Technical Assistance


Price Finley

Lunch, Targeted Tools
Monday August 12 12:00 - 1:30 PM

Bricker & Eckler LLP

Price Finley is a partner in the law firm of Bricker & Eckler and a member of its Public Finance group. Price has more than 25 years of experience in all areas of public finance, including local government, economic development finance, port authority financings, and other structured and project financings. He has served as bond counsel, issuer counsel, developer counsel, and underwriter’s counsel for infrastructure and economic development transactions. Price has substantial experience in the use of various economic development tools, including frequent use of tax increment finance (TIF) and has created and served as counsel for Ohio's new community authority financings (also known as community development authorities or CDA). In addition, Price's practice includes representation of developers and local communities in development finance arrangements, including property tax abatements (CRA and EZ), job creation tax credits (JCTC), joint economic development districts (JEDD), special improvement districts (SID), and financings involving Ohio port authorities. He has also assisted with the drafting of development agreements for economic development projects.

Price is a member of the Council of Development Finance Agencies, the Ohio Economic Development Association, and the National Association of Bond Lawyers. He received his undergraduate degree from Capital University and his JD/MBA from The Ohio State University.

Jessica Firmstone

Access to Capital Lending Tools
Monday August 12 2:45 - 3:30 PM

Business Development Coordinator
Fay-Penn Economic Development Council

Jessica Firmstone joined Fay-Penn Economic Development Council in November 2015 as a Business Development Coordinator, responsible for facilitating the ongoing implementation and expansion of Fay-Penn’s commercial loan programs in and around Fayette County. Her duties include outreach into the community to market Fay-Penn loan programs and other services and to acquire client feedback, assisting in identifying and implementing updates to Fay-Penn loan programs, working with clients and other financial partners as needed in preparing small business loan packages and identifying and pursuing loan capitalization resources. Prior to her career at Fay-Penn, Jessica earned her B.A. in Economics with a minor in Political Science at Indiana University of PA and worked for ten years in commercial lending with S&T Bank. Through the education available at the American Bankers’ Association she also earned her Commercial Lending Diploma and is currently working toward both the Development Finance Certified Professional Certification through the Council of Development Finance Agencies and the Certified Economic Developer certification through the International Economic Development Council. Jessica resides in Mount Pleasant, PA with her husband, two sons, German Shorthaired Pointer, and Great Dane.

Valarie Handy

Implementing the Development Finance Toolbox
Monday August 12 4:00 - 5:00 PM

U.S. Department of Agriculture

Valarie has a background in journalism and media relations and holds a Business Administration Bachelor’s Degree specializing in marketing, advertising and promotions from Davenport University. She has also obtained a certification in Sustainable Community Development from Duke University. She recently launched Handy Enterprises; a property management company dedicated to providing affordable housing for residents in northern Michigan.

Valarie is also an Innovation Center Data Analyst for USDA Rural Development in Washington DC. She has held a number of different positions throughout her 15 year tenure with the agency that have included initiating, reviewing and processing funding applications associated with Single Family Housing, Multi-Family Housing, Business & Industry and Community Programs. Her most recent past position as the Statewide Community Development Specialist and Broadband Coordinator allowed her to focus on community engagement, facilitation and development plan implementation. She also served as the interim Statewide Public Affairs Director during the 2016 administration change. In her current role within the agency she is working with the Innovation Center’s Data Analytics Team to measure the value of existing partnerships and network building in rural communities. Valarie has been a frequent speaker and presenter for the Community Economic Development Association of Michigan and the Michigan Economic Developer’s Association (MEDA).

Lauren Mack

Bedrock Tools
Monday August 12 10:15 - 12:00 PM

Reyes Kurson, LTD

Lauren has over 30 years’ experience in financing (tax-exempt, taxable and public-private partnerships), federal tax, non-profit organizations, health care, corporate, and governance matters. She works with clients to provide practical solutions to their real-world problems. Lauren has been involved in a wide range of public financing transactions, serving as bond counsel and issuer’s counsel, as well as advising borrowers (including health care organizations, cultural institutions, schools and universities, and Indian tribal governments), underwriters, and banks (as direct lenders, liquidity providers and letter of credit providers) on tax and other matters. She advises clients with respect to transaction structuring, as well as post-closing covenant and tax compliance. She also represents clients before the IRS in connection with audits, closing agreements under the IRS’ Voluntary Compliance Program, and private letter rulings. Lauren also advises clients on corporate transactional and financing matters, including issuance of public and privately placed debt, use of special purpose vehicles, public-private partnerships and other joint ventures, and corporate acquisitions and dispositions. Her representative clients include corporations, municipal entities, commercial lenders, and credit enhancers. She works with the client’s financial team on transaction structure, due diligence, documentation, continuing disclosure, and post-closing covenant compliance. Lauren received her J.D. from Duke University School of Law, graduating with distinction. She received her B.B.A. in Accounting from the University of Notre Dame.

