Getting seriously legit around Tech takes more than a derivative, knock-off moniker, e.g. “Silicon Slopes,” “Silicon Sledding Hill,” “Silicon Dormant Volcano” or, heaven forbid, “Silicon Mountain.” So we asked Tracy Schmidt, UniteWNC’s Project Chair, to share her perspective on our region’s prospects for the tech industry and what the UniteWNC conference hopes to crystalize and catalzye.

Why now, this particular moment, for this conference?
We have momentum. Meet the Geeks 2016 survey found local employers predicting to hire nearly 300% more tech workers in 5-10 years. The WestNGN High-Gigabit Broadband Project is making strides with connecting WNC. The Collider is growing. There are many other positive efforts in our community. Now is the time to pull all these efforts together, inventory our strengths, design our future, and commit to action.

What do you hope is an outcome from the event?
I know our community understands win/wins. We want to collaborate and help each other succeed. I hope we leave the summit with a clear, eureka-inspired vision that integrates all our great talent and resources. We should all be able to leave with WNC’s elevator pitch to the world on why tech is best in our mountains.

Who should attend?
Anyone interested in seeing the tech sector grow in WNC should attend. We need stakeholders from all counties: tech workers from all levels, all industries, and all domains, from educators, to policymakers, to investors, to non-profits.

In one sentence, what’s your vision for Asheville’s tech future?
A collaborative, creative tech hub doing ground-breaking work that puts WNC in the international spotlight.

Attend and participate in UniteWNC summit to help ensure technology’s inclusion alongside tourism and beer in Asheville’s future.

DATE: March 31 – April 1, 2017. Early-bird pricing of $50 per ticket is now available. For more info and to purchase tickets, visit the UniteWNC website.

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