WE MAKE COMMUNITIES MORE VIBRANT AND PROSPEROUS

“The unique combination of superb research and strong interpersonal skills makes Avalanche unique in its field.”

– Ben Stone, Executive Director, Sonoma County EDB

Working with communities across North America, we uncover the unique qualities and strengths of each, and we coordinate stakeholders to build upon those assets together.

Established in 2005, Avalanche leads economic analyses and development strategies. Our clients include regional economic development organizations, chambers of commerce, community foundations, and governments serving all sizes of communities, from small towns to major metros and entire states. Since its inception, Avalanche has served more than 150 communities.

We value authenticity.

We place high value on being true to oneself.  Avalanche’s authenticity is reflected in our warm, caring approach, our love of humor, and our humility in placing our clients first.

 

We value continuous learning.

We know that we don’t have all the answers, and the world is constantly evolving, so we are committed to continuous learning.  We thoroughly enjoy exploring information, discovering “ah-ha’s,” and translating research into content that inspires action.

 

We value inclusivity.

We believe that a collaborative, transparent process is essential to all that we do.  We open our doors to new perspectives, we actively listen, and we ensure that our work is accessible to everyone.

 

We value originality.

Creativity is at the core of who we are and how we approach our work.  Delivering original products, customized for each individual client, fires up our synapses and makes life fun for us.

 

We value excellence.

Both personally and together as a team, we strive for excellence.  We know that only through outstanding work can we accomplish our mission of making a positive impact in the world.

Avalanche has such a great way of working with people that it paved the way for our plan to be successful.  Avalanche’s talent, knowledge and experience are second to none. Money well spent. Return on investment = priceless.”


– Amy Madison, Executive Director, Pflugerville Economic Development Corporation

AMY HOLLOWAY

 

PRESIDENT & CEO

(512) 917-3815

Amy Holloway is the energetic leader of Avalanche Consulting, Inc., the nation’s leading economic development strategist. Avalanche creates targeted economic development strategies, custom research, workforce analyses, and communications platforms for the most dynamic communities in the country.


In her 24 years of experience as a strategist, Amy has advised more than 150 communities across the US, including work for the Atlanta Regional Commission, Charleston Regional Development Alliance, Charlotte Regional Partnership and Charlotte Chamber of Commerce, Chattanooga Chamber, Columbus 2020, Greater Houston Partnership, JAXUSA Partnership, Indy Partnership, Miami-Dade’s Beacon Council, Provo City Utah, and Sonoma County California, just to name a few.


Amy resides in Austin with her husband Chris and their two tenacious terriers. She currently serves on the board of the Golden Hornet Project and has served on the boards of the Fusebox Festival, Long Center for the Performing Arts, Leadership Austin, and the Austin State Hospital. She was a 2007 graduate of Leadership Austin’s Emerge program and 2009 graduate of Leadership Austin’s Essential Class. Amy received Austin Under 40′s 2010 Austinite of the Year award in the field of government and public affairs. In 2012, the Austin Business Journal named Amy one of the five most influential women in Austin.


Amy’s BBA and MS degrees in Economics are from Baylor University.

JOHN REES

 

RESEARCH DIRECTOR

(512) 713-4035

John is Avalanche’s Research Director, where he is responsible for transforming raw data into meaningful insights about a region’s economy and people. John specializes in exploring data to discover the truth about client communities. At Avalanche, John has developed sophisticated analyses for public, private, and philanthropic organizations, including Columbus 2020, the Atlanta Regional Commission, the Florida Chamber Foundation, and Community Foundation of Elmira-Corning and the Finger Lakes. John has also contributed research for projects with the Greater Houston Partnership, the Indy Chamber, and the Charleston Regional Development Alliance. John is also a regular contributor to Trade & Industry Development magazine.

Prior to joining Avalanche, John was the Economic Development Program Manager for the Capital Area Council of Governments (CAPCOG) in Austin, Texas, where he managed the organization’s partnerships with the Economic Development Administration (EDA). Previously, John led research efforts at the Greater Washington Initiative (GWI) in Washington D.C., where he was responsible for crafting the economic development research strategy for the national capital region. John’s GWI Regional Report and Industry Report series received awards from both the International Economic Development Council and the Maryland Economic Development Association.

John has a master’s degree from Georgia Institute of Technology’s School of City and Regional Planning. John also holds undergraduate degrees in journalism and psychology from the University of Georgia.

NOELLE SALERNO

 

SENIOR CONSULTANT

(954) 829-1528

Noelle is a Senior Consultant at Avalanche. Her specialties include strategic planning and marketing. Noelle has led economic development strategies for the Moody Foundation and Galveston Island, Roanoke Regional Partnership, City of West Palm Beach, Jonesboro Regional Chamber, Baytown-West Chambers County EDF, Hobby Area District, Greater Waco Chamber, Douglas County EDA, and Putnam County Chamber, to name a few. She has developed marketing and branding strategies for the Indy Chamber, Greater Houston Partnership, Research Valley Partnership, and Charlotte Regional Partnership. Noelle has also led talent alignment strategies for the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce/Piedmont Triad Partnership and Greater Columbus Georgia Chamber as well as organizational strategies for the New River Valley Economic Development Alliance and Trinity River Authority.

