NACDEP 2018 Conference- That’s a wrap!

NACDEP 2018 logo

What started out as a casual conversation among friends in Grand Rapids, Michigan at the 2014 NACDEP Conference recently culminated with over 180 Community Development professionals gathering in Cleveland for the 2018 NACDEP Conference. The carefully planned and executed agenda allowed time for participants to enjoy Cleveland, renew old friendships, make new connections, and most importantly engage in an excellent agenda for personal and professional development.

Ben Bebenroth – Chef, Farmer, Founder of Spice Hospitality Group, engages a full house during the closing session.

The program included keynote sessions with thought- provoking speakers, concurrent session presentations by Community Development colleagues from Ohio and from across the nation, poster sessions filled with great ideas, mobile learning workshops which took place throughout Cleveland, and opportunities to informally connect with our friends and colleagues.

They say that it takes a village to raise a child. Well, I say it takes a complete team to create an exceptional conference. That team included my colleagues from Ohio State University Extension, Community Development.  Many of them worked countless hours to ensure a first- rate experience for attendees. To them all, I say, “Thank you and job well done!”

While I cannot recognize all of them by name here, I would especially like to highlight the conference planning subcommittee chairs:

  • Speakers: Anne Johnson and Myra Wilson
  • Publicity: Alice Hutzel-Bateson and Meghan Thoreau
  • Hospitality: Jared Morrison, Sandy Odrumsky and Amanda Osborne
  • Mobile Learning Workshops/Tours: Amanda Osborne and Lauren Vargo
  • Concurrent Sessions: Cindy Bond and Becky Nesbitt
  • Sponsorship: Kyle White

Lastly, I would be remiss if I did not recognize my conference planning committee co-chair, Greg Davis. Greg’s leadership provided an outlet and an opportunity to engage us as Community Development professionals that ultimately created an excellent conference. Thanks, Greg.

See you next year in Asheville (North Carolina), June 9-12!

If you want to learn more about NACDEP 2018, contact:

David CivittoloDavid Civittolo
NACDEP President
Associate Professor and Field Specialist, Community Economics

Ready to Rock? . . . It’s almost time for the NACDEP 2018 Conference!

NACDEP 2018 Logo

Logo photo courtesy of: and
Larry E. Highbaugh, Jr.

Before you know it, Community Development professionals from across the country will be gathering in Cleveland for the 2018 NACDEP Conference! The speakers are confirmed. Session proposals are being reviewed. Final changes have been made to the pre- and post-conference workshops, as well as Tuesday afternoon’s mobile learning workshops. Interested in attending?

Registration is now open. NACDEP Member early bird rate is $450 now through April 30, after which it increases to $485.

Make your reservations at the Renaissance Cleveland Hotel, our historic conference venue in downtown Cleveland

Before you register, review the selection of pre-conference workshops, post-conference workshops, and mobile learning workshops to decide which you would like to attend.

NACDEP logoDon’t forget – if you know of someone who might be interested in contributing as a sponsor, please direct them to the conference sponsorship page.

OSUE Community Development could not be more excited about how things are coming together for our 2018 Cleveland experience and want to thank all of the planning team members and the dozens of proposal reviewers for their hard work so far. See you in Cleveland, recently named as one of the ‘Best of the World’ by the National Geographic Traveler Magazine! Read more about that here.

Still not sure if you want to come to Cleveland? Check out this video.

 If you want to learn more about NACDEP 2018 contact David Civittolo (

David CivittoloDavid Civittolo is an Associate Professor and Field Specialist, Community Economics.

Communities that Rock! NACDEP Conference coming to Cleveland!!!

During the holiday season a lot of planning takes place, whether to ensure a successful holiday dinner party or finding the perfect gifts for family and friends.

NACDEP 2018 logo

Logo photo courtesy of: and Larry E. Highbaugh, Jr.

Just like the holiday season, Extension Community Development professionals have been busy planning activities for the upcoming NACDEP Conference (#nacdep18). June 10-13 we will be hosting over 250 Extension professionals in Cleveland, Ohio. And in the midst of planning, we continue to uncover neat things about our host city, most recently that Cleveland has been named as one of the ‘Best of the World’ places to visit by the National Geographic Traveler Magazine! Read more about that here.

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

Exciting mobile learning workshops are planned that include a trip to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, the Great Lakes Science Center, Mitchell’s Homemade Ice Cream, and a visit to Stone Laboratory (on Gibraltar Island) just to name a few. How about joining us for a guided bike tour of the Cleveland Metroparks‘ recent community development projects (the Rivergate Park Riverfront Development Project and the Edgewater Beach Park Improvement Project)?

Mitchell's Ice Cream

Mitchell’s Homemade Ice Cream

If a boat ride sounds more your style, you can enjoy a scenic trip up the Cuyahoga River on the Cleveland Metroparks water taxi. The journey will start at Merwin’s Wharf, a Metroparks-owned pub located on the river in the heart of the city, and wind up the ‘Crooked River’ pausing to observe areas where river restoration actions have been implemented.

Merwin’s Wharf

Still not sure if you want to come to Cleveland? Check out this video.

If you want to learn more about NACDEP 2018 or help with the conference, visit the NACDEP website or contact conference co-chair David Civittolo, Associate Professor and Field Specialist, Community Economics (


Strengthening teamwork and leadership: conference planning-style

When trying something new we’ve not done before, it doesn’t take us long to realize that proficiency requires a dedication to practice and in most cases a good bit of patience. And, you might say that Extension professionals work in teams all the time. It is not often, however, that we work together in national conference planning.

Logo photo courtesy of: and Larry E. Highbaugh, Jr.

