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Federal Leadership in Economic Development Programs Award


This award recognizes an individual federal program director who has gone above and beyond in administering a federal economic development program.

 

2018

Carroll A. Thomas

In a career that spans more than 30 years, Carroll Thomas has shown steadfast support for small business, economic development, and entrepreneurship. In her role as Director of the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Ms. Thomas is a staunch advocate for creating dynamic partnerships and economic prosperity through her dedication to America’s manufacturing industry.

Ms. Thomas first joined NIST in 2000 as a Marketing and Communications Specialist and has held several positions within the agency. In 2012, she joined the U.S. Small Business Administration as the Associate Administrator for Small Business Development Centers. The nearly 1,000 centers support 29 million small businesses across America as part of a public-private partnership. Ms. Thomas’ leadership brought new focus to providing services to small businesses that promote growth and a better understanding of the tools available to them. Feeling called by her past work to bolster the nation’s manufacturing industry, Ms. Thomas returned to NIST in 2015 to lead the MEP program and its National Network of Centers. With a presence in all 50 states and Puerto Rico, the centers help manufacturers compete globally by promoting the adoption of new technologies and bolstering supply chain productivity. In 2017 alone, the MEP National Network aided in the creation and retention of more than 100,000 manufacturing jobs across the country.

A long-time champion for the manufacturing industry, Ms. Thomas recognizes the importance of continued support for manufacturers in times of crisis. In 2017, she worked quickly to create a new emergency funding vehicle to support MEP Centers in severely hurricane-damaged areas. The program awarded $3 million to two Texas MEP National Network Centers, allowing them to assist manufacturers that suffered from physical damage to their facilities, labor shortages, and other disruptions following Hurricane Harvey. The funding provided support for disaster assessment and recovery efforts for the more than 40,000 affected manufacturers in Texas, Louisiana, Florida, and Puerto Rico in less than 30 days after the hurricanes occurred.

Ms. Thomas’ avid support of small businesses and manufacturing across the country has not gone unnoticed. She was awarded gold and silver medals for her innovative approach to customer service, collaboration, and communication by the United States Department of Commerce. She also received three NIST George A. Uriano awards for outstanding achievement in building and strengthening NIST programs. The International Economic Development Council is honored to add to the list and present Carroll A. Thomas with the 2018 Federal Leadership in Economic Development Award.

 

2017

Patrick O’Brien

Patrick O’Brien has shown immense dedication to helping communities achieve economic prosperity in times of transition. He began his career at the local level as an Assistant Business Developer for the City of Duluth, Minnesota. While there, he got his first taste of things to come by working to implement the reuse of a closed military air base, a project that re-added half the jobs lost from the closure through a mixed-use conversion, which included a new federal prison and the Natural Resources Research Institute.

With a solid base of local economic development knowledge, Mr. O’Brien moved on to the federal level in 1985, when he became a Presidential Management Intern for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). There, he underwrote public-private development packages as part of the Urban Development Action Grant Program, worked with distressed communities to evaluate proposed housing and economic projects, and crafted executive legislative initiatives.

As Director of the Office of Economic Adjustment (OEA) at the U.S. Department of Defense for the past 15 years, Mr. O’Brien leads a team of project managers in assisting state and local economic adjustment efforts following military base closures and adjustments. Among his many contributions to aiding affected communities is the work he did following the 2005 round of Base Realignment and Closure, which affected more than 50 military installations. He and his staff worked tirelessly to offer community-based assistance to displaced workers and affected businesses through regional job creation, business development, attraction, and expansion, workforce development, as well as to undertake necessary improvements in public infrastructure and services for our warfighters, including road improvements for our wounded warriors and improvements to public schools on military bases. A true testament to the scope of his work, OEA has provided more than $2 billion in assistance to defense communities across the nation under Mr. O’Brien’s leadership.

Mr. O’Brien is also the Executive Director for the Economic Adjustment Committee (EAC), a group of representatives from 22 federal agencies originally created by President Carter and updated in response to the round of base closures in 2005. Under Mr. O’Brien’s leadership, the EAC coordinated the distribution of more than $1.2 billion in federal assistance to communities affected by base closures and realignments over the past 20 years. He also oversees the Defense Industry Adjustment Program, which helps communities plan and respond to defense contract terminations and other public announcements of major reductions in spending. His team’s efforts have served as models for federal Trade Adjustment Assistance and responses to the shutdown of the space shuttle program and auto industry contractions.

