International expert on regional development to headline BGSU conference

Michael Gallis, widely considered the leading American authority on large-scale regional development strategies, will be the keynote speaker May 22 at the fifth annual State of the Region Conference, presented by the University’s Center for Regional Development (CRD).

Michael Gallis
Michael Gallis
“Responding to a Changing World” will be Gallis’ topic following a 1:30 p.m. welcome to the conference, set for the Holiday Inn French Quarter in Perrysburg. Wednesday (May 17) is the registration deadline for the event, which is free and open to the public. To register, call 2-8710 or toll-free 866-562-7277, or complete the online form at

Gallis has led in-depth development programs for a number of metropolitan regions—Detroit, Cincinnati, Memphis and Charlotte, among others—and several states, including Connecticut, Rhode Island and New Jersey.

Representatives from two of those areas will also speak at the conference, from 3:15-4:30 p.m. Kip Bergstrom, executive director of the Rhode Island Economic Policy Council, will address “Rhode Island: Regional Networks of Capability,” while Russell Gwatney, a director and past president of the Memphis Regional Chamber, will discuss “Memphis: A Regional Focus.”

Bergstrom was the first student to specialize in economic development at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, where he earned a master’s degree in city and regional planning. Gwatney is the current chair of the Memphis Branch of the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank and president of the Gwatney Companies, operators of auto dealerships in Arkansas and Tennessee.

Bergstrom and Gwatney will relate their regions’“success stories” at the conference, said CRD Director Dr. Michael Carroll, economics. He will provide a northwest Ohio development perspective, following the presentation by Gallis.

“The caliber of the speakers is top-notch,” added Carroll, calling Gallis “a regional architect.”

Gallis holds a bachelor’s degree in architecture from the University of California-Berkeley and master’s degrees in architecture and city planning from the University of Pennsylvania. He was a faculty member in architecture and planning at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte from 1974-97.

In 1988, he formed his strategic planning and design firm, Michael Gallis and Associates, which has won national design awards from the U.S. Department of Transportation and the National Endowment for the Arts.

A member of the founding board of the International Radical Innovation Institute, Gallis has also been part of a State Department-sponsored technical assistance team sent to Poland to give advice on major metropolitan development.

The May 22 conference will close with a 4:30 p.m. reception in the atrium at the French Quarter.
May 15, 2006