CD professionals have been practicing teamwork and leadership skills around a singular focus since June 2014. That’s when the idea of hosting the annual conference for our professional association, the National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals (a.k.a. NACDEP), was first shared. After learning of our proposal’s success about 18 months later, even more opportunities to practice really kicked. For example, as a team, we have:

  • Participated in the past three NACDEP conferences like never before (i.e., ‘What does it take to put this on?’)
  • Encouraged colleagues to serve on the national NACDEP board (thank you, Nancy Bowen, treasurer; David Civittolo, president-elect; and Brian Raison, north central representative)
  • Served on a variety of prior NACDEP conference sub-committees
  • Worked together to identify our conference location (Cleveland) and venue (Renaissance Cleveland Hotel – Downtown)
  • Brainstormed and investigated the best things to experience in Cleveland

Exploring a potential conference MLW site: Edgewater Park

With Ohio JCEP’s support, a couple of weeks ago we were able to practice our teamwork and leadership skills in a face-to-face retreat at the conference venue in Cleveland. During this two-day retreat, we:

  • Investigated potential conference mobile learning workshop (MLW) ideas in small groups
  • Explored the conference hotel and surrounding areas
  • Continued our subcommittee work focused on sessions, speakers, sponsorship, publicity, hospitality, MLWs, etc.

This work required our best leadership and teamwork by subcommittee chairs and co-chairs, MLW investigation leaders, and situational leaders too. Even better, we were able to team up with members of the national NACDEP board in this work as they overlapped their annual face-to-face retreat with our conference planning retreat at the 2018 NACDEP Conference venue in Cleveland.

No doubt, there has been much to learn throughout this conference planning process. And when we consciously make the time for it, there is much to learn beyond the ins and outs of how to produce a top-rate NACDEP conference. Every day we have countless opportunities to actively and deliberately practice our skills necessary for working with others. Opportunities to strengthen our skills and build proficiency. The work that lies ahead will require our best teamwork and leadership.

Regardless of the task at hand or the challenge you face, how you go about practicing your skills is up to you.

Let’s ‘suit up!’

Greg Davis is a 2018 NACDEP Conference planning committee co-chair and Extension Assistant Director, Community Development.

It’s time to rock and roll – NACDEP Conference coming to Cleveland!!!

Image - Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame

How do you build team, showcase some of the amazing work being done by colleagues throughout the organization, and become more engaged in your professional association? You propose hosting the association’s annual conference in your state!

On behalf of Extension CD professionals throughout Ohio, I am pleased to announce that Ohio has been selected as the site of the 2018 National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals (NACDEP) Conference.

Please consider joining over 250 of your Extension colleagues from throughout the country as they engage in conversations, workshops and tours focused on local foods, urban programs, leadership development, economic development, and much much more.

Need more reasons to participate? With a nod to David Letterman, here are the top ten reasons you will want to attend NACDEP in Cleveland in June 2018:

10. Visit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame – its only rock and roll but I like it

9.   TameImage - Cedar Point the roller coasters at Cedar Point Amusement Park

8.   Life is a beach- enjoy visiting the Lake Erie Islands

Image - Cleveland Waterfront7.   Visit the Great Lakes Science Center – See, touch and explore! Enjoy amazing hands-on science exhibits, immerse yourself in a six-story OMNIMAX Theater, explore the NASA Glenn Visitor Center, and climb aboard the Steamship William G. Mather

6.   See urban farming up close with a personal tour of a vineyard

5.   Learn about the Global Center for Health Innovation Project– a focal point for the healthcare industry

Image - West Side Market4.   Visit Cleveland’s historic West Side Market– a century-old market where immigrants and shoppers have come for decades to find the dishes and spices of their home country

3.   Enjoy fine cuisine during a visit to the “Little Italy” neighborhood where you can dine, recline, and catch up with colleagues

Image - Playhouse Square2.   Take in a show at Playhouse Square– a collection of ten performance spaces, including five theaters restored to their original 1920s elegance



And the number one reason to attend the 2018 NACDEP Conference is……………………………….

It’s time to ignite!  Enlighten us, but make it quick. Come and watch colleagues as they get 5 minutes and 20 slides to tell a compelling story.

Still not sure if you want to come to Cleveland? Check out this video.

David Civittolo is serving as the conference committee co-chair and is an Associate Professor and Extension Field Specialist for Community Economics.

Celebrating Successes and Exploring New Opportunities

Lake Champlain 2016-06-30More than 400 years ago, a Frenchman, Samuel de Champlain, encountered the lake and land surrounding what would later be named after him, Lake Champlain. Earlier this week, Extension CD and Natural Resource professionals converged on this same part of the country in Burlington, Vermont for the first ever joint NACDEP-ANREP conference.

After a virtual welcome from NIFA director Sonny Ramaswamy, participants engaged in a wide range of sharing and learning opportunities. Much of the focus could be centered around the symbiosis between CD and natural resources, with the goal of both vibrant communities and a healthy environment.

More than a dozen OSUE-CD professionals could be counted among the project, paper, and poster presenters and OSUE-CD attendance was at or near an all-time high. We honored outgoing board secretary Julie Fox and welcomed incoming board treasurer Nancy Bowen. We also congratulated national award winner Brian Raison for his work with educational technologies. After 3+ days of sessions, tours, team building and learning, many have returned home to celebrate independence.

NACDEP 2018 announcementIt was by all accounts one of the best NACDEP conferences yet. But, perhaps most exciting of all, we were able to formally invite our colleagues throughout the country to the 2018 NACDEP conference to be held in Cleveland, O-H-I-O! If you are interested in helping with the 2018 event, please contact me or David Civittolo.

Greg Davis is the Assistant Director for OSU Extension, Community Development.