UACES Facebook June 4 CED conference promotes breakthrough thinking
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June 4 CED conference promotes breakthrough thinking


By Ryan McGeeney
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture

 Fast facts:

  • Breakthrough Solutions Conference set for June 4 at Wyndham Riverfront Hotel
  • Pre-conference workshop set for June 3, to focus on community branding

(466 words)

LITTLE ROCK – Fresh thinking and bold action is key to community and economic development in an environment of rapid change, and will be highlighted at the 2015  Breakthrough Solutions Conference on June 4. The purpose of the conference is to provide community and regional leaders with insights, tools, and solutions that they can use to create communities that are vibrant, sustainable, and resilient.

The conference carries the theme “Building Your Community’s Future Through Fresh Thinking and Bold Action,” and will address how communities and regions can survive in a rapidly-changing environment. The 2015 Breakthrough Solutions Conference will take place at the Wyndham Riverfront Hotel in North Little Rock.

Mark Peterson, professor of community and economic development with the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, said the conference will offer participants the opportunity to learn new insights and tools for community and economic development.

“We live in a time of rapid change, in which the pace of change outside our communities is often faster than the rate of change inside our communities,” Peterson said. “Our Breakthrough Solutions partners designed this conference to help communities and regions identify the new strategic directions and opportunities for them to move forward.”

This year’s keynote is Dell Gines, Senior Community Development Advisor, Omaha Branch of the Federal Reserve Branch of Kansas City.  Gines is known for his innovative work in fostering entrepreneurship as a viable economic development strategy in communities across the nation.

 The conference will also include these topics:

  • Re-Purposing Buildings for Community and Economic Development
  • Growing Entrepreneurs in Your Community
  • Building a Local Foods System for Your Community
  • Moving Your Community Forward with Technology
  • “A Crisis is a Terrible Thing to Waste”
  • Engaging the Millennials in Your Community
  • Developing a 21st Century Workforce for 21st Century Employers
  • Funding and Financing Community and Economic Development

Based on strong recommendations from the last Breakthrough Solutions conference, seven exciting community projects will also be presented in an innovative, five-minute format. Mr. Tim Griffin, Lieutenant Governor of the State of Arkansas will provide the closing presentation at the conference.

There will also be pre-conference workshop, “Fresh Thinking and Bold Action Through Branding Your Community,” June 3 at the Wyndham Riverfront Hotel. The workshop will highlight tremendous success stories, and focus on establishing a compelling brand for your community that will attract potential visitors, residents, and businesses.

“Whether planning a visit or a move, community leaders, businesses, and citizens almost always start with a web search,” Peterson said. “Consequently, there is a great deal of interest in community branding – creating an economic development brand that will really draw people to the community.  The workshop will provide an opportunity on how to do this, focusing on two Arkansas communities.”

For more information about the “Building Your Community’s Future Through Fresh Thinking and Bold Action” conference, contact Mark Peterson, 501-671-2253 or

For more information about the Breakthrough Solutions program, contact your county extension office, or visit

The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate or need materials in another format, please contact your County Extension office (or other appropriate office) as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay.

The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.

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Media Contact: Mary Hightower
Dir. of Communication Services
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
(501) 671-2126

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