2025 Annual Conference: Call for Session Proposals


DEADLINE: Friday, August 2, 2024

The Development District Association of Appalachia is holding its Annual Conference in Arlington, Virginia from March 9-12, 2025. We plan to share cutting-edge ideas, highlight success stories and lessons learned, and engage with other LDDs during our annual gathering. DDAA is seeking compelling session proposals to ensure a comprehensive program. Session proposals should address topics and trends that reflect the wide-ranging needs and interests of member region, states or LDDs, with a focus on this year’s theme of Together Towards Tomorrow. We are searching for powerful session proposals that align with Appalachian Regional Commission’s 5 strategic goals:

  • Building Appalachian Businesses
    • Entrepreneurship support
    • New and emerging technologies
  • Building Appalachia’s Workforce Ecosystem
    • Substance use crisis
    • Reskilling the workforce
    • Childcare
    • Technology in the workplace
      • Artificial intelligence
      • GIS
      • Next Gen 911
  • Building Appalachia’s Infrastructure
    • Water and sewer
    • Alternative energy solutions
    • Broadband development
    • Rural transportation
    • Housing
    • Brownfields
    • Energy (Interagency Working Group, solar farms, etc)
  • Building Regional Culture and Tourism
    • Developing and marketing local tourism
    • Sustaining and strengthening economies
    • Supporting outdoor recreation
    • Tourism best practices – achievable programs and measuring outcomes
  • Building Community Leaders and Capacity
    • Administrative capacity building for communities, boards, and LDDs
      • Budgeting, rules changes, audit issues etc
    • Leadership Peer Sharing
      • LDD 101 for executive directors and board members
      • Engaging your LDD’s board
      • “no stupid questions”
    • Re-thinking economic development
    • Shared services across regions
    • Partnering with university centers
    • Disaster recovery
    • … or other topics DDAA members would like to share!

Conference Audience:

The Development District Association of Appalachia (DDAA) is a membership organization of the 74 Local Development Districts (LDDs) serving the 423 counties of the Appalachia Region. The DDAA works to strengthen LDDs and their member governments and to provide leadership to support the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) federal-state-local partnership. Conference attendees are Executive Directors, Board Members, local and state Elected Officials, Program Managers, and Staff of Local Development Districts across the 13 state region.

Local Development Districts (LDDs) are multi-jurisdictional planning and economic development organizations that provide administrative, professional and technical assistance to local governments and citizens throughout Appalachia. An LDD is the Appalachian Regional Commission’s (ARC) name for the multi-county planning and development organizations which from State to State may be otherwise known as regional councils, councils of governments, area development districts, regional development centers, or regional planning commissions. LDD’s are the local partner in the ARC’s Federal-State-Local partnership, and they serve the member counties and municipalities within their designated regions in efforts aimed at achieving the goals of the ARC.


Please read the following guidelines carefully before submitting your session proposal.

  • Proposals are encouraged to contain contributions from or highlights of the work of one or more Local Development District.
  • DDAA reserves the right to accept only the topic, title, and to accept or reject one or more speakers and moderator or any combination of the above list.
  • DDAA reserves the right to add, edit or make changes to the session title, description, and mode of presentation, panel and moderator.
  • All proposals become property of DDAA upon receipt. Session topics or speaker recommendations not accepted will be considered for use in future DDAA conferences, newsletters, webinars and resources for up to a period of one year.
  • Strong proposals are respectful of diversity in terms of ethnicity, gender and geographic location.
  • Proposals must be submitted with a minimum of one speaker for the panel. DDAA may confirm additional speakers and a moderator to complete the panel.
  • In order to keep conference registration fees reasonable, DDAA will consider requests for payment of speaker fees and travel expenses, honorarium or speaker’s bureau fees only in special circumstances.
  • DDAA reserves the right to combine session proposals on similar topics into one session.
  • Speakers and moderators interested in attending the conference will be expected to register and pay for the conference.
  • Speakers are invited to attend the session before or after their session, excluding meals and receptions, without paying the registration fee.
  • Individuals or organizations proposing sessions are responsible for confirming proposed speakers and moderators upon acceptance of session proposal.

Proposal Submissions:

Please fill out the SurveyMonkey form at the link. Contact DDAA at bbuff@crec.net via email with any questions regarding conference proposals. For more details about DDAA, visit our website at www.appalachiandevelopment.org.

You will be notified via email regarding a decision on your proposal on or before August 30, 2024. All proposals will be kept on file for one year for consideration for future conferences. If the session proposal and speakers are accepted, the person who submitted the proposals will be responsible for confirming the moderator and speakers on or before September 13, 2024.

No substitutes for speakers or moderators can be made without permission from DDAA.

Important Deadlines:

  • June 20, 2024: DDAA begins accepting session proposals
  • August 2, 2024: Proposals due to DDAA
  • August 30, 2024: DDAA notifies submissions of the outcome of their Proposals
  • September 13, 2024: Successful submissions confirm their speakers and moderators (if applicable)