EDC Faculty from Development Organizations

David Black
President & CEO, Harrisburg Regional Chamber
Session: Introduction to Economic Development & Managing Economic Development Organizations

David E. Black serves as President & CEO of the Harrisburg Regional Chamber and Capital Region Economic Development Corporation (HRC/CREDC). Over the past decade HRC/CREDC has developed a solid reputation for talented staff, quality events, member services, legislative advocacy, and initiated projects with over $300 M in economic impact, creating and retaining over 11,600 jobs in Cumberland, Dauphin and Perry Counties.

In addition to his duties at HRC/CREDC, Black  serves on the Boards of Directors of many local organizations including: Life Sciences Greenhouse of Central PA, Hershey Center for Applied Research, Harristown Development Corporation, Hershey-Harrisburg Visitors Bureau, PHC4 and is an appointee of Governor Tom Corbett to the PA Farm Show Commission.

Before joining the HRC/CREDC in 2001,  Dave served in several key roles for Governor Tom Ridge where he led the development and implementation of several innovative programs including the Keystone Opportunity Zones and the merger of the former Department of Community Affairs (DCA) into the Department of Commerce which created the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED).  He also served as COO of Team Pennsylvania in 2000 and 2001 where he helped Governor Ridge restructure the Foundation as a long term tool for economic development in Pennsylvania.

He is native of Clarion County in Northwestern Pennsylvania where he served as a County Commissioner. He was first elected to countywide office at the age of 26. He also served as Vice President of First American Municipals, a public finance firm before joining the Ridge Administration. Dave has a B.A. from Westminster College and did graduate work towards his M.S.A. in Public Administration at Slippery Rock University.


Robin Fitzpatrick

President, Adams County Economic Development Corporation

Session: Group Exercise

Robin has worked in the field of economic development since 1998. Her roles have included Business Retention and Expansion Specialist with the Governor's Action Team, and Vice President and Director of Lending for ACEDC.Robin has been President of the Adams Economic Alliance since 2008.  


Matt Fox
Marketing Manager, Altoona-Blair County Development Corp
Session: Business Retention & Expansion

Matt Fox is the Marketing Manager for the Altoona-Blair County Development Corporation. Matt serves on numerous boards and advisory committees throughout Blair County, the Southern Alleghenies Region and the Commonwealth. He has been in the economic development field for 7 years and prior to joining ABCD Corp. he was a partner in a marketing firm for over 10 years.


Kenetha Hansen

VP Economic Development, York County Economic Alliance

Session: Group Exercise

Kenetha is the Vice President of Economic Development for the York County Economic Alliance. She oversees all aspects of YCEA's business development activites, including business financing, attraction, retention and expansion, and YorKitchen, a shared kitchen incubator. Kenetha has 27 years of economic development finance and incentive program experience including local, state, and federal matching loans, tax-exempt financing, grant administration, tax abatement, and credit programs. She has also received certification as an Economic Development Professional.


Charles Leonard
Executive Director, Pocono Mountains Economic Development Corporation
Session: Ethics Panel Discussion

Chuck Leonard is the Executive Director for Pocono Mountains Economic Development Corporation which operates Pocono Mountains Industries, the Monroe County Industrial Development Authority and the Pocono Mountains Industrial Park Authority. He has almost 30 years of experience in the field of economic development. Before coming to Monroe County in 1995, he served as the Vice President of Economic Development for the Williamsport-Lycoming Chamber of Commerce. He also spent four years at the Harrisburg Area Chamber of Commerce as the Manager of Economic Development.

Chuck has a BA in Liberal Arts/Political Science from Lock Haven University and a Master of Public Administration from The Pennsylvania State University. He is the Immediate Past President of the Pennsylvania Economic Development Association and is Board Chairman of Penn’s Northeast, a regional economic development marketing organization. He is one of Monroe County’s representatives on the Pocono Counties Workforce Investment Board and is a Northeastern PA Alliance Board member. He has also served on the Team Pennsylvania Foundation Board of Directors. He is certified by the Pennsylvania Economic Development Assocation and the Northeastern Economic Developers Association.


