Skip to content

Keynote Speakers and Plenary Panels

2019 AARP Livable Communities Rural Livability Workshop, Portland, Maine

Wednesday, June 19

Watch the Video | Download the Slides       


Age-Friendly by Design in Rural Communities and the Triple Bottom Line: Economic, Environmental and Human Health

  • Mark Fenton 
    Adjunct Associate Professor, Tufts University, Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy

Mark Fenton is a public health, planning and transportation consultant; advocate for active transportation; and former host of the America’s Walking series on PBS. He has worked with communities across the United States, Canada and Australia and consulted for AARP, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the University of North Carolina Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center, and the YMCA of the USA. Fenton studied engineering and biomechanics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the U.S. Olympic Training Center, was the manager of the Human Performance Laboratory at Reebok, and has published articles about exercise science, physical activity promotion, community interventions and public policy. 

Watch the Video 


Rural Livability and Housing

  • Moderator: Kim Adler, Regional Vice President, AARP Western States | Twitter: @AARPWest

Kim Adler leads AARP's rural strategy, which works to ensure that AARP's priorities are impactful and relevant to rural communities, and she serves as a champion for AARP members and all people age 50 or older in Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah and Wyoming.

  • David Lipsetz, CEO, Housing Assistance Council | Twitter: @DavidLipsetz

The Housing Assistance Council has been helping rural communities develop since 1971. Certified by the U.S. Department of Treasury as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), HAC works to build up the capacity of community-based nonprofits, local governments and private organizations to create housing, community facilities and more. HAC publishes original research, provides information, and delivers training and technical assistance toward combating poverty and growing prosperity in small towns and rural places.

  • Tony Walters, Executive Director National American Indian Housing Council

A member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, Tony Walters leads the National American Indian Housing Council's efforts to improve housing opportunities for Native American, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian communities. NAIHC's training and technical assistance programs ensure that tribal housing programs can be effective in delivering housing services to their members. Walters's advocacy work in Washington, D.C., helps tribes secure the resources they need to be successful in maintaining and developing housing.

Watch the Video | Download the Slides


  • Moderator: LaMonte Guillory, Chief Communications Officer, LOR Foundation | Twitter: @LaMonteG, @LORFoundation 

LaMonte Guillory drives the LOR Foundation's external presence within the philanthropic and rural communities by ensuring that LOR represents the people who make up the vibrant, growing and culturally significant rural towns of the American West. He advances important discussions about the future of rural livability and the need for community-driven solutions to leaders, policy makers, the media, funders, nonprofits and national associations.

The AARP Livable Experience: Fun, Engaging, Informative and Intergenerational

  • Alice Bennett, Associate State Director/Community Outreach AARP Georgia | Twitter: @abbAARPGA 

Alice Bennett works with volunteers, elected officials and nonprofit leaders to execute the Age-Friendly Augusta action plan and increase AARP's presence, relevance and impact in the Augusta and Savannah communities. Bennett holds a bachelor's degree in political science from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and a juris doctor degree from North Carolina Central University School of Law.

Age-Friendly Bozeman

  • Steve Reiter, Senior Operations Specialist, AARP Montana | Twitter: @SteveReiter1 

Steve Reiter assists and advises Montana’s first age-friendly community, Bozeman, which hopes to create a combination community center and senior center in order to develop an intergenerational destination for bringing residents of all ages together.

Helping Businesses Become Age-Friendly in Portland, Maine

  • Linda Weare, Director, Portland Office of Elder Affairs

Linda Weare has worked for the City of Portland for 29 years, first as a social worker, then as an elder advocate, and now as the director of elder affairs. Passionate about keeping older adults safe and living independently in the community of their choice, Weare is the chair of the Portland Age-Friendly Community Steering Committee.

Job Fairs and Older Workers

  • Ted Trainer, DrPH, Chair, Town of Kennebunk Committee on Aging 

Over a 50-year public health career, Ted Trainer has worked at the international, national, regional, state and local levels to advocate for health policies that allow children, older adults, and people living with disabilities to live their best lives. For the past 13 years, he has worked in Kennebunk, Maine, on issues related to aging.

