The Delta Regional Authority or DRA recently selected Doug Friend, Fredericktown city administrator and economic developer to attend its year-long leadership training.
The Delta Leadership Institute Executive Academy or DLIEA invites a number of executives to attend the course out of the Governor’s nominees.
“I have already attended the first session; recently, which was a three-day orientation in Memphis,” Friend said.
Most sessions are three to four days in duration. The academy will consist of six or seven sessions over the next ten months. The next session will be in Dec. and the topic is rural healthcare and education.
There are about 52 people in the class and it is made up of mayors, city council members, city planners, and private sector employees.
“The community leaders who participate in this training are from towns with socioeconomic levels that are comparable to the towns in my region,” Friend said. “I want to pick up on what the others are doing, their best practices and bring those back.”
Friend comes to his position with 30 years of experience in various municipal leadership roles; public works director, city planner, and city manager. However, he says there have already been chances to learn from others in the class, even those with only four years of experience.
The enhancement of education, healthcare, economic development, tourism, and downtown are among the areas said he hopes to gain insight.
“The children of citizens go away to college and go to cities either by choice or due to lack of opportunity,” Friend surmised. “Commuting to work is common.”
There is a trend among municipal and county leaders to evaluate on a regional level.
“It (DLIEA) is a good networking program,” Friend said. “I can tap into resources from other people who have gone through the program.”
“I am thankful, the mayor and the board have encouraged me during this path,” Friend said.
He also attended the public forum provided by the United States Department of Agriculture entitled, Strengthen Economies Together or SET Nov. 12, at Mineral Area College (see related story).
“It (SET) is a unified approach to economic development and growth for the four counties,” Friend explained. “The program is a template for opportunities.”
Just prior to Thursday’s forum Friend said, “There will probably be some overlap between those who have participated in DLIEA. So, those attending SET will be able to share ideas and learn from one another.”
The DRA assists leaders in the Delta region of the U.S. with methods to enhance each of their own communities. It allows them to draw on one another’s resources for the embetterment of the whole region. More information on the DLI can be found at www.dra.gov/leadership.
Traci M. Black is a reporter for the Democrat News and can be reached at 573-783-3366 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.