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January 03, 2013 | Tom Ballard

PlanET to host all afternoon regional competitiveness session next week

(EDITOR’S NOTE: The following release was provided by PlanET.)

Knoxville, Tenn. – A diverse slate of leaders will participate in a symposium on advancing East Tennessee’s regional competitiveness on Wed., Jan. 9, 2013, hosted by Plan East Tennessee, or PlanET, in partnership with Knoxville-Oak Ridge Innovation Valley.

Moderated by Ted Abernathy, executive director of the Southern Growth Policies Board, the symposium will feature panels on preparing East Tennessee’s workforce and positioning the region for prosperity by capitalizing on quality-of-life assets essential to keeping and attracting talent, recruiting industry and retaining businesses in a global marketplace.

Among just some of the featured panelists will be Kevin Anton, corporate chief sustainability officer of Alcoa; Carol Evans, executive director of Legacy Parks Foundation and Outdoor Knoxville; David Mansouri, director of advocacy and communications for the State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE); Dr. Thom Mason, laboratory director of Oak Ridge National Laboratory; Cindy McConkey, senior vice president of Scripps Networks Interactive; Matt Murray, director of the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy; and Ted Wampler, Jr., president of Wampler’s Farm Sausage.

Targeting business, non-profit and community leaders, the symposium will include candid, interactive discussions about where the region’s competitiveness stands now, what its assets are, and how East Tennessee can position itself to be competitive regionally, nationally and internationally, now and in the future.

Doors will open at 12:30 p.m. for the symposium at the East Tennessee History Center, 601 S. Gay Street, in downtown Knoxville, on Wed., Jan. 9, 2013, with the event taking place from 1:00-4:30 p.m. A networking reception will follow.

Seating is limited. Online registration is required and available at The public is encouraged to follow PlanET as well as the upcoming symposium online at, on Facebook, and on Twitter via @PlanEastTN and hashtag #ETCompetes.

Plan East Tennessee (PlanET) is a regional partnership of communities building a shared direction for the future of Anderson, Blount, Knox, Loudon and Union counties.