promising practices that have been used to improve economic conditions in other rural communities.

The desire to assist rural communities in their efforts to increase economic activity and promote development led to a partnership between the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, Economic Development Quarterly, and the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.

With the aim of creating conversations on the challenges and opportunities facing rural economic development, these groups will co-sponsor an in-person conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan, on Wednesday, September 28, and Thursday, September 29, 2022.

    This two-day conference will:

  • Include a trip to a rural community outside Grand Rapids for discussions with community stakeholders and policymakers
  • Involve dialogues between the authors of research papers on various topics pertaining to rural economic development and practitioners who address those topics in their daily work
  • Include special keynote presentations and a reception and dinner featuring Kurt Barton, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Tractor Supply Company

Recorded Sessions

Wednesday, 09/28/22
9:00 AM
Montcalm Community College Sessions
Moderator
Martin Lavelle, Senior Business Economist, Detroit Branch, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago
Panelists
Olivia Blomstrom, Executive Director, Montcalm Economic Alliance
Mike Falcon, Village Manager, Village of Howard City
11:45 AM
Lunch
Grand Rapids, MI
12:30 PM
Welcome and Opening Remarks
Grand Rapids, MI
Speaker
Leslie McGranahan, Vice President and Director of Regional Research, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago
12:45 PM
Opening Presentation: Stylized Facts About the Panel Topics
Grand Rapids, MI
Speaker
Nathan Anderson, Assistant Vice President, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago
1:15 PM
The Rural/Urban Dichotomy
Grand Rapids, MI
Speaker
Mark Partridge, Professor, Swank Chair in Rural-Urban Policy, Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics, The Ohio State University
1:45 PM
Session 1: How is Rural Defined?
Grand Rapids, MI
Panelist
Christelle Khalaf, Associate Director, Government Finance Research Center, University of Illinois Chicago
Marcello Graziano, Associate Professor, Department of Management & International Business, Southern Connecticut State University
Mark Partridge, Professor, Swank Chair in Rural-Urban Policy, Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics, The Ohio State University
Sam Moore, Executive Director, Lapeer Development Corporation
Taylor Stuckert, Executive Director, Clinton County Regional Planning Commission
3:15 PM
Session 2: Quality of Life/Sense of Place
Grand Rapids, MI
Panelist
Andrew J. Van Leuven, Oklahoma State University, Department of Agricultural Economics
Jeremy Solin, Tapped Maple Syrup, University of Wisconsin Extension Educator
Raymond Lai, Executive Director, McLean County Regional Planning Commission
Tim Bartik, Senior Economist, W.E. UpJohn Institute for Employment Research
Xue Zhang, Syracuse University, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs
4:30 PM
First-day Wrap Up and Adjourn
Grand Rapids, MI
Speaker
Philomena Mantella, President, Grand Valley State University
5:30 PM
Private Reception and Dinner - Conference Attendees Only
Grand Rapids, MI
Speaker
Kurt Barton, Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer, Tractor Supply Company
Thursday, 09/29/22
7:30 AM
Breakfast
Grand Rapids, MI
8:00 AM
Opening Remarks
Grand Rapids, MI
Mike Horrigan, President, W.E. UpJohn Institute for Employment Research
8:15 AM
Session 3: Rural Economic Development Challenges
Grand Rapids, MI
Panelists
Rick Mattoon, Vice President & Regional Executive, Detroit Branch, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago
J. Tom Mueller, Research Assistant Professor of Geography and Environmental Sustainability, University of Oklahoma
Liesl Seabert, Rural Community Revitalization Program Manager, Rural Revitalization Office, Iowa Economic Development Authority
8:30 AM
Session 4: Technology Challenges Facing Rural Economic Development
Grand Rapids, MI
Panelists
Oudom Hean, North Dakota State University
Stacy Nimmo, Executive Director, Redwing Ignite
David Oppedahl, Senior Business Economist, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago
Johnny Park, CEO, Wabash Heartland Innovation Network
10:45 AM
Session 5: Infrastructure, Clusters and Assets
Grand Rapids, MI
Panelists
David Albouy, Professor of Economics, University of Illinois
Randy Eberts, Senior Researcher, W.E. UpJohn Institute for Employment Research
Christiana McFarland, Director, Center for Innovation Strategy and Policy (CISP), SRI International
Kristin Pruitt, Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer, Lake City Bank
Neil Sheridan, Executive Director, Michigan Townships Association
12:00 PM
Lunch
Grand Rapids, MI
1:00 PM
Session 6: Key Services/Rural Health Care
Grand Rapids, MI
Panelist
Marie Barry, Director of Community Economic Development, Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative
Mike Horrigan, President, W.E. UpJohn Institute for Employment Research
Xiaochu Hu, Lead Research Analyst, Association of American Medical Colleges
Lydia Watson, Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, MyMichigan Health
2:15 PM
Closing Remarks
Grand Rapids, MI
Speakers
Mike Horrigan, President, W.E. UpJohn Institute for Employment Research
Leslie McGranahan, Vice President and Director of Regional Research, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago
Event Information
Event Contact
Katherine Nelson

Email
Date
09/28/22  - 09/29/22
Location

Courtyard Grand Rapids Downtown
11 Monroe Avenue NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49503

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