Prior to joining Avalanche, Noelle was an Executive Team Leader at Target. Her additional experience includes developing marketing strategies and leading program launches as the Program Assistant for the University of Florida CPR & First Aid Training Center. Prior to that, Noelle interned at Centa Business Services in London, where she helped execute marketing initiatives and develop presentations for business startup seminars.

Noelle currently serves on the Board of Directors at the Institute for Diversity and Civic Life. She is a graduate of Leadership Austin’s Emerge program and Mission Capital’s Board Essentials program. Noelle holds a M.A. in International Business and a B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Florida.

ANN COLLETT

 

CONSULTANT

(352) 231-2401

Ann Collett is a strategist, marketer, communicator, and economic developer. At Avalanche, Ann has led an internal marketing strategy for the Lowcountry Economic Alliance and a best practice study for the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber, and has worked on a marketing and branding strategy for the Research Valley Partnership, a strategy refresh for the Greater Waco Chamber, and a marketing data project for Ameren. She is currently working on a data strategy for Tennessee Valley Authority, and is focused on Headlight Data business development.

Previously, Ann led community collaboration at the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce for close to a decade. As Vice President of Innovation Gainesville (iG), Ann wrote, implemented and directed the tactics of the iG Strategic Plan, which was the economic development plan for the regional community. She facilitated high-level discussions among stakeholders, increasing connectivity and changing the future of the organization and the region. Prior to that, she was Vice President of the Council for Economic Outreach, overseeing all aspects of economic development for the Chamber. Ann also spent 11 years in the telecom industry at ALLTEL Communications in a variety of executive positions – including Vice President of Marketing and Director of Sales for the Georgia Market, and Vice President/General Manager for North Central Florida.

Ann facilitates retreats, meetings, and planning sessions and speaks regularly to communities and organizations about strategic implementation and collaboration. She serves as a mentor and advisory board member with Ewits® – Empowering Women in Technology Startups – a hands-on, experiential learning program through the University of Florida Office of Technology Licensing and the Florida Innovation Hub. She recently wrote the strategic plan for a Women’s Entrepreneur Center slated for the upcoming Phase II of the Innovation Hub at UF. Ann is also President of Saint John the Baptist – Jean Rabel Foundation, an organization bringing healthcare, education, and economic opportunity to Jean Rabel, Haiti.

Ann resides with her husband, two children, and shorkie in Gainesville, where she is on the board of directors for BBVA Compass Bank. She holds a B.A. in communication arts from Marywood University.

KIRSTEN MCGREGOR

 

SENIOR CONSULTANT

(302) 304-2901

Kirsten is a Senior Consultant at Avalanche. Her specialties include economic recovery following disasters, strategic planning, policy development, and community engagement and collaboration. Kirsten has provided research-based economic development and strategic planning consultative services to universities, medical centers, transit authorities, government agencies, non-profits, developers, and communities across the United States. Prior to joining Avalanche, Kirsten served as Deputy Director of the Delaware Economic Development Office and as Economic Development Specialist for the US Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration. In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, Kirsten served as the lead economic recovery coordinator for federal, state and local inter-governmental planning in New Jersey through a mission assignment with FEMA. Kirsten was then appointed to serve as a Senior Policy Advisor to President Obama’s Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force.  Kirsten has a bachelor degree in government from Franklin and Marshall College, and a master’s degree in city and regional planning from the University of Pennsylvania.

CHRIS ENGLE

 

PRINCIPAL, AVALANCHE CONSULTING

PRESIDENT, HEADLIGHT DATA

(512) 695-0100

Chris Engle, Avalanche’s Principal, is a national thought leader on economic development strategy, workforce planning, and industry trends. He has over 20 years of experience as a researcher and strategist. His expertise includes economic analysis, benchmarking, workforce supply-demand gap analysis, labor market studies, and site selection. Chris has focused his career on translating the meaning of global trends into regional strategies. His strong belief in the power of transforming complicated data into easy-to-use decision making resources for communities led him to develop one of the most dynamic software tools available for economic and workforce development today: HeadlightData.com.

Chris has contributed to dozens of economic and workforce development plans for communities across the US and abroad, including Greater Charlotte (NC), Miami-Dade County (FL), Providence (RI), Gainesville (FL), Hampton Roads (VA), Charleston (SC), Jefferson Parish (LA), Northern Kentucky, Quad Cities (IL), San Joaquin County (CA), Santa Fe (NM), Winston-Salem (NC), the Czech Republic, and Portugal, to name a few. His corporate clients have included Applied Materials, Dell Computer, Gables Residential, Opus Development, and Stratus Properties.

Chris is a frequent speaker at national economic development events and is a published writer and commentator in national and local media. He holds an economics degree from the University of Texas and has completed studies at Columbia University-New York City and the Instituto Technologico de Monterrey (ITESM).

