Destination Downtown Speakers

General Informaton  |  Agenda



Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin

State of Arkansas

Tim Griffin grew up in Magnolia, a fifth-generation Arkansan and the youngest son of a minister and teacher. He was elected the lieutenant governor of Arkansas on November 4, 2014, and is currently serving his first four-year term. He is focused on growing jobs through aggressively pursuing economic development, more parental choice in education and boldly reforming state government.

From 2011-2015, Griffin served as the 24th representative of Arkansas’s Second Congressional District. For the 113th Congress, he was a member of the House Committee on Ways and Means while also serving as a Deputy Whip for the Majority. In the 112th Congress, he served as a member of the House Armed Services Committee, the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, the House Committee on Ethics and the House Committee on the Judiciary. He also served as an Assistant Whip for the Majority. In Congress, he advocated for bold tax reform and entitlement reform to grow jobs and reduce the national debt.

During the Bush Administration, in 2006-2007, Griffin served as U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas and previously as Special Assistant to the President and Deputy Director of Political Affairs for President George W. Bush at the White House.

Stacy Hurst

State Historic Preservation Officer 
Department of Arkansas Heritage

Stacy Hurst was appointed director of the Department of Arkansas Heritage by Governor Asa Hutchinson in January 2015. She is responsible for the work of eight separate agencies that represent the natural and cultural heritage of Arkansas. They are the Arkansas Arts Council, the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission, the Arkansas State Archives, Historic Arkansas Museum, Delta Cultural Center, Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, and the Old State House Museum. She also serves as the State Historic Preservation Officer, representing Arkansas to the National Trust for Historic Places. Stacy is a life-long Arkansan who grew up in Pine Bluff and received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville.

Prior to her appointment as DAH director, she was involved for 19 years in general management and marketing for Tipton & Hurst, a family-owned business started in Little Rock in 1886. Before that, she was vice president of Arkansas Children’s Hospital Foundation, where she was responsible for the statewide Children’s Miracle Network Telethon that raised $2 million annually.

Her record of public service is extensive with service as a Little Rock City Director representing Ward 3 from January 2003 to 2014. She served as Vice Mayor from January 2007 to December 2008. As City Director, she was a liaison to the Arts and Culture Commission, the Sister Cities Commission, the City Beautiful Commission and the Parks and Recreations Commission. She currently serves on the Little Rock Municipal Airport Commission, which manages, operates and maintains the Bill & Hillary Clinton National Airport.




Place & Main Advisors

Joe Borgstrom is an accomplished professional in the fields of Downtown Redevelopment, Community and Economic Development, Main Street and Placemaking. His 20 year career includes executive management, project financial structuring and evaluation, fund development, foreign direct investment recruitment, program management, public speaking and consulting. He and his teams have used state and local incentives to leverage more than $2.2 billion in private investment into communities.

Borgstrom is a principal in the consulting firm, Place & Main Advisors, LLC, which he co-founded with his wife, Kirsten Borgstrom. Place & Main Advisors specializes in downtown and traditional commercial district revitalization using Placemaking techniques and Main Street strategies.

He has been a featured keynote speaker at statewide downtown conferences in Wisconsin, Tennessee, North Carolina and Delaware and was a featured speaker at the White House Placemaking Summit. Joe was formerly the Director of Downtown & Community Services at MSHDA, which included the national award winning Michigan Main Street program. He was a founding member of the Community Assistance Team (CATeam) and served as its director at MSHDA and at the MEDC.


Program Officer
Winthrop Rockefeller Institute

Payton Christenberry graduated from the University of Central Arkansas with a Bachelor of Arts in writing and a minor in theater. After coming to the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute as a programs intern, Payton was quickly offered a full-time position, ultimately becoming a program officer. Payton has been involved in community theater all his life and brings a passion for the arts to creating arts and humanities programs for the Institute. He also spearheads the long-running Nanotechnology for Health Care Conferences, among other health-related programs. He is particularly focused on health programs that bridge the gap between researchers and practitioners.


distrx, Inc.

Dr. Ron Cook is co-founder of distrx, a mobile marketing platform designed for Main Street communities. Prior to launching distrx, Ron was Program Director (Dean) for the graduate school of business at Full Sail University. A frequent speaker on technology, “The Internet of Things”, Main Street trends and entrepreneurship, Ron also serves as a mentor for Starter Studio, Central Florida’s tech business accelerator. Ron’s latest venture, distrx, uses beacon technology to allow Main Street directors and merchants to communicate promotional offers and other information to visitors. The company’s mission aligns perfectly with that of Main Street directors – promote local businesses, support the shop local movement, and create and promote events to drive traffic to Main Street districts everywhere.


