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Press release from Western Carolina University, shared April 8:

CULLOWHEE – Western Carolina University’s College of Business will host a panel of business, education and economic development officials from Western North Carolina for a discussion of the region’s business and economic opportunities Wednesday, April 17.

Moderated by Business North Carolina magazine, the roundtable discussion will begin at 2 p.m. in the conference center of Blue Ridge Hall on the WCU campus.

“Long heralded as a perfect vacation destination any time of the year, North Carolina’s western region is home to some of the state’s most unique businesses and economic opportunities,” said Ben Kinney, publisher of Business North Carolina. “Quality of life plays a role, but there are other reasons that draw companies. What makes the region attractive to businesses? How can it continue to leverage those attributes for future growth? What are the issues that need to be addressed?”

Those are among the topics to be discussed at the April 17 roundtable. Edited excerpts of the conversation will be published in the June 2013 issue of Business North Carolina.

Panelists will include:

  • David O. Belcher, chancellor of Western Carolina University.
  • Stan Cooper, co-manager of Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.’s Mills River brewery.
  • Scott Hamilton, president and CEO of AdvantageWest Economic Development Group.
  • W. James Johnson, a lawyer with Asheville-based The Van Winkle Law Firm.
  • Pam Lewis, director of entrepreneurship for Venture Asheville/Start Something.
  • Darrell F. Parker, dean of Western Carolina University’s College of Business.
  • Brooks Robinson, senior vice president and general manager of Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort.
  • David Wiggins, office managing partner for Dixon Hughes Goodman LLP’s Asheville office.

The discussion will be moderated by Peter Abderson, special projects editor of Business North Carolina magazine.

The event is open to public, but seating is limited. To RSVP by Friday, April 12, or for more information, contact the WCU College of Business at (828) 227-7412.

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Angie Newsome was the executive director and editor of Carolina Public Press. Contact her at (828) 774-5290 or e-mail her at

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