Steve McKnight
President & CEO, Altoona-Blair County Development Corp
Session: Marketing & Attraction

Stephen has more than 25 years of experience in “placed-based” economic development strategies, project management and public policy. He has assisted with numerous business expansion projects resulting in millions of total investment. During his career, Stephen has worked for both private development companies and industry trade organizations in Washington, D.C. He contributed to the formation of federal transportation and economic development policy.

As a co-founder of Fourth Economy Consulting, he worked with communities and industry across the country building competitive operational growth strategies. Stephen has demonstrated core competencies in site selection, budget analysis, government relations, proposal development, public/media relations, event planning, membership development, fundraising, image branding, public policy analysis, and issue driven coalition building.
Stephen has earned professional certifications in "Entrepreneurial and Small Business Development," "Land Use Planning for Economic Development," "Technology-Led Economic Development," and "Business Retention and Expansion." He conducts numerous public presentations and workshops on economic development topics each year. Stephen received the SIGMAS research award for a paper entitled "Linking Economic Development and Workforce Diversity through Action Research."

Stephen currently serves on the Board of Directors of Goodwill of the Southern Alleghenies and the Pennsylvania Economic Development Association. When not working, and sometimes even while he is, he can be found skiing, hiking and cycling throughout our great mountain communities.



Patrick Miller
Executive Vice President, Altoona-Blair County Development Corp
Session: Business Retention & Expansion

Pat Miller serves as Executive Vice President of the Altoona-Blair County Development Corporation and Executive Director of the Greater Altoona Economic Development Corporation. Pat also serves as the Enterprise Zone Coordinator for the City of Altoona/Northern I-99 Enterprise Zone and Executive Director of the Altoona Parking Authority. He has over 30 years of economic development experience.


Linda Nitch, CEcD, EDFP
Director of Economic Business Development, Lawrence County Regional Chamber of Commerce
Session: Ethics Panel Discussion

Developing Lawrence County has been my passion for 25 years. With my roots firmly planted in western Pennsylvania, I have experienced the economic boom and bust cycles of business. Manufacturing, the backbone of our local economy, has been transformed by technology. The health industry has emerged as the county’s top employer. Looking ahead with the development of the shale gas industry and the ethane cracker plant being constructed nearby the energy sector will provide our county with great opportunities to generate wealth and jobs.


I accepted the position of Executive Director of the Lawrence County Economic Development Corporation in November 1999. With the recent merger with the Lawrence County Regional Chamber, I continue to seek business development throughout the County. During my 18 years of service to the County, $33 million in grants and loans were issued to Lawrence County companies directly affecting 2,434 jobs.


Real estate development has been a cornerstone of my work. This includes the continued business investment in the Shenango Commerce Park. Another real estate development was the creation of Millennium Park. I secured funding of $ 27 million and constructed a multi-tenant building that is fully leased. Redevelopment of brownfield sites is also an important part of my activities.


Other components of economic development that I have nurtured include three revolving loan funds, a robust business call program to retain our local businesses and marketing for the attraction of new businesses.


I also recognized the importance of having advanced training and became certified by the International Economic Development Council --- I am a Certified Economic Developer since 2010. Prior to that certification, I also attended the National Development Council’s program. I continue to be certified by the Pa Economic Development Association. Finally, I am a Ford Foundation Fellow in Regionalism and Sustainable Development having participated with the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance.


I am a graduate of Youngstown State University with a B.S. in Business Administration. I earned an Associate Degree in Letters, Arts and Sciences from Pennsylvania State University. I have thirty years of economic development/finance experience through career positions including Licensed Financial Consultant with A.G. Edwards & Sons and Director of the City of New Castle’s Community Development Department. Born and raised in Mercer County, PA., I have been a long-time resident of the City of New Castle.


Lisa Riggs

President, Economic Development Company of Lancaster County

Session: Group Exercise

Lisa Riggs serves as President of EDC and EDC Finance, having joined the organization in July 2014. Prior to joining EDC, she served as President of the Lancaster Barnstormers, a professional minor league baseball team, based in Lancaster, PA, and as President of the James Street Improvement District (JSID), a community and economic development organization focused on the growth and success of neighborhoods, real estate and the business base in northwest and Downtown Lancaster City.


