SALISBURY, NC (WBTV) - An important meeting is set for Wednesday that will bring together a number of local experts to talk about the topic of creating more business and jobs in Rowan County.
A panel of experts will share effective and proven strategies for local economic development at this week's Community Forum at the Rowan County Agricultural Extension Center (2727 Old Concord Road). Members of the panel represent communities similar to Rowan County who have demonstrated success in job growth, industrial recruitment, and infrastructure development.
Topics and panelists include:
"Product Development Models That Work" - Kristin H. Reese, Executive Director, Cleveland County Economic Development Partnership
"Retooling Your Workforce" – Hope Hopkins, Operations Director, Burke Partnership for Economic Development Inc.
"Leveraging Local Assets for Targeted Industry Recruitment" - R. Christopher Plate, Executive Director of Economic Development and Aviation, Monroe-Union County
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, 8:00 a.m. – 12 noon. The program at the Agricultural 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, Superintendent, Rowan-Salisbury Schools
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 facilitated by Robert
Van Geons (Executive Director, RowanWORKS):
Kristin H. Reese, Executive Director, Cleveland County
Economic Development Partnership
Hope Hopkins, Operations Director, Burke Partnership for
Economic Development Inc.
R. Christopher Plate, Executive Director of Economic
Development and Aviation, Monroe-Union County
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
11:45 a.m. 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.