Thursday, February 25, 2010

Dallas Consultant Calls

Just returned from Dallas for a visit with seven sonsulting groups. I have a sense that there is slow improvement and things are getting better, just not as quickly as we would like. Most of the consultants we met with advised that deal flow is picking up but clients are very reluctant to spend money and are progressing cautiously. It reinforces my feelings that this is going to be a long and treacherous recovery and we will all be tired and bruised before things reach the levels of employment that we desire. I am attaching a press release from the Piedmont Triad Partnership below that fills in the details.


February 25, 2010

Contact: Don Kirkman

President & CEO

Piedmont Triad Partnership


Piedmont Triad Representatives Marketing the Region to
Dallas Area Site Location Consultants

(PIEDMONT TRIAD, N.C.) Feb. 25: Representatives from the Piedmont Triad traveled to Dallas, TX this week to call on site location consultants. Piedmont Triad regional representatives include Penny Whiteheart, Executive Vice President, Piedmont Triad Partnership; Alan Wood, Director, Stokes County Economic Development and Steve Googe; Executive Director, Davidson County Economic Development

While in Dallas, the regional representatives will meet with site selection consultants and national real estate development firms based in the area. The trip is a continuation of the Piedmont Triad Partnership’s ongoing direct-contact program targeting third-party advisors to businesses on matters regarding facility expansion and relocation.

“We receive approximately 30% of our new projects from national consultants and real estate brokers. Projects led by consultants tend to be larger in terms of employment and investment,” says Don Kirkman, President and CEO, Piedmont Triad Partnership. “Many of the advisory groups with offices in the Dallas area serve clients with operational interests that include the southeastern United States. Therefore, we want to make sure that those advisors are regularly updated on the advantages and assets available to companies operating in the Piedmont Triad,” adds Kirkman.

Piedmont Triad regional representatives met with seven firms while in Dallas

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Local Food Gains Support

The Piedmont Local Food effort gained more support from Rockingham County. This is truly a regional effort and has the prospect of becoming a major asset for our local farmers. Stay tuned for more details.
Farmers market will debut online from Rockingham
Tuesday, February 23, 2010 (Updated 8:07 am)
By Morgan Josey Glover
Staff Writer
What do you think? 5 comment(s) Read other visitors' comments and post your own. WENTWORTH — A modest contribution from Rockingham County taxpayers could help a nonprofit local food coalition start its new virtual farmers market while the organization awaits more grant funding.

The Board of Commissioners voted Monday to allocate $10,000 from its remaining contingency funds to help pay for the start-up costs of the Piedmont Local Food distribution project.

The money will help the Rockingham County Local Food Coalition that started the initiative pay for a part-time project manager, technology setups, marketing and initial food distributions.

“I don’t see this $10,000 as any more than an incentive that we would give to other industries for coming to this county,” said Commissioner Thomas Flynt, who voted to help the group.

Monday’s allocation is in addition to the $10,000 in seed money the commissioners transferred from the Rockingham County Business & Technology Center’s community kitchen budget in December. The center has worked with the county’s cooperative extension office over the past year to form the Local Food Coalition and create the farmers market.

“We really don’t have any plans to ask you for any more money at this point in time,” Brenda Sutton, director of the county office of the N.C. Cooperative Extension, told the commissioners. “We have folks ready to buy and folks ready to sell.”

Sutton said the coalition expects the market to generate $60,000 in revenue this year and become self-sustaining by the third year.

The project has received $40,000 in funding from the Golden Leaf Foundation and officials have applied for an additional $228,000 in grants.

About 50 farmers in Rockingham, Stokes, Caswell and Guilford counties joined the coalition, and the organization plans to open its virtual farmers market for business by March 20. A Web site will enable restaurants and other businesses in the Piedmont Triad to order fruit, vegetables and other products from participating farmers. The farmers will then deliver the food to businesses or central locations for pickup.

The coalition plans to sell to Marriott hotels in Winston-Salem and Greensboro, Sutton said.

“They’re ready to go as soon as we have the pieces in place within the next two weeks,” Sutton told commissioners.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Celebration of the Divine Appearance of the Golden Avatar

Dear Friends,

Hope you've all survived this winter's snow and cold! It was a rough one and we still have some patches of snow here and there - but - we our first spring flowers are blooming and that's really exciting! The male goldfinches are changing their color back to bright yellow and so I know now that spring really is around the corner.

