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MTA hosting seventh-annual Conference on High Technology

JACKSON — On December 6, a cross section of business and community leaders, economic developers, public officials and those simply interested in the state’s high-tech industry will once again gather in downtown Jackson. The Seventh Annual Conference on High Technology, presented by the Mississippi Technology Alliance (MTA) and the Mississippi Research Consortium, which is composed of Mississippi State University, University of Mississippi, Jackson State University (JSU) and the University of Southern Mississippi, will be held December 6, from 8 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. at the Mississippi TelCom Center.

In addition to general and breakout sessions, the event will include venture capitalist and former Apple Computer Inc. executive Guy Kawasaki as guest speaker, “Boot Camp Training,” exhibitors as well as breakfast and lunch. MTA spokesperson Heath Hall said the conference’s mission is three-fold.

“One, it brings together industry leaders, academia and the public sector to discuss the drivers of the high-tech industry,” Hall said. “Two, it is a great networking opportunity. And, three, it offers education through our panels and speakers such as ‘Boot Camp.’”

The “Boot Camps” are composed of economic development leaders who look to integrate technology into economic development plans. The camps are customized for the attendees. For instance, there will be a manufacturing boot camp that will focus on high-tech issues surrounding goods-makers.

The MTA is expecting 500-600 attendees at this year’s conference, which for the first time is being held at the new Mississippi TelCom Center. Hall said the MTA is also expecting 35-40 exhibitors at the conference, which is backed by more than 65 corporate sponsors.

On December 5, the President’s Reception will be held, honoring the event’s top sponsors as well as its speakers.
The conference kicks off December 6 at 7:30 a.m. with registration and a continental breakfast. At 8:15 a.m., the morning session will begin, led by Dr. Randy Goldsmith, the newly appointed president and chief executive officer of the MTA.

The first breakout session, scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m., will provide an expert panel that will discuss innovative ways to develop communities, companies, communications capital and clusters. The second breakout session, to start at 10:45 a.m., will explore this same issue in more depth.

Hall said he believes Kawasaki will be a big draw. Director of Garage Technology Ventures, an early-stage venture capital firm, author of such books as “The Art of the Start,” “Rules for Revolutionaries” and “Selling the Dream,” columnist for Forbes.com as well as a Apple Fellow with the computer maker, Kawasaki has forged a reputation as an expert speaker who injects a lot of personality and humor in his presentations.

“People I have talked to who have heard him speak love him,” Hall said.

Tickets for the conference are $35 each.
For more information or to register, call (601) 960-3610. Information and registration is also available online at the MTA’s Web site — http://www.technologyalliance.ms/.

Contact MBJ staff writer Wally Northway at northway@msbusiness.com.

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