Due to events related to the COVID-19 pandemic, year two of the Red River Leadership will be postponed.
Please call 501-916-3519 with questions or more information.

Year One

2019-2020 Inaugural Class

We are proud to introduce the inaugural Red River Leadership Institute class! These 25 individuals are passionate about leadership and growing the Red River region.
Arkansas   |   Louisiana  |  Oklahoma  |  Texas
  • Arkansas
  • Britta Clark
  • Jay Click
  • Andy Franks, P.E.
  • Amanda Lance
  • Dr. Peter Maggio
  • Beckie Moore
  • JoAnn Muldrew
  • DeAnna O'Malley
  • Bria Page
  • Dr. Lee Smith
  • Lisa Taylor

Red River Leadership Institute Arkansas District

Britta Clark, Magnolia, Arkansas

Golden Triangle/SAU Rankin College of Business

Britta Clark is the Coordinator of the Golden Triangle and the Recruiter for the Rankin College of Business MBA program at Southern Arkansas University. In her role, she coordinates meetings, events, and promotes the Golden Triangle Region for Economic Development.

With a decade of experience in Higher Education, she has worked in many roles at both the Community college level as a Career coach, recruiting students for Undergraduate Admissions, and most recently recruiting students for the Graduate program at SAU. As an MBA Recruiter, she manages the marketing and recruitment for graduate students looking to pursue their MBA through the Rankin College of Business.

Britta received her BBA in Marketing from the University of Arkansas at Monticello (2009) and her M.Ed. in Student Affairs and College Counseling from Southern Arkansas University (2015).

In her spare time, Britta enjoys serving her community as a member of Magnolia Junior Charity League and as an active member of First Baptist Church in Magnolia.

Jay Click, Magnolia, Arkansas

Special Projects Coordinator
Southwest Arkansas Planning and Development District

Jay Click is a Special Projects Coordinator for the Southwest Arkansas Planning & Development District. He is a graduate of Southern Arkansas University's School of Science with a Bachelor's Degree in Biology.

Jay has completed the Community Development Institute (CDI) at the University of Central Arkansas. He is a member of the Arkansas Community Development Society (ACDS), the Southwest Arkansas Development Alliance (SADA), and the Arkansas Community Economic Development Alliance (ACEDA). Jay sits on two boards: The El Dorado Festivals & Events Advisory Board, and the South Arkansas Youth Services Board of Directors (currently dissolving).

Jay Click has spent his time in community & economic development building relationships with local and regional leaders. He is familiar with the mayors, county judges, and regional developers of Southwest Arkansas. He has negotiated over $135,000,000.00 in construction contracts, is a former president of the Southern Arkansas University Inter-Fraternal Council, a former president of the Epsilon-Kappa Chapter of Sigma Pi Fraternity, International, and a former president of the South Arkansas Sigma Pi Alumni Association. Jay was also a Freshman Orientation Instructor at Southern Arkansas University and the youngest ever Director of Workers for Victory Bible Camp at age 15. Jay recently planned, organized, and directed a Wood Waste Forum with over 60 attendees, including a delegation of Arkansas legislators.

He is committed to laying the foundations and building the bridges that will elevate this area to national prominence.

Anthony L. (Andy) Franks, P.E., Texarkana, Arkansas

A.L. Franks Engineering

Andy is the President/CEO of A.L. Franks Engineering. He is a 1987 graduate of Magnolia High School and a 1992 graduate of Louisiana Tech University with a B.S. Degree in Civil Engineering and is currently a Registered Professional Engineer in the States of Arkansas, Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana. He is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, National Society of Professional Engineers, Arkansas Floodplain Management Association and Water Environmental Association. He is a Past President of the Monroe Chapter of the Louisiana Engineering Society. He is a Past Chairman of the Southwest Section of the Arkansas Water Works and Water Environment Association and served as the Chairman of the Membership Committee of the Arkansas Water and Wastewater Managers Association.

Andy lives in Texarkana with his wife, Joie. They have two daughters; Haley (22), who lives in Benton, AR and is employed at UAMS and Reagan (19) is enrolled at the University of Mississippi - Oxford studying Nutrition with plans to attend medical school.

Andy has over 27 years of consulting engineering experience with an emphasis on wastewater collection and treatment, water distribution, storm drainage, floodplain modeling and transportation systems.

Andy enjoys boating, antique/classic vehicles and horseback riding.

Amanda Lance, Hope, Arkansas

Director, Hempstead Hall and Workforce Development
University of Arkansas Hope - Texarkana

Amanda Lance is the Director of Hempstead Hall & Workforce Development for the University of Arkansas Hope – Texarkana where she works to bring culturally-relevant events to Hempstead County, to ensure local industries and businesses are provided with a trained workforce, and to promote and maintain a state-of-the-art conference center and theater for the area. Amanda believes an educated and skilled workforce along with an engaged community is the key to long-term betterment of rural areas, specifically Southwest Arkansas.