Attached you will find a beautiful flyer announcing our next festival on Sun., Feb. 28 beginning at 3pm. This day promises to be very exciting with drama (I've been working with our wonderful actors and actresses - and we're first on the schedule - 3pm - so please don't miss us!), dance, a special abhiseka (bathing the Deity forms of Lord Caitanya and Lord Nityananda) with substances such as honey, ghee, milk, yogurt, scented water, etc., ecstatic kirtans, a special presentation by a devotee who has extensively traveled India and who has written many books - and - an absolutely fabulous feast!

This festival is a celebration of the divine appearance of the golden avatar - Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu - who is known for His chanting, dancing and feasting all over India 500 years ago. So, please keep us in mind for next Sun. and join us in our celebration!

Take care and we hope to see you Sun.! Hare Krsna.

With fondness,

p.s. If you've already received this, sorry, but I guess you can take it as a sign that we really would like you to come!

Changes At Piedmont Triad Partnership

Below is a press release from PTP /i am not 100% sure what this will mean to the rural areas, including Stokes County. Stay tuned for more details.
Contact: Jim Morgan Don Kirkman
Chairman President & CEO
(336) 883-6177 (work) (336) 369-2200
(336) 882-3134 (home)

Piedmont Triad Partnership Approves Restructuring

(PIEDMONT TRIAD, N.C.) February 22: The Piedmont Triad Partnership (PTP) Board of Directors voted today to merge the Piedmont Triad Partnership and the Piedmont Triad Leadership Group Executive Committee, a group created and staffed by the PTP. The roster of the new board of directors, as well as officers, will be determined in the coming weeks.

In addition to new officers, the new PTP Board of Directors will include (i) a representative from each of the 12 counties within the jurisdiction of the Piedmont Triad Partnership, (ii) the Chairman of the PTP’s Economic Developers Advisory Committee, (iii) a representative of each company or municipality investing $25,000 or more annually in the PTP, and (iv) at-large members elected by the Board of Directors. The President of the PTP also serves on the Board of Directors as a non-voting member.

“The restructuring was undertaken to unite the existing Piedmont Triad Partnership and the Piedmont Triad Leadership Group Executive Committee, in order to have the strongest regional economic development organization possible in the Piedmont Triad,” says Board Chairman Jim Morgan. “The Piedmont Triad faces huge economic challenges, but we also have huge opportunities. This restructuring will let us take advantages of these opportunities,” Morgan added.

PTP President Don Kirkman noted, “regions are the most important geographies in the global economy, and the restructuring positions the Piedmont Triad to be a national leader in regional economic development. With the new structure we are in the right place at the right time.”

# # #

The Piedmont Triad Partnership (PTP), one of seven regional economic development partnerships in North Carolina, is the economic development organization representing the 12-county Piedmont Triad region. The PTP is the lead organization for the U.S. Department of Labor-funded Workforce Innovation in Regional Economic Development (WIRED) initiative, which supports the development of an integrated regional economic development and workforce development strategy for the Piedmont Triad. The Piedmont Triad, the nation's 37th-largest metro region with more than 1.5 million residents, includes the counties of Alamance, Caswell, Davidson, Davie, Forsyth, Guilford, Montgomery, Randolph, Rockingham, Stokes, Surry, and Yadkin.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Web Building Update

We started on a program of web building for Stokes County businesses in September. With the help of a incumbent Workers grant from the NW Piedmont COG we set up 4 templates and started contacting local companies to offer free web sites. We felt that many of our businesses were not taking advantage of the many marketing opportunities available on the net.

At the current time, we have 14 sites up and running, 34 more in various stages of completion and more than a dozen on our waiting list. I thought, we started that building 50 sites would make the program a success and here we are with seven months left in the program an we are on our way to 100. The long term implications of this program are tremendous. These businesses, a mixture of manufacturing, service and retail companies are now able to compete in a global market that continues to expand. I am extremely proud of their willingness to try new tactics and expand beyond their comfort zone. This is not the end of the process. This is really where the efforts have to begin. Now that they are searchable from any place in the world, they need to tell their story and back it up with action.

