University of Tennessee at Martin to host economic, business summit
The Messenger 05.19.08
The second annual MidSouth Economic and Business Develop-ment Summit, “20/20 Vision for West Tennessee,” is being sponsored by the University of Tennessee at Martin Regional Entrepreneur and Economic Development Center, Dyersburg State Community College and WestStar.
Tennessee Commissioner of Tourism Susan Whitaker is among speakers for the event, scheduled for 8 a.m.-1:30 p.m. May 29 in Boling University Center on the UT Martin campus.
She will be joined by Ramay Winchester, retired Tennessee program manager, in a segment, “Tourism and Retirement — Partners in Profit.”
“A Marriage Made in Heaven: Economic Development and Broadband” and “Entrepreneur-Ship: A Boat That Floats, Get On!” will be presented by Cathy Horton, CEO of Beta Strategy Group Ltd. in Chagrin Falls, Ohio. An interactive session, “Finding Resources for Your Community,” will feature Ron Acree, Jackson State Community College Tennessee Small Business Development Center director; Bobby Goode, USDA Rural Development area director; Jim Humphreys, Tennessee Business and Industrial Development Corporation; Mary McLennan, Tennessee Housing Development Agency director of research and planning; Dan Nelson, Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development marketing division; David Pechin, regional director, Local Planning and Community Development, Tennessee Economic and Com-munity Development; Teresa Sanders, Southwest Tennessee Development District special projects coordinator; Ken Thorne, Northwest Tennessee Development District, director of economic and community development; and Deanna Ward, Connected Tennessee.
UT Martin Instructional Tech-nology Center and Web Services director Steve Holt will open the session at 8:30 after registration and a continental breakfast. UT Martin Chancellor Tom Rakes, Dyersburg State Community College President Karen Bowyer, REED Center Director Hollie Holt and Dyersburg State TSBDC director Dr. Jamie Frakes will make introductions.
Ms. Whitaker, a veteran tourism marketing industry executive, was named commissioner of Tourist Development in January 2003 by Gov. Phil Bredesen and was reappointed by the governor in January of 2007 for a second term.
In this role, she is responsible for marketing Tennessee’s tourism industry domestically and internationally. Tourism is one of Tennessee’s largest industries, employing more than 181,300 Tennesseans and providing a $13.4 billion direct economic impact.
Ms. Whitaker oversees the development and implementation of statewide tourism’s comprehensive marketing, publicity and promotions campaigns, all designed to stimulate growth of tourism in Tennessee. Of note are the state’s world-class Web site, tnvacation.com, as well as the state’s 13 welcome centers.
As the Retire Tennessee program manager, Ms. Winchester is responsible for the Retire Tennessee program and does customer service workshops for communities. Prior to starting work for ECD in July of 2004, she worked as regional marketing and public relations manager for the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development. Prior to this appointment in January of 1998, she was the assistant executive director of the Paris-Henry County Chamber of Commerce for seven years, in charge of all chamber activities and tourism.
Ms. Horton graduated from the University of Michigan in 1983, Ohio State College of Law in 1986 and University of Kent Canterbury Theological College in England in 1999. In 2000, she was ordained as an Episcopal priest.
She has spent more than 20 years cultivating a global mergers and acquisitions and venture finance legal practice, serving clients that range from the Fortune 100 companies to emerging and mid-market enterprises. She spent 15 years in London, where she developed a passion for technology in the emerging companies’ marketplace. In Europe, she formed her own consulting practice and worked with global enterprises and start-ups to foster and capture the value of strategic technology innovation.
Anyone interested in the summit may register online at www.utm.edu/midsouthsummit. The registration fee is $50 and includes the continental breakfast, materials and luncheon. Checks should be made payable to UT Martin REED Center, P.O. Box 112, Martin, TN 38237. Registration may also be completed by faxing to (731) 587-7334 or by contacting Landy Fuqua at (731) 587-7333.
Friday is the deadline.