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RALEIGH – Downhome North Carolina tycoon J. Pratt Winston and his improbable adventures as a mid-century design icon will be the subject of a storytelling session at the all-virtual Rural Summit 2021 on Tuesday, March 16.

The summit begins Monday and runs through Wednesday.

Organized by the NC Rural Center, the summit promises “a special thematic focus on entrepreneurship and small-business development.”

Writer and marketing exec Billy Warden of GBW Strategies will lead the colorful session, which will also feature Winston, now 87, and Harry Mills, executive director of Granville Co. Economic Development.

The Zoom session, scheduled for 4:30, will include a sneak peek at the trailer for a feature length documentary on Winston being produced by Warden and Raleigh-based filmmaker David Iversen of BriteSpot Media.

Winston rocketed from backwoods salesman to design icon in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s when he created the futuristic 8-track/AM-FM radio portable unit called the Weltron Model 2001, now affectionately known among collectors as the “Spaceball.” A whole line of ‘space-deco’ home entertainment pieces followed, all inspired by Winston’s interest in UFOs. He later founded Winston Electronics based in downtown Oxford.

Warden authored the definitive chronicle of Winston’s madcap adventures last year for Our State magazine.

John Edelman, former CEO of Design Within Reach, international purveyor of modernist furniture, cites Winston’s Model 2001 as one of the creations that “helped me define what I thought was cool. It’s aesthetically beautiful, highly functional, timeless.”

Former Secretary of the NC Department of Human Resources Lucy Hancock Bode is quoted in the Rural Summit’s program as noting, “Pratt Winston is the quintessential entrepreneur. He looks at the world as this boundless palette of opportunity. He doesn’t miss a beat.”