Workshop & Session Descriptions

Workshop Block I: Thursday, Aug. 11, 2:45 – 4 p.m.

Public Health Connections and Hot Topics

County public health agencies work to not only protect citizens against communicable diseases, but also to improve public health in general – something that can be utilized as a tool for economic development. This workshop will begin with an overview about the connections between public health and economic development, but will also provide speed sessions on some local public health hot topics: the availability of Naloxone through local health departments; allowing for syringe exchange to help reduce the spread of Hepatitis and HIV; the conflicts of national regulations and state law about post-exposure rabies animal quarantine; the Medicaid cost settlement and why it has made it critical to invest in billing staff; and, of course, Zika and what local health departments can do to combat its spread. Pose your public health questions to a panel of five local health directors!

Speakers and panelists: Colleen Bridger, Health Director, Orange County; Lisa Harrison, Director, Granville/Vance District Health Department; David Jenkins, Health Director, Carteret County; Dennis Joyner, Health Director, Stanly County; and Layton Long, Health Director, Chatham County

County Authority for Public Schools, Statutorily Speaking

This session will provide an overview of county commissioners’ authority and responsibility for public schools. Interactive scenarios will help attendees understand school budgets and financial reports, and highlight areas in which boards of commissioners can – or can’t – exercise authority or influence over school board decisions. The session will identify ways in which commissioners can more effectively work with local school boards as a prequel to one-day regional workshops on building better relationships with school boards slated for next spring. 

Speaker: Kara A. Millonzi, Associate Professor of Public Law and Government, UNC School of Government

NCACC Resource on School Financing

Tips and Tools for Reaching your Latino Population

This session will serve as an introduction to cross-cultural effectiveness within your counties. At the end of this session, participants will be able to identify cultural norms of the Latino community and develop strategies to effectively engage this diverse population.

Speakers: Melissa Edwards Smith, Program Coordinator, and Lindsey Johnson, Program Specialist, N.C. State University Global Training Initiative

N.C. State Global Training Initiative Webpage

Social Security: Choice of a Lifetime

Did you know that your choice on when you file for Social Security could increase your annual benefit by as much as 76 percent? Make smart choices with your Social Security benefits! Learn key filing rules and strategies so that you can make the best choice for your retirement income plan.

Presenter: Michael Noel, Retirement Specialist, Nationwide Retirement Solutions


Workshop Block II: Thursday, Aug. 11, 4:15 – 5 p.m.

How a Bill Becomes a Law, and What It Means Once It Does

In this session, NCACC legal staff will take you on a journey, starting with an idea and following it through the legislative process until it becomes law. You will have the opportunity to explore the various steps that may occur – from the introduction of a bill until it is enacted into law, and ultimately how to read the final law.

Speakers: Amy Bason, Deputy Director/General Counsel; Casandra Hoekstra, Legislative Counsel; and Paige Worsham, Research Attorney, NCACC

NC General Assembly Educational Resources

How an Idea Becomes a Law (flow chart)

Community Paramedicine/Mobile Integrated Healthcare: Addressing Tomorrow’s Needs

Community Paramedicine (CP)/Mobile Integrated Healthcare is a new and evolving model of community-based healthcare in which paramedics function outside their customary emergency response and transport roles in ways that facilitate more appropriate use of emergency care resources and/or enhance access to primary care for medically underserved populations. CP programs typically are designed to address specific local problems and to take advantage of locally developed linkages and collaborations between and among emergency medical services and other health care and social service providers. Interest in community paramedicine has grown substantially in recent years based on the belief that it may improve access to and quality of care while reducing costs, and can be adapted to the specific needs and resources of each community. This workshop will demonstrate five innovative models currently meeting the needs of their local communities in North Carolina.

Speakers: Regina Godette-Crawford, Advocacy Liaison, EMS|MC; Jefferson Williams, M.D., MPH, Assistant Medical Director, and Michael Bachman, MHS, EMT-P, Deputy Director of Medical Affairs, Wake County EMS; Rick O’Donnell, BS, NRP, Director, New Hanover County EMS; William J. Kehler IV, NRP, CCEMT-P, Director, McDowell County EMS; Lisa Ellington, EMT-P, Training Officer, Rockingham County EMS


Opening General Session: Friday, Aug. 12, 8:30 – 10 a.m.

You are the leaders of here and now. You lead the way in your communities and chart the course for those who come after you. The question is… how do you engage with the youth in your county and cultivate an environment where they can thrive?

