News from the Top

IDA is learning to amplify our voice.


IDA kicked off the strongest spring season on record. Beginning late last month, the IDA Board members updated our strategic priorities in a special Board retreat here in Washington DC, working to position our support of IDA members better to lead the post-pandemic rebuilding of their communities. Immediately following the retreat, more than 30 IDA members walked the halls of the Senate and House office buildings, taking 49 meetings with legislators to advocate for Byrne JAG public safety funding, increased support for homeless assistance and advancing the Revitalizing Downtown Act.

At the beginning of this month, more than 200 Professional place management professionals descended upon Downtown San Jose, making the 2023 West Coast Urban District Forum IDA’s most comprehensive spring conference ever. Still, the next week, 19 Executive Directors and CEOs honed their skills at the second annual Executive Leadership Retreat. It is safe to say IDA’s programming is back!

Today, I returned to Durham, NC, where last night I presented the results of IDA’s Advisory Panel at the district’s 2023 State of Downtown meeting. Nicole Thompson, CEO of Downtown Durham Inc. (DDI), initiated a truly innovative approach to preparing for her organization’s next strategic downtown plan. Prior to initiating the call for proposals, the DDI deployed IDA’s advisory panel service this February to engage stakeholders across the community to establish a consensus on the challenges the next plan must address. This forward-thinking approach to achieving community buy-in on the problems, even before initiating the actual planning process, is yet one more example of the creative ideas our industry brings to city building.

All of this to say it has been an extraordinarily active first quarter within the IDA community. Strategic leadership, advocating on capitol hill, communing with one another to share best practices, all while innovating new approaches back home in the district. I reflect on the recent weeks and am quickly reminded of the most insightful observations made by the IDA Board of Directors. Our industry has no shortage of great ideas, emerging innovative programs, or spectacular results. IDA can better support its members and the profession by capturing these successes and amplifying IDA member’s work with a strong public voice. We must increase awareness of the benefits IDA Member districts bring to their cities as they solve post-pandemic challenges. This will become IDA’s newest priority, and I invite you to share your latest accomplishment with me. You can find me at