Workshops & Speakers

The NCACC will continuously update this page with summaries of each session and workshop, and information on the presenters.

Note that, new for 2018, Steering Committees will take "deep dives" into topics of interest on Thursday from 9:30 - 11 a.m. Plan your travel and itinerary accordingly!


Second General Session: Saturday, August 25, 8:45 - 10:15 a.m.

Sam Quinones is a journalist, storyteller, former LA Times reporter, and author of three acclaimed books of narrative nonfiction, including Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic. The book weaves together tales that reveal how unfettered prescriptions of pain medications during the 1990s collided with an influx of black tar heroin, which, when combined with a brilliant marketing and distribution system, resulted in today’s public opiate crisis.

Quinones will share this story and discuss his insights into how counties have been at the forefront of a long process of rebuilding communities that have been destroyed by societal forces.




Steering Committee topical 'deep dives,' 9:30 - 11 a.m.
These Steering Committee-sponsored sessions will take an in-depth look at a county-related topic through NCACC staff presentations and committee discussion. You do not need to be a Steering Committee member to attend.

  • Justice and Public Safety: Inmate medical care
  • Public Education: School funding allotment formula
  • Taxation and Finance: Sales tax distribution

Workshop Blocks I-II, 1:30 - 4:30 p.m.

1:30 - 4:30 p.m.
Building Strong and Resilient Teams in County Government
This highly interactive and practical presentation will engage participants in discussions on building effective and resilient teams both internally to the county and externally to the community. Participants will learn the principles of effective teams and the strategies behind creating teams, gain an understanding of the process of building strong coalitions around important public issues, and engage in discussion on how county government can provide leadership in building those coalitions.

Facilitator: Dan Clark, Director, Montana State University Local Government Center

1:30 – 4 p.m.
Furniture Movers and Shakers: Academy’s Custom Training Meets New Needs for Traditional Industry
The Catawba Valley Furniture Academy is an industry-driven training program designed by local furniture manufacturers to prepare students for skilled positions that are in high demand by one of the region's largest employers. This unique opportunity results in almost guaranteed employment for those who complete the program.

Transportation will be provided to this off-site workshop, where attendees will learn about the program's partners, inception and curriculum design during an overview and tour of the facility.

Bus or shuttle transportation will depart from the Convention Center entrance at 1:30 p.m. for a 15-minute ride to the Academy (973 Locust St.). Participants will return to the Convention Center no later than 4 p.m. Refreshments will be provided on-site. Wear comfortable shoes!

Facilitator: Lori Price, Catawba Valley Community College Business & Industry Services

Workshop Block II, 3:15 - 4:30 p.m.

The New MOUs Between NC DHHS and Counties
House Bill 630 (Rylan’s Law) required each county to sign by July 1 a Memorandum of Understanding that enumerates certain performance standards to be met by every Department of Social Services in the state. This session provides an in-depth look at the performance requirements, corrective action plans, and examples of communication between county Departments of Social Services, county managers and Boards of Commissioners.


Workshop Block III, 10:15 - 11:30 a.m.

Programs that Work! Workforce Development Initiatives Helping Youth Thrive
This session will showcase three successful workforce development initiatives that focus or have a component that focuses on helping young people enter the workforce. Through brief, Thrive Summit-style presentations, workshop attendees will learn about: 1) two programs administered through the Piedmont Triad Regional Council: the NextGen Youth Program that serves youth who require additional assistance to enter or complete an education program or to secure or hold employment; and the “Dream It. Do It.” initiative that helps connect local manufacturers, schools, community colleges, community-based organizations and other stakeholders to inspire next-generation workers to pursue careers in manufacturing. 2) Work in Burke, a program designed to educate students and their parents about the job opportunities available in Burke County and the training required to pursue a career in those fields. 3) a third program to be determined.

Speaker and moderator: NCACC President Brenda Howerton, Durham County Commissioner
Speakers: Wendy Walker-Fox, Workforce Program Director, Piedmont Triad Regional Council; Alan Wood, President/CEO, or Sara Chester, Project and Communications Manager, Burke Development Incorporated

HOPE in the Battle Against the Opiate Epidemic
As the tentacles of the opiate epidemic have spread and devastated families and communities, the social safety net has responded, with some innovative efforts finding lasting impact. This workshop will speak to local responses that seek to provide safe and quick assistance to those who are struggling to overcome their opiate addiction: the Town of Nashville’s HOPE Initiative, Brunswick County’s Anchor Initiative, and Orange County’s Coordinated Opioid Overdose Reduction Effort (COORE).