TONY DELISI

 

VICE PRESIDENT

(512) 963-7057

Tony is Avalanche Consulting’s Vice President, where he focuses on workforce and economic development strategies, project management, research, and client support. He is passionate about helping communities build on their competitive strengths to address challenges, inspire innovation, and grow in an inclusive manner.

Most recently, he led comprehensive economic development strategies for Sonoma County, CA; Frisco, TX; Amarillo, TX; Paducah, KY; and Pflugerville, TX. He also completed target industry and labor shed studies for West Palm Beach, FL; Georgetown, TX; and Sandoval County, NM.

In recent years, he created target industry and workforce strategies in Troup County, GA and along the Front Range – working in Estes Park and Longmont, CO and Cheyenne, WY. He also prepared CEDS for the Columbus, OH region and the Mountainland District encompassing Provo, UT. Additionally, Tony provided research for university asset mapping in Gainesville, FL, and assisted the development of economic development strategies for Provo, UT; Miami-Dade County, FL; Bastrop, TX; the Jacksonville, FL region; Charlotte, NC; Charleston, SC; Brownwood, TX; College Station, TX; the Upstate Alliance of South Carolina; and numerous other projects.

Prior to joining Avalanche, Tony was Director of Research at the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce, where he supported economic development efforts in the Austin region. He also worked as an independent economic development consultant, performing project work for New Economy Strategies and other firms, including assisting on a Knowledge Economy Strategy for the Greater Gainesville Region and a BRAC-related Regional Workforce Analysis in Maryland. He has additional experience as an Associate Project Manager at another consultancy, where he worked on a diversity of site selection, economic development, and workforce projects. Tony was also a Planner and GIS Technician with TRC Solutions in San Francisco, where he helped plan and assess impacts for major energy infrastructure projects.

Tony holds a Master’s in Urban and Regional Planning from the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning at the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor. He also holds a B.S. in Earth Systems with a focus on Land Management from Stanford University. The son of a US diplomat, Tony grew up overseas, living and traveling in countries throughout Asia and Africa and developing an appreciation for the diversity of urban experiences across the globe. His international and domestic travels help inform his perspective on cities and their unique attributes.

MARIAN KANSAS

 

CONSULTANT

(281) 723-6537

Marian Kansas is a Consultant at Avalanche. Marian is a strategic thinker and highly experienced storyteller that uses her knowledge of top-of-mind ED trends and best practices to help Avalanche’s clients engage with residents and effectively tell their community’s story. Marian understands how to effectively use marketing practices and research as an economic development tool and uses these skills to empower audiences to achieve their economic goals.

She has led projects for City of Norcross, GA, The Greater Manhattan Economic Partnership, and the Development Authority of Bryan County and used quantitative and qualitative data to gather insights from the community and enhance their economic development practices, especially their marketing tools and tactics. Marian also manages The Future Of, Avalanche’s new website and curated content service that shares top-of-mind industry news with economic development leaders.

Marian is a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin where she majored in Advertising and Theatre & Dance. Through earning her degrees, she has learned how to conduct rigorous research, think strategically about complex problems, and tell engaging stories. Prior to joining Avalanche, Marian worked in Strategic Planning at LatinWorks, a multicultural advertising agency.

Marian is the co-founder and director of the Heartland Theatre Collective where she directs and produces new plays. She is also a director for Bottle Alley Theater. She is the Co-Events Planning for the Community Service Committee of the Young Women’s Alliance and a volunteer for the Austin Animal Center.

JENNIFER VERNON

 

SENIOR CONSULTANT

(864) 270-8172

Jennifer is a Senior Consultant at Avalanche. Having spent her career in investor-based organizations, Jennifer has the keen ability to intuit client needs and then leverage resources and develop strategies to best achieve those needs. Her specialties include assisting organizations and their leadership with optimizing resources and performance.

During her time with Avalanche, Jennifer has assisted with organizational strategies for the New River Valley Alliance, North Texas Commission, and the Tampa Bay region. She has also developed workforce strategies for the West Kentucky Workforce Board and the Three Rivers region of West Central Georgia, as well as economic development strategies for Douglas County, Georgia, Winchester, Virginia, and Spartanburg County, South Carolina. In addition, Jennifer has crafted marketing messages and designed data tools for the Tennessee Valley Authority.

Jennifer began her career in economic development with a focus on educating businesses in Mississippi on international trade topics at the Mississippi World Trade Center. Before joining Avalanche, she worked for nearly a decade in a variety of roles with the Upstate SC Alliance, most recently serving as its Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. At the Alliance, Jennifer developed and executed global marketing strategies focused on telling the Upstate story through targeted outreach, events, collateral, content development, and social media. She also developed strategies to optimize the organization’s operations in terms of structure, finances, and human resources.

She has a bachelor’s degree in business from The University of Southern Mississippi and is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma’s Economic Development Institute.

“The economic development process we’re running is highly complex, hyper-political and requires aspirational thinking. We needed a firm that could bring the right combination of analytical prowess, professionalism and broad-based economic development experience that could unite various community interests around a common purpose. We got this and more from Avalanche.”


-James Kilberg, Executive Vice President, Weyerhaeuser