Central Ward

Family:
 Liane Grayson, spouse
Education/Occupation:
Levin College of Urban Affairs, Cleveland State University, Cleveland, OH
M.P.A. and Certificate in Nonprofit Management
• Member, Pi Alpha Alpha National Honor Society for Public Affairs Administration
• Recipient, Hopkins Award for academic excellence and outstanding potential for future succes
Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, Carbondale, IL
B.A., Radio/Television; minor in Marketing, Public Relations
 
RELATED SERVICE
• Government Research Bureau, The University of South Dakota
Member, Consulting Team
• W.O. Farber Center for Civic Leadership, The University of South Dakota
Member, Advisory Council
• Clay County Historic Preservation Commission
Secretary, Board of Directors
• Vermillion Community Theatre
Member, Board of Directors
 
OCCUPATION
The University of South Dakota Adjunct Instructor in areas of nonprofit organization management for the political science department and the interdisciplinary education and action program.
Independent Consultant to area nonprofit organizations on topics of volunteer board roles and responsibilities, fundraising, strategic planning, budgeting, capacity building, outreach communication and other leadership and management topics.
 
1. I want to be a part of the Vermillion City Council as a meaningful way of continuing to give back to this fabulous community.  I am the classic example of a trailing spouse.  When Liane and I moved to Vermillion in 2007 it was for her faculty position at USD.  Fulltime job opportunities for me were scarce.  But I quickly found no shortage of ways of being involved in our newly adopted hometown.  The Heartland Humane Society, the Welcome Table, Arts Council, the Community Theatre, a sound system upgrade at the high school to name but a few.  The social capital that knits Vermillion together is abundant.  As an alderman, I will seek to sustain and nurture the myriad assets that make Vermillion so special while cultivating a culture that welcomes entrepreneurial newcomers.

2. Entrepreneurial attractiveness.  We will all benefit by making Vermillion an attractive place for entrepreneurs to set up shop.  Nationwide, small business drives job growth.  Vermillion should be no exception.  Every city in the US wants big employers.  While we can talk about luring the next large payroll, we must focus on the low hanging fruit of creating an environment that is attractive to small enterprise.  We have a lot of unemployed and underemployed folks here who have talents and skills that, in the right setting, can build a successful business.  Vermillion needs to develop a competitive advantage to complement its quality of life assets, retaining those people who are already here while being attractive to newcomers.
Intellectual capital for everyone.  As a community we have to get smarter about being smart.  We have too many residents living at or below the poverty line.  We have too many families struggling to find the resources they need to enjoy a reasonable quality of life.  We have too many single income households.  It's well known that income potential is tied to education.  So the irony should not be lost that we live in a city whose brand is intrinsically tied to one of the largest and oldest institutions of higher learning in the state.  I have no doubt that Council candidates have been talking about "town and gown" relations for generations, but I would argue that in today's economic climate, a strategic alignment of resources between the city and USD is more important than ever.  What can we do for each other for the greater good?
Preserving and embracing our distinctive assets.  That means taking care of our historic buildings, improving the quality and desirability of our neighborhoods and being valiant stewards of our environment.  Vermillion is a desirable place to live, learn and grow.  We owe it not only to ourselves, but especially to future generations to value and sustain those qualities that make this such a special place.

3. Experience, new perspectives, new ideas.  My many years in corporate and nonprofit organization management have been successful because of I am a good listener and a creative problem solver.  I have worked for a Fortune 500 company as well as founded and operated my own small business.  As a professional fundraiser for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, Cleveland's contemporary art museum and the NPR-member station at Kent State University, I have raised significant sums by engaging people in our missions.
I understand the needs of business, the needs of arts, cultural, social service and educational organizations.  I have lived in major metropolitan areas and small towns in the US as well as the capital city of South Australia.  These many experiences combined with my Master of Public Administration education position me to serve the people of Vermillion as an alderman of the Central Ward.

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