Speaker and moderator: NCACC Past President Fred McClure, Davidson County Commissioner
Speakers: Thomas Bashore, Chief of Police, Town of Nashville; John W. Ingram, V, Sheriff, Brunswick County; and Charles Blackwood, Sheriff, and Merrily Cheek, Planning & Development Coordinator, Orange County Sheriff’s Office

Thomas Edison and the Rise of Innovation
Join professional storyteller Tim Lowry for an entertaining and informative workshop based on the life of America’s most prolific inventor. Using stories from the fascinating career of Mr. Thomas Edison, Tim will lead the group in several exercises that will help you fight acceptance of failure and predetermined outcomes.

Active Shooters in Schools: Liability Issues, Funding, Prevention and Response Tactics
What happens in the case of an “active shooter” at a school? What are the factors that play into how and why they occur? This workshop will provide facts and a history of school shootings, and a forum for discussion of preparation and prevention strategies, basic response tactics, and liability issues.

Speaker: Troy Pitcock, Law Enforcement Loss Control Field Representative, Kentucky League of Cities, and consultant, Law Enforcement Risk Management Group

Sponsored by the NCACC Risk Management Pools

Workshop Block IV, 1:30 - 2:45 p.m.

The Changing Landscape for Human Services Organization and Governance
This session will provide an overview and discussion of a county’s options to organize and govern human services, and share lessons learned.

Speaker and moderator: NCACC First Vice President Kevin Austin, Yadkin County Chair
Speaker: Aimee Wall, Thomas Willis Lambeth Distinguished Chair in Public Policy, UNC School of Government

Workshop Block V, 3:15 - 5 p.m.

Screen Heroin(e), and Discuss Opioid Epidemic Response in Your County
Heroin(e), an original Netflix short documentary, follows three women – Fire Chief Jan Rader, drug court Judge Patricia Keller, and the Brown Bag Ministry’s Necia Freeman – working in coordination to combat the opioid epidemic in heroin-ravaged Huntington, West Virginia. Attend this session to view the film and participate in a follow-up discussion on how you view the epidemic in your own county, and what initiatives your county (if any) is participating in to attempt to address the problem.

Discussion facilitator: Tara Conrad, System of Care Manager, Partners Behavioral Health Management

Screen Resilience, and Discuss Its Impacts on Public Health in Your County
The short documentary Resilience digs into the science behind Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and about the impacts that toxic stress has on children. The national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have linked ACEs to risky health behaviors such as smoking, alcoholism and drug use; chronic health conditions such as obesity, diabetes, depression, cancer and heart disease; low life potential and early death. Attend this session to view the film, learn about the new prevention therapies, and engage in follow-up discussion on the importance of fighting back against this toxic stress for the short- and long-term well-being of your community.

Discussion facilitator: Sharon Hirsch, President and CEO, Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina

#FreeSpeech and #PublicRecords Considerations for Social Media
OK Tweeps, so you’re engaging your constituents on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn, Twitter and every other social media platform under the sun. But do you know if that eye roll emoji 🙄 you posted last night at 9:51 p.m. (in response to a fellow commissioner’s post) is public record? What if you deleted said emoji at 9:53 p.m.? And what if Patti the paralegal in your county attorney’s office caught wind of an economic development project you’ve been trying to keep under wraps – 😮 OMG! – and is posting about great new jobs on the way on Facebook? Can you order them to delete their comments? 🤔 In this session, UNC School of Government faculty Frayda Bluestein and Bob Joyce will separate #facts from #fakenews to keep you from running afoul of free speech and public records law when you’re on social media. 👍

Speakers: Frayda Bluestein, David M. Lawrence Distinguished Professor of Public Law and Government, and Bob Joyce, Charles Edwin Hinsdale Professor of Public Law and Government, UNC School of Government


Workshop Block VI, 10:30 - 11:45 a.m.

Workshops to include:

  • Host county highlight of Catawba County K-64, an innovative approach to drive local workforce growth by partnering business with education to cultivate connections between the classroom and real-world careers for students of all ages.

Workshop Block VII, 1:15 – 2:30 p.m.

Engaging Youth in Reimagining Your County’s Possibilities
Boards of Commissioners are but stewards of the county for a duration of time. Today’s leaders often cite a desire to help the next generation transition into the workforce and positions of leadership within a community. But is the voice of the youth part of your county’s equation as it works toward solutions to issues that impact the next generation? This workshop will feature a panel of youth involved in organized youth councils that demonstrate buy-in and ownership of a county’s future, through the voice of the county’s future!

Speaker and moderator: NCACC Second Vice President Ronnie Smith, Martin County Commissioner

Steering Committee topical 'deep dives'
These Steering Committee-sponsored sessions will take an in-depth look at a county-related topic through NCACC staff presentations and committee discussion. You do not need to be a Steering Committee member to attend.

  • Health and Human Services: Medicaid transformation
  • General Government: Broadband infrastructure