Keep checking back to see how project progresses and if you know a business owner in Stokes County that doesn't have a web site, send them our way.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Scholarship Opportunity from Golden Leaf

For residents in Stokes County, this could be important. Please look over this information and if you know of someone that is a High School Senior or completing their course of work at a local community college, pass this on.

Golden LEAF Scholarship Applications due March 15
RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C., Feb. 15 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Golden LEAF Scholarship information and applications for 2010-11 are now available at These $3,000 annual scholarships are funded by a grant from the Golden LEAF Foundation, a long-term economic advancement foundation, and administered by the North Carolina State Education Assistance Authority (NCSEAA).

To be considered as a first-time recipient, an applicant must:

· Be enrolled in fall 2010 as a full-time, degree-seeking freshman or be a transfer from a North Carolina community college to one of the 16 campuses of the University of North Carolina who has not received prior funds from this program

· Be a North Carolina resident for tuition purposes living in one of 78 qualifying counties (see attached list of eligible counties)

· Have demonstrated financial need (value of a family farm is not considered).

Candidates who can demonstrate that their immediate families were adversely affected by the decline in the tobacco industry will be given priority consideration.

To be considered for scholarship renewal, an applicant must be currently enrolled and receiving a Golden Leaf Scholarship at one of the 16 public universities in North Carolina, not currently classified as a senior, planning to continue in 2010-11 as an undergraduate student. Renewal candidates must reside within the state of North Carolina, maintain a 2.0 cumulative Grade Point Average and demonstrate financial need (value of family farm is not considered when determining need.)

Golden LEAF Scholarship opportunities may also be available for community college students. Details are under the community college link at

The priority application deadline is March 15, 2010. Students who apply after this date will be considered if funds remain available. Four-year public university students currently receiving Golden LEAF awards will be notified by mail regarding the renewal application procedure.

For more information, contact College Foundation of North Carolina toll-free at 866-866-CFNC.

About College Foundation of North Carolina

College Foundation of North Carolina (CFNC), a free service of the State of North Carolina provided by Pathways, College Foundation, Inc. and the State Education Assistance Authority, helps students plan, apply and pay for college.

The State Education Assistance Authority is the State agency that promotes access to higher education by administering financial aid and savings programs, informing students and families about paying for college, teaching educators about financial aid administration, and advocating for resources to support students.

Pathways is a state-based initiative including North Carolina's Department of Public Instruction, the University of North Carolina System, the North Carolina Community Colleges, and the North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities working together to increase access to college for all North Carolinians.

College Foundation, Inc., a nonprofit corporation serving North Carolina students and families since 1955, administers a portfolio of more than $2 billion, including low-interest federal education loans, the state's college grant programs and the tax-free "529" college savings program on behalf of the State Education Assistance Authority.

Golden LEAF Scholarship

Participating Public Universities:

Appalachian State University

East Carolina University

Elizabeth City State University

Fayetteville State University

North Carolina A&T State University

North Carolina Central University

University of North Carolina School of the Arts

North Carolina State University

University of North Carolina at Asheville

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

University of North Carolina at Charlotte

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

University of North Carolina at Pembroke

University of North Carolina at Wilmington

Western Carolina University

Winston-Salem State University

Applicants must reside in one of the following counties to be eligible:

Alexander, Alleghany, Anson, Ashe, Avery, Beaufort, Bertie, Bladen, Burke, Caldwell, Camden, Carteret, Caswell, Cherokee, Chowan, Clay, Cleveland, Columbus, Craven, Currituck, Dare, Davie, Duplin, Edgecombe, Franklin, Gates, Graham, Granville, Greene, Halifax, Harnett, Haywood, Hertford, Hoke, Hyde, Jackson, Johnston, Jones, Lee, Lenoir, Lincoln, Macon, Madison, Martin, McDowell, Mitchell, Montgomery, Nash, Northampton, Onslow, Pamlico, Pasquotank, Perquimans, Person, Pitt, Polk, Randolph, Richmond, Robeson, Rockingham, Rutherford, Sampson, Scotland, Stanly, Stokes, Surry, Swain, Transylvania, Tyrrell, Vance, Warren, Washington, Watauga, Wayne, Wilkes, Wilson, Yadkin or Yancey

SOURCE College Foundation of North Carolina


***My email address has changed to

Please update your records.***

Martha Glass
Manager, Agritourism Office

Agritourism Is Successful Value-Added Agriculture!"

