Bringing people together for a common good has been a lifelong passion for Dr. Rena Cotsones.
As Associate Vice President of Outreach, Engagement and Regional Development for Northern Illinois University, Rena works with regional partners to create and implement collaborative approaches to advancing education, economic development, workforce development, and innovation initiatives in northern Illinois and Chicagoland.
Most recently, Rena provided leadership for the creation of NIU Engineering @ RVC, a community-based, industry-integrated engineering baccalaureate completion program in partnership with the community college and industry partners in Rockford, Illinois. This collaborative workforce solution has inspired the development of other innovative approaches to education and workforce development in the region and won the 2017 Award of Excellence for Talent Development from the University Economic Development Association (UEDA).
Rena chaired the national Council on Engagement and Outreach (CEO) of the Association of Public and Landgrant Universities (APLU) in 2017. She helped lead the team that won APLU’s Innovation and Economic Prosperity designation for NIU in 2013. She is a board member of the University Economic Development Association. She is also a member of the national core team for Strategic Doing, a program of Purdue University’s Agile Strategy Lab and is a Strategic Doing instructor. In northern Illinois, she serves on the boards of numerous Chambers, economic development and education organizations.
Rena started her career as a broadcast journalist after graduating from Illinois State University with a Bachelor of Science in Mass Communications. She holds a Master’s degree in Public Administration and Ph.D. in Political Science from Northern Illinois University.
Janyce Fadden is Director of Strategic Engagement at the University of North Alabama College of Business. Her role includes implementing an innovation pipeline strategy called Shoals Shift Project and other business engagement projects. Currently using Strategic Doing, a flexible agile methodology, the Shoals Shift Project seeks to build a digital economy by enhancing the region’s competitiveness. This award-winning project recently recognized by the Appalachian Regional Commission with a significant grant to accelerate the results. The project has been recognized as outstanding by the University Economic Development Association and the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi. In addition, using lean management techniques Fadden has been a key contributor with the College of Business Graduate recruitment team whose work has resulted in doubling the MBA enrollment thus becoming Alabama’s largest program. She has taught the 2.5 day practitioner training and facilitated numerous workshops in workforce development, economic development, higher education, entrepreneurship, community development, rural economies, manufacturing, and nonprofits.
Nancy Franklin, Principal of Franklin Solutions, collaborates with leaders of higher education, government, and business to facilitate strategic partnerships, innovation initiatives, talent development, agile planning, and program creation. Previously, she led strategic initiatives in community-university engagement, academic pathway development, STEM capacity-building, and integrating technology into teaching and learning at Virginia Tech, Penn State, and Indiana State University after an early career with IBM and ROLM. Nancy has been inducted into the Academy of Community Engagement Scholars, is a member of the Strategic Doing Faculty, and is the author of more than a dozen publications. She holds a doctorate in Higher Education Management from the University of Pennsylvania, a master’s from Virginia Tech, and a bachelor’s degree from Bucknell University.
Tim Franklin, Ph.D., serves as Principal and co-Founder at Franklin Solutions (FS), which he rejoined full-time following his recent retirement from a 25+-year career as an innovating senior university leader/administrator that included many regional, state, and national recognitions for his projects and work. At FS, he translates this leadership experience into client value.
Franklin is an expert in higher education policy, experienced strategic planner, credentialed Strategic Doing Fellow and Workshop Leader, as well as bringing a history of starting new endeavors, including serving on the Strategic Doing Institute’s Core Team, which supports SDI’s ongoing development. Tim’s achievements include substantial contributions in founding, designing, advocating, and building two market-facing, special purpose institutions focused on technology development and economic growth. The New Jersey Innovation Institute (NJII) and Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR) represent two successful national models, one confronting urban challenges and the other rural. Both leverage the strengths of polytechnic research universities (NJIT and Virginia Tech, respectively) through organizational interfaces designed around applied research, innovation labs, and a comprehensive set of related educational programs and outreach services. Franklin led these intermediary organizations from start-up through institutional growth of more than 125 employees (both) and $85M+ in annual operating expenditures (NJII).
