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Community Liaisons

Community Liaisons (CL) are strategically located throughout the state to assist communities in accomplishing the goals set forth by the local government. CL's proactively work to locate funding and other resources for community and economic development projects as well as facilitate the meeting of local officials, state, and federal agencies and other entities and provide information and access to the necessary resources. CL's also assist communities in meeting their community and economic development goals by providing technical assistance on all OCRA programs.

Download a copy with an OCRA program summary.

Northwest 

Gerry White: (317) 694-8372, gewhite@ocra.in.govBenton, Cass, Carroll, Clinton, Fulton, Jasper, Lake, Porter, La Porte, Marshall, Newton, Pulaski, Starke, St. Joseph, Tippecanoe, White, Warren.

Gerry joined OCRA in December 2006. During his time with the agency, he has represented the Northwest region. Before working at OCRA, Gerry spent 16 years in the administration at Purdue University, three years teaching in HS and three years in financial planning. The diversity of people, geography and opportunity in Indiana should be celebrated, encouraged, strengthened and experienced. Every day working with communities brings unique challenges making each day different.

“I really appreciate the diversity of the people and communities that I work with, which include the highly urbanized, as well as extremely isolated communities. This means that no two days are alike,” said White.  

He holds a B.A. in Political Science/U.S. History/ Social Studies Education, a M.S. in Social Studies Education and is a dissertation shy of a Ph.D. in Educational Technology. Gerry lives in West Lafayette, with his wife Barbara. His extended family stretches across the state.


Northeast 

Allie Kresse: (317) 741-2264, akresse@ocra.in.gov
Adams, Allen, Blackford, DeKalb, Elkhart, Grant, Huntington, Jay, Kosciusko, Lagrange, Miami, Noble, Steuben, Wabash, Wells, Whitley.

Allie joined OCRA on April 2021. As an individual versed in both the non-profit and for-profit sector, she has learned the importance of both internal and external networking. In her previous role as a Fund Development Specialist with the Girl Scouts of Northern Indiana-Michiana, she maintained positive relationships with United Ways and community foundations within the council’s geographic region, assisting with major campaigns.

“As a Northeast Indiana native, I have studied in the fields of psychology and leadership. During my career in community mental health, I developed various relationships among colleagues and gained a greater appreciation for the opportunities Indiana gives for those in need,” Kresse said. “One of my favorite parts of Northeast Indiana is going to the local 4-H fair for soft serve or other local festivals for some sweet treats. I look forward to the opportunity to work with others in Northeast Indiana to share ideas and discover new opportunities.”

Allie holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in leadership science from Trine University. She grew up in LaGrange, Indiana and now lives in Avila, Indiana.


East Central 

Colette Childress: (317) 383-1112, CChildress@ocra.IN.govDelaware, Fayette, Franklin, Hamilton, Henry, Hancock, Howard, Madison, Marion, Randolph, Rush, Shelby, Tipton, Union, Wayne. 

Colette joined OCRA in December 2013. Prior to working as the East Central Community Liaison, Colette served as an OCRA Project Manager where she developed and oversaw quality of life initiatives designed to cultivate placemaking and community capacity-building through the creation and award of more than $1 million in state programmatic funding.

Inspired by the resiliency, ambition and unique identity that Indiana’s rural communities embody, Colette’s enjoys helping others to achieve their vision by sharing her expertise in the areas of facilitation, partnership building, community engagement and creative problem solving.
She has a Bachelor of Science degree from Indiana Wesleyan University in Criminology with a focus in Psychology and has a combined 16 years of Project Management experience.

Colette lives in Greenfield with her family and feisty dog, Ginger.


Southeast (Vacant)


Southwest

Lisa Muench: (317) 504-6965, LMuench@ocra.IN.govCrawford, Daviess, Dubois, Gibson, Harrison, Knox, Lawrence, Martin, Orange, Pike, Perry, Posey, Spencer, Vanderburgh, Warrick.

In October 2019, Lisa joined OCRA as the Southwest Community Liaison.

Lisa has a Bachelor of Science from IU’s Kelley School of Business with a focus in Marketing/Advertising.

Before joining OCRA, Lisa worked as a Community Outreach Advocate. For more than three years, she served a six-county region to create awareness, grow and strengthen partnerships and collaborate with other community agencies and stakeholders.

She also served on the mental health subcommittee of the Four County Collaboration effort that stemmed from the Regional Opportunities Initiative administered through the I.U. Center for Rural Engagement.

Lisa's passion for horses led her to earn certifications in Equine Experiential Learning to craft programming teaching valuable social and emotional skills to at-risk youth, veterans and abuse survivors.


West Central

DeeDee Leonard: (317) 450-5078, DLeonard1@ocra.IN.gov

Boone, Clay, Fountain, Greene, Hendricks, Monroe, Morgan, Montgomery, Owen, Putnam, Parke, Sullivan, Vermillion, Vigo.

In February 2020, DeeDee joined OCRA as the West Central Community Liaison.

DeeDee has a Masters Certificate in Project Management from George Washington University and an Associates in Mass Communications from Hillsborough Community College of Tampa, Florida.

Before joining OCRA, DeeDee worked for the Plainfield Chamber of Commerce, promoting business growth and involvement in the Plainfield community through event planning, relationship building and new member recruitment. She also assisted the Town in their efforts to become an Indiana Main Street organization.

Motivated by a love for history, she has traveled to western Europe, Scandinavia, Russia, and Central and South America before settling in Plainfield with her family.


Community Affairs Manager (Vacant)