Toby Rittner

Welcome & Overview
Monday August 12 8:30 - 9:00 AM

Understanding Development Finance & the Toolbox Approach
Monday August 12 9:00 - 10:00 AM

Bedrock Tools
Monday August 12 10:15 - 12:00 PM

Lunch, Targeted Tools
Monday August 12 12:00 - 1:30 PM

Investment Tools
Monday August 12 1:30 - 2:30 PM

Access to Capital Lending Tools
Monday August 12 2:45 - 3:30 PM

Federal Support Tools
Monday August 12 3:30 - 4:00 PM

Implementing the Development Finance Toolbox
Monday August 12 4:00 - 5:00 PM

President and CEO
Council of Development Finance Agencies

Toby Rittner is the President & CEO of Council of Development Finance Agencies (CDFA), a national association dedicated to the advancement of development finance concerns and interests. CDFA is comprised of the nation’s leading and most knowledgeable members of the development finance community representing hundreds of public, private and non-profit development entities. Members are state, county and municipal development finance agencies and authorities that provide or otherwise support economic development financing programs. Mr. Rittner runs the day-to-day operations of the Council, which includes management of a 32-member Board of Directors, and the organization’s various educational, advocacy, research, resources and networking initiatives.

Rittner is one of the most vocal and recognized leaders of the development finance industry nationwide and has advised state and federal government leaders, including President Obama’s Administration Transition Team, on economic development finance policy. Through his leadership and guidance, CDFA was successful in preserving private activity bonds and other critical development finance tools during the 2017 tax reform deliberations.

Rittner is a frequent speaker at local, state and national conferences and events focused on economic development finance. He has been featured extensively in The Bond Buyer, Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, NPR and other national media publications concerning the advancement of development finance tools. He is the author of CDFA's highly acclaimed Practitioner's Guide to Economic Development Finance and co-author of CDFA's Unlocking Capital: A Handbook for Becoming a High Performing Development Finance Agency.

Rittner is an adjunct faculty member at The Ohio State University and Carnegie Mellon University teaching planning and finance for sustainable economic development. He is a Development Finance Certified Professional (DFCP) through CDFA.

Prior to joining CDFA, Mr. Rittner was the Director of Legislative Affairs for the International Economic Development Council (IEDC). Mr. Rittner has also worked for the Franklin County, Ohio Board of Commissioners and the City of Gahanna, Ohio. Mr. Rittner previously served on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Environmental Financial Advisory Board and is a member of the Advisory Board for the National Community Fund I. Mr. Rittner holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and a Master's of City and Regional Planning degree from The Ohio State University. Mr. Rittner was awarded the Ohio State University College of Engineering Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2016.

Robert Swanger

Bedrock Tools
Monday August 12 10:15 - 12:00 PM

Lunch, Targeted Tools
Monday August 12 12:00 - 1:30 PM

Managing Director
Stern Brothers

Mr. Swanger joined the St. Louis office of Stern Brothers in 1998. During his time with the firm he has focused his attentions on project finance transactions including multifamily housing transactions, single family mortgage backed bond transactions, industrial development projects, tax-increment financing and special assessment district transactions. During his tenure he has been involved in hundreds of transactions, representing bond issuance exceeding $1.5 billion in par amount, where the proceeds were used to finance the real estate, equipment and development costs associated with these types of projects.  Prior to joining Stern Brothers & Co., he has worked for national and regional mortgage banking firms with extensive experience in mortgage originations, credit and financial analysis, treasury functions, secondary marketing and mortgage servicing. Mr. Swanger obtained graduate (MBA 1986) and undergraduate (BSBA 1983) degrees from Saint Louis University.

CDFA National Sponsors

  • Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority
  • Baker Tilly Virchow Krause
  • BNY Mellon
  • Bricker & Eckler LLP
  • Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP
  • Business Oregon
  • CohnReznick
  • FBT Project Finance Advisors LLC
  • Fifth Third Bank
  • Frost Brown Todd, LLC
  • Hawkins Delafield & Wood LLP
  • Ice Miller LLP
  • KeyBanc Capital Markets
  • Kutak Rock LLP
  • McCarter & English, LLP
  • McGuireWoods
  • MuniCap, Inc.
  • NW Financial Group, LLC
  • Petros PACE Finance
  • SB Friedman Development Advisors
  • Stern Brothers
  • Stifel Nicolaus
  • U.S. Bank
  • Wells Fargo Securities
  • Wilmington Trust
  • Z. The Bond Buyer
Become a Sponsor