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Ivey to headline Alabama Summit on Rural Technology

The University of West Alabama has joined with AT&T to announce the second annual Alabama Summit on Rural Technology, set for April 12 on the UWA campus in Livingston, with Governor Kay Ivey delivering the keynote address. The event features a broad slate of experts who bring unique perspectives to address rural Alabama’s need for an enhanced technology infrastructure.

Gov. Kay Ivey

“The Alabama Summit on Rural Technology gained considerable footing in 2018, with more than 200 attendees from throughout Alabama and from other states in the southeast,” explained Dr. Tina N. Jones, vice president for economic and workforce development at UWA. “We’ve dubbed this year’s event Tech Summit 2.0 because we have such great momentum from the first one to build on and continue moving forward to improve Alabama’s technology infrastructure in a way that benefits even the most rural areas of our state.”

Ivey will deliver a keynote address at the Summit, sharing vision for how broadband improvements are essential to progress in Alabama. Having shown support for improving the state’s infrastructure throughout her administration, Ivey has said that broadband is vital to the state’s economic development, healthcare, education, and all areas of modern life.

Event coordinators expect the program and expertise that will gather to be another tremendous step forward in economic development, education, and overall quality of life for rural Alabamians. Last year’s event brought together community and business leaders, elected officials, educators, developers, technology providers, and more for discussions that sparked ideas and project planning.

Alabama Public Television executive director Roy Clem will return to serve as moderator for the day’s sessions.

Also returning for the Summit is Purdue University Community and Regional Economics Specialist Dr. Roberto Gallardo, who set the pace for the 2018 and will provide customized planning assistance for participants at Tech Summit 2.0.

Gallardo, who serves in Purdue University’s Center for Regional Development, formerly served as director of the Intelligent Community Institute at Mississippi State University Extension. His work now is in strengthening the use and application of broadband and other information technologies in rural America. Gallardo will discuss rural economic development in the digital age.

A slate of experts and officials will participate in discussions and presentations on the future of technology in Alabama’s rural counties, including public policy, planning, financial issues and applications.

Additional speakers include: Mr. Scott Woods and Dr. Don Williams, both from the National Telecommunications & Information Agency and Broadband USA of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

In addition, three leading state senators will brief participants during the lunch session on pending and current legislation related to rural broadband and technology applications.  The panel will include: Senator Clay Scofield, Senator Bobby Singleton, and Senator Steve Livingston

Participants should register prior to April 1 on Eventbrite at ALRuralTech2019.eventbrite.com. Event registration is $25 and includes lunch and refreshments throughout the day.

For more information, contact UWA’s Division of Economic and Workforce Development at 205-652-3828 or1.833.UWA.WORK.

(This article originally appeared in the Wednesday, March 27 issue of the Demopolis Times.)