A leader in the field of federal economic development, Patrick O’Brien is a certified Economic Development Finance Professional and has authored several technical publications, including the Office of Economic Adjustment Community Guide to Base Reuse. He has shown integrity, compassion, and dedication in helping communities throughout the nation maintain economic prosperity in times of transition. For these reasons, the International Economic Development Council is honored to present Patrick O’Brien with the 2017 Federal Leadership in Economic Development Programs Award.

 

2016

Fred P. Hochberg

The Federal Leadership in Economic Development Programs Award is presented annually to an individual within the federal government who succeeds in supporting economic development on a national scale, positively impacting our profession and bringing economic growth and job creation as a result.

Fred P. Hochberg is a champion of American job creation and business growth. As Chairman and President of the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM Bank), he works to empower and equip U.S. businesses to compete at the global level. Since his initial appointment in 2009, Chairman Hochberg has aptly supported job growth through increased sales abroad, leading to his reappointment and second Senate confirmation in 2013. Under his leadership, the EXIM Bank has directly and successfully stimulated the U.S. economy.

As one of the highest-ranking business leaders in the Obama Administration, Chairman Hochberg has skillfully cut transaction times and streamlined processing for U.S. exporting businesses. During his tenure, the EXIM Bank has financed more than $200 billion in U.S. exports and helped create more than 1.3 million private-sector American jobs.

Understanding the importance of a diversified economic base, Chairman Hochberg has tirelessly prioritized small business growth. From 1998 to 2001, he served as deputy and then acting administrator of the Small Business Administration, where he drastically increased lending to minority- and women-owned businesses. At the start of his career, he managed his family’s catalog business, developing it into a highly successful global marketing company: the Lillian Vernon Corporation. Today, with Chairman Hochberg at the helm, nearly 90 percent of EXIM Bank authorizations have supported small businesses.

Through continued engagement in communities across the United States, Chairman Hochberg ensures that the EXIM Bank is as accessible to as many businesses as possible. The success of the agency’s City/State Partners Program, an initiative that unites state, county, and local nonprofit economic development entities with the EXIM Bank, equips these organizations to educate small businesses about how to develop potential customers abroad, creating jobs in their communities.

In addition to his dedicated public service, Chairman Hochberg is an impactful civil rights advocate. He is one of the founders of the David Bohnett LGBT Leadership Fellows Scholarship at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, a fund supporting advanced leadership and governance training for aspiring public policy and community leaders. As a Presidentially-appointed and Senate-confirmed executive, Chairman Hochberg’s record as an LGBT activist ensures that his influence extends beyond the terms and success of his EXIM Bank post. He sets an exemplary standard for future federal leaders.

When the EXIM Bank was at the risk of losing its funding in 2015, Chairman Hochberg ushered the agency through its second reauthorization in his tenure, petitioning Congress and advocating throughout the country. Thanks to his commitment and the strong support of communities and leaders across the country, EXIM Bank received long-term reauthorization through September 2019.

Under Chairman Hochberg’s leadership, EXIM Bank has continued to be a reliable and vital job-creating resource, stimulating economic growth. The International Economic Development Council is honored to present Fred P. Hochberg with the 2016 Federal Leadership in Economic Development Programs Award.

 

2015

Christopher Masingill

The Federal Leadership in Economic Development Programs Award is presented annually to an individual within the federal government who supports economic development on a national scale, positively impacting the profession and promoting economic growth and job creation.

Chairman Christopher Masingill is a dedicated public servant with a long history of championing economic development on the local, state, and federal levels. As Federal Co-chairman of the Delta Regional Authority (DRA), he leads the federal-state partnership whose mission is to create jobs, strengthen communities, and improve livelihood in the 252 counties and parishes in the eight states of the Delta region.

Chairman Masingill has long been an advocate for increased economic opportunity, previously serving as Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe’s Recovery Implementation Director for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act beginning in 2006. In this role, he coordinated the dispersal of federal stimulus funds to state entities. He also served as Director of Intergovernmental Affairs, acting as the governor’s liaison to the state’s congressional delegation. Given the complex and nuanced nature of his previous positions, it was no surprise that in 2010, Christopher Masingill was appointed as Federal Co-Chairman of the Delta Regional Authority (DRA) by President Barack Obama.

As Federal Co-Chairman, Chairman Masingill has worked with the governors of the Delta- region states to leverage $34.6 million in federal funding into more than $950 million in private and public sector investments. His efforts have helped create and retain 85,000 jobs in the most distressed area of the country. During a time of economic duress in the United States, Chairman Masingill successfully supported small business and entrepreneurship as well as investment in workforce training and education efforts in the Delta region.

