The final WRAL TechWire Live event of 2019 will take place November 7 at the NC Rural Center in Raleigh addressing the topic of leadership in rural innovation.

The urban-rural divide is a topic of interest for all North Carolinians and the economic future of 80 of 100 NC counties hinges on bridge building efforts being made to close gaps in such areas as broadband accessibility, infrastructure, workforce development, and education.

This free event presented by Wells Fargo features successful innovators from WRAL TechWire partner communities who are proving that innovation and disruption are possible and scalable outside the metro due in no small part to bridges being built by rural leaders, entrepreneurs, and every day people who won’t settle for second-best in rural NC.

Come network starting at 7:30 a.m. and learn how:

  • Municipal leaders in Wilson continue to leverage public private partnerships to spawn and support entrepreneurship from Main Street to high tech.
  • An alliance for growth in Sanford and Lee County has created opportunities for entrepreneurial growth while simultaneously paving the road toward becoming one of North Carolina’s growing life science success stories.
  • A group of marine geologists, coastal scientists, and remote sensing experts are cultivating an “always learning” culture while providing high tech, global solutions that make complex coastal change clear while collaborating with local economic developers and fellow businesses to achieve an innovative people – first economic development philosophy.

The event is free, and seats are limited. RSVP now to secure your ticket.

About the speakers

Kellianne Davis, Downtown Business Specialist for the City of Wilson
Kellianne E. Davis is the Downtown Business Specialist for the City of Wilson. She holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science and Philosophy from High Point University and her Master of Public Administration Degree from East Carolina University. Davis enjoys learning about and implementing various solutions to help foster economic development, create community pride, and promote the welfare of all in the community she serves. She is an organizer for young professional networking groups, and serves on several non-profit boards. In addition, Davis has owned and operated a downtown Wilson vinyl record store with her fiancé for over two years.

Michael Smith, CEO of Sanford Area Growth Alliance
Prior to becoming CEO of the Sanford Area Growth Alliance in September 2018, Michael Smith served as Director of Economic Development in Stanly County. He also previously served in Davidson County economic development and led economic development in the Statesville Region for ten years. Before working in Iredell County, Smith was with the NC Department of Commerce in Raleigh for seven years as a project manager and in marketing and business development. He holds both an MA and a BA from East Carolina University and has held various positions of community and economic development leadership, including a term as President of the NC Economic Developers Association.

Patrick Woodie, President of NC Rural Center
Patrick Woodie is a product of our state’s public schools, including Piney Creek Elementary School in Piney Creek and Alleghany High School in Sparta. He graduated from Wake Forest University in 1987 and from Wake Forest University School of Law in 1990. In 2013, he was named president of the NC Rural Center and led the organization through a major transition, repositioning the Center into a new era of work and community engagement but still focused on the singular mission to serve the people and places of rural North Carolina. “I can’t imagine work that is more rewarding or more important to me that the work I’ve been able to do at the Rural Center. It’s enabled me to experience every nook and cranny of the ‘goodliest land under the cope of heaven’ and to do work that maintains a deep connection with the place and people of Piney Creek, who gave me everything I have needed to live a very blessed life.”

Sloan Freeman, CEO & Co-Founder of Geodynamics, LLC
As CEO and co-founder, Sloan Freeman supervises the hydrographic survey program at Geodynamics LLC, including management of operations and long-term organizational planning. She is a licensed NC Professional Land Surveyor and has a Master’s Degree in Coastal Environmental Management from Duke University. Prior to founding Geodynamics, Freeman worked in the research sector of marine ecology and environmental policy at the Duke University Marine Lab where she managed and coordinated multi-million dollar research projects in the field of marine geospatial analysis. As Principal in Charge at Geodynamics, she manages long-term contracts with NOAA and the Army Corps of Engineers and coordinates collaborations with partners in coastal engineering, research, and natural resource agencies.

RSVP now to WRAL TechWire Live.