Historic Hotels of America

Michael P. DiRienzo, Director, Sales and Development - Historic Hotels Michael DiRienzo is Director, Sales and Development for Historic Hotels of America and Historic Hotels Worldwide, responsible for the operation of the Historic Hotels National Sales Office, including implementing the Historic Hotels group sales plan, expanding the Historic Hotels Preservation Client Database, sourcing group business leads from the preservation vertical market, as well as shared responsibility for conducting client and media events in key feeder markets. In his development role, Michael has shared responsibility for expanding the Historic Hotels portfolio while retaining current members. Michael was well prepared for his current role, which he has held for more than two decades, by his previous affiliation with the Hotel Association of Washington, DC as well as holding senior sales and marketing positions at a number of historic hotels in the Nation's Capital. In addition to graduate study at the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration, Michael holds a certificate in historic preservation from Goucher College and is a licensed real estate agent in the District of Columbia.


Heritage Consulting, Inc.

Donna Ann Harris is the principal of Heritage Consulting Inc., a Philadelphia-based certified WBE consulting firm in NJ, DE and PA that works nationwide providing training, research, coaching and consulting services on historic preservation, audience development, volunteer management, heritage tourism, program planning and organizational development issues for historic sites, downtowns, and community-based organizations.

Prior to starting her firm 14 years ago, Ms. Harris was State Coordinator for the Illinois Main Street program for two years and the manager of the Illinois suburban Main Street program for four years. During her tenure as State Coordinator, Ms. Harris served 56 Illinois Main Street communities, led a staff of 12, and managed a budget of $1.1 million dollars.

Prior to her Main Street career, Ms. Harris spent 15 years as an executive director of three start-ups and two mature historic preservation organizations. During these positions in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Illinois, she began membership drives, led strategic planning efforts, organized conferences, public relations efforts and led a capital campaign to purchase an open space parcel. Ms. Harris raised more than $3.75 million in grants and sponsorship dollars in her early career. During this period she managing staffs ranging in size from two to eight, and was responsible for organizational, project and endowment budgets of up to $2.6 million.

Ms. Harris earned a Master of Science degree in Historic Preservation from Columbia University in New York City and a Master of Public Administration degree from the Fels Center of Government at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. She holds a BA in both American Studies and Art History from the State University of New York at Albany. Ms. Harris is a Certified Main Street Manager, a credential from the National Main Street Center.



State Coordinator
Main Street Alabama

Mary Helmer is the President/State Coordinator for Main Street Alabama and an experienced professional specializing in community and business development strategies, relationship building, training and leadership development. Mary served 10 years as a local Main Street Director in Emporia, KS, which forged a lifelong interest in downtown revitalization and community development. Emporia was the first Kansas community recognized with the prestigious Great American Main Street Award from the National Main Street Center. Following her tenure as Emporia's Main Street Director, Helmer moved into the position of Kansas Main Street State Coordinator in 2007 and served in that capacity for 5 years. Prior to accepting her current position with Main Street Alabama in 2013, Helmer developed a leveraged funding package and managed the public relations on a project to convert a former high school into a hotel/convention center in Emporia.


Program Officer
Winthrop Rockefeller Institute

Tiffany Henry is a Program Officer at the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute. She facilitates Uncommon Communities, which is a leadership, community and economic development program designed to equip local leaders to make positive change in their communities. Previously, she served as the Coordinator of Sponsored Programs and University Initiatives at Arkansas Tech University. She is the lead organizer of 1 Million Cups Russellville and serves on the board of Main Street Russellville and serves on the Russellville Chamber of Commerce Promotion and Events Council. She holds a Master of Science degree in psychology from Arkansas Tech University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from California State University, Stanislaus.



Senior Program Officer
Director of Coordinating Program Services
National Main Street Center

Kathy La Plante is a Senior Program Officer and Director of Coordinating Program Services at the National Main Street Center with expertise in building organizational capacity and developing promotional programming. She has worked in the Main Street field for nearly 25 years. She joined the staff of the National Main Street Center in May 2007. She works throughout the U.S. providing training for cities of all sizes using the Main Street Approach® to downtown revitalization. Prior to this position, she was hired as the first Director of the New Hampshire Main Street Center, serving in that role for over ten years. She was responsible for initiating the statewide New Hampshire Main Street Program, and providing technical assistance to 23 designated Main Street programs. Kathy began her Main Street career in 1989 as the Executive Director of the Chippewa Falls Main Street Program. Seven years later, Chippewa Falls was a recipient of the Great American Main Street Award. Prior to working in downtown revitalization, Kathy spent 12 years in retail management including, for ten years, as manager of Spurgeon’s Department Stores in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Iowa. She attended the University of Wisconsin-Stout.


