Register Today for CCOG's Dec. 3 "Creative Solutions for Thriving Communities Conference"

Early bird registration has begun for the 2015 Centralina Creative Solutions for Thriving Communities Conference on Dec. 3 at the Gastonia Conference Center, 145 S. Marietta Street in Gastonia.

The theme for this year's conference is "Resilient Communities" covering a wide range of topics that help communities grow their economies, enhance transportation access and be senior-friendly.

  • The conference will feature practical tools and resources, and training and creative strategies highlighting best practices on a regional, state, and national level.
  • Sessions will deliver solutions that local governments can implement to address their local challenges.
  • The keynote speakers will talk about real problems and real solutions for communities in the Centralina region.

"We are proud to feature two keynote speakers with national reputations who can address the challenges faced by North Carolina and the Centralina region, and offer strategies to help communities accelerate success," said Jim Prosser, Centralina Council of Governments Executive Director. The keynote speakers are James H. Johnson Jr., and John Robert Smith.

"Disruptive Demographics: Implications for the Health and Economic Viability of the Centralina Region"

The morning keynote, James H. Johnson Jr., is the William R. Kenan Jr. Distinguished Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship and Director of the Urban Investment Strategies Center at the University of North Carolina. Johnson's research and teaching focus on the changing demographics of the U.S. population and the effects on competing in emerging markets.

Johnson will speak on ""Disruptive Demographics: Implications for the Health and Economic Viability of the Centralina Region" and will conduct three panel sessions on the topic. He received his PhD from Michigan State University, his Master of Science from the University of Wisconsin at Madison and his Bachelor of Science from North Carolina Central University.

"The Innovative MPO"

The luncheon keynote is John Robert Smith, a senior policy advisor to Smart Growth America and the Chairman of Transportation for America, where he advises on strategy, capacity building and national outreach. He became chairman in 2012 after leading Reconnecting America as President and CEO. Prior to his role there, he served as Mayor of Meridian, Miss., where he received acclaim for his aggressive facilitation of public-private partnerships resulting in more than $430 million of infrastructure projects that bolstered the economy and quality of life for the people of Meridian.

Smith will speak on "The Innovative MPO" and underscore how transportation is linked to other local government services. Smith is a two-time graduate of the University of Mississippi and a graduate of the Senior Executive in State & Local Government program at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. 

Conference early-bird registration is still available. Continuing education credits are available for managers and planners. To register for the conference please click here. If you have questions, please contact Centralina Council of Governments at (704) 372-2416.

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