Growing Entrepreneurs Through Ecosystems

  • Darrin Wasniewski, Associate State Director/Community Outreach AARP Wisconsin | Twitter: @dwasniewski 

Darrin Wasniewski promotes the benefits of livable communities throughout Wisconsin and creates engaging experiences for La Crosse-area AARP members. Wasniewski holds a bachelor's degree in history from Ohio State University and a master of business administration degree from Kent State University.

Watch the Video


Rural Livability and Broadband

  • Moderator: Greg Marchildon, State Director, AARP Vermont | Twitter: @Greg Marchildon 

AARP Vermont was the first state to embrace the livable communities initiative after it became part of AARP's social impact agenda more than a decade ago. Greg Marchildon has been the state director of AARP Vermont since 2006. He previously served as the state director of AARP Hawaii and as the director of media relations for AARP. 

  • Brian Whitacre, Professor and Extension Economist Oklahoma State University 

An economist who specializes in rural communities, Brian Whitacre focuses on the role that technology can play in rural economic development. He has published more than 50 peer-reviewed journal articles, including several highly cited papers on the relationship between internet access and rural economic growth. Whitacre has developed innovative outreach programs that help small towns benefit from the internet. He has received numerous awards for his research, teaching and extension programs.

  • Brian Christenberry, Manager, State Government Relations Indiana Electric Cooperatives | Twitter: @IndianaEC, @CrimsonBeeCee 

Brian Christenberry advocates on behalf of IEC, the nation's first electric cooperative service organization. IEC's members consist of 39 distribution cooperatives and two generation/transmission cooperatives that serve more than 1.3 million Hoosiers. Christenberry leads the organization's state lobbying efforts and is responsible for planning and implementing programs and strategies to affect Indiana state government policy and legislation.

Watch the Video | Download the Slides | Download the Handout       


Placemaking in Rural Communities

  • Andrew Howard 
    Cofounder/Director, Team Better Block | Twitter: @TeamBetterBlock

When Andrew Howard cofounded the transportation and placemaking firm Team Better Block in 2010, and proceeded to bike lanes where he felt they were needed, he thought he might end up in jail or at least stripped of his planning certification. Instead, his firm began receiving international awards and building a client list of industryleading organizations. As a creator of the Build a Better Block demonstration program, Howard and his Dallas, Texas, neighbors built the first two "Better Blocks" and pioneered the idea of using temporary "pop-up" activities as an urban planning strategy. Team Better Block's work fits into community outreach, revitalization, Complete Streets policies, and public space planning and design projects. Having been used in more than 150 communities, the Better Block approach is an alternative to the typical "design and defend" urban planning methods of the past.

Thursday, June 20

Watch the Video


Rural Livability and Federal Resources 

  • Moderator: Lori Parham, State Director, AARP Maine | Twitter: @lkpmaine
  • Cathy R. Glover, Assistant Deputy Administrator Single-Family Housing Programs U.S. Department of Agriculture, Rural Development 

With responsibility for government housing policies, Cathy R. Glover leads the USDA's single-family housing loan and grant programs. Her team develops and deploys new policy guidance to 47 state offices nationwide.

  • Jeremiah Christopher, Community Planner Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Community Planning and Capacity Building Branch | Twitter: @FEMA 

Jeremiah Christopher develops disaster recovery guidance for states, local communities, tribes and territories. He also deploys to disaster-impacted areas to support FEMA's Community Planning Technical Assistance teams and local stakeholders after high-impact disasters.

Watch the Video | Download the Slides


  • Moderator: Kelly Clark, Ph.D Regional Vice President (East and Caribbean), AARP |  Twitter: @KellyA_Clark 

Kelly Clark provides leadership, management and oversight of AARP's operations and activities in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Delaware, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. She previously served as state director for AARP New Hampshire and as the town manager in two rural New Hampshire communities. Empowering Community Leaders to

Transform Communities from Within

  • José Acaron, State Director, AARP Puerto Rico | Twitter: @JoseAcaron_AARP 

José Acaron has been working toward positive social change by leading AARP Puerto Rico since 2004. His prior roles include 15 years of service at the Muscular Dystrophy Association (as the regional director for Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands) and as a member of the Hope for the Elderly board of directors. Acaron holds a bachelor's degree in marketing from the University of Puerto Rico.