After spending nearly a decade in the events industry, Amanda is excited to bring her brand of hospitality back to Hempstead Hall where she recently hosted President Bill Clinton, Mack McLarty and Joe Purvis as part of the local Chamber of Commerce's Annual Meeting.

Amanda's educational journey has taken her full-circle from the University of Arkansas Community College at Hope to Harding University in Searcy to Harding University in Florence (Italy), and finally to the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. She has earned an Associate of Arts from UACCH and a Bachelor of Arts – Journalism – Advertising/Public Relations from the U of A.

When she's not at work, Amanda enjoys baking for friends and family, learning to turn her brown thumb green, and discovering new podcasts (currently reliving "The West Wing" through "The West Wing Weekly"). She is a member of the Hope Church of Christ, Junior Auxiliary of Hope, Southwest Arkansas Arts Council Board, and United Way of Hempstead County Board, and volunteers with The CALL in Hempstead County.

Dr. Peter Maggio, Hope, Arkansas

High School Principal
Spring Hill Schools

Dr. Peter Maggio is in his fifteenth year as an educator. He is currently the principal at Spring Hill High School in Hope, Arkansas, a position he has held since 2016. While his time in the classroom was spent as a music educator teaching band and choir in a number of Arkansas schools, his passion lies in helping teachers grow and develop in the classroom.

Dr. Maggio's research in music education has been highlighted at various conferences around the country. In addition to his other research interests in folk music and community music, his dissertation focused on assessment in music education and how scores, rankings, and ratings of ensembles affect the performing students' musical self beliefs.

Dr. Maggio is on the board of the Arkansas Alliance for Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships, the Hempstead County Education Task Force, and is a graduate of Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the Master Principal Institute through the Arkansas Leadership Academy.

Dr. Maggio holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Music Education from Boston University in Boston, Massachusetts, and Master of Science in Education in Educational Leadership and Bachelor of Music degrees from Henderson State University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas.

Beckie Moore, Hope, Arkansas

Executive Director
Hope-Hempstead County Chamber of Commerce

Beckie is a Graduate of Hope High School with a BSE degree from Henderson State University. She is currently the Hope-Hempstead County Chamber of Commerce Director. She was formerly an 11th & 12th grade English teacher for 5 Years at Hope High & Rogers High. She has also been the Director of Nonprofits for 23 Years including the Clinton Foundation, Big Brothers Big Sisters Central AR, Main Street El Dorado, United Way Clarksville, TN & Longview, TX; Hospital Foundation Director in McAlester, OK & Mt Pleasant, TX.

Beckie has certifications in strategic planning, board development, nonprofit management & leadership, advocacy, hospitality, grant writing; and event planning & implementation. She has received the Peabody Award (Group) Winner / C-Span American President Series and nonprofit leadership awards. Beckie is a graduate of the El Dorado, AR leadership class, McAlester, OK leadership class and Clarksville, TN leadership class.

Beckie's hometown is Hope, AR. She has two sons and 3 grandchildren.

JoAnn Muldrew, Emmet, Arkansas

Human Capital Management Director (retired)
Fort Worth ISD

I was born in the small rural town of Emmet, located in Southwest Arkansas with a population of about 500 residents. I graduated from the local schools and attended Henderson State University, Arkadelphia, Arkansas where I received a Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education. My teaching career began in Hope, Arkansas and I later moved to Fort Worth, Texas where I continued my career in education. I became interested in technology and began to use a computer in the classroom. To advance my skills, I received a Master's degree in Technology from Texas Wesleyan University and continued to engage students utilizing the computer. In 1997, I was named "Teaching with Technology" Elementary Teacher of the Year. As technology advanced and district's processes became automated, I worked in the HR Staffing department, recruiting and hiring teachers. One of my greatest achievements was supervising a small certification staff to audit the entire district, validating credentials for professional and paraprofessional employees. All was successfully completed in the time frame allotted along with an updated tracking system for certification. Working with a knowledgeable and dedicated staff prepared me to excel in the department and as Director of Staffing, I had the opportunity to work with Central Administrators, campus level and auxiliary personnel. After retiring from Fort Worth ISD, I returned to my roots in Emmet. I recently worked as an Assistant Director for a Federal funded Head Start Program and acknowledge that the skills and lessons learned over the years have prepared me for the challenges of this small rural town. Surrounded and supported by family, I am excited about the future and look forward to making a difference in the lives of residents and in the community. The best is yet to come.

