Robert Harrington, MPA MEDP

Born and raised in Marceline, Missouri Robert Harrington, MPA MEDP has been a part of rural America his entire life. From the time he was a child his grandmother instilled in him the importance of a hard day's work and giving back to your community.

Since then Robert has achieved his Bachelors of Science In Business from the University of Phoenix (which he did while working as a full-time Economic Developer across Missouri, Iowa, and Texas) Most recently finished his Master's in Public Administration (MPA) from Park Hill University. He has been recognized as a Master Economic Development Practioner (MEDP) by the Advanced Economic Development Leadership Program ( a collaborative course through Universities of Clemson, Southern Mississippi, TCU, and New Mexico State), and will be facilitating a course this fall for this organization highlighting what Rural Economic Development truly is.

Most importantly Robert is married to his beautiful (and much smarter than him) wife Kathryn and is the father of his four amazing children. He tributes his drive and tenacity to his Grandmother and the years of wisdom she bestowed to him while listening to Lawrence Welk and watching the news together.

One of his favorite quotes comes from his favorite President, Harry S. Truman who said: "It's amazing what you can accomplish when you do not care who gets the credit."

Some quotes from Robert:

"Rural Economic Development is more than what you are taught during your CEcD courses or what you read in these large newspapers. True rural economic development is finding solutions to the problems of today so you can celebrate the successes of tomorrow. No matter if that problem is fixing up the local park, getting funding for a road, or new housing developments, and yes even bringing in that new company. Rural Economic Developers have to be experts of many things and masters of few and do it all with fewer resources than larger municipalities and organizations do. "

"I was recently asked why I felt like getting a hospital reopened or bringing broadband to a small community was economic development. Why I was not spending time recruiting businesses to these communities or marketing them to site selectors. My answer was simple across Rural America today we see an extreme shortage of people and therefore an extreme shortage of workers for the companies we currently have. "

"We are creating a community where people will want to live, work, and play. This in turn allows us to attract people to our community which helps our businesses find individuals to work in their companies. This is the only way that communities located in Rural America can compete against these more populated Urban centers. "

"Rural Economic Development is more than business attraction and retention. It has to be Workforce Development, Entrepreneurship Development, Housing Development, and much more. Working on Health Care is just as important and in this time in our lives may be more important than Business Attraction has ever been."

On Robert's Favorite Books

To be honest I have not been an avid reader over my life which is probably one of my biggest downfalls. However, if I was to say what book has had the most influence on my decisions over my life I would have to say the Bible. My grandmother always said that when a person finds themselves in trouble and needs the best advice they should turn to the Bible as it will always have the answers we need to hear.

Other than that I have turned to the Total Town Makeover by Andrew McCrea, and currently, I am reading Truman by David McCullough.

Robert Harrington has been a guest on 1 episode.