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Create WV Conference to Feature Thomas Frey

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RICHWOOD, WV — Futurist Dr. Thomas Frey, whose business is studying trends that allow planners to make the best educated guesses in forecasting, will kick off the Create West Virginia Conference on The Future with an address titled, "Creating a Remarkable Future."
Frey is Executive Director and Senior Futurist at the Da Vinci Institute, a Colorado-based nonprofit community of entrepreneurs and visionary thinkers intent on discovering the opportunities created via cutting edge technology and a rapidly changing world.
The Conference on the Future will bring together all facets of West Virginia industries, artisans, forward thinkers and business leaders. 
The event, the sixth annual conference held to date, will take place October 24-26 in the City of Richwood, a once prosperous rural industrial community that has experienced much of the job loss many American communities are now forced to deal with as a harsh reality as the Industrial Age gave way to the Innovation Age.
"Can communities such as Richwood create a new future for themselves? We believe the answer is absolutely yes," said Create WV board president Jeff James.
Frey, author of the 2011 book Communicating with the Future,  will join featured speakers Jon Gensler, Huntington native and adaptive leadership consultant;  Thomas Worlledge, architect at McKinley & Associates and sustainability advocate, whose topic is, "How Small Towns Can Be Like Smart Phones; Greg Bowman, of the WVU College of Law, who will speak on "Going Global:  A West Virginian's Journey from Local to Global (and Back), and Dr. Naomi Stanford, an organizational change management specialist who will speak on the subject of "Get a Job, or Make a Job?"
"The greatest value in understanding the future comes from spotting the major cultural, demographic, societal, and economic shifts early and translating them into viable business strategies," Frey said.
Richwood's East Main Street, on the National Register of Historic Places, will come to life with a variety of artisans and retailers,  and on Thursday, October 24, will feature an open-air cafe provided by Chef Dale Hawkins of Fish Hawk Acres.

"The evidence shows that creative communities attract and retain creative people, create new opportunities new jobs and new futures," James said.
For three days, a diverse culture of West Virginians will meet and mix through several scheduled breakout sessions.  The sessions have six themes: Diversity, quality of place, innovation, education, technology and entrepreneurship. The breakout sessions will include topics such as the emerging brand of "New Appalachia`", where and how to make money in West Virginia, what diversity and innovation mean for the future, and what does a good teacher or school look like today.
The idea behind this year's conference is that any rural small town or city in WV can be transformed into a modern hub that offers all of the amenities of a metropolitan city with the rich atmosphere of a small town mixed with scenic beauty of the Mountain State.
"What we're about to do in Richwood will serve as a model for what can be done in many towns and companies throughout West Virginia," said Create WV conference director Rebecca Kimmons.
New training offerings for entrepreneurs and innovators, or those who would like to become one, are being offered. A key session on becoming a more creative, innovative thinker is being offered for any business, community or education leader seeking to infuse new ideas into his or her environment. Additional training on technology and graphic design tools, raising money via crowd-funding and other practical topics are scheduled.
The conference will take place in downtown Richwood. Main Street will be transformed into an artisan village, with store fronts open all three days. Sessions will be held in Richwood City Hall, the Richwood High School Auditorium and the G.C. Murphy Building. 
Lodging will not be limited to Richwood. Shuttles will also be readily available from Summersville. 
The conference costs $349. For teachers, students, VISTA and AmeriCorps volunteers, tickets are $99. State economic development employees will get continuing education credits for attending the conference. There are also day passes available for $149 per day, and group rates for three or more attendees from the same organization or community are available. Email for details.
Create West Virginia is a grass roots organization that is focused on growing the innovation capacity of communities, companies and schools to create more Innovation Age opportunities in the Mountain State.
For more information, go to