Eighth Annual Rural Development Conference focuses on prospering in challenging times

Prospering during challenging times is a skill most business leaders would probably like to learn.

Those who attend the Eighth Annual Rural Development Conference at Tennessee Tech University on Wednesday and Thursday, April 9 and 10, will have the opportunity to do just that because "Prospering in Challenging Times" is this year’s theme.
Presented by TTU’s College of Business Administration, the Tennessee Valley Authority and USDA Rural Development, the conference will host approximately 500 federal, state and city officials, community leaders, consultants, businesspeople, leadership program classes and alumni and others interested in rural economic development.

"The annual Rural Development Conference is valuable to every community leader because the leaders throughout the state are gathered in one place," said Jack McDaniel, who works with rural leadership programs across the state in his job with the University of Tennessee.

"If you want to make a difference in your community, it’s a golden opportunity to network with the experts in leadership, economic and community development and to take home valuable information to share with your communities," he continued.
The keynote luncheon speaker on Thursday will be Vaughn Grisham, director of the McLean Institute for Community Development at the University of Mississippi. A noted authority on community leadership development, Grisham is the author of a number of books on the subject, such as,"Tupelo: The Evolution of a Community."

Workshop leaders will include Dennis Donovan of the Wadley-Donovan Group, the consulting unit of Grubb & Ellis’ worldwide site selection business; Michael Neal, president and CEO of the 4,000-member Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce; and Rodney Swink, Main Street program director for the state of North Carolina.

Andrew Levine, president of Development Counsellors International, a New York-based firm specializing exclusively in economic development and tourism marketing, will show participants how to prepare their communities for economic success in a plenary session entitled "Straight Talk from Corporate America — Executives Reveal Best Places and Practices" at 8:45 a.m. in the Bryan Fine Arts Building on April 9.

Numerous other workshops for business, leadership and community development tracks — including one lead by TTU President Bob Bell — are offered throughout the duration of the conference.

The registration fee is $50 and includes a TVA reception on Wednesday evening at the Cookeville Golf Club and continental breakfast and luncheon on Thursday.

Space is limited, and reservations can be made by calling TTU at 931/372-6168.

For more information, visit TTU’s web site at www.tntech.edu and click on the Rural Development Conference logo or the calendar of events.