Office: 919-733-7887 x 276

Fax: 919-733-0999

Cell: 919-218-0216

Mailing Address: Location:
1020 Mail Service Center Agriculture Bldg.
Raleigh NC 27699-1020 2 W. Edenton St., Raleigh

Local Foods

This initiative is moving forward at a fast clip. The folks in Rockingham are serious about this effort and the farmers and Cooperative Extension group in Stokes County are responding very well. Tim Will and Foothills Connect received a Golden Leaf grant to support and extend his efforts to other areas and the state has set up a task force to study the situation.

I keep asking myself is it enough. Is this just a buzz word or a fad. I think on a local level the answer is no. The people that I have described above are dedicated and motivated. They understand that allowing our small farmers to fade away and become history is not an option. We need control of our marketplace, we need to know where are food is being produced that it is safe. We need our farmers to make a living wage. We need an opportunity, is they so choose for our young people to make a living on the land. This is not possible if our system remains as it is, with a few large companies holding the contracts for the govenment and private industry. Let's do all we can to reverse this trend and make farm life a real career option.

To than end, here are links to classes being held in the east and west of North Carolina. Don't continue to feel helpless, stand up and take charge of your life!

If you have been thinking about moving your processed foods beyond the tailgate and into stores and restaurants, then take advantage of our upcoming seminar, “Food Marketing in the Real World,” that gives helps you decide what it will take to make that next big step.

We offer two programs:

East – March 9, Morehead City; Access the agenda at:; Get the registration form at:

Registration deadline is March 1.

West – April 20, Asheville; Access the agenda at:; Get the registration form at:

Registration deadline is April 13.

Payment must be received to hold your registration. Contact me if you have any questions.


Annette Dunlap

Annette Dunlap, MBA

Agribusiness Developer

2 West Edenton Street

Raleigh, NC 27601

1020 Mail Service Center

Raleigh, NC 27699-1020

Phone: 919.733.7887 x257 - Note new extension

Fax: 919.733.0999

Agriculture: North Carolina's original green industry

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Show your passion and talk about what you know

Blogging isn't for the unprepared or those lacking imagination. The article below, found on LinkedIn does a very nice job of setting the ground rules for a successful blog. Talk about what you know, have passion for the subject and develop a plan. Sounds easy, doesn't it.

9 Deadly Secrets to Successful Blogging
by Sean Smith on February 9, 2010

What’s that you say?! There are secrets to successful blogging! Well, heck… I thought I had this whole thing figured out.
Not to worry my friend, some of these you may have already heard, yet others you may not have. Either way, it’s best to get yourself in the know now isn’t it?
New blogs are popping up everyday… Many of which are created by people with the intent on making it big on the internet but have now idea where or how to start to achieve their goals of online success. Sure you can
set up your blog and simply start sharing your passion in the hopes that someone will listen but if you truly want to make money you may not know how to go about do so.
Here are 9 blogging secrets you must know before you can achieve the ultimate goal of blogging success.

Have a Plan
If you intend to generate any type of income online, let alone a significant one, you must plan for success. Treat your blog like a business and run it as one. As with any business, you need to have a business plan in place to help you meet your goals and achieve the success you desire. What are your short-term, mid-term and long-term goals and how are you going to go about accomplishing them. Spend a significant amount of time on developing your plan in an effort to provide yourself with clarity as well as a complete road map to success.

Share Your Passion
It is one thing to simply write content and post it on your blog. However, it is a completely different thing all together to share something you are passionate about with others. Passion attracts others and can help to bring your personality out in your blog posts making it easier for others to connect with you. If you aren’t passionate about your topic of discussion, your blog posts will seem mundane and boring to those who read them. Being passionate will also ensure you provide more detail and higher quality content your readership will greatly appreciate, and when they appreciate you, they will send others your way!

