Executive Director & Principal Investigator
Leonard Mitchell has more than 40 years of comprehensive, multi-level experience as a Counselor at Law and Consultant to Executive Level Management. Presently, he serves as Professor of the Practice of Economic Development at the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy, where he is also the Executive Director of the USC Center for Economic Development. His areas of academic interest and teaching are Real Estate Development Finance and Law, Regional and Local Economic Development, Economic Development Finance and Law, International Trade Finance and Law. Mr. Mitchell earned a Master of Arts in Educational Administration from Goddard College; a Master of Business Administration in Finance and Investments from The George Washington University; and a Juris Doctorate degree in Law from the Antioch School of Law, Antioch University. Continue here for full biography.
Program Director and Co-Principal Investigator
Deepak Bahl serves as a Program Director for the USC Center for Economic Development and Adjunct Associate Professor at the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy. He has more than 18 years of professional consulting experience and has managed federal, state, and local projects in the areas of community and economic development. His work experience includes strategic planning, business development, project management, teaching at USC, and policy research and analysis. He has conducted research projects for the EDA, EPA, FTA, HUD, NSF, OEA, Caltrans, local governments, and private foundations among others. He received his Master of Business Administration from the USC Marshall School of Business, Master of Planning from the USC Price School of Public Policy, and Master of Architecture from Clemson University.
Dion Jackson specializes in community outreach and economic development strategic planning. She is currently the coordinator of the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership for Southern California, a collaboration supporting the industrial ecosystem for aerospace and defense companies and their supply chain, and a federally designated manufacturing community. Dion holds a Master’s degree in Urban Planning with an emphasis in Economic Development, a Master of Business Administration, and a Master of Real Estate Development from the University of Southern California.
Project Manager, AMP SoCal
Libby Williams is the Project Manager for the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership for Southern California at the USC Center for Economic Development. She has over 20 years of economic development experience, which includes among other things, over 10 years at the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation with the Business Assistance Program, and Managing Director of the Office of Small Business, for the City of Los Angeles Mayor’s Office of Economic & Business Policy. She has a BA and an MPA from California State University at Long Beach and a Master in Leadership from the University of Southern California. Continue here for full biography.
Emily Tjaden Sylvester
Communications Administrator, AMP SoCal
Emily Tjaden Sylvester began her career in marketing, communications and brand development in 2010 at the National Center for Aviation Training at Wichita Area Technical College where she worked with aerospace companies, including Cessna, Spirit AeroSystems, and Beechcraft, and promoted advanced technological education to students and industry. She continued her work as a copywriter and brand manager at different advertising agencies interfacing with multiple clients and media outlets. During this time she managed the development of the federally-funded National Aviation Consortium’s branding and outreach. She graduated from Gordon College with a BA in Fine Arts, and enjoys applying her creativity to further the message of AMP SoCal.
Robert Creighton specializes in economic development strategies and best practices. At the USC Center for Economic Development he researches economic trends within the manufacturing industry, with a focus on advanced manufacturing and aerospace and defense. Before coming to USC, Robert was a Human Resources Representative at UCLA Extension, where he administered a variety of personnel services and programs. Mr. Creighton holds a master’s degree in Public Policy from the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy and a bachelor’s degree in American Literature and Public Affairs from the University of California, Los Angeles.
Tomás E. Durán
Administrator, Special Projects
Tomás Durán is the Administrator for Special Projects at the USC Center for Economic Development. He is also the President of Concerned Capital, Inc. (CC), a social benefit corporation based in Los Angeles, CA. Prior to creating CC, Tomás worked as a Program Manager for the Whittier Redevelopment Agency and Vice President of Real Estate for Genesis LA Economic Growth Corp. In addition to CC, he is a part-time instructor for the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy. He serves on the board of Friends of Uptown and the New Market Tax Credit community advisory boards for Dudley Ventures Community Investment and Lowe Economic Development Corporation. Tomás has a Master’s in Planning from the University of Southern California.