Previously, Franklin held leadership positions at Virginia Tech, Penn State, Indiana State University, and New Jersey Institute of Technology, all of which focused on strategic change and partnerships. Franklin’s responsibilities have included strategic planning, government relations, policy analysis and advocacy, strategic initiatives, fostering institutional-scale programs, fund development, leading public and private partnerships, hiring institutional staff, and articulating programs to advance the University’s economic engagement and research missions. Franklin has strategically aligned numerous partnerships between higher education, community, industry, and government focused on delivering notable regional, cluster, and technology development impact. He has obtained funding for, developed staffing, and led/overseen numerous economic and workforce development programs. Franklin founded and led TRE Networks, Inc., a non-profit organization of leading national organizations and universities dedicated to advancing the role of research universities in transformative regional engagement (TRE) efforts.
Franklin brings skills and a reputation:
· As an incisive strategist, catalyzer of constructive change, and author of messages leading to trust in and commitment to new endeavors,
· As a master collaborator and team builder in both his internal and external relationships,
· For his vision, leadership, and skills in competitive contexts,
· For building talented, high-performing work teams, whose discretionary efforts make ambitious strategic goals achievable,
· For innovation and creative solutions in confronting complex, messy problems,
· For mastering the technical and policy subjects at the core of his efforts, and
· As a builder and for starting new endeavors.
A native of the Washington DC Metropolitan area, Michon serves as the Strategic Initiatives Program Lead for the Office of Information Technology (OIT) for the Department of Employment Services (DOES). She was instrumental in working with management to redesign, what is now, the agency’s compliance unit. In her role as Strategic Initiative Lead for OIT, she has also been instrumental as one of the IT design architects for the deployment of customer-facing technical solutions within the agency’s American Job Centers (AJC). She has an extensive background in academic instruction; training and development; and project management with government, nonprofit and educational organizations.
Michon holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Speech Communication and a Master of Arts degree in Intercultural Communication–both from Howard University in Washington, DC. She has also completed all coursework and comprehensive exams toward a doctoral degree in Intercultural Communication from Howard University. Michon has over 20 years of education and experience in the fields of human communication and mass media; project management; community relations; and compliance.
Michon’s expertise in these areas has allowed her to work in a variety of contexts ranging from academic institutions to law enforcement agencies. Maintaining such a wide range and scope allows her to provide a unique skill set for all organizations. Her professional positions include: Professor at Prince George’s Community College; Community Relations Specialist/Public Affairs at Prince George’s County Department of Corrections; Public Affairs Specialist & Compliance Manager at the DC Department of Corrections; Public Relations/Development at Christian Brothers Conference; and Transportation Security Specialist at the Transportation Security Administration.
Michon has used Strategic Doing to train over 700 local government employees and contractors which in turn helped the agency re-define its approach to navigating complex problems and designing a landscape for “attainable and doable” actions that met specific desired outcomes.
The director at the Purdue Agile Strategy Lab, A social scientist who has studied and practiced strategy and collaboration since 1992, Scott Hutcheson’s focus is on designing tools and learning experiences related to collaborative, agile approaches for doing complex work. He has applied his work in diverse settings like economic development, innovation, business growth, and social change.
Scott has been engaged by nearly 400 industry, public sector, higher education, and nonprofit clients in 30 U.S. states and internationally.
His teaching at Purdue focuses on helping engineering technology students build their skills in agile approaches, collaboration, strategy, and project management.
Scott has a Ph.D. in public policy, a masters in public administration, and an undergraduate degree in theater. His doctoral research was on effective strategy in economic development.
Ed is Director of the Agile Strategy Lab at the University of North Alabama, and was the founder of the Purdue Agile Strategy Lab. Ed’s work emphasizes the strategic value of focused regional collaborations and open innovation, network-based models in today’s global economy.
Ed is the developer of Strategic Doing to accelerate collaborations, now widely used across the U.S. and is now gaining attention internationally. His work won the first Arthur D. Little Award for excellence in economic development presented by the American Economic Development Council.
Prior to starting his economic development work, Ed worked for Telesis, a corporate strategy consulting firm. In this position, he served on consulting teams for clients such as Ford Motor Company, Volvo, and General Electric. He conducted manufacturing cost studies in the U.S., Japan, Mexico, Canada, Italy, Sweden, and France.
Ed started his professional career in Washington, D.C., where he has served as a legislative assistant to an Ohio Congressman, staff attorney in the Federal Trade Commission, and staff counsel in the US Senate. He holds a BA degree cum laude with honors from Yale University and MBA and JD degrees from the University of Virginia.