Be Committed
To truly succeed at blogging, online or any business venture for that matter, you must be truly committed toward achieving the success you desire. This means your commitment must transcend to each and every task necessary to achieving your goals. Stick to a regular posting schedule and commit time daily to write your blog posts, interact on social media sites, comment on other blogs, write guest posts for other blogs and all the other things a problogger does to run their business and achieve their goals of successful blogging. A strong commitment is an absolute must if you hope to succeed online.

Know Your Audience
As you probably know, you need an audience who is truly interested in what you have to say and listens to you by reading your blog posts, listing to your audio or viewing your videos. However, simply having an audience is not enough to allow you to achieve success with blogging. You must know your audience completely. Learn their desires and wants, learn how they are communicating and what they are saying. Read every comment on your blog posts and interact with your audience daily. Ask for their input into certain topics and share your appreciation for their continued participation with them. Getting to know your blog audience will go a long way in helping you craft appropriate products for you to sell to them.

Communicate Effectively
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen bloggers and internet entrepreneurs go to the trouble of establishing their internet presence then alienate their audience through ineffective communication. Study copywriting to learn how to write compelling headlines for your blog posts and learn how to effectively communicate with your audience through the various outlets available to you, such as your blog, social media and email communications. Never talk at your audience, but rather talk to them and with them. Successful internet marketing isn’t a matter of whether or not you can push as many of your products onto your audience as you can, but rather it is how well you can effectively communicate with your audience, build relationships and establish customer loyalty.

Interact with Others in Your Industry
As with effective communication, it is important that you dedicate quality time to hanging out where your audience plays on the internet and interacting with them. You must visit other bloggers within your industry and comment on their content, providing value to their readership. The more you comment and share quality the more likely you’ll build up a following and establish solid relationships with not only other bloggers but with their audience as well… Communicate and interact with others on
Facebook and Twitter as well as other social networking sites. Always remember, interacting with others through social media is very much like a networking event or party. You wouldn’t go to either and start instantly selling your products. The most successful internet marketers are those who understand this and simply live their life, sharing value, quality and interacting with others. Those who are successful at this will be the most successful ones at the party

Have an Email List
If you aren’t actively building an email list on your blog and you have hopes of achieving internet fortune and fame, you mine as well quit right now! Any business needs a sales list. It is your life blood, your working capital if you will. Without an email list, your online business is practically crippled. Conduct a survey of the most successful bloggers in your industry and you will find that every single one of them has an email list. In the blogging community,
Aweber is the preferred email list building and communication system. If you don’t have an account, I suggest you set one up now!

Sell Your Own Products
Many bloggers do well by marketing other people’s products through affiliate programs, but the truly successful ones sell their own products. Why, cuz you can keep all the money! Ask yourself what is one thing in your industry that people tend to come to you about in which they seek an answer or solution to a particular need and then turn the answer to that question into a product. Dave Navarrow over at has a great blog post that is down right quick and dirty on
how to create a product over the weekend. I suggest you read it and follow Dave as he has some great advice on his blog around creating and launching products.

Give Without Want Before You Can Receive
I can’t stress this enough! The whole point of blogging is to share your passion. Write a minimum of 10 blog post which contain your best content. These are known as your “Foundation Posts” and will serve as the pillar to your online success. Your foundation posts immediately provide your audience with value thus encouraging them to want to share your content with others inevitably driving traffic to your blog and increasing your audience. Blogging success is 90% give and 10% asking for something in return. Continue to provide your audience with valuable content and they will keep coming back for more. Here’s a little secret for you, as an example, many of my blog posts tell you what you need to do or what you should be doing, while many of the products I sell show you exactly how to do it. Can you see the value in that? I spend 90% of my time providing you with the knowledge and techniques of internet marketing you should be doing and the other 10% showing you how to do it. And believe me, that 10% can make you a whole lot of money. Find the balance in your blogging and give without want before you can receive. Doing so will increase your blogs readership, your email list and your bank account.
Maybe the above isn’t so secret, but if you found value in it and were enlightened, then I’ve accomplished my task
Please retweet and share this post if you found it informative and valuable, thank you!
To Your Success!
Sean Smith

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Coming Soon From the Stokes County Arts Council

Are you a Blue-Grass fan? Is it too long to wait til September to see live Blue-Grass music in Stokes County? If you are in the above group, there is some really good news for you...

