October 29-November 1, 2023 – Boise, ID

Executive Directors Conference 

Registration Open!

The annual Executive Directors Conference is designed by and for executive directors of regional organizations, including regional councils and metropolitan planning organizations. The conference, held in a different region of the country each year, brings executive directors and senior staff together to discuss topics including organizational structure, innovative best practices, and new developments in technology.

Hosted by the Community Planning Association of Southwest Idaho (COMPASS)

Executive Directors Conference – Tentative Agenda 

For a PDF version of the tentative agenda click here

Sunday, October 29

2:30 PM (Tentative)

Mobile Workshop: Boise River Greenbelt 

Join us on a walking tour of the Boise River Greenbelt, one of Boise’s most beloved parks. The 25-mile tree-lined pathway follows the north and south sides of the Boise River through the heart of the city and provides scenic views, wildlife habitat and pedestrian access to many of Boise’s popular riverside parks. The “Ribbon of Jewels” is a series of parks located along the Greenbelt. 

*Registration Required

6:00 PM – 7:30 PM  

Welcome to Boise Opening Reception  

Join your colleagues for the opening reception at the Grove Hotel. 

Monday, October 30

8:00 AM – 8:30 AM  Breakfast and Welcome 
8:30 AM – 10:00 AM 

Rapid Fire Innovations 

Share with your colleagues (in two minutes or less) a new project, study, revenue enhancement, or other innovation your regional council is pursuing. Handouts and other materials are welcomed but not required. 

10:00 AM – 10:10 AM  Break  
10:10 AM – 11:10 AM  

Rapid Fire Innovations: Continued  

Continuation of Rapid Fire Innovations. 

11:10 AM – 11:20 AM  Break  
11:20 AM – 12:00 PM 

Executive Director Roundtable  

Join us for this exclusive executive directors’ discussion. The conference will resume with lunch.

12:00 PM – 1:15 PM  

Lunch Keynote: Legal Perspectives on Artificial Intelligence  

Generative artificial intelligence, or GenAI, is the most rapidly adopted technology the world has ever seen, surpassing even cell phones and web browsers. But with that explosion of use and opportunity comes several key legal concerns: Can you own the output? Will you get sued for using it? Will your insurance cover it? Join our keynote and Hawley Troxell partner Brad Frazer for an engaging and interactive discussion of the best (and worst!) legal practices for using GenAI.

Brad Frazer, Partner, Hawley Troxell

1:15 PM – 1:30 PM  Break
1:30 PM – 2:00 PM What is happening in the Boise region?  
2:00 PM – 3:00 PM  

Federal Funding Firehose  

The past three years have provided a massive influx of federal funding in a wide array of new and existing programs. Much of this funding comes in the form of competitive grant programs. With funding available to so many communities across so many programs, this can be a significant burden on regional council staff. This session will dissect the challenges, strategies, and opportunities arising from this funding surge, shedding light on how regional councils can adapt, innovate, and thrive in an era of newfound financial abundance.

3:00 PM – 3:15 PM  Break  
3:15 PM – 4:00 PM  

Working with Your Board 

As the executive director of a Regional Council, Council of Governments, or Metropolitan Planning Organization, you have a Board of Directors. Maybe you even have two or three Boards! Successfully navigating the delicate balance of working for—and with—your Board(s) of Directors is key to the success of every executive director. Hear from several colleagues on this topic and share your insights into this crucial area.

4:00 PM – 4:30 PM  

Regional Planning as a Customer Service 

Hear from colleagues how adopting a customer-centric ethos can amplify the impact of regional planning initiatives and enhance stakeholder engagement.

4:30 PM – 5:15 PM  


You set the agenda for this session! Earlier in the day, attendees will be prompted to suggest discussion topics and vote on which suggested topics interest them the most. The top vote getters will form the basis for several roundtable discussions, each led by the person who suggested that table’s topic. You are free to attend the session of greatest interest to you and may move between groups as you wish.


Time and Location to Be Announced

Coordinated Off-Site Group Dinner

Did you enjoy the unconference session or find a particular project fascinating from Rapid Fire Innovations and wanted to learn more? Join your colleagues for this coordinated group dinner to continue conversations from the day’s sessions.

Tuesday, October 31

8:00 AM – 8:30 AM  Breakfast  
8:30 AM – 9:15 AM 

Wildfire Mitigation and Risk Reduction

Recent events provide new reminders of the dangers that wildfires pose to communities across the nation, including the recent tragic wildfire event in Maui, extreme Canadian wildfires over the summer, and the ever-present threat of wildfire in the U.S. West. A national expert on wildfire mitigation and risk reduction joins us to discuss how communities can better prepare and protect themselves from these dangers.