At 17 years old, Opening General Session Keynote Speaker Jaylen Bledsoe overcame all odds to become a global entrepreneur, motivational speaker and technical prodigy. His story began when his parents brought him into the world when they were just 16 years old. Bledsoe’s drive to create a successful path in life is inspiring – contagious even – and will provide insight into what it takes to connect with a new generation of youth.

Come hear Bledsoe’s story and open your mind to what it takes to motivate others to achieve something great.

Speaker: Jaylen D. Bledsoe, Jaylen D. Bledsoe Global Group


Workshop Block III: Friday, Aug. 12, 10:30 – 11:45 a.m.

The NC Public School Partnership: Past, Present and Opportunities

The State of North Carolina and its counties long ago partnered to create and fund public schools. The responsibilities for financing those schools, both for capital needs and operating expenses, have shifted over time. This history lesson will detail the critical – and growing – role that counties play in supporting our public schools and students.

Speaker: Kevin Leonard, Executive Director, NCACC; Dr. Linda Struyk Millsaps, Research Director, NCACC

The Politics of Risk

County commissioners and managers face not only political risk from their decisions and actions but also financial risk for their county. Having an understanding of the differences in liability insurance programs and how they work within the current legal system can help minimize potential financial risk for your county.

Speaker: William Bulfer, Partner, Teague Campbell Dennis & Gorham, LLP

Facilitators: Amy Bason, Deputy Director/General Counsel; Michael Kelly, Risk Management Director; and Charlie Eaton, Deputy Director for Risk Management, NCACC

Sponsored by the NCACC Risk Management Pools

Attorneys: This session qualifies for 1.25 CLE (Continuing Legal Education) credits.

Using Essential Stories for Effective Communication

Storytelling is an essential part of getting your point across and engaging others in your ideas. Stories can effectively communicate vision, goals, values, direction and purpose. A well-told story, strategically placed into personal presentations, advertising campaigns, social media and one-on-one conversations, can make a huge difference in your advocacy efforts, your board meetings, political campaigns, and even office management. Learn to replace the quick sound bite with meaningful stories that reveal more of who you are, that paint visual pictures of what you want to accomplish or that explain why you are taking a certain action. Invite others to get involved through the use of stories.

Speaker: Tim Lowry, storyteller

Draw Upon Your Artistic Side: Creatives Shaping Economic Prosperity

The creative minds that exist in all our counties bring more to the table than galleries and ambiance. A robust and visible arts community can impact economic and population growth, something that is apparent in Winston-Salem and Forsyth County. This workshop will feature local community, cultural and business leaders that will speak to the benefits of the arts.

Moderator: Catherine Heitz New, Vice President of Development, the Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County

Panelists: Mary Haglund, owner, Mary’s Gourmet Dinner; Chad Cheek, President and owner, Elephant in the Room; Sharon Nelson, Program Manager for Integrative Arts, Novant Health; and JD Wilson, Chairman and CEO, Excalibur Direct Marketing


Workshop Block IV: Friday, Aug. 12, 1:30 – 2:45 p.m.

Like, Dislike, Delete? Swim in the Social Media Mainstream Without Drowning or Looking All Wet (Part I)

Some commissioners can subtweet, pin, post to Instagram and check Facebook analytics without a hitch. Other commissioners are frantically Googling those terms right now. No matter what your social media skill level is, you’ll learn something new from a government social media expert. In Part I of this two-part workshop, you will tour the networks, explore best practices, and share your experiences with social media.

Speaker: Mark R. Weaver, Esq., founder, Communications Counsel, Inc.

What You Say Without Saying It: Nonverbal Communication in Public Speaking

What you say is vital. How you say it – your aural and physical characteristics, the sound of your voice and the way you carry yourself – can shift your audience’s perception in a few seconds. In this workshop, you will learn to express yourself with clarity and conviction so that your constituents and colleagues listen to your message attentively.

Speaker: Joy Javits, Founder, In the Public Eye, Effective Communication

Keeping the Lights on with Future Changes in the Electric Utility Industry

Coal ash, renewable energy, rate structures, and grid modernization all point to significant changes in the electric utility industry. In North Carolina, 31 percent of our electricity comes from coal. Over the next decade, we will see a dramatic shift from coal to natural gas as a fuel source for generation of electricity. What role will renewable energy play in these changes, and how will the Utilities Commission respond? These changes will affect every resident of North Carolina, and some will impact local governments directly. Electric transportation, potential changes in rate structures and a new natural gas pipeline in eastern NC all affect counties. The goal of this session is to make attendees aware of these changes, have a discussion about how they will impact local governments, and think about proactive ways in which local governments can prepare for the future.