On the weekend of May 14-15, the Stokes County Arts Council will be hosting a wonderful music event at Jomeokee Park in Stokes County. This two day event will have as head-liner: John Cowen, Steep Canyon Rangers, Grasstowne, Junior Sisk and Ramblers Choice, Rich In Tradition and a large group of local and regional acts.

This event will act as the Spring Anchor to a propose year around music calendar being developed by the Stokes County Arts Council and Executive Director Eddy McGee. There will be more details including times and ticket information in the next few days. For now save the dates and be ready to tap your toes in rhythm to the music.

Census Bureau Jobs

There are still jobs available with the Census Bureau for the 2010 Census. If you are unemployed, underemployed, a student of just bored, you need to check in to this. The Census is important and the money is not bad! With the unemployment rate in most areas of North Carolina, I can't imagine these positions remaining unfilled.


Despite the high unemployment level in North Carolina, the Census Bureau is having trouble meeting their hiring quotas in 39 counties across the state (see the list at the bottom of this message). The Census needs your help getting the word out that these jobs are available. Getting an accurate Census count is essential for ensuring that the State gets its fair share of population-based Federal funding for programs like the Community Development Block Grant, and so that local sales taxes, beer and wine taxes, and other State collected revenues are distributed correctly. The qualifications required for a temporary Census job are listed below.

Please forward this information to the appropriate offices within your government and community organizations that could direct potential applicants to these jobs. Thank you for your help.

Karl Knapp
Director of Research and Policy Analysis
919-301-1109 (fax)

To qualify for temporary Census employment, applicants must be:
- able to read, write, and speak English
- a U.S. citizen (Legal permanent residents or non-citizens with an appropriate work visa may apply if they possess a bilingual skill for which
there are no available qualified U.S. citizens)
- at least 18 years old
- have a valid social security number
- pass a written test of basic skills
- have a valid driver's license
- pass a background check
- commit to four days of paid training, that can be arranged during daytime, evening, or weekend hours.

To apply for a Census job, applicants can contact their Local Census Office by calling 1-866-861-2010.

The 39 counties that are falling short of their hiring quotes:

Orange (Chapel Hill)
Swain (Bulk of Cherokee Reservation)

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The End of the Beginning:

This is not as ominous as it sounds. I take this from Sir Winston Churchill and his comments after Great Britain with stood the blitzkrieg "Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning". That is how I feel after a long day yesterday, attending county commissioner meetings in Stokes and Rockingham Counties, receiving funding to go forward with grant applications for stimulus funds. This was the end several months of efforts to map broadband in Stokes County and to create a workable plan to provide 3 Megs of broadband service to more than 95% of our citizens.

The plan, if we are able to find funds, will bring coverage to over 97% of our population and 96% of all the businesses in Stokes County. This is a major upgrade from the less than 80% figure that exist at this time. the plan calls for us to use a fiber ring that mostly exists today, tied to 16 towers (of which 14 are already in place). The details are very technical, so I leave it up to the engineers to work that out, my main issue is that it will work and whoever runs the system can create sufficient cash-flow to maintain it.

Much work remains to be done, creating the grant request, winning funding, signing a contract with a third party provider and building the network. All of these are challenges by themselves, however, we have at least made it by the end of the beginning and that is progress all by itself. Thanks to the Stokes County Commissioners, the Howell Group, the Stokes County Economic Development Board and Mark Wells and Jon Jones from Rockingham County for all their assistance with getting us to this point.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

NC partnership Region Drawing Fire

Below is a link to an article on the Charlotte Regional partnership. They are one of seven partnerships in North Carolina and funded by both private and public funds. I was not in economic development when these partnerships were created but it is my understanding they were created to assist the counties in their regions to better market themselves. The theory was that by pooling these funds in a central location, poorer counties could participate in activities that would otherwise be beyond their capacity.

Each of the regions has a similar form, with an executive director leading the region and a board of directors made-up of appointees that oversees these activities. Each region has developed to match the specific requirements of their location, some are more tourism oriented, some are marketing driven and others are more project specific. What has been called into question in the Charlotte Region is the administrative cost versus results and the effectiveness of the group to deliver on its goal of recruiting industry to visit the area. I have a great deal of respect for Mr. Bryant and think he is an extremely capable leader. I don't question his passion for the job. I think he does well with the system he has to work with. I simply question the system. I think the partnerships have evolved beyond what they were established to do: bring opportunities to areas that have limited assets or enhance those that already have significant assets in place.

