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TTU News

The Ninth Annual Rural Development Conference at Tennessee Tech University, set for Wednesday and Thursday, March 31 and April 1, could be described as a makeover on the community level.

That’s because this year’s theme is “Revealing Your Community’s Assets and Opportunities.”

Presented by TTU’s College of Business Administration, the Tennessee Valley Authority and USDA Rural Development, the conference is one of the largest hosted in Putnam County each year. Approximately 500 federal, state, county and city officials, community leaders, consultants, businesspeople, leadership program classes and alumni and others interested in rural economic development will attend the event.

“One reason the conference is so popular is because there are no others like it anywhere in Tennessee,” said TTU President Bob Bell. “It’s the only program that applies to situations common specifically to rural areas, and it provides the leaders of those communities with a network of sources for ideas, advice and assistance.”

The keynote luncheon speaker on Thursday will be Bill Evans, president of the Institute for Professional Training. Located in Manchester, Wash., it’s one of the nation’s leading financial education companies.

Another featured speaker is C. Jones Hook, president of the Hampton Roads, Va., Economic Development Alliance. He will present a discussion at a plenary session on Thursday morning titled, “To Be a Purple Cow: Successful Economic Development Initiatives in Rural Areas During Times of Economic Uncertainty.”

Under his leadership, HREDA has ranked since 1999 in the top 10 percent of economic development groups in the nation by Blane, Canada Ltd., a nationally recognized economic development marketing consulting firm.

Numerous other workshops for community, industrial, business and leadership development will be offered throughout the duration of the conference. Topics will include “Organizing Successful Festivals and Events,” “Selling Skills for Economic Developers,” “Opportunities for Agri-Tourism,” “Community Leadership Development: A Strategy for Sustainable Rural Development” and more.

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 and a complete workshop schedule, visit TTU’s web site at and click on the Rural Development Conference logo.