Speaker: Keith Aldridge, Senior Vice President, Advanced Energy


Workshop Block V: Friday, Aug. 12, 3:15 – 4:30 p.m.

Like, Dislike, Delete? Swim in the Social Media Mainstream Without Drowning or Looking All Wet (Part II)

In Part II of this two-part workshop, participants will engage in group activities that will allow them to get hands-on and experiment with today’s social media technology.

Note: Part I will be held from 1:30 – 2:45 p.m.

Speaker: Mark R. Weaver, Esq., founder, Communications Counsel, Inc.

Data-Informed Decision-Making: Harnessing Data Resources and Powerful Decision-Making Practices

What goes into making the best possible decision for your county? Experience and intuition are among the most important considerations that county commissioners will draw upon – but what about reliable data? In this interactive session, you will learn how to look at your county through a data-driven lens that, combined with other decision-making skills, will enhance your ability to shape the future you want for your county.

Presenters: Dr. Linda Struyk Millsaps, Research Director, NCACC; and Hillary Sherman, N.C. State Economic Development Representative, U.S. Department of Commerce

From Tobacco to Technology: Reshaping Forsyth County for the 21st Century

During the late 1980s Winston-Salem and Forsyth County were gripped in a downward spiral of corporate relocations, mergers, bankruptcies and plant closings that pummeled the area’s self-image and eviscerated its employment base. Amid the procession of dispiriting headlines, a small group of visionaries looked to the future and forged a plan to create a new economic base that would carry Winston-Salem and Forsyth County into the 21st Century. Their efforts overcame skepticism, setbacks and bureaucratic infighting to build a movement that eventually would be embraced by the community and create what is now believed to be the largest urban research park in the United States.

Speakers: Gayle Anderson, President and CEO, Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce; and Dr. C. Douglas Maynard, Professor Emeritus of Radiology and former Chairman, Division of Radiologic Sciences of the Wake Forest University School of Medicine

Stepping Up to Reduce Incarceration of the Mentally Ill

Counties across America are taking steps to reduce the number of people with mental illnesses in jails. Through a partnership between the National Council of State Governments Justice Center, the American Psychiatric Association Foundation and the National Association of Counties, counties were selected to attend a national summit that offered hands-on guidance about innovative practices that are having successful impacts on the mentally ill jail populations. Two North Carolina counties, Pitt and Alamance, were selected to attend the national summit, while Forsyth County has been moving toward this national model for several years. In this workshop, learn how Alamance, Forsyth and Pitt counties are making a difference in the number of mentally ill adults in their jails. Also, Macon County Commissioner Ronnie Beale will discuss the work and recommendations of the Governor's Task Force on Mental Health and Substance Use.

Moderator: Ronnie Beale, County Commissioner, Macon County, and Past President, NCACC

Presenters: Ronda Tatum, Assistant Manager, Forsyth County; Duane Holder, Deputy Manager, Pitt County; Melissia Larson, Grants Administrator, Pitt County Sheriff’s Office; Susan Osborne, Director of Social Services, Alamance County; Craig Honeycutt, County Manager, Alamance County; Nastassia Walsh, MA, Program Manager, National Association of Counties; and Bob Byrd, Vice Chair, Alamance County

Note: This workshop will run until 4:45 p.m.

NCACC Mental Health Resources

NACo Stepping Up Initiative

Governor's Task Force Recommendations


Public Speaking Speed Coaching Sessions with Joy Javits: Friday, Aug. 12

At most times on Friday outside of Workshop Block IV, Joy Javits, founder of In the Public Eye, Effective Communication, will be available for speed coaching sessions in the Benton Convention Center Foyer. Registrants will have the opportunity to sign up for 5- to 20-minute sessions with Ms. Javits for public speaking speed coaching. These brief one-on-one sessions will help enhance your handshake, vocal clarity, physical presence, opening statement, and ability to listen.

Joy Javits comes from a family steeped in public service. Her father, Jacob K. Javits, was a United States Senator from New York and an extraordinary public speaker. Ms. Javits then developed her deep understanding of public speaking while a student at Brown University, a teacher at Yale University, and a lecturer at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Years of work in New York's professional theater, at Duke University Medical Center and UNC Hospitals (where she continues to coordinate cultural programs), and with the government as Chairman of the Orange County Arts Commission have brought Joy Javits to her current service for those in the public eye.


Conference-Wide Youth Involvement Breakfast, Highlighting Forsyth County Youth In Transition: Saturday, Aug. 13, 7:30 – 8:45 a.m.

