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Keynote Speakers

New River Community and Technical College
Ghent, WV
Thursday, February 20, 2014
8:50AM-5:15PM

Dr. L. Marshall Washington
President, New River Community College and Technical College

L. Marshall Washington, Ph.D., became the third president of New River Community and Technical College on March 25, 2013. He attributes his love of learning and education to the people who have believed in him and invested in him as he has made the journey from first generation college graduate to president of a multi-campus institution.

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Katie Ickes
Katie Ickes is working with Greenbrier Valley Economic Development in partnership with New River Community and Technical College as Entrepreneur Program Coordinator implementing entrepreneur programing in the middle schools and high school.

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Tammy Jordan
Tammy Jordan was formally educated in science, worked for over a decade in agricultural research with USDA, while growing Fruits of Labor simultaneously for over a decade.

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Riff Raff Arts
Option 22 is a Worldbeat ensemble with a revolutionary vibe. Dubbed by one listener a "new age jam band,” their broad style spans from newgrass to space-folk to roots-rock world funk and points in between.

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Leslie Baker
Leslie Gray Baker accepted the position of Director of Operations for the Beckley Exhibition Coal Mine Complex and Campground, the Youth Museum of Southern West Virginia and Mountain Homestead, and Wildwood House Museum in 2012.

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Merideth Young

INSPIRATION can be found anywhere….

While walking through the grocery store I had an ah-ha moment in the beverage isle. The colors and patterns on beverage cans were vibrant and exciting and I thought to myself, "I wonder what I can make out of that!”

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Lori Midkiff
Artisan and West Virginia resident Lori Midkiff discovered the beauty, versatility, and durability of hemp as an art medium in 1995. Since this discovery, Lori has used hemp accompanied by wood, stone, bone, and natural materials to create macramé jewelry, woven and crocheted handbags and small accessories.

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Tim Mittan
Associate Lead Center Director, Los Angeles Area Network, Long Beach City College, Long Beach, CA

Tim is the Lead Center Associate Director for the Los Angeles Regional Small Business Development Center Network. He oversees operations for the Lead Center hosted by Long Beach City College and the non service centers in the LA regional SBDC network.

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Brad Veneri

Hello my name is Brad Veneri. I have been welding for 20 years and throughout that time I have found ways to turn an industrial job into an artistic outlet.

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Jordie Veneri

Hi my name is Elizabeth "Jordie” Veneri. I was born and raised in Southern WV and still live there today. My husband Brad and I started a small welding business out of our home in 2010 and have been at it ever since.

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Stephen Weir, CEcd
Executive Director of the Greenbrier Valley Economic Development Corporation

With over twenty-five year of experience, Stephen Weir has managed economic development organizations from the city to the state level. He has been responsible for the renovation or creation of many economic development programs in Ohio, West Virginia and Japan.

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David Hughes

David Hughes grew up in Asheville, NC and currently resides in Washington, DC where he has been a small business development analyst for the Appalachian Regional Commission since 1997.

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Darrell Akins
Founder and CEO, Akins Public Strategies

Since founding his company in 1989, Darrell has become one of the leading public strategists in the Tennessee Valley region. His career in community, business and political leadership has well prepared him to advise many of our nation’s and region’s leading companies and organizations.

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Kid In The Background
Multi-Media Services Firm

@KITBmedia is a team of 3 artists with a combined 40+ years in media and entertainment that operates by one philosophy. "We don't want to make money unless YOU make money.”

The company, formed in late 2012 by founding partners Jamie Smith and Jason Lockart, began with the aim to use their graphic design / web design skills to assist businesses in the Beckley area with marketing and promotion.

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Dr. Kieth Young

Dr. C. Keith Young is Dean of Off-campus Programs and Services at Northeast State Community College and Interim Director for Northeast State at Bristol. Prior to this appointment, he served as Director of Northeast State at Elizabethton where he engaged with the local community in various leadership roles, serving as President of the Elizabethton/Carter County Chamber of Commerce for two terms.

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Todd Christensen

Todd was the Deputy Director for the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) and oversaw all federal and state-funded community development programs. In 2010, he was appointed as the first Executive Director of the Southwest Virginia Cultural Heritage Foundation.

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Jackie Whitley
Workforce Director, Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College

Jackie Whitley is the Workforce Director for Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College in Logan, West Virginia, where she coordinates continuing education programming and business services. Jackie previously worked as a city planner in Rock Hill, South Carolina working in areas of historic preservation, zoning, economic development, land use, and neighborhood planning.

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Ron Magruder

Ron Magruder spent his entire career in the hospitality business. His first job was as a dishwasher in a Big Boy restaurant while in high school. After a number of jobs managing different types of restaurants he joined the Darden group as an Assistant Manager for Red Lobster. He worked his way up to the position of Vice President of Operations for that brand and the was sent to Japan to develop the brand there.

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Cynthia Tauscher

Cindy has been with Northeast State Community College for over twenty years. Her previous career experience was in manufacturing.

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Nikki Bowman

Nikki Bowman grew up in Clay and Kanawha counties. She showed signs of being an entrepreneur at an early age. Instead of a lemonade stand, when she was five years old, she set up a table outside of a local grocery store and sold tadpoles for $0.25.

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