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Twin Counties Education & Business Leaders’ Summit Set for August 9

Two prominent North Carolina business leaders will headline the Twin Counties Education & Business Leaders’ Summit on Thursday, August 9.

The event will be held in Keihin Auditorium on the Tarboro campus of Edgecombe Community College. Doors will open at 7:15 a.m. for a networking breakfast, and the program will follow.

John Chaffee, President & CEO, NCEast Alliance

John Chaffee, president and CEO of NCEast Alliance, is the opening speaker. Jim Goodmon, chairman and CEO of Capitol Broadcasting Company, is the closing speaker.

The program also features two panel discussions that will address workforce development.

Panel Moderator: David Joyner, Joyner Media & Strategies

Business Panel

  • John Judd, Plant Manager, Cummins – Rocky Mount Engine Plant
  • Joel Lee, Engineering Manager, Edwards, Inc.
  • Dr. Richard Alston, DDS, Alston Orthodontics
  • Scott Fleming, Assembly Engineering Coordinator, Keihin Carolina System Technology
  • Tahirah Smith, Current Product Support Engineer, Cummins – Rocky Mount Engine Plant

Education Panel

  • Dr. Harry Starnes, Vice President of Instruction, Edgecombe Community College
  • Dr. Bill Carver, President, Nash Community College
  • Dr. Valerie Bridges, Superintendent, Edgecombe County Public Schools
  • Dr. Shelton Jefferies, Superintendent, Nash-Rocky Mount Public Schools

Pamela Gould, executive director of Strategic Twin Counties Education Partnership (S.T.E.P.), will present the collaborative initiative, #workHERE. #workHERE is a shared initiative among the two public school systems and the two local community colleges to build the talent pipeline by growing workforce awareness, ensuring relevant workforce skills, and strengthening relationships with local business and industry.

Jim Goodmon, Chairman & CEO, Capitol Broadcasting Company

“It is vital to increase collaboration between the business community and education providers to improve young people’s transition into the workplace. More importantly, these stakeholders need to begin customizing solutions for our region,” Gould says.

“We have formed very strong partnerships with several industries, however, we need more voices at the table and a sense of ‘we are in this together,’” she adds.

“There is no more pressing need of the businesses in the Twin Counties than the availability of qualified employees to fill the vacancies we have now and will have for the foreseeable future,” observes Norris Tolson, CEO and president of Carolinas Gateway Partnership.

“It is more urgent than ever for the business and education communities to forge strong partnerships to recruit and train this much needed workforce. The talent pool is available, but it will take a concerted effort on everyone’s part to get workers trained and employed,” he says.

“If we want a stronger workforce and ultimately a stronger economy, thriving schools, and a great place to live, we must all invest and work together toward that goal. It’s a win/win,” adds Gould. “We can’t just talk about the issues, we must be part of the solutions.”

Tickets are free to the Twin Counties Education & Business Leaders’ Summit, but registration is required.

S.T.E.P. is improving the educational opportunities for students in the Twin Counties area – cradle to career – by facilitating collaboration between local schools, community colleges, community-based organizations, and employers.

To learn more, contact Pamela Gould at or 446-0113.