Friday, August 23, 2019 - 10:40 am

BISMARCK, N.D. – Gov. Doug Burgum today announced the featured speakers for the 2019 Main Street ND Summit, Oct. 29-31 at the Bismarck Event Center.

The Main Street ND Summit will bring together local and national community development experts and advocates to share best practices and inspire community leaders, entrepreneurs and students in envisioning North Dakota’s future.


“This summit will provide attendees with access to best practices, resources and networking opportunities, empowering them to immediately apply what they have learned to further local initiatives that will help their communities thrive,” Burgum said.


The three-day interactive summit will serve as a forum for information on the community planning principles behind the three pillars of Burgum’s Main Street Initiative: a skilled workforce; smart, efficient infrastructure; and healthy, vibrant communities. The goal is to help North Dakota compete in a 21st century economy in which rapid technological advancement is changing every job, industry and organization.


The three-day conference will feature national thought leaders including:


  • Gil Penalosa, the founder and chair of the internationally recognized Canadian nonprofit organization 8 80 Cities and chair of World Urban Parks. Penalosa holds an MBA from UCLA’s Anderson School of Management, where he recently was selected as one of the “100 Most Inspirational Alumni” in the school’s history. He received an honorary doctorate from the Faculty of Urban Planning at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences. Last year he was listed in Planetizen’s Top 100 Most Influential Urbanists and recently received in Australia the World Urban Parks Annual Distinguished Individual Award.


  • Christopher Zimmerman, vice president for economic development for Smart Growth America (SGA) and director of the Governors’ Institute on Community Design. An economist by training, Zimmerman leads SGA’s Transit-Oriented Development Technical Assistance program and oversees the downtown revitalization program, which provides training and technical assistance to local officials. Prior to joining SGA, Zimmerman was intimately involved in planning, development, housing and transportation policy for an urban municipality widely recognized as one of the leading U.S. models for smart growth and transit-oriented development through his work as an elected official in Arlington County, Va. During his 18 years as a member of the Arlington County Board, Zimmerman served on many regional transportation bodies, including 15 years on the Transportation Planning Board for the National Capital Region.


  • Jana Lynott, senior strategic policy advisor for Livable Communities/Transportation with AARP’s Public Policy Institute. Lynott focuses on a broad array of planning and policy issues including public transportation, complete streets, older driver safety and the travel patterns of older adults. She recently completed a series of papers titled, “The Future of Transportation: The Opportunity (and Potential Pitfall) of Disruptive Technologies.” Jana co-directs AARP’s Livability Index, a first-of-its-kind online tool designed to help communities better serve their residents across the lifespan. As a land use and transportation planner, Jana brings practical expertise to the research field. 


  • Adam Vauthier, executive director at Anaconda (Mont.) Local Development Corp. Vauthier also served as the ALDC’s board chair, is a founding member of the Anaconda Trail Society, and is a former member of the Anaconda-Deer Lodge Planning Board. He’s also been at the helm of Accelerate Anaconda, a community-development offshoot of the ALDC. Vauthier became the executive director at the age of 32 and had moved to Anaconda to start a web-based marketing and advertising firm. He has a degree in web development from the International Academy of Design in Seattle and has completed coursework with the International Economic Development Council.


  • Jaixai Reineke, a freshman at Brookings High School in South Dakota who has been actively working to share the importance of, and have, the voices of youth heard in her community. Reineke organized and hosted the first youth-organized TEDx youth event in the history of South Dakota and was the first youth speaker at TEDxBrookings. Her topic will address cultivating young pioneers in the region.


  • Kim Huston, author of “Small Town Sexy,” a book about the allure of living in small town America. Huston enjoys speaking about her love affair with her not-so-big city lifestyle in her hometown of Bardstown, Ky., population around 14,000. She has gained national recognition with her book, which discusses the seductive charm and appeal so many small towns have today, and she promotes the ability to do big business in a small town. Huston writes from experience as the president of the Nelson County Economic Development Agency (NCEDA) in Bardstown, where she oversees all economic development activity in Nelson County including industrial development, the Chamber of Commerce, small business development, the Main Street Program and a strong tourism agency.

The Main Street ND Summit is hosted by Burgum and the North Dakota Department of Commerce. For additional information on sponsorship opportunities, agenda topics or to reserve your space for the Summit visit: