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Global Appalachia: Challenges and Opportunities

March 2009

Engaging, Competing, and Succeeding in the Global Economy of the 21st Century

Development District Association of Appalachia Annual Conference

March 1–3, 2009
Arlington, Virginia

This year's conference will explore how Appalachia can compete and succeed in today's quickly changing and often confusing global economy. Creating a "Global Appalachia" presents dynamic opportunities and serious challenges that local development districts must be prepared to respond to. This crucial period of transition to the global economic environment will shape the future for Appalachian businesses and communities, and this conference will help attendees better understand how to help position the Region and its workforce for success.

Speakers will discuss factors critical to that success: expanding Appalachian export opportunities, developing an internationally competitive workforce, and ensuring the Region's access to global markets, all of which will help make existing businesses more competitive and encourage new enterprise and employment. Attendees will learn about the key role of the intermodal global supply chain in shaping economic growth and how the Network Appalachia initiative is capitalizing on the Appalachian Development Highway System to provide access to national and international markets. Other highlights will include the ARC Export Trade Advisory Council's role in promoting Appalachian businesses and products around the world.

The conference includes an address by ARC Federal Co-Chair Anne B. Pope, as well as three joint plenary sessions with the National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) on how current domestic policy and congressional leadership may affect regional development work. Monday afternoon's plenary session will examine funding opportunities related to the recently passed federal economic stimulus package, while Tuesday's two sessions address the Obama administration's economic policy agenda and the congressional outlook regarding regional development issues. The DDAA and NADO have also teamed this year to offer Monday's Federal Agency Networking Roundtables and Reception. This new event will allow one-on-one conversations with federal program representatives.

The Region's current and future strength depends on its leaders, and this year's conference celebrates the memory of one of its most dedicated: Don Myers, who served as executive director of the Ohio Mid-Eastern Governments Association and was a member of the DDAA board of directors until his death in April 2008. Mr. Myers will be honored at the Sunday evening banquet, where the DDAA will officially rename its Humanitarian Award in his honor.

The 2009 Donald R. Myers Humanitarian Award will be presented to country music artist and philanthropist Randy Owen, an Alabama native. The lead singer for the country band Alabama, which was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2005, Mr. Owen is also a solo recording artist whose wide-ranging philanthropic activities include establishing the annual radiothon Country Cares for St. Jude Kids, which has raised more than $345 million for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

On Monday the DDAA, as in years past, will present the John D. Whisman Vision Award and the Congressional Award to recognize individuals who have made noteworthy efforts to benefit the people of Appalachia. Monday's events will conclude with special entertainment by accomplished magician—and Don Myers' son—Eric Myers, who has entertained thousands with his family-friendly blend of comedy and magic.

Conference program (PDF: 290 KB)