Delta Leadership Institute Graduates 3 Missouri Leaders Poised to Support Economic Development Efforts

Wednesday, August 1, 2018
Left to right: Jay Lancaster of Sikeston, Hillary Starnes formerly of Dexter, Chris Caldwell (DRA chairman), Trish Erzfeld of Perryville, and Kelli Behrle of Perryville.

PADUCAH, Ky. – The Delta Regional Authority (DRA) congratulates three new Missouri graduates of the Delta Leadership Institute (DLI) Executive Academy who now have the tools to support DRA’s efforts to create jobs, build communities, and improve lives across southeastern Missouri and the Delta region.

The three graduates completed the year-long DLI Executive Academy, a training program that brings together public, private, and nonprofit-sector leaders from each of the eight states served by DRA. The program equips participants with the tools, experiences and networks that will help them create new economic opportunities in Delta communities as well as support the growth of the region’s economy.

“DLI is an important tool to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of economic development efforts in the Delta region,” DRA Chairman Chris Caldwell said. “We are investing in these Missouri leaders who are ready to help us and our partners contribute to job growth for Delta residents.”

The graduates participated in six training sessions over the past year to educate them on the regional and local economic and community development tools that are working for Delta communities to spark ideas that can be implemented in their own communities.

The Missouri graduates are:

Kelli Behrle, Perryville | Project Coordinator, Southeast Missouri State University Economic and Business Engagement Center

Trish Erzfeld, Perryville | Director, Perry County Heritage Tourism

Jay Lancaster, Sikeston | Director of Public Works, City of Sikeston

DLI fellows learn from local, regional and national experts in infrastructure and transportation, small business and entrepreneurship, workforce training, public health and other fields necessary for economic growth in the Delta region.

Since 2005, DLI's Executive Academy has enhanced the leadership skills, policy knowledge and networks of community members in the Delta region. After graduation, the Missouri graduates become members of the Delta Leadership Network, which includes more than 500 community leaders who understand the importance of regional collaboration, resource sharing and innovative thinking.

DLI is a program of DRA in partnership with three institutions of higher education in the Delta region: The University of Alabama, Arkansas State University-Jonesboro and the University of Louisiana Monroe.

About the Delta Regional Authority

The Delta Regional Authority is a federal-state partnership created by Congress in 2000 to help create jobs, build communities, and improve lives through strategic investments in economic development in 252 counties and parishes across eight states. DRA has invested more than $185 million into more than 1,100 projects. Overall, DRA investments have helped create and retain more than 55,000 jobs, train nearly 45,000 workers to advance in the 21st Century, and deliver sewer and water improvements to more than 238,000 residents and businesses. Learn more here.

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