February 27, 2020

Heartland Forward Expands Research Efforts With Addition Of New Fellow

Economist Minoli Ratnatunga Joins The "Think And Do" Tank To Conduct Research On Economic Performance In The Heartland

Economist Minoli Ratnatunga Joins Heartland Forward

BENTONVILLE, AR – Today, Heartland Forward announced economist Minoli Ratnatunga will join the "think and do" tank as a research fellow. In this role, she will carry out research projects related to economic performance and development in the American Heartland.

"We are excited to welcome Minoli to the team," said Heartland Forward President & CEO Ross DeVol. "Minoli has spent more than a decade working to support the growth of communities across the country. Her research aims to improve decision-making—perfectly aligning with the 'do' portion Heartland Forward's mission as a 'think and do' tank."

Throughout her career, Ratnatunga has used her economic research insights to foster informed policy decisions. As the director of regional economics research at the Milken Institute, she led analysis on how innovation, human capital, and other factors contribute to regional growth. Prior, Ratnatunga conducted policy research the Allegheny Conference on Community Development on a variety of issues affecting the local economy, including business taxes, transportation funding, and energy markets. Ratnatunga brings these experiences to bear in her roles as a FUSE Corps Executive Fellow and as an executive advisor at strategic advisory firm Star Insights.

"The states, cities, and counties throughout the Heartland have immense economic potential," said Ratnatunga. "I'm proud to be joining a team that truly believes this and is working to put research into action."

As a research fellow, Ratnatunga joins Heartland Forward's research team, consisting of Chief Research Officer David Shideler and Senior Fellows Richard Florida and Joel Kotkin. Ratnatunga will collaborate with the team on Heartland Forward's perennial indexes—the Most Dynamic Metropolitans, the Most Dynamic Micropolitans, and the state innovation index.

Ratnatunga holds a bachelor's degree in Philosophy and Economics from the London School of Economics, and a Master of Science in Public Policy and Management from Carnegie Mellon University.

About Heartland Forward:

Heartland Forward's mission is to improve economic performance in the center of the United States by advocating for fact-based solutions to foster job creation, knowledge-based and inclusive growth, and improved health outcomes. We conduct independent, data-driven research to facilitate action-oriented discussion and impactful policy recommendations.
For press inquiries: media@heartlandforward.org``