Registration Open & Keynote Presenters Announced for Vision NWNC 2022

Posted By: Emma Faulkner Chamber News,

A celebrated national author and labor economist joins forces with one of the State’s leading economic
development strategists to headline, Vision Northwest North Carolina 2022, a one-day summit focused on Creating Tomorrow's Workforce.

Ron Hetrick, author of The Demographic Drought, and Adrienne Cole, President/CEO of the Raleigh
Chamber of Commerce serve as keynote presenters for the summit, which annually convenes over 200
economic development professionals, business owners, and regional influencers throughout Northwest North Carolina.

The event takes place Thursday, May 19th, from 8am-5:30pm, at Appalachian State University’s Leon Levine Hall. SkyLine/SkyBest and Carolina West Wireless return as presenting sponsors of the summit.

“The economic disruptions we’ve weathered as a region can serve as the opportunities that will shape Northwest North Carolina for years to come,” said David Jackson, President/CEO of the Boone Area Chamber of Commerce. “It’s important that we unite as a region to better understand the vast changes in our demographic make-up, while using that data to best prepare to meet our future workforce needs. Active communities are positioned to make transformative changes that will impact decades of planning and growth. Our area of the State will achieve far more gains together, and this event is a convenient meeting of the minds that will ultimately enact this change.”

Hetrick serves as keynote presenter for Covid Economic Realities & Strategies Forward. He will discuss pandemic-related migration, national population trends, and the impacts on available workforce in the years to come. Following Hetrick’s remarks, a panel discussion featuring regional leaders will drive conversation specifically toward counties in Northwest North Carolina and other rural communities throughout the State. Panelists include Leah Bouchard, Director of Research & Data Management for the NC Rural Center, Dr. Harry Davis, Professor/Economist at the NC School of Banking, and Dr. Pat Mitchell, former Assistant Secretary for Rural Economic Development for the NC Department of Commerce.

Cole headlines the afternoon keynote session, Culture Over Wages, focused on the most important topics for today’s workforce, including desired benefits, diversity, equity, and inclusion strategies, along with other key factors. Following her presentation, Chuck Eyler, President of Peak Insurance Group, Kirsten Neubauer, Plant Manager of GE Aviation, and Karen Warlick, Human Resource Manager at Blue Ridge Energy highlight a panel discussion about best practices already at work within the region.

A series of breakout discussions will follow each keynote session. A full list of topics and presenters will be announced in late March.

Registration is open now for both in-person and virtual attendees. Tickets can be purchased for $115 per person and includes access to a full video library of keynote, panel, and breakout session discussions for all attendees. In-person guests receive valuable networking time with regional and State partners, breakfast, lunch, and a postevent reception.

Additional event support comes from Appalachian Commercial Real Estate, LifeStore Bank, Blue Ridge
Energy, Peak Group Insurance, Beech Mountain Resort, and Mast General Store.

The event is organized by a regional partnership that includes the Boone Area, Blowing Rock, and Ashe County Chambers of Commerce, Watauga County Economic Development Commission, Appalachian State University Career Development Center, High Country Council of Governments, and the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina.

If you have questions, or if you are interested in limited sponsor opportunities, please contact the Boone Area Chamber of Commerce at 828-264-2225 or email