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Richard Proffer

Richard Proffer's staff photo
Community and Economic Development Educator

127 S High St, Ste 1 Havana IL 62644

(309) 543-3308
Program Areas
Community and Economic Development

After 16 years with University of Missouri Extension, Richard Proffer joined Illinois Extension in 2022. He grew up in the tiny town of Crump, MO, and received a bachelor of arts degree from Southeast Missouri State University and a master of business administration from Davenport University. His background in rural communities allows him to tailor his programming to each community’s needs. He brings a background in business retention and expansion work, small business development, economic development, and strategic planning – all aimed at helping to grow the community.

Richard started his professional career in advertising in cable advertising in Peoria. With cable, he supported the sales staff with promotional planning, research, sales training and eventually doing national sales where he traveled the county calling on national ad agencies. Then he switched to internet ad sales under and then to Gannett newspapers in Springfield, MO as an assistant marketing director dealing with ad sales and circulation issues.

He returned to his family farm to assist his parents and start his extension career as a business development director. He was able to share his private sector experience through his counseling of small business clients as a Small Business Development Center counselor. He also developed several classes on marketing and small business issues that were well-received in the small business community. He received numerous awards for the impact he generated based on his client’s results. He served 18 counties in SE Missouri and many strategic planning committees statewide.

Then with restructuring in the Business Development Program, he became a community economic development field specialist for the SE Missouri Region. He was tapped to assist in implementing the ExCeed program throughout the state. He helped to develop the award-winning Building Local Prosperity program for communities who needed assistance in strategic planning for multiple issues. This program resulted in creating new jobs, communities receiving grants, and generating a new attitude in the communities served. He then went on to create Strategic Doing Missouri Style where he worked with several small rural communities to address a single issue. This program resulted in many towns being able to organize for the first time and address issues that had been bothersome for years.

With the continued decline in rural growth across the county, Richard feels it is important to help rural communities reinvent themselves by bringing together the community culture that sets them apart. Be it developing tourism opportunities, redeveloping the downtown, or helping homegrown businesses get started, it is all about how he can help the community grow.

Professional Certifications and Trainings

  • Economic Development Financial Planner – awarded by National Development Council
  • Professional Community Economic Developer – certified by Community Development Institute
  • Business Retention Expansion Project Coordinator – granted by Business Retention Expansion International
  • Business Retention Expansion Community Leader – granted by University of Minnesota Extension
  • Stronger Economies Together Coach and Community Trainer – training sponsored by Southern Rural Development Center
  • LEAD Coach and Community Trainer – training sponsored by Southern Rural Development Center
  • Strategic Doing – trained by Strategic Doing Inc.
  • Midwest Community Development Institute – instructor 2022
  • Creating Entrepreneurial Communities, Hannibal MO – presenter 2021
  • National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals
    •  Presenter 2016, 2018
    •  North Central Regional Representative 2019
  • Missouri Association of Community Economic Development Extension Professionals - President 2017, 2021
  • United States Association of Small Business Educators – review team 2017
  • Ripple Effect Mapping – trained by The Harbinger Consultancy
  • Fast Trac New and Growth Ventures Instructor – training by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation 2010

Awards and Honors

  • Missouri Associated Industries – Business Development Counselor of Year 2010
  • Rookie of the Year – Epsilon Sigma Phi 2007
  • Building Local Prosperity Program Award – University of Missouri Extension Association 2018

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