Boards of commissioners in the five counties making up the Our Southern Indiana Regional Development Authority have appointed a person from each county to serve as the board of directors.

A regional development authority is a five-member board appointed by participating counties to spend potential funding from Indiana’s Regional Cities Initiative, a creation of former Gov. Mike Pence. The purpose of the RDA is to leverage public dollars for private investment to enhance a region’s economic development and “quality of place.”

The five people who make up the board of the new regional development authority formed by Jefferson, Clark, Floyd, Scott and Washington counties include:

• Jefferson County representative Kevin Kellems is the president of Madison-based The Strategy Center LLC and manager of his family’s fifth-generation farm.

• Scott County representative Steve Meyer is retired Scottsburg High School government teacher who works in sales and government relations for CivilCom.

• Washington County representative John Jones is the founder of John Jones Automotive Group.

• Floyd County representative Dana Huber serves as vice president of marketing and public relations for Huber’s Orchard, Winery and Vineyards and Starlight Distillery.

• Clark County representative Kenny Rush works in business development for the Illini Precast LLC Speed Plant.

Wendy Dant Chesser, president and CEO of One Southern Indiana, said in a news release that all five board members have a vision for the region.

“They understand the interdependence between the communities in Southern Indiana and its impact on economic development, as well as talent attraction and retention,” Dant Chesser said.

Kellems said Wednesday that people usually think local when it comes to business and garnering funds for potential projects, but this group will be tasked with considering plans for the connecting five-county area.

“Thinking regionally is not human nature,” he said, but the regional cooperation is a “creative and effective” part of the initiative.

The state statute for the formation of an RDA requires the board representatives to have at least five years of professional work experience in business, economic development, academia, private, nonprofit or transportation. Representatives can neither be an elected official nor a staff member of any of the member counties, the release said.

The five board members received unanimous approval by commissioners in all five counties.

The group is expected meet in January, Kellems said. One of the first tasks at hand could be project plans for the RDA.

A few plans were suggested in 2015 during an initial attempt to form an RDA — including waterfront development initiatives, expansion of telecommunications and high-speed internet in rural areas and projects that could attract and retain a skilled labor pool — but that initial attempt did not meet the participation requirements needed to form the authority.

Kellems said he appreciated the other counties recognizing that Jefferson County wasn’t at the table during the initial planning phase in 2015 and be willing to allow adjustments for the addition.

“The initiative is an incredible economic development tool that can be used to strength local businesses through workforce development, attraction and retention,” Chesser said in the news release. “It is also an incentive for private developers to invest in projects that would benefit the citizens of all five counties.”