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Vasquez, Orza to give keynote speeches at regional summit at NSU

TAHLEQUAH - Attendees at “Regionalism: a United Voice for a Shared Vision,” the regional economic summit scheduled Oct. 26-27 at Northeastern State University, will have the opportunity to hear some leading thinkers discuss the economic possibilities within northeast Oklahoma.

The summit features keynote addresses from Victor Vasquez, deputy under secretary for rural development for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and Dr. Vince Orza, dean of the Meinders School of Business at Oklahoma City University. Vasquez will give a presentation, “Regional Planning and Implementation, Empowering Rural Communities Through Regional Collaboration,” and Orza, will give an address on “Regionalism for Growth and Individual Responsibility.”

Vazquez has served as deputy under secretary since his appointment May 4, 2009. Vasquez formerly served as special projects director for Sul Ross State University. During the Clinton Administration, he was deputy administrator for the Office of Community Development at the USDA, where he led strategic planning, design, marketing and implementation of community development programs.

“We are very fortunate to have Mr. Vasquez with us," said Rachel Farinelli, director of NSU Continuing Education. "He is a national leader in community development and community strategic planning. His office at the USDA is one that holds great authority in grants administration and funding opportunities for communities, so we are very pleased to have his input and expertise as part of our regional strategic planning summit.”

Vasquez was as assistant for Intergovernmental and Community Relations in Oregon during Gov. Barbara Roberts' administration and also directed Oregon Community Services, with responsibilities for the state's anti-poverty efforts in the areas of homeless assistance, affordable housing, emergency shelter and food programs. He was also a national board member to the Harvard Journal of Hispanic Policy, and a board member for the University of Oregon Alumni Council and the Executive Alumni Council for the John F. Kennedy School of Government.

Vasquez’s holds a master's degree in public administration from Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government and a bachelor of science degree in political science from the University of Oregon.

“Victor will bring us some insight from the USDA planning and funding perspective on the importance of community-level planning, as well as the importance and appropriateness of banding together as a region to make our rural voice louder on the national and global levels,” said Farinelli.

Orza was named dean at OCU in July 2005. Recognized for his contributions to business, education and the civic community, he founded Eateries, Inc., a national restaurant chain under the names of Garfield's Restaurant & Pub, Garcia’s Mexican Restaurants and Pepperoni Grill Italian Bistros, and served as chairman, president and CEO. He is also the author of “When I Want Your Opinion I’ll Tell It To You,” a light-hearted nostalgic look at growing up as a second generation Italian-American.

From 1980-'90 Orza was a television news reporter and anchor for KOCO in Oklahoma City. He isthe recipient of two United Press International awards, three awards from the Oklahoma Education Association and several prestigious Gannett Awards for broadcast excellence in news. Upon being named dean, Orza returned to television providing economic commentary and analysis for KWTV. Orza writes a commentary, "Common Sense," for radio stations and newspapers. He has hosted statewide broadcasts including "Tax Wise," sponsored by the Oklahoma Society of Certified Public Accountants, and "Teamwork Oklahoma," on economic development.

Orza visited the Soviet Union in 1989 as a delegate to an international economics conference. He has been inducted into the 1991 "Who's Who of American Business Leaders," the 1992 "Who's Who Platinum Edition" and "Who's Who of Emerging Leaders in America." Orza was named to the first edition of "Two Thousand Notable American Men 1992" by the American Biographical Institute, Inc., a 1994 Paul Harris Fellow by Rotary International and a 1993 Melvin Jones Fellow, the highest honor conferred by Lions Club International, and the 1993 "Leukemia Man of the Year" by the Leukemia Society. ?

Orza was an associate professor of marketing at the University of Central Oklahoma where he received national fellowships in advertising and marketing. A contributing editor to several textbooks in business, Orza has written and presented professional papers in marketing and holds a doctorate from the University of Oklahoma. He is a nationally recognized commencement and after dinner speaker on the subjects of free enterprise, leadership and personal motivation. Orza was also granted the Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters in conjunction with his 2000 OCU commencement address.

“This particular summit centers around the finalization of our Regional Strategic Plan, and the formation of regional action teams who will be in charge of putting the goals to action,” said Farinelli. “It is time to effect positive change in our beautiful and amazing region, and this type of teamwork and future planning is exactly what we have needed in order to make this great place even better!” 

Published: 10/27/2010 7:34:11 AM

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