2017 What Works conference lineup

The 2017 What Works in Rural Business Innovation and Economic Development conference is being held in conjunction with the annual conferences of Universal Design Today and Create West Virginia. While attendees are encouraged to attend sessions from all three organizations over the three-day conference, we want to recognize the speakers who were selected through our call for presentations and speakers who were invited through our Rural Innovation grants program.

A Review of Food E-commerce and Opportunities for Rural Food Start-ups
-- Mark Gagnon, Harbaugh Entrepreneurship Scholar, Penn State
This session will provide an extensive review of food Ecommerce including contextual drivers and will highlight opportunities and considerations for rural food Ecommerce entrepreneurs.

Development and Review of a New AgTech Entrepreneurship Course
-- Mark Gagnon, Harbaugh Entrepreneurship Scholar, Penn State
In this session a recently developed course in AgTech Entrepreneurship will be reviewed. Emphasis will be provided on what worked well and what needs improvement.

Determinants of Innovation: Constructing (and Assessing) a Business-Level ‘Innovation Index’
-- Roberto Gallardo, Mississippi State University
-- Brian Whitacre, Oklahoma State University
Using data from the Rural Establishment Innovation Survey (REIS), Gallardo and Whitacre explore the determinants of innovation, in part by constructing an ‘innovation index’ that will help to distinguish between more and less innovative businesses. They also will explore the economic outcomes associated with innovative businesses.

Do Industries Cluster in Rural Regions? Evidence from the Rural Establishment Innovation Survey
--Chantalle E. LaFontant, Ph.D. Candidate, School of Public and Environmental Affairs, Indiana University

Does Design Provide a Bridge for the Arts-Innovation Nexus? An Examination of the Design Orientation of Businesses and Local Creative Milieu
-- Timothy R. Wojan, USDA Economic Research Service
-- Bonnie Nichols, National Endowment for the Arts

Are establishments in more creative places more likely to integrate design into
the development of new products or services, and more likely to engage in substantive innovation? This session will describe newly available micro-level data of innovation and design processes that allow researchers to explicitly test this hypothesis.

The Effects of Sources of Innovation on Innovation Type: Firm-Level Evidence from the Rural Establishment Innovation Survey
--Timothy F. Slaper, Ph.D., Research Director, Indiana Business Research Center, Indiana University

Impacts of Community Economic Development Planning in North Carolina (first portion of shared presentation) and
Rural Food System Development Through the SET Civic Engagement Process in the Sandhills (second portion of shared presentation)
-- Becky L. Bowen, Program Manager, CultivateNC, North Carolina Cooperative Extension, NC State University
-- Susan A. Kelly, Richmond County Extension
-- Susan S. Jakes, Associate State Program Leader, CRD
This session will describe the impacts of USDA's SET and LEAD initiatives in NC and introduce NIFI's Economic Vitality workshop on planning options.

The Impact of Knowledge Management Strategies on Innovation Outcomes of Rural and Urban Businesses in the United States (related to Rural Establishment Innovation Survey research project)
-- Kathryn R. Dotzel, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of AED Economics, The Ohio State University

Innovations in Local and Regional Food Systems
David Hughes, Professor and Greever Endowed Chair in Agribusiness Development, University of Tennessee
-- Harry Crissy, Monroe County Economic Resource Development Agent, University of Florida Extension
This session will describe two different approaches to using the food system as a tool for economic development: 1) Crop Stop, an innovative shared-kitchen facility and 2) wine and beer as a local agribusiness and economic development strategy.

Intergenerational Spaces and Places for Building Meaningful Relationships
-- Matt Kaplan, Penn State Professor, Intergenerational Programs and Aging
Examples of "intergenerationally enriched environments" are presented to help illustrate ways in which environmental design could stimulate intergenerational engagement and cooperation.

LEAD Jefferson County, MS: A Catalyst for Community Action
-- Chance McDavid, Senior Extension Associate, Mississippi State University Extension
This session will highlight the LEAD (Leaders in Economic Alliance Development) pilot program in Jefferson County that has served as a catalyst for community action in this rural, high poverty area of southwest Mississippi.

Leveraging Local Food for Rural Economic Development
Emily Edmonds, Program Manager, NC Growing Together Project, Center for Environmental Farming Systems, NC State University
This session provides tools for retention, expansion, and recruitment of food and farm businesses through entrepreneurship, resiliency, and supply chain capacity to increase economic impact.

Life on the ‘Beer Frontier:’ A Case Study of Craft Beer and Tourism in West Virginia
-- Daniel Eades, Extension Specialist, West Virginia University
-- Douglas Arbogast, Extension Specialist, West Virginia University
-- Jason Kozlowski, Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist,  West Virginia University
Learn how West Virginia’s craft breweries showcase the state’s unique identity and authentic sense of place, and model best practices for rural tourism development.

Next Generation: Future of Creative Placemaking in Rural America
-- Courtney Spearman, Design Specialist, National Endowment for the Arts
Matthew Fluharty, Executive Director, Art of the Rural
This session will profile a range of rural creative placemaking projects that have helped to spur main street revitalization, cultural tourism, entrepreneurship, in-migration, and an inspiring narrative for rural America.

Progress of Planning in the Mountain State
--Michael Dougherty, Extension Specialist and Professor, West Virginia University Extension Service
Planning activity has increased in West Virginia over the past two decades. This session explores the reasons -- and the reasoning -- behind the increase.

Rural Tourism Development Through Participatory Planning and Social Design
Doug Arbogast, Rural Tourism Specialist, West Virginia University Extension Service
-- Peter Butler, Associate Professor, WVU Landscape Architecture Program
-- Eve Faulkes, Professor, WVU Graphic Design Program
This presentation will provide an overview of the WVU Rural Tourism Design Team's participatory planning and social design process

Two Birds, One Stone: Generating Economic and Community Development Outcomes Through Applied Student Learning Experiences
-- Jason Evans, Associate Professor Agricultural Business Management, State University of New York (SUNY), Cobleskill
-- Marion Terenzio, Ph.D., President, SUNY Cobleskill
SUNY Cobleskill students and faculty work to improve quality of life in the region through the college's Institute for Rural Vitality, which facilitates business incubator, market development and cultural enhancement activities.