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Musgrove, Parker will also be on hand to address large crowd

Gergen headlines annual NBC Issues Forum Oct. 28

STARKVILLE – David Gergen, editor-at-large of U.S. News & World Report, will be the keynote speaker at the 16th annual NBC Issues Forum at the Wise Center Auditorium at the College of Veterinary Medicine on the Mississippi State University campus in Starkville on Oct. 28.

Lewis F. Mallory Jr., chairman and CEO of NBC Capital Corp., said Gergen, a Harvard professor and frequent lecturer who served as a White House advisor to Presidents Nixon, Ford, Reagan and Clinton, is one of several experts that will speak about business and the global economy.

“(David Gergen’s) White House experiences have given him the opportunity to work with some of the most notable public figures of the past quarter century,” said Mallory. “His experiences and insights gleaned from serving in both Republican and Democratic administrations should be very interesting to NBC Issues Forum attendees.”

Sponsored by the National Bank of Commerce of Mississippi in Starkville, about 400 area business leaders attended last year’s forum, which featured Dr. Jeane J. Kirkpatrick, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, as the keynote speaker.

Morris Denton, president of the Columbus-Lowndes Chamber of Commerce, said area business leaders are appreciative that NBC brings in speakers “whose subjects bring insight to new business concepts or the effect of government trends and the economy of business.”

“It is information that is vital to the health of all businesses,” Denton said.

Rex Buffington, director of the Stennis Center for Public Service at Mississippi State University, said he looks forward to the camaraderie as much as the forum itself.

“It provides those of us in the area an opportunity to come together and to hear experts speak about the future and to really think about the future ourselves with the stimulation that we get from them,” Buffington said. “It’s always a superb program that really is far beyond what you would expect to have in this area. There’s always a full house and it is an event that is greatly anticipated every year.”

Gubernatorial candidates, Ronnie Musgrove, the Democratic candidate and current Lieutenant Governor, and Mike Parker, Republican candidate and former U.S. Congressman, are slated to speak at this year’s forum.

“Our special format allows the candidate to express their views and plans for the future of the state, and respond to questions from the audience,” Mallory said.

W. G. “Mickey” Holliman, chairman and CEO of St. Louis-based Furniture Brands International, the largest manufacturer of residential furniture in the U.S., and Dr. Jeffrey Rosensweig, associate dean of corporate relations at Emory University, a past forum participant, will talk about business in the new millennium.

Chris Sheffield of the Mississippi Appalachian Regional Office in Tupelo has attended the forum for the past four years.

“The NBC Issues Forum is one event that I always make room for on my calendar,” Sheffield said. “I am continually impressed by the caliber of speakers, the timeliness of the topics and the overall organization. Two of the highlights for me have been getting to meet Steve Forbes and Lamar Alexander, and to hear them speak in depth on issues of the economy and trends in business and industry. One of the most marvelous speakers was Jeremy Rifin, whose ‘The End of Work’ is a must-read for anyone fascinated by trends in the workforce and global economy.”

Warren Pickle, owner of Pickle Funeral Homes in Amory, a regular NBC Forum attendee, said the speakers are always very informative.

“We don’t have the opportunity to have those folks in Mississippi every day, so it’s always a pleasure to hear their slant on things,” Pickle said. “We don’t get to hear from guys like Steve Forbes on a daily basis. It’s always interested to hear those guys on a national level talk to us.”

Previous speakers include Bernie Ebbers, president and CEO of MCI WorldCom, former governor of Tennessee Lamar Alexander and Steve Forbes, president and CEO of Forbes Inc. Alexander and Forbes were former presidential candidates.

Contact MBJ contributing writer Lynne Wilbanks Jeter at lwjeter@yahoo.com or mbj@msbusiness.com.

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