NC A&T to Host Two-Day Community and Economic Engagement Summit

EAST GREENSBORO, NC (October 20, 2022) – The Office of Community Engagement at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University will host a Community and Economic Engagement Summit on Tuesday, October 25 and Wednesday, October 26, co-sponsored by CVS Health.

The summit, “Surviving and Thriving in a Post-Pandemic Economy,” will take place on the campus of the Alumni-Foundation Event Center, 200 N. Benbow Road, Greensboro.

The event is designed to advance regional community engagement and economic activities during NC A&T’s 96e Back home.

“Our goal is to inform, train and educate the public on topics of community and economic engagement,” said Lonnie Cockerham, Ph.D., A&T’s executive director of community engagement. “We want to facilitate conversations between our academic and community partners. This summit provides networking and learning opportunities to create wealth, support underserved populations, influence policy, and positively impact our community.

CVS Health has been involved in planning for the summit since the spring.

“CVS Health recognizes the value of doing business with diverse and small businesses in our supply chain,” said Monette Knapik, Executive Director of Supplier Diversity at CVS Health. “Partnerships with historically black colleges and universities, such as North Carolina A&T State University, will increase community engagement, diverse provider development, and networking opportunities for underserved communities.”

Tuesday sessions will begin with a walking tour from 1-3pm, followed by an opening plenary by Cockerham at 4pm.

Joel Wiggins ’95, president and CEO of The Joel Wiggins Co. and director of the university’s Center for Excellence in Entrepreneurship and Innovation, will present on “Overcoming Business Obstacles” at 4:15 p.m. before host a panel on networking essentials at 4:45 p.m. Dan Ford, president of the Atlanta HBCU Alumni Alliance, Gerry McCants, president of McCants Communications, and Robin Adams Cheeley, owner and CEO of WriteRight, are the panelists.

The day will end with a company exhibition and a reception from 5:45 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Wednesday’s sessions will include three streams: Competitive Advantage, Strategic Alignment, and Community Impact. After breakfast at 8:30 a.m., and an opening session with Chancellor Harold L. Martin Sr. at 9 a.m., the sessions will proceed according to this schedule of tracks, topics, and presenters:

10:30 a.m. to 11:20 a.m.

Competitive advantage

  • “How to Start and Finance a Business,” Kevin Price, President and CEO of the National Institute for Minority Economic Development
  • “Tech Startups: From Academia to Impact (including SBIR/STTR funding),” David Kaiser, deputy director of the North Carolina Board of Science, Technology and Innovation, and Art Gooray (remote), retired director of commercialization partnerships in Office Technology Commercialization at The Ohio State University

Strategic alignment

  • “Innovation: Staying at the Forefront of Your Industry,” Hope Rush of Do You Believe Enterprises Inc. and Geoff Foster ’90, President and CEO of Core Technology Molding Corp.

Community impact

  • “History of Redlining and Future Economic Prospects for East Greensboro,” Kim Cameron, Executive Director of NC A&T Real Estate Foundation Inc., and Sue Schwartz, Planning Director for the City of Greensboro

11:30 a.m. to 12:20 p.m.

Competitive advantage

  • “Thriving in a Competitive Landscape,” Antwan Adams, Restaurant Owner 42-Fry; LaWanda Simpkins, founder of Creative Justice Inc.; and Gregory Watson, Vice President of Operations for the Carolinas Virginia Minority Supplier Development Council
  • “Preparing and Presenting a Successful Sales Presentation,” Thom Randle, Founder and CEO of The Rising Tide Group

Strategic alignment

  • “Becoming Cyber ​​Vigilant to Avoid Attacks,” Terrence Gilmore, Solutions Architect for Palo Alto Networks; Sheldon Winston, founder and CEO of Phoenix Systems; Kevin Robinson, Founder and CEO of Rtriad Enterprises LLC; and Laura Rodgers, Cybersecurity Practice Director at NC State Secure Computing Institute

Community impact

  • “Plans for the Eugene-Elm Innovation District,” Majik Pennix, Founder/President of Focused Sista’s Outreach

12:30 p.m. to 1:45 p.m.

Lunch with Michael Roberts, JD, Executive Vice President of The Roberts Companies

2 p.m. to 3:15 p.m.

Roundtable with Roberts, Rodgers, Madhuri Siddula, Ph.D., assistant professor of computer science at A&T’s College of Engineering, and Hossein Sarrafzadeh, Ph.D., director of A&T’s Center of Excellence in Cybersecurity Research, Education and Outreach

3:30 p.m. to 4:20 p.m.

Competitive advantage

  • “Keep Your Financial House in Order,” Ulysses Cozart, owner of FosCo Resources Co.; Ron Davidson, Chairman of Davidson Financial Group; Nicholas Miles, Associate Wealth Manager for Rutledge Financial Partners LLC; and Tommie Crump ’98, Regional Vice President at Primerica

Strategic alignment

  • “Set realistic goals to scale your business,” Tonya Foster, vice president of Core Molding Technology Corp.

Community impact

  • “How You Can Impact Community and Economic Engagement,” Sofia Crisp, Founder and Executive Director of Housing Consultants Group; Josephus Thompson of Poetry Cafe; Athan Lindsay, vice president of grants and initiatives for the Community Foundation of Greensboro; and Marvin Price, Vice President of Economic Development for the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce
  • “Business Opportunities for Minority Land Ownership,” Tunya Smith, Director of the Civil Rights Office of the North Carolina Department of Transportation

4:30 p.m. to 5:15 p.m.

Closing Session with Tony Goins, Director of Economic Development, Nebraska Department of Economic Development

5:30 p.m.

Reception with the NC A&T Jazz Ensemble

To register for the summit, go to

For more information, contact Cockerham at [email protected] or 336-749-5729.

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