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2016 WyoNAHRO Conference Presenters

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Wyoming Chapter National Association of Housing & Redevelopment Officials
Michael W-P Fortunato is an Assistant Professor of Sociology, Engaged Scholar,  and Director of the Center for Rural Studies at Sam Houston State University.  Fortunato grew up in his grandfather’s Pittsburgh-based entertainment business,  Alanna Records, and went on to launch Fortunet Entertainment, Inc. in New York City.  While in New York, his travels took him into many historically-important  rural communities in the Northeast United States.  He was stunned by the hard  struggle facing these rural communities, and inspired by the untapped opportunities abounding within them.  He soon returned to school to study the entrepreneurial  and creative capacity of smaller communities and learn as much as he could about  how local society influences development outcomes.  Fortunato’s professional  interests include finding ways to infuse community development practice with high levels of creativity, enthusiasm, and compassion. His research focuses on how local culture and institutional structure shape local innovation, entrepreneurship, and  well-being in communities both domestically and internationally; and how to enable transformation from legacy social systems into newer, flexible, more democratic and entrepreneurial local systems that serve the public good. By examining the  differences between high- and low-entrepreneurship areas, Fortunato’s research  seeks to understand the attitudes of citizens as they navigate their past, imagine a  better future, and catalyze fast, meaningful steps toward action and  accomplishment. He uses this knowledge while conducting applied work in  communities across rural Texas, and internationally, co-creating local systems and  practices for overcoming obstacles, elevating citizen voices, and unleashing  untapped creative potential.  Fortunato spends as much time as possible out and about in rural communities,  working, learning, and brainstorming with others.  He enjoys entrepreneurial  challenges, solving wicked problems collaboratively, and anything having to do with travel, geography, language, and the aviation industry.  He is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, and recording artist; and frustrated (but committed) gardener in his spare hours.  Fortunato holds a Ph.D. in Rural Sociology and an M.S. in Community  Economic Development from Penn State University’s College of Agricultural  Sciences, Department of Agricultural Economics, Sociology, and Education.
Scott Hoversland became the Executive Director of the Wyoming Community Development Authority in December 2015.  Scott joined WCDA in June 2005 as the Deputy Director of Finance and became Director of Finance in May 2006.  Prior to working for WCDA Scott was the Accounting and Finance Manager for the Montana Board of Housing for 4 years and he served as an auditor with the Montana Legislative Audit Division for thirteen years.  Mr. Hoversland is a graduate of Eastern Montana College and a Certified Public Accountant.  Scott and his wife Janet have four children.
Shawn Reese rejoined the Wyoming Business Council as CEO in June 2014. He previously worked at the Business Council from 2003-11. There he developed the Business Ready Community Program and oversaw the operations of the Investment Ready Communities division. Prior to returning to the Business Council, Reese oversaw a staff of advisers and analysts serving Gov. Matt Mead on a range of energy and natural resource issues. He was the lead architect of Mead’s energy strategy, “Leading the Charge.” Reese helped develop energy plans and policies with the Western Governors Association and the Republican Governors Public Policy Committee. He served on the staff advisory council of the Western Governors Association. He also was the staff chairman of the multistate Greater Sage-grouse Task Force. Reese received a Bachelor of Science degree and performed Master’s coursework in planning at the University of Wyoming. Reese is a Cheyenne native. He and his wife Amiee have two children: Clara and Owen.