DeAnna O'Malley, Texarkana, Arkansas

The Chillee Bean

DeAnna O'Malley was born and raised in Texarkana. She is a proud Military mom to a US Marine son and 3 daughters who are the light of her life. She has been equally blessed with a grandson who has shown her that love doesn't stop with just her children.

DeAnna is very active in the community. She is a Certified Car Seat Technician, worked with the PetSafe contest that won $100,000 (two years in a row) to build dog parks in both Texarkana's, along with a host of other social media contests. She was selected as an ALT Magazine 'Fabulous Under Forty', a Leadership Texarkana Graduate and is most currently the Outstanding Arkansas State Employee. She is an avid volunteer, hosting community clean-ups, works with disaster relief efforts , is a youth advocate for local youth groups, educating them about the dangers of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs, serves on several planning committees of city events and is the neighborhood organizer for National Night Out.

Her love of the community led her to become a board member for the National organization NUSA, Neighborhoods, USA, where she was past Secretary and on the Public Relations Committee. She also serves on the Southwest Arkansas Regional Taskforce, is a member of Pink Behind the Thin Blue Line and the Southwest Arkansas Geocache Association, played a key-role in multiple county Hometown Health coalitions, and is a board member of Main Street Texarkana. She speaks at several conferences across the country throughout the year on topics such as: Community Mobilizing, Utilizing your Community Resources and Unique Funding Opportunities.

When DeAnna isn't busy, she loves spending time with her family: cheering on her youngest daughter in cheer competitions, her son as he runs his marathons, her next-to-the-oldest as she learns that she is paying for her raising with her sweet little boy and her oldest as she is in her senior year of college while working full time as well. DeAnna loves to camp, travel and geocache with her husband along with working in their family business.

Bria Page, Texarkana, Texas

Administrative Assistant
City of Texarkana, Arkansas

I was born on May 27, 1994 in Texarkana, TX. I graduated from Texas High School and went on to work at Southwest Arkansas Development Council. At Southwest Arkansas Development Council, I was a Receptionist/Data Coordinator. I learned how to communicate with the public and effectively coordinate files while maintaining a database labeled CAP 60 for 9 counties. Learning the skill of multitasking better prepared me for the next phase of my career. After the company dissolved, I accepted placement with The City of Texarkana Arkansas as the Administrative Assistant and this position taught me the importance of leadership.

With this position I have been able to hone my skills by joining the following committees. The Farmers Market where I am the Publicity Advisor, The Community Outreach Program where we assist with funding for low to moderate income households, and The Southwest Arkansas Workforce Development Board where our strategic goal is to develop an efficient partnership with employers, the educational system, and community-based organizations.

I am a mother of two adorable boys. My oldest is an avid baseball fan who also plays in our area's junior league. My youngest being two years old is only now developing his interests. It is a joyous process to behold. In my spare time I enjoy music, cinema, and the pursuit of general knowledge.

In the year of 2017, I achieved the notable award of Public Works Department Employee of the Year. In the future I hope to continue to grow expanding my horizons and mastering my ambitions. My goals are to finish my bachelor's degree in the field of Business Management. Once I obtain this degree, I hope to assist women with similar backgrounds to fulfill or accomplish their own goals.

Dr. Lee Smith, Horatio, Arkansas

Horatio Schools

Lee Smith was born in DeQueen, Arkansas in 1973 and was raised in Little River County, Arkansas. After graduating from Foreman High School in 1991, he attended Southern Arkansas University where he completed a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Education. His first teaching job was in Mena, Arkansas at Acorn High School in 1996. While teaching he began work towards his first Master's degree in Agricultural and Extension Education that was completed at the University of Arkansas in 2001. His Master's thesis related to problem-based classroom instruction was accepted for presentation at the National Agricultural Education Research Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana. He continued to earn a second Master's degree in Educational Leadership from Henderson State University and a Doctorate from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Dr. Smith has 24 years of experience in education with 13 years in the classroom and 11 years in administration. He has presented his research and approaches to leadership at multiple regional, state, and national conferences. His areas of influence have been in Agriculture, Workforce Development, Innovative Curriculum, Educational Leadership, and Instructional Technology.

Lisa Taylor, De Queen, Arkansas

Economic Development Director
UA Cossatot Community College

Lisa Taylor is employed by UA Cossatot as the Economic Development Director for Sevier County. She graduated from Northeastern State University with a bachelor's degree in 2010, and is currently a student at the UAMS Clinton School of Public Service working on a master's degree in public service.

Taylor has nearly twenty years of experience working in community development, nine of which have been in the area of public health.

