The Coalition’s staff has extensive training in regional and community planning along with being intimately familiar with Southwest Indiana. Although we come from different backgrounds, we are united by our belief in the bright future of Southwest Indiana and that your business can contribute to that future. Contact us today at 812-423-2020. Read through our staff bios to learn more about each member’s expertise.
Greg Wathen has served as the President and CEO of the Economic Development Coalition of Southwest Indiana since 2007. During his tenure, he has helped garner over $2.8 billion in investment, over 3,500 jobs and over $115 million in state and federal grants for the region. Prior to his work at the Coalition, Greg worked as the Executive Director for the Perry County Development Corporation where he secured nearly $500 million in new industrial development and 2,000 new jobs for the area. He also played a critical role in Perry County establishing its own railroad and river port on the Ohio River.
Greg graduated from Indiana State University, and served as a past president of the Bluegrass Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America. Greg is also a past president and current board member of the Indiana Economic Development Association, and he served as one of the original 23-members of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation board of directors, created by the Indiana Legislature in 2005.
Audrie Burkett joined the Economic Development Coalition of Southwest Indiana in May of 2015, bringing with her experience from corporate, non-profit and academic worlds. She currently serves as the Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. Some notable day-to-day adventures at the Coalition include managing the Regional Cities Initiative, championing better rural broadband infrastructure and making sure the team has the resources needed to build a better Southwest Indiana.
Previously, Audrie held the position of executive assistant at Angie’s List and worked alongside the co-founder and CMO. She previously worked for Delta Zeta Sorority as an educational leadership consultant establishing a new chapter at the University of Central Florida while traveling to universities across the United States.
Audrie graduated from Purdue University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Communication. She is from the Southwest Indiana area and grew up on a dairy farm in Posey County. She currently serves as a board member for the Arts Council of Southwest Indiana.
Since November 2006, Debra has led the community development division of the Coalition helping the communities of Southwest Indiana garner over $115 million in state and federal grant funding, leveraging millions more for projects such as libraries, water and sewer improvements and fire stations. Previously, she worked with Foresight Development Corporation in Tell City, Indiana, and she founded and operated Vizions, LLC, a community development corporation in Santa Claus, Indiana. Debra is certified by the Kentucky Department of Local Government and is a Master Certified Grant Administrator with the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs.
Debra consulted with and authored two chapters of the Grant Administrator’s Manual for the State of Indiana. Debra has also taught certification classes with the Department of Commerce and Office of Community and Rural Affairs and serves on the State Committee of Grant Administrators.
A Perry County native, Steve has spent the last 6 years serving the people and communities of the Tri-state through his work as Assistant Executive Director of Tri-State Food Bank in Evansville and, most recently, the Education and Volunteer Services Director at TRI-CAP serving Dubois, Pike, and Warrick Counties. After spending time as a US Naval Officer and business owner, Steve returned home to southern Indiana with an interest in servant leadership. Steve attended Western Kentucky University where he double-majored in Public Relations and Sociology. He later earned Masters degrees in both Business Administration and Leadership from Trine University. Steve is a Certified Grant Administrator with the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs.