David Ahmet Binerer

Ahmet Binerer brings a policy perspective, as well as experience building on-the-ground partnerships to benefit communities facing community development challenges. As Senior Associate at the Center for Rural Entrepreneurship in Lincoln, Nebraska, he focused his efforts on developing a more comprehensive micro-simulation model and testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on financial services in relation to the Livable Communities Act. Ahmet’s research has also led him to co-author the book Transfer of Wealth in Rural America: Understanding the Potential, Realizing the Opportunity, Creating Wealth for the Future. Currently, Ahmet leads the Center’s Community Development Philanthropy and Transfer of Wealth™ (TOW) solution area, which makes the connection between community economic development and philanthropy by leveraging local dollars to support community needs.


Abby Dart

Abby Dart brings executive leadership and program management experience guiding various nonprofits, associations, governmental and political entities, including serving as deputy director of Michiganders for President Obama. As Executive Director of Scenic Michigan, Abby leads the statewide organization dedicated to preserving, protecting and enhancing Michigan’s scenic character alongside the development and oversight of all policy, education, fundraising, legislative strategy and lobbying. She has successfully pitched stories on digital billboards including an article in the New York Times Pulitzer Prize winning series “Driven to Distraction.” She is the founder and chair of the annual Harbor Springs Waterfront Wine Festival fundraiser, attracting hundreds of attendees from throughout the Midwest and also serves. Abby holds a law degree from Loyola Law School.

Davia Downey

Davia Downey teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in local politics, public policy and public administration at Grand Valley State University (GVSU) in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She is active in the American Society of Public Administration and has served as a board member for the Capital Area chapter for over three years. She is also a member of the Urban Affairs Association, the American Political Science Association, the Midwest Political Science Association, and the International City/County Managers Association. Davia holds a PhD in political science from Michigan State University, where her research focused mainly on the impacts Hurricane Katrina and natural disasters have on economic development, recovery, culture, and investment in Louisiana and across the country.

Micah Jensen

Micah Jensen is an Assistant Teaching Professor at Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy. He teaches courses on organizational leadership and decision-making, public opinion and polling, identity politics, and quantitative research methods. Micah’s research interests include the influence of leadership in public and nonprofit organizations; how nonprofit organizations and members of the public seek to achieve their social and political goals; and how race, ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation affect politics and policy.  He has previously worked in organizational development for a major investment firm, led nonprofit arts and community service organizations, and has taught and consulted for private sector clients, 501(c)(3) organizations, and the U.S. Departments of State and Defense. Micah has a doctoral degree in government and a master’s degree in public policy from Georgetown University, as well as a bachelor’s degree in economics from Westminster College of Salt Lake City.


Parween Mascari

As a small business owner, practicing lawyer, member and founder of various organizations, Parween Mascari understands the strategies necessary for full community economic development. At the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce, she assists small and large businesses and helps shape policy in West Virginia. She is a member of the West Virginia State Bar admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia, the United States District Court for the Northern and Southern Districts of West Virginia and the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, and has served as a lecturer on business law and ethics for WVU’s MBA and EMBA programs. Parween owns her own small business selling products made in West Virginia at Snowshoe Mountain Resort. She helped found Generation Morgantown, is active in Generation West Virginia, and is on the boards of the I-79 Development Council, the Snowshoe Foundation, and the West Virginia Economic Development Authority. Parween has volunteered for the Public-Private Partnership for Justice Reform in Afghanistan and currently serves as a Trustee for the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation. She is a member of St. John’s University Parish and serves as a member of the WVU College of Law’s visiting committee.