Join Business Experts and Thought Leaders at 2017 GeorgiaForward Forum to Define Georgia’s Prosperity

Staff Report From Georgia CEO

Tuesday, September 5th, 2017

The 2017 GeorgiaForward Forum is bringing together a diverse group of experts and thought leaders from business, government, education, urban planning and other sectors to stimulate thinking around the theme of Defining Georgia’s Prosperity. Farmers, tech entrepreneurs, teachers, community leaders, business executives and engaged citizens are invited to bring their ideas and participate in a robust discussion focused on how Georgia can realize its full potential across all corners of the state. The 2017 GeorgiaForward Forum will take place at the Georgia World Congress Center in downtown Atlanta on September 28 & 29.
Featured speakers at this year’s Forum include Wendy Stewart, Atlanta Market President and Co-Head Southeast Region, Bank of America; Otis White, President, Civic Strategies; A.J. Robinson, President of Central Atlanta Progress and the Atlanta Downtown Improvement District; Dr. R. Kirby Godsey, Chancellor, Mercer University and 2017 Georgia Author of the Year and John Fortier, Director of The Democracy Project at the Bipartisan Policy Center.
Break-out sessions and panels will explore the topics below. Following remarks by panelists, there will be a Q&A with the audience.
Technology in Agriculture. Agriculture is Georgia’s number one industry. How is technology impacting the future of agriculture in Georgia?

Moderator: John Clark, Georgia News Network and Timber Farmer

Panelists: Gary Black, Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture; Taylor Sills, Young Farmer Coordinator at Georgia Farm Bureau; Megan Frame, Marketing and Communications Coordinator at Georgia Forestry Association; Jenni Harris, Marketing Manager for White Oak Pastures

Young Leaders in Rural Georgia. Many of our rural communities are facing population decline. How can we retain, attract and cultivate the next generation of leaders to ensure that Georgia’s smaller towns have a vibrant future?

Moderator: Ben Young, Editor and Publisher of GeorgiaTrend

Panelists: Morgan Law, Vice President of Strategic Initiatives at Georgia Chamber; Dr. David Bridges, President of ABAC; Matt Bishop, Executive Director of the Fanning Institute at UGA; Anna Strickland, Archway Professional, UGA Archway Partnership
Georgia’s Future Workforce. A skilled, trained workforce is essential to the sustainability of Georgia’s businesses. How can we better develop connections between our early education programs and nationally ranked colleges and universities?

Moderator: Amir Farokhi, Founding Director of GeorgiaForward & Director of Strategy at BrightHouse

Panelists: Casey Bethel, 2017 Georgia Teacher of the Year; Odie Donald, Director of Department of Employee Services, Washington DC; Dr. Barbara Wall, State Director, Career, Technical and Agricultural Education at the Department of Education; Dr. John Green, Director, Carrollton-Carroll County Education Collaborative
Sustainability of Georgia’s Infrastructure. From our water supply, to transportation options and communications, infrastructure is vital to our economy, security, health and safety. How can we better plan for future needs and sustainability of Georgia’s infrastructure?

Moderator: Howard Franklin, Principal at Ohio River South

Panelists: Shrujal Amin, TIA Program Manager at GDOT; Burke Walker, Planning & Government Services, Northeast GA Regional Commission; Mike Robinson, Transmission Planning and Operations GM, Georgia Power

Civic Leaders: Positive Impact in Young Gamechangers Communities presented by Georgia Municipal Association and Georgia Cities Foundation

Moderator: Craig Lesser, Pendleton Group

Panelists: Dublin Mayor Phil Best, Augusta Mayor Hardie Davis, Troup County Commission Chairman Patrick Crews, Douglasville Mayor Pro Tem Larry Yockey
Young Gamechangers: Georgia’s Next Generation of Leaders. This leadership action program is made up of young professionals between the ages of 24-40 who work on projects in communities across the state to provide big ideas and solutions to the host community’s most persistent challenges.  Graduates of the program will discuss past projects and the future of the program.

Moderator: Carrie Barnes, Community Development Consultant at Georgia EMC

Panelists: Ben Andrews, Communications Consultant: Rebecca McWilliam, Executive Director of Visit Dublin GA; Kenita Williams, Director of Racial Equity Leadership Network at the Southern Education Foundation; Scott Poag, Director of Business Development at Williams & Associates; Shemeeka Johnson, Senior Communications Specialist at the Georgia Department of Economic Development, Workforce Division
There will also be collaborative group sessions around these subjects: What is our Common Prosperity? Big Ideas for Georgia and Looking to the Future.
Registration for the 2017 FORUM is $160. For the complete schedule of events and to register click here: