Director of Program Development and Training
Brian Blackford is the Director of Program Development and Training for the Indiana Communities Institute (ICI) at Ball State University. Based at the Ball State Indianapolis Center, Brian works with partners across Indiana to enhance quality of community and build human capacity through special initiatives and educational experiences. This includes the annual Indiana Basic Economic Development Course, which has been organized by Ball State's economic development staff for more than 30 years.
The Indiana Communities Institute, through research, policy, and practice, works to connect university resources with cities, towns, and neighborhoods in an effort to support 21st century community economic development and advocate for talent-focused, asset-based approaches to building stronger places.
Prior to joining Ball State, Brian worked for the Indiana State Fair Commission, the Indiana Office of Tourism Development and Indiana Landmarks, the nation’s largest statewide non-profit dedicated to preserving the built environment. He graduated with honors from Ball State University in 2001, completed the Indiana Economic Development Course in 2010, completed the AgriInstitute’s two-year rural leadership program in 2016, and in 2019 completed his Masters in Public Administration with a concentration in community economic development. Brian helped establish and served as past president of both Dig IN and Indiana Artisan, non-profit organizations dedicated to enriching community through local food and art. Any spare time is spent biking, running, kayaking, traveling and, most importantly, enjoying the adventures of parenthood with his wife, Cindy, and son, Eli.