Jerry McAdams, Certified Wildfire Mitigation Specialist, MC Fire LLC

9:15 AM – 10:00 AM 

Improving Public Discourse Amidst Increasing Polarization

Delve into a discussion about the evolving nature of public sentiment, polarization, and meaningful public discourse. Speakers will explore how polarization has fueled divisiveness and hampered constructive public discussions and provide insights into strategies for fostering empathy, restoring civility, and nurturing healthier public interactions.

10:00 AM – 10:10 AM  Break 
10:10 AM – 10:50 AM 

Automation and Artificial Intelligence  

You heard yesterday from an attorney about the legal considerations of artificial intelligence (AI). Now hear from regional councils about their work in this fast-evolving field. We will explore the benefits, challenges, and ethical considerations of using AI and automation to optimize processes, drive innovation, and reshape the nation’s workforce. This will be a round robin so come prepared with examples of how your organization is utilizing AI or questions you have about its use.

10:50 AM – 11:30 AM 

Safe Streets for All

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) established the new Safe Streets and Roads for All (SS4A) discretionary program, providing $5 billion over five years. The SS4A program provides grants for regional, local, and Tribal projects to prevent roadway deaths and serious injuries. Hear from regional directors about their SS4A projects.

11:30 AM – 12:10 PM 

Regional Elevator Pitch  

Every region has its own unique story to tell. Dive into this discussion on crafting your distinct regional identity, leveraging digital platforms, and engaging community stakeholders. Gain a deeper understanding of how to position your organization for success and create lasting connections that resonate within your regions.

12:10 PM – 1:00 PM  

Lunch Keynote Basque Block  

Embark on a cultural journey through the vibrant heart of Boise—the Basque Block. Nestled in the city’s downtown, this unique enclave is a testament to the rich Basque heritage that has thrived in the Treasure Valley for generations. Hear inspiring stories and witness the dynamic interplay of tradition and innovation that makes the Basque Block an enduring symbol of Boise’s multicultural spirit.

Annie Gavica, Executive Director, Basque Museum & Cultural Center

 Conference Adjourns  
1:15 PM 3:15 PM 

Executive Directors Council Meeting 

Everyone is welcome to attend.  

3:15 PM – 3:30 PM Break for Mobile Workshop 
3:30 PM – 5:00 PM 

Mobile Workshop: Boise State Football Stadium Tour – “The Blue”

Albertsons Stadium is home to the Boise State Broncos football team at Boise State University. It is best known for “The Blue”, the stadium’s famous blue turf that has been in place for more than thirty years. Join us for a tour of this one-of-a-kind stadium, including the Hall of Fame, The Blue, and Stueckle Sky Center. This is BSU’s most popular tour. 

Separate registration is required.

Board of Directors Retreat
Information and Agenda

The annual board retreat is the third in-person meeting of the NARC Board each year. In addition to the required business and governance meeting, the board has an opportunity to listen to outside speakers and engage in deeper conversations on topics of importance to NARC and their home jurisdictions than they have during the other two meetings each year. The retreat has no charge for NARC Board members. If others would like to attend, there is a $75 fee to cover the cost of meals during the retreat.


Board members will arrive on Tuesday for an optional combined mobile workshop with departing Executive Directors Conference Attendees in the afternoon with the board dinner that evening.


Wednesday will feature board related topics and speakers plus the business meeting. Breakfast and lunch will be provided.

*All detailed information regarding the board retreat will be sent directly to board members by email.


Conference Dates

2023 Executive Directors Conference 
October 29- 31, 2023

Board Retreat Dates

2023 Board Retreat
October 31-November 1, 2023

Hotel Registration

The Grove Hotel
245 S. Capitol Blvd.
Boise, ID 83702
(208) 333-8000

Rate: $209* + tax

Because of the home football game on 10/28 there is limited availability on that date. If you need to book your reservation to include Saturday night, please call the hotel directly. The hotel has offered a limited number of rooms at $299 (higher rate for Saturday night only).

Once those limited rooms have been reserved, please make your reservation to start on Sunday and contact Marcy to be added to a Saturday night wait-list.

If your reservation currently includes a Saturday night that you no longer need, please do not change the reservation directly with the hotel. Contact Marcy to update your reservation so those on the wait list can be accommodated.