  • Louisiana
  • Jessica Hemingway
  • Nicholas Olsen
Red River Leadership Institute Louisiana District

Jessica Hemingway, Bossier City, Louisiana

Director of Communications
Bossier Chamber of Commerce

Jessica Hemingway brings 15 years of journalism, nonprofit and communications experience to her role as the Director of Communications for the Bossier Chamber of Commerce. Through her role at the chamber, Jessica oversees all branding and communications for the Bossier Chamber as well as manages the Be Bossier campaign – a marketing effort for the City of Bossier City and Bossier Parish. A native of Stonewall, resident of Shreveport and business person in Bossier, Jessica sees her work through the true lens of regionalism.

Beyond her professional work, Jessica focuses much of her volunteer work at her church – Noel Memorial United Methodist Church, which is mission-focused within a neighborhood of need in the middle of Shreveport – through work with the youth, community arts program and church initiatives focused on building up, supporting and feeding those in need in the city.

Jessica is married to Matt Hemingway and they have a 2-year-old, Mollie, and two dachshunds – Leo and Hank.

Nicholas Olsen, Shreveport, Louisiana

Program Monitor
The Coordinating and Development Corporation

I hail from Grand Rapids, Michigan, where I spent the first twenty years of my life observing the decline of ethnic (Irish, Russian, Italian, etc.) communities; the aftermath of corrupt unions dissolving; and the devastation to communities as a result of family farms and businesses being forced to shut down due to the globalization of big business..

The second twenty years of my life have been in learning about the interactions of people and their ecosystems. My degrees and certificates are in Sociology and Psychology, Lean Office, Business Solutions, and Pastoral Theology. The occupations which have allowed me to pursue these endeavors have been as a Business Solutions Professional, a Career Coach, and now as a Program Monitor in Workforce Development..

I currently reside in Shreveport, Louisiana, with my wife of twenty years, our three children, and our dog.

  • Oklahoma
  • Kendra Gross
  • Kara Maness
  • Calista Stephens

Red River Leadership Institute Oklahoma District

Kendra Gross, Idabel, Oklahoma

Southeastern Oklahoma State University McCurtain County Campus

Kendra Gross is the director of the Southeastern Oklahoma State University McCurtain County Campus, formerly known as the E.T. Dunlap Center for Higher Education. She has worked at the campus for 19 years in areas that include the business office, admissions, financial aid and academic advisement. Her background has yielded her a unique understanding of the non-traditional student college experience. In her current role as director of the branch campus, she manages and supervises various units, functions, departments, and personnel at the campus. Areas of responsibility for campus operations include recruitment, marketing, library services, enrollment management, physical plant projects and maintenance, IT operations, and public safety. She provides recommendations to university administration on the development of campus programs and opportunities and is responsible for maintaining a cooperative relationship with various stakeholders. The role also requires her serve as an ambassador for the university at community events.

Mrs. Gross holds an Associate of Science in biological sciences and zoology from Carl Albert State College, a Bachelor of Business Administration and a Master of Science in Native American Leadership from Southeastern Oklahoma State University. She is a member of the Idabel Rotary Club, the Council for Oklahoma Extended Campus, the National Association of Branch Campus Administrators, and the Association for Continuing Higher Education. She is currently a member on the board of directors for the Idabel Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture and serves as treasurer on the Wright City Youth Association board.

A lifelong McCurtain County resident, she and her husband, Todd, live in Wright City with their two sons Tristan (12) and Gavin (5).

Kara Maness, Idabel, Oklahoma

Human Resources Representative and Community Outreach
Kiamichi Family Medical Center

Kara M Maness began her career in June 2019 with Kiamichi Family Medical Centers as their first-ever Human Resources Manager and Community Outreach chair, where she got the company involved in the Chamber of Commerce and started providing the community with more knowledge on the non-profit, grant based medical facility. Kiamichi Family Medical has four locations, three of which reside in McCurtain County and the other in Choctaw County. Though she has had little experience in the field, she began her career head strong and ready to strengthen community ties and grow the business within her region. Kara has always been passionate about healthcare and community involvement and is excited that she will get to pursue both in her new career.

In December of 2018, Kara graduated with a Bachelor's of Science degree in Biology and a minor in Chemistry from East Central University in Ada, OK. She is currently working towards obtaining her masters of business administration in Healthcare Administration from Oklahoma State University-Tulsa. As a young professional in her community, Kara has worked hard to establish roots and create connections with other professionals. She has achieved this by becoming involved in the Chamber of Commerce on behalf of her employer in both Broken Bow, OK and Idabel, OK (facilities for the medical chain are present in both towns). She has further involved herself by becoming a board member for the Idabel Chamber of Commerce. As a teenager growing up in Broken Bow, Kara helped to found the Broken Bow Junior Chamber of Commerce and has always worked hard to stay a part of the community she loves.