The first phase of Ms. Riggs career occurred in Baltimore, MD. She served as Vice President, Economic Development for the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore (DPOB). During her time at DPOB, she also served on-loan to the Office of the Mayor to oversee a major downtown parking initiative that included assisting in the construction of new parking facilities and passing stage legislation to form a new municipal parking authority. Prior to that she helped shape the early years of the Greater Baltimore Alliance, a regional economic development marketing effort.


Ms. Riggs resides in East Hempfield Township, Lancaster County, with her husband and two school-aged children. She is a graduate of the Johns Hopkins University. She currently serves her community through Board and community service, including the Boards of the Pennsylvania College of Art & Design, the Lancaster County Community Foundation, Discover Lancaster and the Lancaster STEM Alliance along with serving on the Lancaster County Agricultural Council, the Lancaster Clean Water Partners and the Lancaster County Transportation Technical Advisory Committee.


Pamela J. Shupp, AICP, CEcD
President & CEO, Greater Reading Economic Partnership
Session: Ethics Panel Discussion

Pamela is responsible for managingthe economic development strategy for the Greater Reading Economic Partnership (GREP). She leads the GREP team to provide the best possible business support to prospects considering Berks County as a location and to existing businesses that need to grow and expand. She manages several regional and state partnerships and initiatives to ensure that Berks County has access to economic development resources


Pamela has more than 30 years of experience in economic, housing, and community development with various private companies and government agencies. She has earned two professional certifications including: the AICP (American Institute of Certified Planners) from the American Planning Association, and the CEcD (Certified Economic Developer) fromthe IEDC. 


Pamela is a native of Berks County. She received her bachelor's degree in Public Administration and Urban and Regional Planning from Bloomsburg University. 


Gary Smith
President & CEO, Chester County Economic Development Council
Session: Public Sector Financing

Gary W. Smith currently serves the Chester County Economic Development Council as President and CEO.  He joined the Council in 1976 and pioneered award-winning programs of below market-rate financing, agricultural economic development, brownfields redevelopment, conduit funding for commercial construction, industry partnerships, urban revitalization and multi-agency collaboration.  During his tenure, the Council has secured over $275 million in external funding for 420 plus projects ranging from regional economic revitalization to workforce development. The Council’s programs and services have helped to create over 175,000 new jobs; assisted in retaining more than 190,000 existing jobs; and brokered more than $13.5 billion in commercial financing loans.  Over 8,000 new businesses have also been established during that period.


Throughout his forty-twoyear career, Mr. Smith has held many titles on many national economic development boards and agricultural agencies such as President, Vice President, Founding Director and Legislative Chairman.   In addition, he has been honored with many awards:  the Chester County Boy Scout Distinguished Citizen,  Harold Martin Business Leadership Award, the Crystal Ball Award and TMACC’s Chairman’s Award to name a few.   


Mr. Smith holds a MA in Public Administration from West Chester University as well as his undergraduate degree from West Chester University. 


In his spare time, Gary manages his family’s farm in West Bradford Township, raising a herd of 45 registered Hereford cattle.  Gary and his wife Vicky, have two adult sons and is the proud grandfather of two beautiful grandsons and most recently, a beautiful granddaughter.        

Melissa Stone, EDFP
Vice President of Economic Development, Capital Region Economic Development Corporation (CREDC)
Sessions: Private Sector Financing and Small Business & Entrepreneurship Panel Discussion

As Vice President of Economic Development, Melissa will take on a leadership role within the organization becoming involved in all areas of economic development activities. Melissa was CREDC’s Business Finance Officer from 2006 – 2010. Prior to her new position with CREDC, Melissa worked for Graystone Tower Bank. There, she created a small business underwriting department supporting the entire company’s footprint of small business lenders at fifty branch locations. Most recently, Melissa served as an AVP and Regional SBA Business Banker for Susquehanna Bank. In this role, she provided government guaranteed lending expertise to businesses in five South Central Pennsylvania counties. Melissa has been in banking since 1995 including retail branch management and business lending. Melissa graduated from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. She also is a certified Economic Development Finance Specialist.