One of Chairman Masingill’s top priorities with the DRA has been supporting entrepreneurship. To that end, in 2012 the DRA created the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Policy Framework, a comprehensive strategy designed to provide entrepreneurs with essential skills and tools for business success. Under Masingill’s direction, the DRA also established the Entrepreneurship Network, which helps entrepreneurs grow and thrive by providing them increased access to support organizations, capital, and educators.

In addition to supporting entrepreneurship, Chairman Masingill has also acted as a champion of workforce development throughout the Delta region. Understanding the importance of a skilled workforce, Chairman Masingill has guided the DRA to emphasize education at all levels. Under his leadership, the DRA launched Re-imagining The Delta Workforce, a comprehensive, strategic workforce development initiative, which expands existing support programs for entrepreneurs and minority business owners in all eight states. The effort leverages millions of dollars in federal, state, local and private sector funding to provide wide-ranging products and services that prepare the Delta-region’s workforce for the jobs of today and tomorrow.

Under Chairman Christopher Masingill’s leadership, the Delta Regional Authority has become an outstanding provider of services and opportunities to a long-underserved region. His dedication to the prosperity of the Delta region is evident through the extensive body of DRA’s work and the reach of its programs. The International Economic Development Council is honored to present Chairman Christopher Masingill with the 2015 Federal Leadership in Economic Development Programs Award.


Paul Webster

The Federal Leadership in Economic Development Programs Award is presented annually to an individual within the federal government who succeeds in supporting economic development on a national scale, positively impacting the profession and spurring economic growth and job creation.

For over three decades, Paul Webster has managed the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)’s Section 108 loan guarantee program as Director of the Financial Management Division in HUD’s Office of Block Grant Assistance. An important and effective resource for low income communities, Section 108 loans allow funding for important projects that would otherwise not be possible. In utilizing the Section 108 program, participants are able to apply for more than four times their previously approved Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds to implement economic development projects in their communities. The numbers associated with the Section 108 program during Mr. Webster’s tenure are a testament to his success. He has overseen 1,770 total loan guarantee commitments valued at more than $8.76 billion.

Since 1983, Mr. Webster has sought to increase the value and further the goals of the Section 108 program in new and innovative ways. He successfully established the program in a difficult era of high interest rates and oversaw the transition of the program’s financing structure. Mr. Webster also championed legislation that established the Economic Development Initiative, which provides grant funds to support and enhance the use of Section 108 loan guarantees. Furthering the effort, the Brownfields EDI was subsequently created to help address environmental cleanup costs associated with returning contaminated property to use.

Mr. Webster is a recognized expert on financial management for HUD’s Community Planning and Development programs and provides his expertise for the benefit of HUD staff and grantees alike. Through his knowledge, dedication, and leadership, hundreds of communities throughout the United States have been able to leverage CDBG funding into billions of additional investments for economic development, public facilities, and housing projects. His assistance in this area has been invaluable, and over the past decade the CDBG has provided more than $40 billion in long-term disaster recovery funding. An additional $7 billion has been allocated for neighborhood stabilization activities targeted to addressing the effects of abandoned and foreclosed housing.

Paul Webster has been vital in the successful establishment of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Section 108 loan guarantee program. Equally important, he is a patient teacher and mentor on economic development and financial issues, which is reflected in the esteem of his colleagues and external partners. Because of his longtime dedication to the Section 108 loan guarantee program and its importance to economic development nationwide, the International Economic Development Council is honored to present Paul Webster the 2015 Federal Leadership in Economic Development Programs Award.

 

2014

Jason S. Miller

As Special Assistant to the President for Manufacturing Policy and Director of the Office of Manufacturing Policy, Jason Miller has tirelessly worked to promote economic development across the country. Mr. Miller joined the Obama Administration in April of 2010 to manage the federal government’s strategy to promote the resurgence of U.S.-based manufacturing. The Advanced Manufacturing Partnership (AMP) was established by President Obama in 2011 in hopes of encouraging synergy between industry, academia, and government to revitalize manufacturing. The Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership and the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation are just two examples of programs born from the AMP, both of which are already contributing to local economic development. Mr. Miller’s oversight of these initiatives as Director of the Office of Manufacturing Policy greatly contributed to their success.

In addition to the SelectUSA Investment Summit, an event that drew over 1,300 international investors, senior administration officials, and economic developers from local, state and regional EDO’s, Mr. Miller successfully worked to make the International Economic Development Council’s White House Economic Development Forum a reality. This event connected senior federal policy makers from the White House and various agencies with economic developers and allowed them to engage in progressive discussions on a wide range of topics related to the U.S. economy.

