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Conference features congressional insight
by Bill Baldowski
February 12, 2013 11:05 AM | 1037 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
For 11 years, the annual South Metro Development Outlook Conference has brought together experts in business, economic development and job creation to the Southside to discuss their vision for the area in the new year.

According to conference developer and host, Michael Hightower, managing partner of the Collaborative Firm, LLC, this year is no exception but does include an added attraction, the unique perspective of the area by its representative in the halls of Congress.

Set for Feb. 20 from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Georgia International Convention Center, 2000 Convention Center Concourse in College Park, this year’s event features for the first time as its luncheon keynote speaker, 13th District Congressman David Scott, D-Ga.

According to Hightower, Scott will discuss major issues in the nation’s capital, including the fiscal cliff, which has again taken the spotlight.

As to what those attending will take from the conference, which last year drew more than 450 attendees, Hightower anticipates they will further discover three elements that will put the economic spotlight on the south metro area in 2013.

“I hope the conference will reflect the realization that south metro continues to thrive and the business and economic opportunities are not only here on the south side but our area is primed for investment, growth and development,” Hightower said.

In addition, he also hopes the conference will accent what Hightower calls the “great leadership we have in this area, from the county commission chairmen on the program to Atlanta Mayor Kasim and Congressman Scott,” he said.

“Congressman Scott and Mayor Reed will engage in a candid discussion about the impact of lawmaker decisions and indecisions on the Atlanta’s southern region’s efforts to complete,” Hightower said.

He also hopes the conference will highlight some of what he called “the great things” happening in south metro, from economic and business development to job creation and the encouraging rebound of the housing market.

The conference also features a frank discussion among the commission chairmen within south metro, including new Clayton County Chairman Jeff Turner, Fayette County Chairman Steve Brown, Henry County Chairman Tommy Smith and Fulton County Chairman John Eaves, who will moderate this roundtable discussion.

Another element of the conference features a panel discussion regarding the term “Aerotropolis,” which will be moderated by Ceasar Mitchell, president of the Atlanta City Council.

Hightower added the conference would discuss the south side’s emergence as a prime location for entertainment, especially the film industry.

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