CHOCTAW — More than twice the number of people attended the second annual technology forum held April 28-29 at the Pearl River Resort in Choctaw, co-sponsored by the Mississippi Technology Alliance.
“We didn’t expect so many, but we were very pleased,” said Creda Stewart, spokesperson for the tribe. The Choctaw Shift-2 Technology Conference was a free event open to the business community.
“We budgeted and planned for about 250 attendees and ended up with about 350 registrants representing a good cross section of small to large companies, the education sector, government agencies, venture capitalists, investment bankers and even attorneys. More than 13 states and Canada were represented. People who really wanted to do business were part of this group.”
During the forum, a Los Angeles financial news production team fed live video to financial markets.
“During break-ins from stock reports, we were doing live interviews,” said Stewart. “That was a real fun activity we enjoyed producing with them.”
More than 170 attendees toured the reservation Monday morning to get a closer look at the tribe’s diverse business operations. “We learned that last year, people wanted an opportunity to really see what was going on,” said Creda. “When they see the progress being made, everyone is blown away.”
When the first pairing of golfers teed off Monday at noon for the scramble golf tournament at Dancing Rabbit Golf Club, some 80 golfers were signed up. “By the time we finished play, we had more than 110 golfers,” she said. “It was beautiful weather.”
Two weeks prior to the event, 14 booths were registered for the forum expo at the Silver Star Convention Center. But on Monday night, the expo opened with 28 booths, most of them touting technology and education.
On Monday night, the Choctaw Central High School’s FIRST Robotics team, which received the prestigious Judges’ Award at the Lone Star Regional FIRST Robotics competition in Houston, Texas, in 2001, and has been supported by NASA, unveiled Tauska, a robot whose name means ‘warrior’ in Choctaw.
“We staged a laser show, the robot unfolded and entered with the theme from ‘2001: A Space Odyssey,’ and cut the ribbon with a laser light,” said Stewart. “It was a fun way to kick it off the evening.”
Jay Honeycutt, president of Lockheed Martin Space Operations, signed a mentor-prot