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Local and Regional Economic Development Leaders Discuss High Country Economy Aug. 16 in Jefferson

Aug. 13, 2012. Leaders in economic development from Watauga, Ashe, Wilkes, Caldwell and Alleghany counties will discuss economic development activities, successes, challenges and opportunities in the High Country at the Aug. 16 meeting of the AdvantageWest Board of Directors. AdvantageWest is the economic development partnership serving the 23 counties of Western North Carolina.

The discussion will be Thursday, Aug. 16, 9-11:30 a.m. at Jefferson Landing, 148 E. Landing Drive, Jefferson, in the Mt. Jefferson Room. (Directions available here: http://www.visitjeffersonlanding.com/contact.php)

The following are scheduled to make presentations of about 15 minutes each at a roundtable discussion during the AdvantageWest Board meeting (see agenda details below):

AdvantageWest: Scott Hamilton, President & CEO (with brief introductions of program directors)

Alleghany County: Clark Hunter, Manager, Blue Ridge Business Development Center (BDC)

Ashe County: Pat Mitchell, County Manager & Economic Developer, Ashe County Government

Caldwell County: Deborah Murray, Executive Director, Economic Development Commission of Caldwell County

Watauga County: Joe Furman, Director, Watauga County Planning & Inspections

Wilkes County: Jeff Garstka, President, Wilkes Economic Development Corporation (EDC)

Also, attendance from all five counties by elected and appointed leaders in government, economic development, as well as in education and business, plus members of the AdvantageWest Board and staff – about 50 attendees in all are expected.

This is an excellent opportunity for locals to meet local and regional leaders in economic development and hear firsthand about successes, challenges and opportunities. It is also a chance to meet personally with representatives of AdvantageWest and hear about its program of work.

Agenda Details – Thursday, August 16, 2012, 9 – 9:25 a.m.

Regular AdvantageWest Board business; 9:25 – 9:45 a.m.

Presentation from AdvantageWest providing brief overview of the partnership’s programs and activities; 9:45 – 11:15 a.m. 

Presentations from each of the five county representatives as outlined above; 11:15-11:25 a.m.

Closing comments from AdvantageWest Board Chairman Tom Alexander and CEO Hamilton.

About AdvantageWest 

AdvantageWest is one of seven regional economic development partnerships across North Carolina. The nonprofit, public-private partnership serves the 23 westernmost counties of the state, a geographic area of nearly 10,000 square miles or about the size of the state of Maryland.

AdvantageWest’s program of work focuses on: advanced manufacturing; entrepreneurial development, including the Certified Entrepreneurial Communities® program and the Blue Ridge Entrepreneurial Council (BREC); Blue Ridge Food Ventures, a food business and natural products incubator and shared-use commercial kitchen, which also runs the Winter Sun Farms community supported agriculture program; the green-tech and clean-energy jobs initiative, AdvantageGreen; and the Western North Carolina Film Commission.

Chartered by the N.C. General Assembly in 1994, AdvantageWest is governed by a 21-member board of directors. AdvantageWest board meetings are open to the public. For more information, visit www.advantagewest.com.