Ted Abernathy, economic development policy advisor to the Southern Governors' Association and founder of Economic Leadership LLC, will keynote the second anniversary Rowan County Community Forum focusing on economic development strategies on Wednesday, March 25, 8 a.m. – 12 noon, at the Rowan County Agricultural Extension Center (2727 Old Concord Road).
Abernathy, a native of Dallas, NC, is a graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill who earned a Master's degree from John Hopkins University; is a graduate of the Economic Development Institute; and is an Eisenhower Fellow for global economics. His 34-year economic development career has included work for cities, counties, regions, and the private sector. In his role with the Southern Governors' Association, Ted is developing a new research policy agenda for southern states and leading a public input process for reimagining higher education. His economic consultancy focuses on information curation and helps places, organizations and leaders be more competitive, more collaborative, and more successful.
As an economic futurist, Ted speaks to over 100 groups annually on topics ranging from leadership to global trends impacting competitiveness. The program for Wednesday, March 25, at the Ag. Center includes:
7:45 a.m. Check-in/Coffee & Continental breakfast
8:00 a.m. Call to Order – Pete Teague, Community Forum Chair
· Welcome – Greg Edds, Rowan County Commission Chair
· Education Update – Dr. Lynn Moody, Rowan-Salisbury Schools Superintendent
8:25 a.m. "Core Principles of a Vibrant Economy" and Assessment of
Rowan County's Economic Competitiveness – Ted Abernathy, Keynote Speaker
9:30 a.m. Economic Development Panel Presentation – Robert Van Geons,
10:30 a.m. Question and Answer Session - Abernathy and Panelists
11:00 a.m. Table Discussions - defining Rowan County's key actions
11:30 a.m. Report-out – groups
11:45 a.m. Closing Thoughts – Abernathy
12 noon Adjournment – Teague
The 2015 forum is the fourth event planned and implemented through the Community Forum Steering Committee. The committee is chaired by Pete Teague, Dixon Hughes Goodman, LLP, and is comprised of representatives from the Gateway Building partners including: Downtown Salisbury, Inc.; Communities in Schools of Rowan County; the Land Trust of Central North Carolina; Rowan County Chamber of Commerce; RowanWORKS Economic Development; and, Salisbury-Rowan Convention and Visitors' Bureau. The ultimate goal of the Community Forum Project is to facilitate information sharing and discussion to help create a shared vision for Rowan County. The community forum process provides an avenue for Rowan County business and community leaders and private citizens to come together and develop a plan for more positive working relationships among our key community partners.
The Community Forum Steering Committee received financial support in 2014 from the Blanche and Julian Robertson Foundation to further develop the process launched from the first community forum. The initial March 2014 event validated education and economic development as the two primary issues for Rowan County. Subsequent forums in May and September of 2014 centered on the new strategic plan for the Rowan-Salisbury School System and a County-wide Literacy Summit focusing on literacy needs in K-12 and adult populations in our community. The March 25 forum is designed to help business and community leaders and interested citizens understand and assess the foundational principles of a consolidated and effective economic development strategy for Rowan County.