While in undergraduate school, Kara was involved with a national sorority and the campus's Presidential Leadership Program. Through this she immersed herself in her college's community and became familiar with most of the school's administration. She helped to organize events with both programs as well as take on leadership roles in each.

Kara married her husband, Quinton, in June of 2018 and they are expecting their first child together in December 2019. Though young, Kara feels confident that she will be able to grow through her new career and become a vital leader within the community. She hopes to one day become CEO or aide in running a healthcare facility. Kara and her family reside in Broken Bow, OK but stay involved with the entire county.

Calista Stephens, Broken Bow, Oklahoma

Communications and Outreach Specialist
Oklahoma Forest Heritage Center Museum

Calista Stephens has a vision for the youth of Southeast Oklahoma and works hard to help them find their way to a brighter future. She strives to instill a sense of community and responsibility in young people by offering chances to participate in projects while being free to express themselves and have fun.

While leading the McCurtain County 4-H Dutch Oven Club, "Mrs. Calista" enjoys instructing children in proper use of cooking tools and then stepping back to supervise as they jump in and learn by doing. At the Forest Heritage Center Museum she gives young people the opportunity to work side by side with forestry and conservation professionals to educate the public about sustainable forestry, clean water, and healthy wildlife. She has high expectations of her pupils, reminding them that after they learn something it's their turn to teach it. She feels that with positive reinforcement and supportive coaches behind them, kids can accomplish anything.

Calista is the Communications and Outreach Specialist at the Forest Heritage Center Museum in Beavers Bend State Park. She currently leads the McCurtain County 4-H Dutch Oven Club and serves on the Oklahoma State 4-H Volunteer Board and as a Regional Representative for the McCurtain County Historical Society. She lives happily outside of Broken Bow, OK with her husband and two daughters.

  • Eric Cain
  • Felicia Drake
  • Jennifer Harland
  • Charles Jordan
  • Michael Malone
  • Caleb Mudford
  • Travis Ransom
  • Lisa Thompson
  • Kendell Wolfe

Red River Leadership Institute Texas District

Eric Cain, Texarkana, Texas

Vice President, Business Development
State Bank

Raised in East Texas, Eric Cain studied communications at Texas A&M University – Texarkana before being afforded the opportunity to intern with United States Congressman Ralph M. Hall. That internship turned into a ten year career with the United States House of Representatives serving as an Assistant to the Congressman. In 2015, Eric switched gears and entered the world of nonprofits as the Executive of Director of the American Red Cross serving Northeast Texas and Southwest Arkansas. In his capacity as Executive Director, Eric worked with regional staff to provide communities with volunteer development, fundraising, relationship management and board development and management. He served in leadership roles during Hurricane Harvey and multiple other disasters. Eric currently serves as Vice President - Business Development for State Bank; a chain of community banks where he leverages his management, leadership and community engagement experience to help State Bank's customers have the best banking experience possible. Eric embodies the community banking model with a passion for community service and volunteerism. He stays busy in his community serving on the Boards of CHRISTUS St. Michael Health System, Leadership Texarkana and Texas A & M – Texarkana Alumni Association. He also volunteers his time with Bowie and Cass County 4H, Friends of the Foundation - CHRISTUS St. Michael Health System and as Chairman of the Church Council at First United Methodist Church – Texarkana, Texas.

Felicia Drake, SHRM-CP, Texarkana, Texas

Human Resources Director
Red River Employees Federal Credit Union

Felicia Drake, SHRM-CP, is currently the Human Resource Director for Red River Employees Federal Credit Union (RREFCU). She joined the HR department in 2005 and now manages the department, overseeing more than 330 employees. Felicia earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in 1997 and a Master of Business Administration in 2011, both from Texas A&M University-Texarkana. Felicia continued her education through self-directed study to obtain the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) Certified Professional credentials in 2016.

Among the many impactful accomplishments during her RREFCU career, Felicia is credited for the successful onboarding and training of employees during the acquisition of another credit union in 2018.

Mrs. Drake is a native of Texarkana, graduating from Arkansas High School in Texarkana, AR. She is an active member and past-president of the local chapter of Tri-State SHRM. She served on the Texas State Council of SHRM and is a member of National SHRM. Felicia is currently serving on the United Way Community Impact Committee.

Jennifer Harland, Texarkana, Texas

External Affairs Manager
AEP Southwestern Electric Power Company

Jennifer Harland is the External Affairs Manager for Southwestern Electric Power Company's (SWEPCO) Texarkana District. Her strategic focus is on community relations, economic development and public policy matters, particularly as they affect AEP's business in the increasingly competitive electricity industry.

