The conference began with welcomes from Dr. Mark Weinberg, the Founding Dean of Ohio University’s Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Service, and Scott Frank, the City Manager of Nelsonville.
In the first session, Enhancing the Region’s Workforce Ecosystem, panelists Representative Jay Edwards, Rachel Johanson, Dr. John McCarthy, and Kara Willis, and moderator Thomas Hodson discussed how the region’s workforce is evolving and the systems that must be strengthened in order to ensure an excelling workforce in Southeast Ohio.
This panel was followed by an informative analysis of The Office of the Auditor of State given by Auditor Keith Faber, and a discussion from Secretary of State Frank LaRose about the safety and security of Ohio’s elections.
In the next panel, Leveraging Ohio’s Natural Assets as a Strategy for Economic Development, panelists John Carey, Glen Cobb, Jessie Powers, and Representative Jason Stephens, and moderator Sam Miller, discussed how Southeast Ohio can harness its natural assets to increase outdoor recreation while supporting long-term economic growth and preserving natural resources.
Following lunch, Dr. Hugh Sherman, the President of Ohio University, gave remarks on the future of the University.
In the last panel, Boosting Small Businesses in Southeast Ohio, panelists Dr. Glenda Bumgarner, Steve Evans, Larry Kidd, and Kristi Tanner, and moderator Amista Lipot, explored how Southeast Ohio can invest in small businesses and entrepreneurship to enhance business development.