A National Association of Counties effort spearheaded by 2007-08 President Eric Coleman of Michigan shed light on the serious issue of young people aging out of the foster care system and attempting to overcome a myriad of challenges as they transition to adulthood.

In partnership with the Forsyth County Department of Social Services, the Youth In Transition initiative works to build a conditional support system to improve outcomes for these young adults in the areas of permanence in the community, education, employment, housing, physical and mental health, financial capability, and social capital.

Speakers: Alex Hudson, Executive Director, Youth In Transition; Linda Cook, YIT Youth Leadership Board Member; Tammy Arias, YIT Youth Leadership Board Member

NACo Youth Aging Out of Foster Care Issue Brief (2007-08 Presidential Initiative)

Youth in Transition Website


Second General Session: Leadership Lessons from the Symphony: Saturday, Aug. 13, 8:45 – 9:45 a.m.

Collaboration and teamwork are essential elements of a symphony as they build understanding among musicians and allow this talented group of people to achieve a high-level performance and create a unified vision. Similar to symphony conductors, county commissioners and managers facilitate and conduct the work of people to achieve better outcomes for citizens. The work required may not always be music to one’s ears, but the creative process results in great things under the direction of a capable leader.

North Carolina Symphony Associate Conductor David Glover, accompanied by a live woodwind quintet (and some entertaining audience participation), will demonstrate these concepts during the Second General Session. The session will include a brief discussion about the role of the N.C. Symphony across the state, its relationships with local communities, the importance of arts education, and the economic impact of the arts in general. Youth Delegates representing 4-H Clubs and Boys & Girls Clubs of North Carolina will join county officials for the session.

Speaker: David Glover, Associate Conductor, North Carolina Symphony, and Lucy Moore Ruffin Chair

Musicians: Chrysalis Wind Quintet – Sarah VanSkike, flute; Kali Poore, oboe; Clifford Tam, clarinet; Ida Cawley, bassoon; and Marie Smith, horn


Third General Session: Future Trends that Will Change North Carolina’s Urban and Rural Counties: Saturday, Aug. 13, 10 – 11 a.m.

Urbanization has been accelerating for almost 100 years and future growth is expected to be concentrated in dense city-states that will attract talent and dominate job growth, innovation and productivity. How do less urbanized places compete? Are rural communities doomed to economic stagnation and decline, or is there a successful path forward? Globalization, “technological unemployment" and demographic shifts are rewriting economic competitiveness everywhere, every day. North Carolina struggles with these accelerating changes. The uncertainty impacts our ability to cope with and prepare for the future. Understanding more about the trends that appear certain can help local elected officials lead their communities to a more competitive and successful future.

This session will highlight recent findings related to economic prosperity in North Carolina, job and labor force shifts between the metropolitan and rural areas, population changes, and factors that companies consider when they are considering new investments. The data and findings from this general session will be used to inform the follow-up block of workshops that delve deeper into the interdependence and economic challenges of all NC counties.

Speaker: Ted Abernathy, Managing Partner, Economic Leadership LLC

NC Chamber Foundation Study: Spreading Economic Opportunity Across North Carolina

Workshop Block VI: Saturday, Aug. 13, 11:15 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

When Did the World of Economic Opportunity Change?

What truly drives economic investments? Is it reasonable to think all of North Carolina’s counties can have enough jobs, enough workers, and enough infrastructure to assure a living wage to all their citizens in the coming decade? How does education, asset development and regionalism fit into our picture of the future? In this block of three concurrent work sessions, attendees will be sectioned according to Prosperity Zones as defined by the NC Department of Commerce, and explore the following issues: What is my county now? What will my county look like in 10 years? How can I influence or impact that picture of the future?

Discussion leaders: Ted Abernathy, Managing Partner, Economic Leadership LLC; Donna Warner, Director, Local Elected Leaders Academy, UNC School of Government; Linda Millsaps, Research Director, NCACC; Patrice Roesler, Deputy Director, NCACC


Closing Session: Sunday, Aug. 14, 9:30 – 10:30 a.m.

Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Bailey Circus and the Power of Prayer

Storyteller Tim Lowry is a retired unicyclist. He has also developed circus acts with ducks and fire. His mother helped. At 17 years of age, Tim traveled the east coast with a theatre troupe. His mom didn't worry. In college, Tim studied Shakespeare as a theatre major. His mom was confident he would get a job, even as an arts major. In the 109th Annual Conference Closing Session, learn how the power of prayer helped Tim find his VOICE.

Speaker: Tim Lowry, storyteller