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Posted on: Friday - Sep 25, 2015

The Rural Development Task Force held its first meeting this week to discuss its mission, charge and next steps.

Led by Commissioners Randy Boyd, Department of Economic and Community Development, Julius Johnson, Department of Agriculture, and Kevin Triplett, Department of Tourist Development, the group will focus on aligning public and private resources and offering new strategic initiatives to create transformative, holistic solutions in tourism, agriculture and economic activities throughout the state. With a goal of creating an initial three to four year strategic plan that will include a comprehensive vision for rural development, the team will convene forums, identify and engage stakeholder groups and look to TNECD’s successful ThreeStar program as a way to identify gaps, challenges and opportunities.

At this initial meeting, task force members exchanged information regarding current initiatives and success metrics to identify new opportunities for collaboration and align agency activities to maximize impact in providing assistance to rural communities.

The Rural Development Task Force is comprised of:

  • Gov.’s Office: Will Cromer, Special Assistant for Strategy and Policy Director
  • Dolores Gresham: State Senator, Somerville
  • Ryan Williams: State Representative, Cookeville
  • Dept. of Agriculture: Commissioner Julius Johnson (Co-Chair)
  • Dept. of Tourist Development: Commissioner Kevin Triplett (Co-Chair)
  • Dept. of Economic & Community Development: Commissioner Randy Boyd (Co-Chair)
  • Dept. of Economic & Community Development: Amy New, Assistant Commissioner, Rural Development
  • Dept. of Transportation: Toks Omishakin, Deputy Commissioner
  • Dept. of Environment & Conservation: Dr. Shari Meghreblian, Deputy Commissioner
  • Dept. of Labor & Workforce Development: Commissioner Burns Phillips
  • Dept. of Education: Jayme Place, Chief of Staff
  • Dept. of Health: Commissioner John Dreyzehner
  • Dept. of Financial Institutions: Commissioner Greg Gonzales
  • USDA RD: Bobby Goode, State Director
  • TVA: John Bradley, Senior Vice President of Economic Development
  • Federal Grant Programs: Brooxie Carlton, TNECD Community Programs Director
  • University of Tennessee Public Service: Dr. Herb Byrd III, Interim Vice President
  • Farm Bureau: Lacy Upchurch, President
  • University of Tennessee Ag Extension: Dean Tim Cross
  • Tennessee Development District Association: Beth Jones, Secretary/Treasure
  • Tennessee Bankers Association: Jeff Agee, Chairman

The next meeting will take place in October.