Please read the story and form your own opinion:

Have the administrative costs risen too much? Are they providing the results that are expected? I think the questions are difficult to answer and the answers are not black and white but the do need to be considered.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

4-H Update

Hey all, There are three fast approaching deadlines: The County Teen Night out deadline is tomorrow by 5:00pm…the event is $15 for your teen to participate. We will meet here at the office then go out and have some fun!!!February 11, 2010 is the deadline for teens to register for the District Teen Retreat! We are going to be at Betsy-Jeff Penn camp on March 5-6…the cost is $50. We will leave here and head up to Betsy-Jeff Penn at 4:00pm….then we’ll be back around 10:00pm on Saturday, March 6. This will be a great time of workshops, fun games, movies, activities and more with teens in the district! Don’t wait to sign up your teen!!!The last deadline is the Nutrition Fair entries. They are due by February 26. The guidelines and entry forms are online at sure that you send your entry in!!! We need you to enter!! You can be any age 5-18!!! You will love this event…great food, fun and more!!! It will be on March 4 at Calvary Baptist in King! If you aren’t planning on entering, then come, watch, and taste! You’ll love it so much that you have to enter next year! Ask anyone, this is the event to be!!! Please contact me for more information on any of these events and programs! I’m looking forward to seeing…. Also a peek into the future…a food nutrition/demo/tasting will be coming in April…..Presentations and Talent show in May…and much more!!! Terri M. Bost, Extension Agent4-H Youth DevelopmentNorth Carolina State UniversityCollege of Agriculture and Life SciencesStokes County CenterP.O. Box 460700 N. Main StreetDanbury, NC 27016(o)336-593-8179(f)336-593-8790

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Social Media a Fad? I don't think so

Below is a very well written article on Social Media as a marketing tool. If you are in business, i think you ignore this opportunity at your own peril. Business as usual does not exist in the world today. Longing for what used to be will not allow you to succeed. Please read Mr. Walton's comment and add some of your own.

Social Media Marketing
Useful tool or passing fad?

By Jim Walton
President & CEO, Brand Acceleration, Inc.

Brand Acceleration is a full-service advertising, brand management and public relations firm operating from Indianapolis, Indiana and Charlotte, North Carolina. The agency’s focus is on economic development, architecture/engineering/construction, real estate and motorsports.

Have you noticed that almost every conference you go to these days has a speaker on the topic of social media? I think it’s representative of the fact that a huge question remains, “How do I effectively use social media to market my business?” A few of the speakers I’ve heard have done a good job teaching the audience how to set up a LinkedIn or Facebook page but I’ve yet to hear anyone explain how to use them as marketing tools.

Word of Mouth Marketing for the 21st Century
Social media marketing is ideal for those people who believe that word of mouth is the best form of marketing. Unfortunately, they usually choose what I call “free range WOMM,” meaning they do nothing to manage the message. In the 21st century, that just doesn’t cut it. The community is no longer limited to the coffee shop or over the backyard fence. It now resides on an endless variety of global networks. Today, you can either manage the content or it will manage you.

What are my options?
One challenge with social media marketing is that there are just so many options. Conversations can be found on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace, Digg, Delicious and a vast number of others. Blogs are also powerful opportunities to seek feedback and develop deeper relationships with customers and prospects. Add in YouTube (video and audio), FlickR (photos), and podcasts (audio), and it can be overwhelming.

Who has the time?
This is one of the biggest killers of a social media effort. Just setting everything up is daunting enough, but managing the content can easily overwhelm even the most attentive administrator. Someone has to actively manage the message. Regular posts and active participation are required in order to develop positive interaction. Some companies and places assign the job to a person or group of individuals who write articles, read and participate in industry communities, post links to interesting articles or even ask thought provoking questions.

Manage the message
It’s important to remember that social media marketing is not about posting a constant stream of advertising or sales messages. At Brand Acceleration, we follow the 80/20 rule. Our goal is to present useful, fun and interesting ideas or questions 80% of the time and to use the other 20% for promotional purposes.

