Regional educators to strengthen Extension community development programs
Street scene

Purdue Extension has hired five new regional economic and community development educators to expand delivery of ECD programs throughout the state.

They will primarily serve their geographical districts, but each has an area of expertise and will also serve as a statewide resource.

The new appointees and their areas of expertise are Tanya J. Hall, economic impact analysis and decision making, Southeast District; Tamara Ogle, local and regional government, East District; Kris Parker, leadership, civic engagement and collaboration, Northwest District; Heather Strohm, economic and business development, Southwest District; and Steve Yoder, natural and environmental resources, Central District.

The appointments were announced Tuesday (Aug. 19) by Jason Henderson, Purdue Extension director. Parker, Strohm and Yoder will start Sept. 1, and Hall and Ogle on Oct. 1.

"Purdue Extension is on the cutting edge of a nationwide Extension push to provide sound information that will help local leaders make smart decisions about community development," Henderson said. "These five diversely talented educators will allow us to more effectively deliver on the tremendous demand for such support in Indiana. They will help us get expert resources and data to leaders who need it most and help them discover opportunities and realize successes."

Hall comes to Purdue University from the Indiana Business Research Center at Indiana University, where she was an economic research analyst. She served as lead researcher of the Indiana Workforce and Education Intelligence System, published nearly 40 reports on economic development, provided economic forecasting and analyzed the life sciences, "green" jobs and agriculture industries.

Ogle, a Purdue Extension educator in Cass County, created an educational curriculum to help local elected officials understand property taxes, finance and budget processes. She also coordinated the statewide program On Local Government and produced an informational video series about local government finance.

Parker has been an ECD Extension educator in Porter County for nine years. During her tenure, she became an expert resource on community issues for local chambers of commerce and economic development organizations.

Strohm has more than 14 years of experience in economic leadership, management and development. She previously served as the regional director of the Small Business Development Center at Indiana State University in Terre Haute.

Yoder brings two decades of experience in environmental planning, nonprofit direction and public programs management, most recently as a Purdue Extension educator in Tippecanoe County. He previously served as executive director of The Arboretum at Flagstaff, a 200-acre ecotourism operation in Flagstaff, Arizona.

Each educator brings specific strengths to help Extension meet strategic goals in five key areas - leadership and civic engagement; community and organizational planning; economic and business development; local government; and quality places, said Lionel "Bo" J. Beaulieu, associate director of Purdue Extension and economic and community development program leader.

"By collaborating together, they will help local leaders understand all drivers of community development and build on those key components," he said.

Purdue Extension's ECD program area will make another change. Effective Oct. 1, the name will change to Community Development to more accurately describe its programs and resources.


Tanya J. Hall:

Tamara Ogle:

Kris Parker:

Heather Strohm:

Steve Yoder:

By Olivia L Maddox, Magazine Editor/Writer
The Educational Store