8:00 AM O’Brien Theatre

  • Commissioner Deniece Thomas, TN Department of Labor and Workforce Development – Welcoming and Opening remarks
  • Welcome to Roane State and Introduction of the Keynote – Dr. Chris Whaley
  • Keynote Address: Artificial Intelligence and the Workforce – Dr. Lynne E. Parker
    • What are the impacts (both good and bad) of AI, automation, and advanced manufacturing on the skills needed by the workforce to remain competitive?


9:40 AM O’Brien Theatre

  • Panel: Impacts of AI, automation, and digital business on Industry
    • Panel Discussion of the impacts (positive and challenges) of AI, Automation, and digital business on the skills needed in the emerging workforce
    • Moderator: Michael Eppler, Grants Manager, Roane State Community College



  • D-217 Legal Issues of Start Up & Intellectual Property
    • Eric Schue, President, SafeEvac
    • This break out will delve into some of the most important legal considerations of starting a business before registering with the Secretary of State
  • O 101 Marketing with AI
    • Victory Harbin, Founder and President, The Social Brand TN
    • AI can be a powerful tool in a small business’ marketing plan and strategy!
  • Y 313 Cyber Security on a budget
    • Dr. George Meghabghab, Roane State Community College
    • What are some considerations a small business should incorporate into their planning to protect themselves and their data?
  • O’Brien Theatre Accessing Capital
    • Eric Dobson, Principal, Community Equity Partners
    • The two things that vex a small business (any business) is the lack of time and lack of cash.  Eric will discuss access to capital, how the investors look at funding requests, and what strategies an entrepreneur should use to gain access to capital
  • Y 311 Human Resources
    • Dr. Kelley Drummond, Roane State Community
    • This break out will explore the challenges of human resource professionals and how to best address attracting Talent and developing skills within the organization.


11:15 AM O’Brien Theatre

  • Panel: Upskilling workforce needs in the Scientific Community
    • Panel Discussion on the impacts of emerging technologies (AI, automation, and digital advances) on the skills needed to compete in the scientific community and industries
    • Moderator: Wade Creswell – Mayor, Roane County, TN
      • Jeff Cornett – Manager, Industrial Partnerships & Economic Development, Oak Ridge National Laboratory
      • Dr. Joe Stainback – Program Director, Nuclear Technician AAS, RSCC
      • Guillerme Garcia – Associate Professor, Mechatronics, RSCC
      • Dr. George Meghabghab – Professor, Cyber Security, RSCC


12:15 PM Vann Student Center

  • Lunch & Networking


1:15 PM O’Brien Theatre

  • Panel Presentation: Building and sustaining an entrepreneurial Ecosystem
    • Panel Discussion on building, sustaining, and supporting an entrepreneurial ecosystem in our service area.  What are the needs of Entrepreneurs and small business owners?  Where can this ecosystem find resources and support?
    • Moderator: Stephen Williams, Director, Tennessee Small Business Development Center, Oak Ridge
      • Paul Medcalf – Retired CEO, Faultless Caster & Entrepreneur
      • Eric Dobson – Principal, Community Equity Partners
      • Jim Biggs – Knoxville Entrepreneurship Center
      • Eric Schue – President, SafeEvac
      • Carla Angelo-Arbogast, UT Center for Advanced Systems, Research, and Education
      • Kayla Miller – Associate State Director, TSBDC



  • Raider Room Entrepreneurship ecosystem listening session
    • Paul Medcalf & Mike Eppler
    • A continuing discussion from the Panel on Entrepreneurship
  • Y311 The Power of the Craft Beer / Spirits Industry
    • Dr. Todd White – Brewing and Distilling Center
    • The economics, growth, and impact of the craft brewing and distilling industry in the Service Area
  • O’Brien Theatre Threats to Small Businesses (TBI)
    • Nicholas Christian, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation
    • Exploring the most common threats to small businesses, this break out will explore ways for small business owners to protect their business
  • O 101 Nuclear Workforce in an Era of Change
    • Dr. Joe Stainback, Nuclear Technology Program Director, RSCC
    • This break out will delve into the future of the nuclear workforce by exploring some key factors that will shape the industry in the years to come, especially the role of 2-year degreed employees. The session will contrast these factors with the employment attrition triggered by the pandemic (retirements) within the current workforce; modernization and environmental management demands in the region; the emergence of small modular reactors (SMRs), and the crucial aspect of maintaining an efficient and lean nuclear workforce.


3:15 PM O’Brien Theatre

    • Synthesis, Listening Session, Evaluation and Wrap up