Download Webinar: Strategies to Spur Disaster Recovery in Rural Communities

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On July 30th, 2012, IEDC hosted a webinar highlighted best practice examples of how to prepare your organization and your business community to be more resilient in the wake of a disaster, providing case examples from rural-based communities. It featured lessons learned from Joplin, Missouri and its recovery from an EF5 tornado on May 22, 2011 as well as catastrophic flooding in Minot, North Dakota on June 25, 2011. Rob O'Brian from the Joplin Chamber of Commerce prepared a disaster plan to ensure business continuity, as well as performed pro-active efforts immediately after the disaster to retain 80 to 90% of their impacted businesses. Minot community came together to advocate and procure federal recovery funds in the wake of disaster. The “Economic Recovery in Disaster Impacted Communities” web seminar series is supported by a grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA).

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Jerry Chavez President and CEO, Minot Area Development Corporation (MADC) At his current position in Minot, ND since 2005, Jerry has developed economic development initiatives that produced immediate results while having long term applications. As of May 2012, MADC has facilitated over $750M in capital investment and creation of over 600 new jobs. Prior to joining MADC, Jerry served as the Vice President of Marketing for the Great Falls Development Authority. There, he developed a three-pronged, $300,000 budget marketing plan that has produced 150 new client projects. Jerry has conducted presentations to community-wide groups and civic organizations for the purpose of education and promotion of economic development, necessary infrastructure development and much-needed political cooperation. Jerry has three children and enjoys hunting, fly fishing, hiking, and travel. Rob O’Brian, CEcD President, Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce Rob O’Brian, President of the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce, graduated Magna Cum Laude from Ball State University with a bachelor’s degree in telecommunications, and minors in journalism and political science. His civic/business activities include President of the Joplin Business and Industrial Development Corporation, Vice-President of the Joplin Industrial Development Authority, current Board Member and Past-President of the Missouri Economic Development Council, Board Member and Past-President, Missouri Economic Development Financing Association. O’Brian was a member of Governor Blunt’s State Government Reform Commission and was instrumental in writing the Enterprise Zone and Quality Jobs Act legislation. Since the May 22, 2011 tornado that devastated one-third of Joplin, O’Brian has been at the forefront of the recovery efforts by amassing resources for the business community to ensure that businesses can rebuild and thrive in the community. Kirstie Smith Communications Director, Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce Kirstie has more than 19 years of experience in marketing and communications. Prior to joining the chamber in 2005 she held marketing positions at both area health systems in Joplin. She holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Business Administration from Ottawa University with a double major in Marketing and Theatre. Her responsibilities include all marketing decisions, media and public relations, governmental affairs, website design and maintenance duties, editing, writing and all creative design for the area’s largest chamber of commerce which serves over 1,100 business members.


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