In the four years since Mr. Miller joined the Obama administration, he has succeeded in supporting economic development on a national scale. He played a vital role in supporting the resurgence of American manufacturing and has done so while specifically seeking out input from the economic development community. For his actions and the manner in which he carried them out, IEDC is honored to present Jason Miller the 2014 Federal Leadership in Economic Development Programs Award. .

 

2013

Rebecca M. Blank, PhD

As Deputy Secretary of the United States Department of Commerce during a period of national fiscal turmoil, Dr. Rebecca Blank has been a vital proponent for the economic prosperity of the United States. Serving first as Under Secretary of Commerce for Economic Affairs, Deputy Secretary, and twice as Acting Secretary of Commerce, Dr. Blank has worked to rebuild the American manufacturing industry, promoted export growth, and brought foreign investment to communities across the country.

Under Dr. Blank’s leadership, the Department of Commerce has created programs that support President Obama’s “Make America a Magnet for Jobs by Investing in Manufacturing” plan. These programs focus on assisting local communities with effectively planned economic development projects and investments in American-made technologies. The Department of Commerce has also supported manufacturing initiatives during Dr. Blank’s tenure through the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Economic Development Administration (EDA).

Through her direction of EDA, Dr. Blank has provided national leadership aimed at advancing economic growth in regions across the United States. EDA has been at the forefront of the effort to promote competitiveness and build resiliency in disaster-impacted communities, including the Gulf Coast region following the Deepwater Horizon BP oil spill.

In 2012, Dr. Blank announced that the United States reached record high exports and reduced the trade deficit by over $38 billion. This was, in great part, accomplished due to the Department of Commerce’s commitment to President Obama’s National Export Initiative (NEI). As a component of the NEI, Dr. Blank re-chartered the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (RE&EE) Advisory Committee and appointed 37 private-sector representatives to the committee. Originally chartered in 2010, the RE&EE Advisory Committee aims to improve economic competitiveness in renewable and efficient energy via foreign direct investments and access to new capital.

The Department of Commerce is also home to SelectUSA, a program that works to promote foreign investment in local economies throughout the United States. Under Dr. Blank’s leadership, SelectUSA and the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) have solidified a formal relationship that will act as a blueprint for collaboration for many years to come.

Dr. Blank’s dynamic leadership will have a lasting, positive impact on the economic development profession and the cause of job creation. For this reason, the International Economic Development Council is honored to bestow the 2013 Federal Leadership in Economic Development Programs Award upon Dr. Rebecca Blank.

 

2011

Phillip A. Singerman, PhD

For more than 30 years, Dr. Phillip A. Singerman has been at the forefront of technology-based economic development in both the public and private sectors. As Associate Director for Innovation and Industry at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Dr. Singerman oversees external partnership programs, technology transfer, small business innovation research awards, the economic analysis office, and external facilities grants. Dr. Singerman manages these programs with a staff of 135 and a $190 million budget.

Dr. Singerman is perhaps best known for his service during the Clinton Administration, where he served as U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development and Administrator of the Economic Development Administration (EDA). He was confirmed in 1995 and thrust into a difficult political environment in which the Department of Commerce and EDA were under funding pressure from Congress; EDA had not received formal legislative authorization in nearly two decades and had not been included in Administration budgets for 12 years.

Dr. Singerman was responsible for overseeing the stabilization of the budget while ensuring that the core functions of the agency remained intact. He then facilitated outreach to members of Congress to gain support for a bipartisan compromise and oversaw the reworking of the legislation itself to remove redundancy. After three years as Administrator, a bill was finally passed and EDA was reauthorized, at last. When Singerman left the agency in 1999, he left behind a leaner and smarter, but no less robust, organization.

Dr. Singerman has also served as Senior Vice President at B&D Consulting in Washington, DC, a national provider of strategic advice and technical assistance on federal programs to local and regional economic development organizations. He was also the first Chief Executive Officer of two of the best known innovation intermediaries in the United States, the Ben Franklin Technology Center of Southeastern Pennsylvania and the Maryland Technology Development Corporation.

Dr. Singerman is an active member of the International Economic Development Council (IEDC), where he is a former member of the Board of Directors, served as the first Chair of the Public Policy Advisory Committee, and is a regular speaker at events.

Dr. Singerman has proved himself to be a thought leader and unfailing public servant in the technology-based economic development arena. For this reason, the International Economic Development Council is honored to bestow upon Dr. Phillip A. Singerman the 2011 Federal Leadership in Economic Development Award.


2010
Pedro Garza