UNITE WNC Summit Promises to Energize Our Economic Future, Mar. 31-Apr. 1

Published Wednesday, March 8, 2017 at 11:39 am

Asheville, NC–On March 31 to April 1 at the U.S. Cellular Center in Asheville, the UNITE WNC Summit attendees (unitewnc.io) will create a roadmap for the digital future of Western North Carolina. Using a community engagement approach that’s succeeded in other cities, the event offers participants the opportunity to collaborate, innovate, and plan at the systems level. With only two inspiring guest speakers, those in attendance will be 100% engaged for the duration of the event.

A very different kind of event, UNITE WNC seeks to be a regional think tank and action force that develops a shared vision of the future, designs a strategy to get there, and begins to implement the plan before the Summit has ended. Along the way, participants will identify the region’s strengths and assets, generate exciting technology opportunities for the region, develop policy and infrastructure recommendations, and craft initial prototypes and action plans. It promises a unique public/private partnership that includes people from all sectors across WNC.

According to Tracy Schmidt, chair of Meet the Geeks, a recent survey of local tech employers indicates that regional technology-related jobs are expected to increase by 300 percent by 2025. The area has to take steps to build the needed infrastructure and prepare a local workforce to meet that need.

This low-cost event, which includes lunch, breaks and a networking reception, is only $50 for early bird registration (by March 15). It is open to all stakeholders in our future: entrepreneurs, investors, educators, students, elected officials, government planners, recruiters and, of course, tech workers at any level, in any industry, and in any domain (service desk, systems, network, developer, project manager, QA, UI, marketing, business development, etc.) working remotely or locally. All are invited, however the space is limited to only 200 attendees. The organizers want to attract a broad and diverse range of attendees to share their stories, aspirations, and ideas about what will generate a thriving future for WNC and how technology can make that happen.

Technology already shapes our lives, our employment and our interactions. As technology advances faster and faster, our future in WNC will look very different. If the past 10 years are any indication, the digital future of WNC will change the way we live and work. That’s why we must plan for what we want to see. And that’s the aim of UNITE WNC, a two-day interactive summit to design our digital future.

Meet the Geeks, a local non-profit dedicated to bringing together technology professionals with the community for over 12 years, is hosting the event. The list of UNITE WNC sponsors grows weekly. So far, sponsors include SAW Software Mill, Mission Health, Montreat College, Epsilon, Inc., Western Carolina University, AB Tech, Anthroware, ERC, Immedion, Land of Sky Regional Council, Mountain Area Workforce Development Board, Risc Networks, Rocus Networks, Scriptcycle, UNCA, and Mars Hill University. The conversations and decisions made on March 31-April 1 have the potential to become a powerful economic driver for the future of WNC. Anyone who is interested or can impact, influence, invest in, or inform the digital economy should register now to attend.

The UNITE WNC Conference will be held March 31–April 1 at the U.S. Cellular Center. For more information, visit unitewnc.io. To arrange an interview, contact Mark Bloom of Ray Access at 828-280-1686 or at mark@rayaccess.com. The Summit encourages press attendance and coverage.

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