Sharon Gulick, director and extension state specialist 

University of Missouri, ExCEED Program
222 Gentry Hall
Phone: 573-884-0669
Alt-phone: 573-883-8393

Sharon currently serves as the director of University of Missouri Extension’s Community Economic and Entrepreneurial Development (ExCEED) program. The ExCEED program partners with rural communities and regions across Missouri to develop community-based strategies for economic development and focuses on core issues including community and economic development planning, community assessments, entrepreneurship, leadership development, youth retention and capacity building. In addition, ExCEED helps in the identification of regional strengths and assets for place-based economic development initiatives. In this capacity, Sharon works to connect communities and regions with resources and faculty expertise within MU Extension, the University of Missouri System and her national network. 

She is also the executive director for the Missouri Rural Development Partners, Missouri’s federally authorized rural development council. She is past-president of the international Community Development Society; serves on several boards including the Missouri Economic Development Council, and RMI, Inc., a Missouri-based CDC, and is member of the national Strategic Doing™ National Design Team, the Community Change Network and the Kellogg Foundation’s Rural People, Rural Policy initiative. 

She brings more than 25 years of experience in economic, small business and community development. Prior to joining the university, she worked for the Missouri Department of Economic Development as the department’s small business specialist and manager of the Missouri Business Assistance Center, where she specialized in business counseling for start-up and early stage small businesses. She has presented numerous workshops and seminars and developed publications and training materials.   

Sharon holds an undergraduate degree in business and an MBA. She is a certified Strategic Doing™ Guide, Professional Community and Economic Developer and holds the Economic Development Finance Professional certification from the National Development Council.

Sharon and her husband, John, live in a small town in central Missouri with their two children, mother-in-law and their Pembrooke Welsh Corgi, Max. 

For more about Sharon, see her curriculum vitae (PDF).

Pat Curry, project manager

Pat serves as a project manager in the Extension Community Economic and Entrepreneurial Development (ExCEED) program with University of Missouri Extension. He is an economic geographer with more than 30 years of community economic development experience focused on providing planning, applied research and educational solutions for businesses, development organizations, local governments and nonprofits. Before joining ExCEED, he worked as a planning and market research consultant and spent 24 years in higher education extension positions at the University of Illinois and Southern Illinois University.



Renée Reed-Miller, program-based consultant 

Renée serves as a program-based consultant for the Extension Community Economic and Entrepreneurial Development (ExCEED) program with University of Missouri Extension. Her expertise as a local-to-global community development specialist, transnational educator and organizational consultant translates into supporting the core team as they conceptualize new initiatives, write grants to fund rural CED projects across the state and collaborate with a partner institution in Scotland. She also manages the ExCEED program's website.



Graduate research assistants

Kathlee Freeman

Kathlee is pursuing a Master of Science in Rural Sociology, while also working towards a graduate certificate in geographic information science. Her research focuses on the adoption and use of technology by smallholder farmers in East Africa. Kathlee earned her B.A. in Sociology from DePaul University. After graduating, she worked with a variety of organizations conducting research, writing grants, managing and developing programs, and overseeing communications. Since beginning graduate school, she has conducted research with multiple organizations, including the Center for a Livable Future at Johns Hopkins University, the Office of Social and Economic Data Analysis at the University of Missouri, and most recently, ExCEED. 




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