N.C. A&T to Host Two-Day Community & Economic Engagement Summit

By Jackie Torok / 10/20/2022 Academic Affairs

EAST GREENSBORO, N.C. (Oct. 20, 2022) – The Office of Community Engagement at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University will host a Community & Economic Engagement Summit on Tuesday, Oct. 25, and Wednesday, Oct. 26, co-sponsored by CVS Health.

The summit, “Surviving and Thriving in a Post-Pandemic Economy,” will take place on campus at the Alumni-Foundation Event Center, 200 N. Benbow Road, Greensboro.

The event is designed to advance regional community engagement and economic activities during N.C. A&T’s 96th Homecoming.

“Our goal is to inform, train and educate the public on topics of community and economic engagement,” said Lonnie Cockerham, Ph.D., A&T’s executive director of community engagement. “We want to facilitate conversations between our university and community partners. This summit offers networking and opportunities to learn how to build wealth, support underserved populations, influence policy and make a positive impact on our community.”

CVS Health has been involved in planning the summit since spring.

“CVS Health recognizes the value of doing business with diverse and small businesses in our supply chain,” said Monette Knapik, executive director of supplier diversity at CVS Health. “Partnerships with historically Black colleges and universities, such as North Carolina A&T State University, will ​elevate community engagement, diverse supplier development, and networking opportunities in support of underserved communities.”

Tuesday’s sessions will begin with a walking tour from 1 to 3 p.m., followed by opening plenary by Cockerham at 4 p.m.

Joel Wiggins ‘95, president and CEO of The Joel Wiggins Co. and director of the university’s Center of Excellence in Entrepreneurship and Innovation, will give a presentation on “Overcoming Business Obstacles” at 4:15 p.m. before moderating a panel on networking essentials at 4:45 p.m. Dan Ford, president of the Atlanta HBCU Alumni Alliance, Gerry McCants, president of McCants Communications, and Robin Adams Cheeley, owner and CEO of WriteRight, are the panelists.

The day will conclude with a business expo and reception from 5:45 to 6:30 p.m.

Wednesday’s sessions will consist of three tracks: competitive edge, strategic alignment and community impact. After breakfast at 8:30 a.m., and an opening session with Chancellor Harold L. Martin Sr. at 9 a.m., sessions will take place according to this schedule of tracks, topics and presenters:

10:30 to 11:20 a.m.

Competitive edge

  • “How to Start and Fund a Business,” Kevin Price, president and CEO at the National Institute of Minority Economic Development
  • “Tech Startups: From Academia to Impact (including SBIR/STTR funding),” David Kaiser, deputy director for the North Carolina Board of Science, Technology and Innovation, and Art Gooray (remote), retired director of commercialization partnerships in the Technology Commercialization Office at The Ohio State University

Strategic alignment

  • “Innovation: Staying on the Leading Edge in Your Industry,” Hope Rush of Do You Believe Enterprises Inc. and Geoff Foster ‘90, president and CEO of Core Technology Molding Corp.

Community impact

  • “History of Redlining & Future Economic Outlook for East Greensboro,” Kim Cameron, N.C. A&T Real Estate Foundation Inc. executive director, and Sue Schwartz, City of Greensboro Planning Director

11:30 a.m. to 12:20 p.m.

Competitive edge

  • “Thriving in a Competitive Landscape,” Antwan Adams, owner of 42-Fry Restaurant; LaWanda Simpkins, Creative Justice Inc. founder; and Gregory Watson, vice president of operations for the Carolinas Virginia Minority Supplier Development Council
  • “Preparing & Presenting a Successful Sales Presentation,” Thom Randle, founder and CEO of The Rising Tide Group

Strategic alignment

  • “Becoming Cyber-Vigilant to Avoid Attacks,” Terrence Gilmore, solutions architect for Palo Alto Networks; Sheldon Winston, founder and CEO of Phoenix Systems; Kevin Robinson, founder and CEO of Rtriad Enterprises LLC; and Laura Rodgers, director of cybersecurity practice at NC State Secure Computing Institute

Community impact

  • “Plans for Eugene-Elm Innovation District,” Majik Pennix, founder/president at Focused Sista’s Outreach

12:30 to 1:45 p.m.

Lunch session with Michael Roberts, J.D., executive vice president of The Roberts Companies

2 to 3:15 p.m.

Panel discussion with Roberts, Rodgers, Madhuri Siddula, Ph.D., assistant computer science professor in A&T's College of Engineering, and Hossein Sarrafzadeh, Ph.D., director of A&T’s Center of Excellence in Cybersecurity Research, Education and Outreach

3:30 to 4:20 p.m.

Competitive edge

  • “Keeping Your Financial House in Order,” Ulysses Cozart, FosCo Resources Co. owner; Ron Davidson, Davidson Financial Group president; Nicholas Miles, partner wealth manager for Rutledge Financial Partners LLC; and Tommie Crump ‘98, regional vice president at Primerica

Strategic alignment

  • “Setting Realistic Goals to Scale Your Company,” Tonya Foster, vice president of Core Molding Technology Corp.

Community impact

  • “How You Can Make an Impact in Community & Economic Engagement,” Sofia Crisp, founder and executive director of Housing Consultants Group; Josephus Thompson of The Poetry Café; Athan Lindsay, vice president of grants and initiatives for The Community Foundation of Greensboro; and Marvin Price, vice president of economic development for the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce
  • “Minority Land Ownership Business Opportunities,” Tunya Smith, North Carolina Department of Transportation Office of Civil Rights director

4:30 to 5:15 p.m.

Closing session with Tony Goins, director of economic development for the Nebraska Department of Economic Development

5:30 p.m.

Reception featuring the N.C. A&T Jazz Ensemble

To register for the summit, go to https://ncat.az1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_0OLF4S6T12kB8yO.

For more information, contact Cockerham at llcocker@ncat.edu or 336-749-5729. 

Media Contact Information: jtorok@ncat.edu

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