She participates in building and maintaining external relationships with legislators, community leaders, city and county officials, customers and other stakeholders who have an impact on SWEPCO activities in Northeast Texas and Southwest Arkansas.

Prior to serving as External Affairs Manager, Harland performed various roles in AEP's generation and CSW environmental services organizations. In those roles, Harland was responsible for wastewater, air quality, and waste management compliance with state and federal permit requirements.

Harland currently serves on the Texarkana Chamber board of directors as secretary, has been appointed as Chamber representative on Texarkana REDI, and is past chair of the Economic Development Committee. She currently chairs the Workforce Solutions Northeast Texas board of directors and is an executive committee member. Harland serves as chair of the legislative committee for the Texarkana Chamber of Commerce. Harland also serves on the Franklin County Industrial Foundation and Greater United Way of Texarkana. Harland is a member of the Workforce Solutions Northeast Texas Economic Development Consortium, Southwest Arkansas Development Alliance (SADA), Texas Economic Development Council (TEDC), Northeast Texas Economic Development Roundtable (NETEDR), and the Cass County Economic Development Planning Group.

Harland is a graduate of Leadership Texarkana, Leadership Mt. Pleasant, and the Community Development Institute at the University of Central Arkansas. Harland is currently working on coursework with Economic Development Institute and plans to graduate in May 2020.

Harland received a BS degree in biology and an MS in aquatic ecology and statistics from Stephen F. Austin State University, Nacogdoches, Texas.

Charles Jordan, Texarkana, Texas

Chief Administrative Officer/Constituent Services Representative
U.S. House of Representatives - John Ratcliffe (TX-04)

Charles Jordan serves as the Constituent Services Representative for the Honorable John Ratcliffe; TX-04. He is formally a Wounded Warrior Fellow with the Chief Administrative Office of the US-HOR. His responsibilities include providing assistance to over 300,000 constituents in twelve counties.

A US Army Veteran of the Iraq War from 2006-2008, Charles returned home and transitioned back into civilian life after receiving several Army Commendations and Achievement Awards. He was also awarded the Combat Action Badge during Operation Iraqi Freedom III.

Charles and his wife, Ericca, are residents of Texarkana and serve in a variety of community and faith-based activities.

Additionally, Charles holds an associate degree from Anchor Theological Seminary & Bible Institute, bachelor and master's degrees from Texas A&M University-Texarkana and is pursuing a Doctorate in Business Administration-Homeland Security Policy.

Michael Malone, Texarkana, Texas

Texarkana USA Regional Chamber of Commerce

President/CEO of Texarkana USA Regional Chamber of Commerce with 30+ years of work with Chambers of Commerce, workforce and economic development in 6 states. Nationally certified as well as two state certifications in Chamber leadership. Former business owner as well as service on workforce investment boards and as a continuing educator. Other: public speaker, writer, consultant, teacher, and community service volunteer.

Caleb Mudford P.E. CFM, Texarkana, Texas

Civil Engineer
MTG Engineers and Surveyors

Caleb Mudford is an engineer with MTG Engineers & Surveyors, located in Texarkana. Caleb grew up on a small farm east of Fouke, Arkansas and attended high school at Genoa Central. Afterwards, Caleb attended Texarkana College and finished his college career at the University of Arkansas where he obtained a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering. After graduation from the University of Arkansas, he worked for nearly two years at an engineering firm in Tulsa, OK and then another year in Little Rock, AR, primarily designing roadways and hydraulic crossings of various types. Caleb is an avid sportsman and enjoys hunting, fishing, golfing and traveling. He currently serves on the Economic Development Council in Texarkana and is also actively involved in the Greater Texarkana Young Professionals organization.

Travis Ransom, Atlanta, Texas

Producer and Mayor
Offenhauser & Co./Atlanta, TX

Travis Ransom has served as Mayor of the City of Atlanta since August of 2017. A lifelong Atlanta, Texas resident, Travis works for Offenhauser Insurance in Atlanta. Prior to joining Offenhauser, Travis served as District Director for former Texas State Senator Kevin Eltife for eleven years. Travis is also a 22-year veteran of the Army Reserve and continues to serve as the Command Sergeant Major for the 752d Military Intelligence Battalion. Travis has been mobilized and deployed multiple times in support of peacekeeping and contingency operations around the world. Travis is a 1996 graduate of Atlanta High School, attended Texarkana College and went on to earn his Bachelors of Applied Arts and Science from Texas A&M University-Texarkana. Travis is an active community leader currently serving in a variety of volunteer positions. Travis currently serves on the Executive Board for the ArkTex Council of Governments. He also serves as Vice President of the Texas Chapter of USA Cares, a non-profit dedicated to helping military families with financial hardships. He is the past president of the Texarkana Regional Arts and Humanities Council (TRAHC) which manages the Perot Theater and the Texarkana Regional Arts Center. He is a member and past chairman of the Atlanta Economic Development Corporation. Travis is a former president of the Atlanta Lions Club where he currently serves as Tail-Twister. Travis previously served on the Christus St. Michael Hospital-Atlanta foundation board, Chaired the Atlanta Public Library Advisory Board, and served on the Executive Board of the Caddo Area Council Boy Scouts of America. Travis is an Eagle Scout and father of an Eagle Scout. Travis attends First Baptist Church in Atlanta, Texas with his wife Emily, and three children.