Why do people use social media?
Your audiences are getting younger every day and social media audiences are getting older by the minute. What does this mean to you? It means that you need to get involved with this rapidly growing marketing tool. Your target audiences, of all ages, are active participants. As a marketer, it’s your responsibility to develop and maintain an on-going relationship with them.

People connect with you for many reasons, but the big three are:

You: They like you, your place, your company, your services or your products.
Them: They like to talk, tell, converse and connect.
Us: They like feeling like they’re part of something.

Where’s the payoff?
Another question that is almost always asked is, “Where’s the payoff?” That’s especially true among the 50+ age group. Senior managers want orders. I have this vision of early 20th century business owners saying, “If I don’t see a serious business benefit, we’re getting rid of that new-fangled telephone thing.” Social media marketing, like the telephone, is not about the tool, it’s about the relationships that are formed through its use.

People like to do business with people they know.
Here a question to ask yourself: Who’s more visible to our clients or prospects, us or our competitors? Now, ask yourself this question: Who’s more likely to be considered for future business? If your competitor actively seeks and manages social media relationships with your target audiences, isn’t it reasonable to believe they might be considered for a business relationship, too?

The times, they are a-changin
If you think social media is just another passing fad, you’d better think again. It’s importance is growing at an exponential rate. Like the old Bob Dylan song says, “You better start swimmin’ or you’ll sink like a stone. The times, they are a-changin’.” Our public relations team has seen its importance grow at an astonishing pace. In addition to news releases, feature articles and regular media contact, our clients want us to manage the social media buzz, too.
I’ll let you in on a secret. Brand Acceleration will soon launch a new package of social media marketing services. For our clients, we will manage these connections in order to expand their presence and industry connectivity. Watch for more on this in the very near future. I’m also developing a presentation on the subject. If you’re part of a trade association or community group and would like to consider this topic, please let me know.

Useful tool or passing fad?
What do you think? Is it just a passing fad? Believe me, it’s here to stay. The real question is, “Will you use it to your advantage, developing new relationships and growing existing ones, or will you leave this powerful tool to your competitors?

If you’d like to explore ways to get started or to jump start your social media marketing program, please give me a call. Or, just click any of the social media links shown in this edition of Rants and let’s connect.

Jim Walton

American Exports

I received this from Agricel and Jack Schultz at Boomtown. Their glass is usually half full and on this wet, dreary, cold day. That is a good thing.His point is: there are still things Americans are good at, there are opportunities to excel and ship products around the world. Competition is not a bad thing, you need to play to your strengths and against your weaknesses. That is what we are attempting to do in Stokes County. To build an economy based on our positive attributes, of which there are many: The natural beauty of the area, the river, a vibrant farming community, our location (near many of the population centers of NC and the east coast) and our determination to not be left behind in a changing world. Hope you enjoy this blog:

America: Export Nation?by: Dave Forest

There's some interesting data emerging on the world trade situation. One of the surprising things is the U.S. export market is actually fairing reasonably well. People often pan America for having no exports. It's a common complaint the U.S. doesn't produce anything the rest of the world wants. This is untrue. These critics latch onto the fact the U.S. produces almost no consumer goods. America doesn't make t-shirts and CD players. It's just not cost effective for these low-end products. American export value peaked in early 2007 at just under $340 billion quarterly. Of that, only $40 billion came from consumer products. What America does produce is capital goods. Engines, boilers and factory components. High-value products that are used by developing countries to make lower-value things. America gets 40% of its export revenue here. And even with the global crisis, the capital goods market has remained relatively firm. Exports peaked in Q2 2008 at $118 billion for the quarter. In the first quarter of 2009, as the crisis broke, they fell to $95 billion. But capital exports held fast at these levels through the second and third quarters of 2009. We'll get the fourth quarter numbers soon, and see if the trend keeps up. Although this is a 20% decline, it's quite shallow in the big scheme of things. Exports today are at the same level as in 2006. Still 35% above 2003 levels. Signaling that high-value products might be a good place to be. There are still factories being built globally. And there aren't many places builders can get the components. America may hold a strong niche. One reason not to write the U.S. off in the economic order. Here's to doing your thing. To sign up for Dave Forest's ezine, visit