​Presidential Initiative

NACo President Linda Langston
Supervisor, Linn County, Iowa

Kathy Nothstine​
Progr​am Director


NACo presidents select critical issues for counties to address during their one-year terms.

Under the leadership of President Linda Langston, the National Association of Counties is e​mbarking on an initiative in 2013 and 2014 to strengthen the resilience of the nation’s 3,069 counties. 

In order to remain healthy, vibrant, safe, and economically competitive, America’s counties must be able to anticipate and adapt to all types of change. Through the Resilient Counties initiative, NACo will work with counties and their stakeholders to bolster their ability to thrive amid changing physical, social, and economic conditions. 

Events such as hurricanes, wildfires, economic collapse, and other disasters can be natural or man-made, acute or long-term, foreseeable or unpredictable. Preparation for and recovery from such events requires both long-term planning and immediate action. NACo will work to strengthen county resiliency by building leadership capacity to identify and manage risk and allow counties to become more flexible and responsive. A particular focus will be on collaborative approaches to service delivery in a time of increasingly shrinking b​udgets, as well as opportunities to partner with public and private sector p​artners at varying scales.

Finally, the Resilient Counties initiative will explore ways that counties can develop and implement locally driven strategies to foster economic competitiveness and create great communities. NACo will support counties in identifying ways to leverage changing conditions, to take advantage of new technologies and innovation. A key component of county resiliency is building and supporting those great places where businesses want to locate, people want to live, and communities can prosper.​​

Initiative Activities

Within this initiative, NACo is sponsoring trainings, peer networking and resource development to support county leaders and other public- and private-s​ector partners seeking to build county resilience. These include:


Below please find presentations delivered at the December 2013 Resilient Counties forum. Click on each speaker’s name to view the presentation.​  View the full forum program here.

Lessons from County Leaders: Partnering to Confront Change

​A panel of county leaders discussed how their communities responded to significant local disasters and the steps they are taking to mitigate potential future disasters, with a particular focus on local and regional partnerships to maintain and improve county operations during times of crisis.

Leveraging Technology Tools to Prepare for Threats

New technologies, innovative mapping tools, mobile applications, social media and other tech resources can revolutionize how counties prepare for and recover from crisis situations. A panel of experts highlighted innovative tools available to counties.

  • Lori Cary-Kothera, Operations Manager  – Science and Geospatial Solutions Division, NOAA Coastal Services Center
  • Jason Hutchens, Solution Sales Engagement Manager – Public Safety (Central Region), Motorola Solutions
  • Rob Welton​, National Business Manager – Enterprise Security, Siemens.  
  • Moderator: Lauren Alexander Augustine, Director – Office of Special Projects on Risk, Resilience, and Extreme Events, National Academy of Sciences

Local Philanthropic, Business and Economic Development Engagement in Recovery Efforts​

The philanthropic community, local business leaders and economic development professionals can play a key role in fostering county resilience. Experienced community leaders described how their organizations have partnered with public- and private-sector leaders in recovery efforts.  View the presentations​.

  • Les Garner, President and CEO, Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation
  • Karla Twedt-Ball, Vice President for Programs, Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation 
  • Robin Barnes, Executive Vice President and COO, Greater New Orleans, Inc.
  • Lon Olejniczak, Senior Vice President, TransAmerica 
  • Cindy Dietz, Director of Corporate Communications, Rockwell Collins
  • Moderator: Gerald McSwiggan, Director of Issue Networks, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation Business Civic Leadership Center
Partnership Exercise: Use the chart to map out your network of local partners in various sectors.

“Pervasive Readiness: Pipedream or Possible?” (chapter co-authored by Jason Hutchens, found in McGraw-Hill Homeland Security Handbook: Strategic Guidance for a Coordinated Approach to Effective Security and Emergency Management, Second Edition). Outlines significant lessons learned, best practices, and feasible approaches towards achieving a sustainable state of pervasive readiness.

"A Safe and Integrated City" (article by Rob Welton, Siemens): This paper explores ways that city leaders can work towards the goal of a safe, integrated city and options for financing safety and security technologies for their city.