Lisa Thompson, Texarkana, Texas

Economic Development, Media and Special Projects Administrator
City of Texarkana, Texas

Lisa Thompson grew up in Atlanta, Texas, the youngest of three children. She was a first-generation college student and graduated from the University of Central Arkansas in 2007 with a bachelor's degree in Mass Communication, double majoring in Public Relations and Journalism. Lisa was accepted to the fourth class of the University of Arkansas William J. Clinton School in 2008, earning her master's degree in public service in 2010. Lisa has served as Director of Public Relations for Texarkana College, President of the Atlanta Area Chamber of Commerce, and a grant writer for Opportunities, Inc. She currently serves as the Economic Development, Media and Special Projects Administrator for the City of Texarkana. In her spare time, she also teaches public speaking on an adjunct basis for the University of Arkansas Hope-Texarkana and writes for Four States Living Magazine.

Lisa is married to Brad, a Texarkana, Texas firefighter, and they have two sons, Porter (9) and Fischer (6). The Thompsons are expecting another son, due in October.

Kendell Wolfe, Atlanta, Texas

Kendell Wolfe Insurance Agency, LLC

I am the owner of Kendell Wolfe Insurance Agency, LLC located in Atlanta, Texas, where I have lived since childhood. In my spare time I enjoy serving my community through various roles and organizations, one being the Atlanta City Development Corporation in which I serve as the Chairman. I have a heart for community development and a true love for people. My favorite quote is, "Community involvement is not about what you gather, but what you scatter."

Distinguished Presenters

David Warm

David Warm

David Warm is the Executive Director of the Mid-America Regional Council. He is a recipient of the Walter Scheiber Leadership Award from the National Association of Regional Councils for making a significant impact in this region and at the national level. He is a fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration, and the recipient of the 2015 National Public Service Award bestowed by NAPA and the American Society of Public Administration. David earned a Bachelor of Arts in political science and economics from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and a Master of Public Administration from the University of California, Riverside.

George Manning

George Manning

George Manning is a professor emeritus of psychology and business at Northern Kentucky University, is internationally known as a speaker, author of eleven books, and consultant to business, industry and government. His clients include AT&T, AMA, IBM, GE, Marriott, UAW, IRS, US Navy and the National Institutes of Health, among others. George’s unique approach and magic for connecting with people includes a blend of humor, interesting facts, and practical applications. He was selected “Outstanding Professor” at Northern Kentucky University and has received the “Strongest Influence Award” given by the Northern Kentucky Alumni Association.

Steve Luoni

Stephen D. Luoni

Steve Luoni is the Director and Principal Designer at the UA Community Design Center, where he is the Steven L. Anderson Chair in Architecture and Urban Studies and a Distinguished Professor of Architecture. His work at UACDC specializes in interdisciplinary public works projects combining landscape, urban, and architectural design. In addition to being appointed a 2012 Ford Fellow by the United States Artists, he has regularly served as a resource team member for the Mayors’ Institute on City Design. Luoni has a BS in Architecture from Ohio State University and a Master of Architecture from Yale University.


Jim Youngquist

Jim Youngquist

Jim Youngquist has served as the Executive Director of the Arkansas Economic Development Institute (AEDI) since 2008. Prior to his appointment at AEDI, Jim served in both administrative, management, and project leadership positions in various University of Georgia Public Service and Outreach units, and, served as the Executive Director of the Green River Area Development District in Kentucky. He currently serves as a member of the National Association of Development Organizations Board of Directors. Jim holds a B.A. from the University of Kentucky, a Master of Urban and Regional Planning from the University of New Orleans, and a Certificate in Executive Leadership from the Owen Graduate School of Management at Vanderbilt University.

