by Tyler Hale
Heartland Forward is bolstering its ranks, adding a new research fellow to its growing team. Minoli Ratnatunga is joining the “think and do” tank, where she will perform research on economic performance and development in American’s heartland region.
During her career, Ratnatunga has focused on using economic research to develop public policy and spur regional growth. She served as the Milken Institute’s director of regional economics research, where she spearheaded the analysis of innovation and human capital and how these factors impact regional growth.
She also is a FUSE Corps Executive Fellow and an executive advisor at Star Insights, a strategic advisory firm.
“We are excited to welcome Minoli to the team,” Heartland Forward president and CEO Ross DeVol said in a statement. “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.”
At Heartland Forward, Ratnatunga will collaborate with its team on multiple indexes, including the Most Dynamic Metropolitans, the Most Dynamic Micropolitans, and the state innovation index.
“The states, cities, and counties throughout the Heartland have immense economic potential,” Ratnatunga says. “I’m proud to be joining a team that truly believes this and is working to put research into action.”
She earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and economics from the London School of Economics, as well as a master’s degree in public policy and management from Carnegie Mellon University.
Ratnatunga is the second of two recent hires. In January, the think tank hired Dr. David Shideler has its new chief research officer, where is charged with developing original research in multiple disciplines, including innovation, building human capital and more.
Both Ratnatunga and Shideler are part of the Heartland Forward’s research team, which also includes senior fellows Richard Floria and Joel Kotkin.