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Appalachia Forward

Appalachia Forward 2023 Banner
A conference for local elected officials and development staff.


Wednesday, September 27, 2023
Belmont College, St. Clairsville, OH


Registration for this event is now closed. 


Travel Information




9:00 a.m.   

Registration and Networking

9:30 a.m. 

Introduction and Welcome

  • Amista Lipot, Director, External Relations, Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Service, Ohio University
    and Executive Director, Mayors’ Partnership for Progress.
  • Dr. Paul F. Gasparro, President, Belmont Community College

9:40 a.m. 

Remarks from Special Guests

10:00 a.m.  

Federal Agency Panel

Moderator: Briggs White, Deputy Executive Director, IWG

  • US Department of Agriculture: Jonathan McCracken, State Director for Ohio
  • Environmental  Protection Agency: Jon Grosshans, Senior Advisor, EPA Office of Policy
  • Economic Development AdministrationEllen Heinz – Economic Development Representative - Ohio

10:45 p.m. 

Interagency Working Group Roundtable “Speed Networking” for Communities

Visit with the various Agencies from the Interagency Working Group on Coal and Power Plant Communities & Economic Revitalization (IWG) during a speed network roundtable including:

  • Appalachian Regional Commission
  • Belmont County
  • Department of Agriculture - tentative
  • Department of Commerce, National Telecommunications and Information Administration
  • Department of Energy
  • Department of Interior - tentative
  • Department of Health and Human Services - tentative
  • Department of Labor - tentative
  • Department of Transportation
  • Economic Development Administration
  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • IWG

12:00 p.m. 

Lunch Break / Networking


  • Craig Buerstatte, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Regional Affairs, U.S. Economic Development Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce

12:45 p.m.  

Appalachian Community Grant Program, Lessons Learned – Round I Implementation

Getting ready for 2023 submissions, lessons learned to date

  • At Work in Appalachia: Steve Patterson, City of Athens Mayor
  • Outdoor Recreation Council of Appalachia (ORCA): Jessie Powers, Executive Director
  • Survivor Advocacy Outreach Program and New Leaf Justice Enterprises: Jennifer Siefert, Executive Director
  • Utica Shale Academy: William Watson, Superintendent
1:45 p.m.

GIS Collaborative Announcement

  • Matt Trainer,  Senior GIS Project Manager, Voinovich School

2:00 p.m. 

Local Development Districts – Resources waiting for you!

Moderator: John Carey, Director, Governor’s Office of Appalachia

3:00 p.m.  

Closing and Key Takeaways

3:00 – 4:00 p.m.   








Local Development Districts