Arnett Muldrow & Associates

Ben Muldrow, a Partner at Arnett Muldrow & Associates, is responsible for all community marketing and branding functions of the Greenville, SC-based urban planning firm. Ben helps communities to develop their brand identity through an open process including public design sessions and collaborative small groups. He has designed new branding and marketing elements for revitalization projects in over 300 communities in Arkansas, Alabama, California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. The younger, smarter, and more handsome Muldrow is a popular speaker for State Main Street Managers Trainings, Tourism Conferences, and National Main Street Town Meetings. A Greenville native and a graduate of the University of South Carolina, Muldrow was Strategic Branding Manager for NewSouth Communications and Owner of Mudduck Design, an advertising and graphic design company specializing in design for residential home builders, developers, real estate, and support businesses in the industry.


Vice President for Western Field Services
National Trust for Historic Preservation

Barbara Pahl is the Senior Vice President for Preservation Field Services at the National Trust for Historic Preservation. As Senior Vice President, she manages a team of 23 professionals in 8 Field Offices across the country responsible for implementing successful National Treasure campaigns. National Treasures are threatened places of national significance where the Trust takes direct action to save them. Ms. Pahl began with the National Trust in 1984 as Assistant Director of the Mountains/Plains Regional Office in Denver before becoming Regional Director in 1991. She was named Western Regional Vice President in 2011 and Senior Vice President for Field Services in 2016. The National Trust is a private nonprofit organization chartered by Congress in 1949 that works to save America’s historic places. Ms. Pahl received the Montana Governor’s Historic Preservation Award in 2005 and in 2007, the Dana Crawford Award from Colorado Preservation Inc. in 2007 and the Keystone Award from Historic Denver in 2015. She holds a BA in American Studies from Skidmore College and a MA in American Studies from George Washington University.

Tim Reinders

Design Specialist
Main Street Iowa

Tim Reinders is a design specialist for the Main Street Iowa Program. In this capacity, he provides technical assistance and training in all areas of design and preservation, storefront design drawings and general architectural and planning services to all Iowa Main Street communities. Tim has been involved with Main Street since 1988 when he began his career as a local Main Street director in Clinton, Iowa before joining the state program. Over the years he has worked with numerous other Main Street coordinating programs across the country providing training and technical assistance. Tim has served on a number of boards and committees at the state and national level addressing Main Street, historic preservation and community development issues. Tim attended Iowa State University where he studied Architecture and Community and Regional Planning.


Rachel Reynolds

Chief Project Steward
Cultural Continum Consulting

Rachel is an artist and folklorist with a background in art and cultural policy and arts-focused grassroots organizing in underserved communities. Reynolds received a B.A. in American studies from the University of Arkansas and M.A. degrees in public history and heritage studies from Arkansas State University where she is pursuing her Ph.D. in heritage studies. She has received fellowships from the Southern Foodways Alliance to document Arkansas barbecue and was in the first cohort of Creative Community Fellows through National Arts Strategies. Her arts and food-focused project, The Oregon County Food Producers and Artisans Co-Op has been featured in Mother Earth News, Rural Missouri, and Acres U.S.A. among other print and online publications. In 2015, she founded the #NotMyOzarks campaign to counter anti-racial sentiment in the Ozarks region. Rachel is a founding member of Art of the Rural and a frequent presenter on topics of cultural sustainability and rural art and culture at conferences across the country and a member of the International Creative Placemaking Leadership Council.


Executive Director
Main Street Eureka Springs

Jacqueline Wolven is a Main Street Now! Conference presenter, consultant, AARP speaker, HuffingtonPost writer and Main Street Eureka Springs Executive Director who focuses on the Power of Place & People.

Working on her first book, “Relentless Authenticity”, she drives home the idea that knowing yourself deeply you can bring your best self to your work and life. Owning your own story, both as a person and an organization, can help you make your next bold move.

Having lived with nuns, practiced meditation for 28 years, designing Ninja Turtle packaging, giving parties featuring Elton John, living on a commune and working deeply in corporate America, Jacqueline, uses her 25 years of marketing expertise to dive in to find your niche and develop relationships within it. She has recently been helping professionals and organizational teams understand their brand, working with teams to slay their goals personally and professionally and highlighting niche markets for small towns throughout the US.


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