How We Got Here
Founder of Opportunity Funding, Jerry Hinson brings a wealth of experience and leadership in both the public and private sector. Throughout his career, he has always been successful in taking an organization to the next level. With these unique attributes and the success of Regional Development Associates over the years, OF was founded in 2012 to provide communities opportunities for funding.
Jerry has “walked the walk” and draws upon those perspectives and experiences. Prior to his career in development work, Jerry was Vice-President and Secretary/Treasurer of Sediver, Inc., an international manufacturing corporation. Jerry was also CEO for the Partnership for a Greater Greenwood County in South Carolina. The Partnership is an excellent example of the public and private sectors coming to together to provide the leadership and funding necessary to achieve outcome driven goals in the areas of community, economic, and workforce development. The early years of his career were marked by a successful leadership role in state government in programs focused on job creation and workforce development. In the communities in which he has lived, Jerry has served as the chair of the county's strategic planning committee; chair of the school district's vocational advisory board; campaign chair for a major university's athletic fund raising initiative; chair of the United Way and chair of the chamber board.
Jerry quickly moved thru the ranks of an international corporation and ultimately served as Secretary/Treasurer. He has served as a Project Director as well as President and COO for two other nationally recognized development organizations. Jerry earned his B.S. in Marketing from the University of South Carolina and Master’s in Education from Winthrop University. In 2001, Jerry became a Certified Grants Specialist (C.G.S.).
Prior to his career in development, Doug has had thirty-five years of progressive experience in CEO positions of economic development and chamber organizations in Iowa, Nebraska, Texas, Florida, and Kansas. Doug most recently served for fourteen years as the President and CEO of the Greater Topeka, KS Chamber of Commerce and GO Topeka, their economic development organization. GO Topeka is one of the strongest examples in the Midwest of a public/private sector partnership focused on structurally changing the community in business attraction, business retention/expansion, workforce development, small business, and entrepreneurial development.
During college, Doug staffed a major long range strategic planning effort with CEOs of major companies in Waterloo, IA where he subsequently quickly advanced in management of the Chamber. At the age of 23, Doug was one of the youngest Chamber CEO’s in history when he led the Beatrice, NE Chamber of Commerce as he began to sharpen his skills in the field of economic development. Kinsinger was then hired to lead the Duncanville, TX Chamber, one of the fastest growing areas in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, where he developed new fund raising programs and redesigned the strategic plan to focus on enabling the area to compete. Doug was then recruited to San Angelo in West Texas where he attracted significant new employers and fought hard to retain over 10,000 jobs. Doug developed expertise in working with the military to retain and grow their mission, and has had successful results during his career in working with the United States Air Force, Navy, Army, Marines, and National Guard in four separate communities. Doug was attracted to Pensacola, FL in 1997 where he led their chamber, economic development organization, and convention and visitors bureau and managed over forty staff. In 2008, Doug was recognized by 7,500 of his peers and served as the Chairman of the Board of the American Chamber of Commerce Executives, the professional development association for the chamber industry, which became international during his leadership. Doug is one of the nation’s few Certified Chamber Executives (CCE). Kinsinger is experienced in working with elected officials at the local, state, and federal levels. Doug knows how to forge collaboration amongst divergent interests.
Kinsinger recruited and retained tens of thousands of jobs during his career in the communities he served, which invested billions of dollars into the local tax base. During the last ten years in Topeka, Kinsinger worked in recruiting or expanding 11,000 jobs at Goodyear Tire and Rubber, Sports Car Club of America, Hills Pet Nutrition, Mars Chocolate North America, Bimbo Bakeries, PTMW, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Payless Shoes, Reesers, VA Health Revenue Center, BNSF, EDS/Hewlett-Packard, Security Benefit, se2, Advisors Excel, Southwest Publishing, and Innovia Films. Kinsinger understands how to grow an economy. Most recently he conducted the “Seizing the Opportunity” economic development fund raising campaign, led by Opportunity Funding, which raised 4.2 M over a five-year period in a city of 130,000 population. Kinsinger organized the effort to pass numerous local ballot issues generating hundreds of millions of dollars to repair and invest in new infrastructure projects for the community. Kinsinger has recruited Continental, American, AirTran (Southwest), and United to provide air service to communities he served. Kinsinger has significant experience in establishing micro-loan pools and managed a $1M loan fund for new small businesses. Doug helped organize, staff, and fund 712 Innovations, LLC, a new co-work/makerspace which is a new business incubator for technology oriented startups. 712 Innovations received one of 50 nation-wide grants from the Small Business Administration and over $1M of donated and discounted equipment and furnishings from the private sector.
Doug earned his BS in Business, Economics and Communications at the University of Northern Iowa and graduated from the Academy for Advanced Organizational Management at the University of Notre Dame. Doug received his Certified Chamber Executive designation in 1993.