Randy Wright

Randy Wright

Randy Wright is Deputy Director of the Arkansas Economic Development Institute (AEDI), an attorney of 38 years and an instructor in the UA Little Rock College of Business. Within the Institute, he is active in Community and Economic Development. As an instructor, facilitator, and presenter he is also actively involved in multi-day seminars on leadership, team building, and related topics both locally and nationally. He has taught courses and given presentations on Interpersonal Negotiations, Conflict Management, Business Communications, Contract Law, Community Development, Organizational Behavior, Business and Employment Law, Human Relations and Business and Economic Development Ethics.

Grainger Ledbetter

Grainger Ledbetter

Grainger Ledbetter is a Community Economic Developer with the Arkansas Economic Development Institute (AEDI) and has developed curriculum and taught courses in a number of leadership areas including organizational planning and decision-making and situational and team leadership. Grainger has a degree in English from Syracuse University and a Master’s Degree in History from UA Little Rock. 

Carlos Silva

Carlos Silva

Carlos Silva is a Regional Economist at Arkansas Economic Development Institute (AEDI). Skilled in applied economic research, as well as economic and statistical modeling. He is a research professional with a Master of Science in Applied Economics with a specialization in Natural Resource Economics from Utah State University, and a Doctoral degree in the field of Economic Development from New Mexico State University. His research interests consist of economic development, natural resources, and their interaction.

April Campbell

April Campbell

April Campbell is a community economic developer at the Arkansas Economic Development Institute (AEDI) where she is committed to helping communities determine their best futures. She leads the ACCESS community development program at AEDI, and manages the institute’s social media and marketing efforts. A lifelong Arkansan, April has degrees in marketing and business administration from UA Fayetteville and UA Little Rock.

Terre McLendon

Terre McLendon

Terre McLendon, a Senior Research Specialist in community and industry strategies at the Arkansas Economic Development Institute (AEDI), has been helping position Arkansas communities to grow and thrive for nearly 40 years. Her list of projects has included economic development strategy creation; community assessment; marketing and communications; new business creation; community and economic development planning; and special topics affecting communities like housing, telecommunications technology, industry targeting, and competitive analysis. She holds Master of Science degrees in Marketing and Economics. She has lived all over the country, but has made Arkansas her home since 1976.

The Program

The Red River Leadership Institute presents a high impact custom leadership program by renowned presenters. Fulfill your potential as a leader through effective leadership skills training. APPLY TODAY!

David Warm – Regionalism 101

We make the most progress when we work strategically and effectively together in a strong collaborative capacity to plan, to act and to invest as a region.

George Manning – The Art of Leadership

By understanding leadership and it’s challenges, and developing the skills required for effective leadership you will become (1) more effective at work, (2) gain knowledge and skills, and (3) have the ability to lead others when the opportunity occurs.

Workforce development enhances economic prosperity and stability by focusing on people. You will learn the four essential elements of strategic workforce planning and creating a comprehensive workforce initiative.

Understanding Power

The core of leadership is the influence over others. The successful leader masters the use of power to influence the behavior of others.

Economic development is the process of building a strong sustainable economy that is responsive to changes and benefits everyone. Knowing your competition, creating strategies for business and job creation, and understanding the roles played by community leaders are the focus points for this session.

Leadership Principles and Team Concepts

Leadership is an ongoing journey of discovery and certain principles have optimum positive influence on followers. The most effective leaders work with a team who has a clear, motivating purpose.

Community development gives residents the power to shape the future of their communities. Learn how to develop critical thinking skills for effective decision-making, increase citizen participation, and create a well-structured and strategic development plan.

Performance Management

Create a high performance team through personal example, goal setting, positive reinforcement, addressing deficiencies, benchmarking success, and performance improvement.

Vibrant cities depend on vibrant downtowns. One of the America’s foremost experts on architecture and urban design will guide you through what it takes to build a downtown that can power a dynamic city and region.

Leadership Ethics

Ethics is the most important subject in the study and practice of leadership. Leaders are judged not only in terms of decisiveness and efficiency, but more importantly on the basis of values and moral reasoning.

Entrepreneurship and Innovation are the primary drivers of economic growth. You will learn the rewards and struggles of startups, how to engage mentors, and the necessary networking skills to better understand your investment needs, risks and possibilities.

Art of Persuasion/Managing Conflict

The successful leader must master the elements of the art of persuasion, including (1) an understanding of people, (2) the effective use of words, and (3) the ability to manage conflict. Research says leaders can spend more than 25% of their time dealing with conflict. The effective leader knows that what is needed is creative conflict, not destructive conflict.

George Manning – The Road Ahead and Change

It is no longer just the “boss” who leads. Organizations are shifting to encourage leadership in all levels of an organization to reflect a changing society. Learn to apply the techniques you have learned throughout this course as you consider your own work and life and the occasions you may have to provide leadership to others.