Senior SAFE Smoke Alarm

  • David Hough, Executive Council, AARP Wyoming 

In his capacity as a member of the AARP Wyoming Executive Council, David Hough has helped several towns move forward in their efforts to make public spaces age-friendly. Hough's work for AARP is influenced by his career as a city planner and parks manager. He has played a key role in the Casper Age-Friendly Community Planning process, concentrating on transportation and housing needs.

Persistence and the Big Ask: Benches

  • Dyan Walsh, Executive Director, Eastern Area Agency on Aging (Bangor, Maine) 

Walsh holds a master's degree in social work from the University of Maine with a concentration in gerontological practice. She co-chairs the Bangor Livable Communities Committee and educates older adults about fall prevention strategies, advancing age-friendly communities and developing creative approaches for combating social isolation.

Holly Springs 7588: Let's Ride!

  • Ivory Craig, Associate State Director/Community Outreach AARP Mississippi | Twitter: @IvoryCraig 

Ivory Craig coordinates community service projects, establishes and maintains partnerships, assists AARP Mississippi chapters, and recruits, retains, trains and manages volunteers. Her work in communities includes active living and safety initiatives.

Watch the Video | Download the Slides


Strengthening Transportation Options in Rural Communities

John Robert Smith served for 20 years in local government, including 16 years as the mayor of Meridian, Mississippi, whose Union Station, his signature project, is recognized as one of the best multi-modal transportation centers in the country. Integrating passenger rail, intercity buses and transit, the station has spurred $165 million worth of redevelopment in the surrounding historic buildings. Smith served on the Amtrak board of directors, including two years as chairman. His work has carried him to 115 communities across the country.

Watch the Video


Philanthropic Partners

  • Moderator: Will Phillips, State Director, AARP Minnesota Acting Regional Vice President (Central), AARP | Twitter: @willphillips74

Will Phillips leads AARP Minnesota's staff and volunteers in advocacy, community engagement and education to help fight for and equip Minnesotans age 50 or older to live their best lives. His work building teams and strategies to empower citizens to shape their communities and influence policy has spanned more than two decades and roles with multiple social impact organizations.

  • Laura Lee, Senior Program Manager Maine Community Foundation | Twitter: @MaineCF

Laura Lee leads the Maine Community Foundation's work on aging. She partners with other funders, nonprofit advocates and community leaders to change the conversation around aging in Maine and to support community-driven solutions. Lee also serves on the board of directors of Grantmakers In Aging.

  • LaMonte Guillory, Chief Communications Officer, LOR Foundation | Twitter: @LaMonteG, @LORFoundation 

LaMonte Guillory drives the LOR Foundation's external presence within the philanthropic and rural communities by ensuring that LOR represents the people who make up the vibrant, growing and culturally significant rural towns of the American West. He advances important discussions about the future of rural livability and the need for communitydriven solutions to leaders, policy makers, the media, funders, nonprofits and national associations.

  • Lynn Haglin, Vice President, Northland Foundation | Twitter: @LHagin 

Lynn Haglin's experience includes more than 30 years in administration, community development and education with an extensive background in early care and education, youth development and intergenerational programs. In her current position, Haglin provides leadership for the foundation's KIDS PLUS Programs, including AGE to Age: Bringing Generations Together. She has designed and implemented model programs focused on child and youth development and intergenerational programming. Haglin is a member of several local, regional and state boards and committees.

2019 AARP Rural Livability Workshop 

To return to the main conference page, visit or bookmark:

Our Free Publications!

See the complete list at

Follow Us

Contact Us

  • Email AARP Livable Communities at

  • Ask about the AARP Livability Index by completing this online form.

  • AARP Members: For questions about your benefits, AARP The Magazine or the AARP Bulletin, visit the AARP Contact Us page or call 1-888-OUR-AARP (1-888-687-2277).