June 1-2, 2015 | Washington DC

Keynote Speakers

Jay Williams
U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development

Williams heads the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) and is charged with leading the federal economic development agenda by promoting innovation and competitiveness, preparing American regions for growth and success in the global economy. Williams served previously as the executive director of the Office of Recovery for Auto Communities and Workers for the Obama Administration. He was also Mayor of Youngstown, Ohio.

Walter Isaacson
President and CEO of the Aspen Institute

Isaacson leads the Aspen Institute, an education and policy organization with a newly announced initiative on advancing economic opportunity in the United States. Isaacson is a writer and journalist and served as chairman and CEO of CNN and the editor of TIME magazine. His most recent book, The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution is a biographical tale of the people who invented the computer, Internet and the other great innovations of our time. 

For a full list of event speakers, click here.

Rooting Opportunity will help practitioners explore a wide range of economic development partnerships that are advancing regional prosperity and self-reliance, the strength of key sectors, business success, and the livelihoods of low-income people, places and firms – all at the same time.

During this two-day gathering, innovative leaders in economic development will share their strategies for building enduring economies, vibrant communities, and stronger regions. Through this exchange, practitioners will walk away with:

  • Knowledge that there are ways of doing economic development that improve economies; help low-income people, places and firms get ahead; and maintain or grow the stock of multiple regional assets that provide the base for a more prosperous future.
  • Examples of how people are doing this work now, with results, and ways that these practices can be applied to their own challenges and places.
  • Action ideas to “take home and start doing today."
  • Connections to peers who can be a source of support and assistance for doing economic development differently.

Rooting Opportunity will explore economic development practice in a range of sectors. Attendees will hear from economic development specialists in housing, tourism, manufacturing, healthcare, food, energy, and agriculture, among others. They will share tools and tips for doing wealth-building economic development, including strategies for network and value chain development, building anchor institution partnerships, and engaging residents.

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