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WILSON – The Gig East Summit is back! Join us for the 2022 Gig East Summit: Transforming E.A.S.T. on May 20, 2022, in Historic Downtown Wilson. The Summit will bring together local entrepreneurs, business owners, community partners, and industry thought leaders from Wilson and the Triangle to focus on how entrepreneurship, the arts, science, and technology are being transformed in Wilson.

E.A.S.T. stands for Entrepreneurship, Art, Science and Technology.

Transforming E.A.S.T. is Gig East’s 2022 Summit, a full day of Entrepreneurship, Art, Science, and Technology. A day to inspire, create, and ignite Wilson’s innovative spirit. Explore Wilson’s arts community, tech culture, and coworking space, the Gig East Exchange. You’ll hear from the featured keynote, Kenia Thompson, one panel of local innovators, and attend interactive breakout sessions across two tracks for community leaders, entrepreneurs, artists, and tech lovers alike. All events are free and everyone is welcome.
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Head to Wilson the night before the Summit on May 19th and enjoy Gig in the Park, Wilson’s free spring outdoor concert series at Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park. Be sure to stop by the Gig East tent to check-in for the Summit and receive your free drink ticket. Then, start Friday morning fresh at the Wilson Arts Center to hear from our keynote speaker, Kenia Thompson, on “How We Tell Our Stories.” Witness the next big idea be born right here in Wilson during the RIoT Accelerator Program’s pitch competition. After lunch downtown, head back to Wilson Arts to see who will take the title of pitch competition winner. You’ll also listen to local innovators share how they have found success in E.A.S.T. industries right here in Wilson. The event wraps up with two interactive breakout sessions of your choice.

2022 Summit Speakers

Gig East Summit 2022 Speaker Thompson

Kenia Thompson


Gig East Summit 2022 Speaker Bell

Jeff Bell

City of Wilson

Gig East Summit 2022 Speaker Cat Brewer

Cat Brewer

Sign the Show

Gig East Summit 2022 Speaker Chinang

Raoul Chinang

Collins Aerospace

Gig East Summit 2022 Speaker Lentz

Rodger Lentz

City of Wilson

Gig East Summit 2022 Speaker McConnell

Matt McConnell

McConnell Studios

Gig East Summit 2022 Speaker Newberry

Rachael Newberry


Gig East Summit 2022 Speaker Parsons

Noah Parsons

City of Wilson

Gig East Summit 2022 Speaker Snyder

Tom Snyder


Gig East Summit 2022 Speaker Wright

Miles Wright

Averix Bio

2022 Summit Agenda

May 19

Gig In The Park – The Breakfast Club

6:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.

Wilson Downtown Development and the Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park are your hosts for this FREE spring concert series. You’ll be rocking to the best of the 80s from The Breakfast Club while chowing down from a wide selection of food trucks. Ice cold beverages will be available for the adults and fun activities for the kiddos!

  • Bring a chair or blanket
  • ID required to purchase beer/wine
  • No outside beverages or coolers

*Check-in for the Summit at the Gig East tent. All early check-ins will receive a free drink ticket.

Learn More »

May 20

Gig East Summit

8:30 a.m. – 5:15 p.m.

Wilson Arts Center

Doors open at 8:30 am with a light breakfast, coffee and networking. Program begins at 9:15 a.m.

9:15 am


9:30 am –10:30 am

Keynote: How We Tell Our Stories

Kenia Thompson, Owner, WordCrumbs

Kenia Thompson is an experienced Master Communicator and Marketing professional. Driven by her own need to break the silence, she takes pride in providing the best communication solutions possible. As a Master Communicator, her goals are to share her love for education and communication — combining them into a unique approach using her C.R.U.M.B (Creating Unique Messages that Build) method approach. This approach, coupled with each service, aids professionals and leaders in discovering their authentic selves and identifying their most effective communication style.

Learn More »

10:35 am –12:35 pm

RIoT RAP X Pitch

Led by Rachael Newberry

During the Pitch competition, selected RAP Wilson cohort members will take center stage to share their company pitches with the Summit audience. Hear from the companies who have used the Gig East Exchange as home base for the past 12 weeks, growing and tweaking their business strategies and honing their pitches for us. It’s everything you love about reality business shows (without the sharks), with lots of support and enthusiasm from the Gig East community.

Following the pitches, judges’ comments are tallied and a winner will be announced right after the lunch break.

12:30 pm –2:00 pm

Lunch On Your Own In Downtown

Grab a bite from one of the many tasty eateries in Historic Downtown Wilson.

2:15 pm –2:30 pm

Pitch Results

See who will be crowned pitch competition winner!

2:35 pm –3:20 pm

Ecosystem Success Stories Panel

Moderator: Tom Synder


  • Entrepreneurship: Miles Wright, Averix Bi
  • Art: Cat Brewer, Filmmaker, Sign The Show
  • Science: Noah Parsons, City of Wilson Stormwater
  • Technology: Raoul Chinang, Program Manager at Collins Aerospace

Local innovators will share their experiences working in the fields of entrepreneurship, art, science, or technology, and how the ground in Wilson is fertile for success.

3:30 pm –4:15 pm

Breakout Session 1

Branding Strategy & Development with WRAL Digital Solutions

Join WRAL Digital Solutions to learn how branding strategy and development can take your organization to the next level.

RIDE Into the Future of Public Transportation

Learn about Wilson’s award-winning micro-transit service, RIDE, from Rodger Lentz, the City of Wilson’s Chief Planning and Development Officer.

Art Gallery Walking Tour with Jeff Bell, Whirligig Park Director

Take a tour of Historic Downtown Wilson’s vibrant art galleries with Jeff Bell, Director of the Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park and Museum

4:30 pm –5:15 pm

Breakout Session 2

Merging Art and Tech

Join artist Matt McConnell as he explains his method of combining art and technology to create Wilson Arts’ largest installation.

Keeping the Workplace Safe with Cisco’s DNA Spaces

Learn how Cisco is making workspaces like the Gig East Exchange smarter and safer with DNA Spaces.