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Monthly Archive for March 2011

Elevations Luncheon to Showcase Girl Scouts

In 2012, Girl Scouts of the USA will mark 100 years of inspiring girls and young women with the ideals of courage, confidence and character. Girl Scouts is the preeminent leadership development organization for girls, with 3.7 million girl and adult members worldwide.

The next Elevations Professional Women’s Network luncheon, to be held Thursday, April 14, at Edgewood Country Club, will showcase local Girl Scout programs that build the next generation of women business and community leaders. Speaking will be Girl Scouts of Black Diamond Council CEO Susan Thompson, Board Chair Beth Walker of Bowles Rice and 2010 Gold Award recipient Skye Taylor. Working in partnership with about 4,000 volunteers, Girl Scouts of Black Diamond Council serves nearly 20,000 girls in 61 counties in West Virginia, Virginia, Ohio and Maryland.  

The event begins at 11:45 a.m. with informal networking (optional), followed by a luncheon and program at noon.  Registration is $25 for Alliance members/$35 future members through April 8. Prices increase to $35 Alliance members/$45 future members after that date.

Click here to register!

The mission of the 1,700-member Elevations Professional Women’s Network is to “enrich, empower and elevate women to achieve success.”  Through luncheons and other events featuring high-profile speakers, Elevations provides an affirmative network that connects professional women with the information, resources and contacts that helps them, their businesses and their communities succeed.  Elevations is presented by the Charleston Area Alliance and Title Sponsor DOW.

About the Girl Scout centennial

Around the country, millions of active Girl Scouts, volunteers and alumnae will come together to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Girl Scouting. Will you be one of them? Plan to attend the Girl Scouts of Black Diamond Councils weekend-long 100th Anniversary Celebration, May 4-6, 2012 in Charleston. Members, families, non-members, alumnae, donors, girls and adults – there will be something for everyone.

For more information on how to join, volunteer, or donate to Girl Scouts of Black Diamond Council, call 1-800-756-7616 or visit the council’s Web site at www.bdgsc.org.  Girl Scouts builds girls of courage, confidence and character, who make the world a better place.

The Alliance cannot invoice for groups of fewer than 10 and is unable to issue refunds for cancellations received less than 48 prior to an event.

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admin in Elevations,Events on March 31 2011 » 0 comments

Important Updates for Summit & Showcase

Hundreds of area business owners, managers, vendors and young professionals will get insider tips on elevating their success at the inaugural Charleston Small Business Summit & Showcase, to be held tomorrow, March 31.  The event is presented by the Charleston Area Alliance and Frontier Communications at the Charleston Marriott Town Center.  Advance registration will close today, March 30, at 4 p.m. 

Below is updated schedule information and room assignments to help attendees get the most out of their Small Business Summit & Showcase experience:

Showcase/expo set-up:  11 a.m.-1 p.m., Pavilion, third floor

The Showcase is SOLD OUT.  Confirmed exhibitors are asked to set up their displays during this time.

Small Business Summit:  Second floor

1:30-2 p.m.         Registration opens
2-3:15 p.m.         Workshop session 1
3:15-3:30 p.m.   Break
3:30-4:45 p.m.   Workshop session 2

Attendees will have the opportunity to attend two out of the three programs below.   Each program will be presented twice.  Admission is on a first-come, first served basis.

Small Business Sources and Solutions:  Blue Ridge Room
Meet the pros who can connect you with help on financing, planning and other issues

Moderator: Kristina Oliver , State Director, WV Small Business Development Center
Kim Donahue, U.S. Small Business Administration
Tara Elder, WV Women’s Business and Training Center
Monica Miller, Main Street West Virginia
Pat Scott, Kanawha Institute for Social Research and Empowerment (KISRA)

Maximizing Your Marketing Dollar:  Kanawha Room
Learn on how to leverage social media, your website, earned media and other marketing tools to get big results on a small budget

Moderator: Larry Malone, Malone Consulting Services
Laurel Kirksey, YWCA of Charleston
Jim Nestor, Maple Creative
Brent Pauley, Terradon Communications
Mark Wolfe, Mark Wolfe Design

Business Continuity and Disaster Preparedness:  Allegheny Room
When the unthinkable happens, will you be ready?

Bob Roush, Frontier Communications

Charleston Business Showcase/Business After Hours:  5-8 p.m., Third floor pavilion:Extensive Business Showcase  featuring premier businesses and service providers
Networking
with hundreds of area decision-makers and small business owners
Festive reception hosted by the Marriott

Advance registration will close today at 4 p.m. There are two ways to take advantage of this great opportunity:

To register for the Small Business Summit workshops and Business Showcase, click here.

To register as an individual for Business After Hours only, click here.

The Alliance cannot invoice for groups of fewer than 10 and is unable to issue refunds for cancellations received less than 48 prior to an event.

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admin in Economic Development,Events on March 30 2011 » 0 comments

Slack Plaza Plans Explored

This story aired yesterday on WCHS Radio.

There was no shortage of ideas on how to redesign Slack Plaza during a public meeting at the Charleston Civic Center Monday.

The Charleston Area Alliance held a forum where residents were encouraged to give their opinions on plans for the plaza.

Last year, the federal Environmental Protection Agency chose Charleston as one of five capital cities nationwide to be a part of the ‘Greening America’s Capitals’ program.

That program includes a grant to pay for the design portion of the project.  The EPA chose Pittsburgh-based Origin4Design to design the project, with help from the West Virginia University School of Community Design.

On Monday, those planners presented plans to that included adding green space, improving bicycle paths, building kiosks for bus stops, and creating a walkway from Capitol Street to the Charleston Town Center Mall.

WVU Professor of Landscape and Architecture Kathryn Wittner is on the team of designers for the project.  She says the most important thing to consider is feedback from residents.

“What we want is information,” Wittner said. “The best thing we can do is talk to the people who live here and try to understand the best we can what they want from Slack Plaza and what they want from the surrounding area.”

The area has been associated with crime and considered unappealing, Wittner said.  She says changing that image will take work, but it can be done.

Wittner also says the plaza is an example of the kind of project that can revitalize urban areas around the country.

“The bigger picture is actually making this country greener, and healthier and stronger,” Wittner said.  “The smaller picture is actually developing this plaza and creating a space that people can use on a daily basis.”

On Tuesday, designers will draw up plans all day at City Hall.  Wittner says they will present whatever they come up with on Wednesday.

“We’ll probably come up with a lot of overall designs, and look at a lot of detail,” Wittner said.  “On Wednesday morning, we’ll present all of our work.  And then we’ll go back and come up with a report that will probably come out at the beginning of summer sometime.”

If plans are finalized, the city will have to come up with the money for construction.  The EPA grants pays only for the design portion of the project.

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Be Part of One of Charleston’s Most Glamorous Events

Help support Generation Charleston and College Summit while enjoying one of the year’s most glamorous events.

Tickets in advance are $25 each, but your business or organization can sponsor a Charliewood table and get 10 tickets, along with logo recognition at the event.

Contact Danny Forinash for information about table sponsorships.

GC is rolling out the red carpet for Charliewood, a gala paying homage to 1940s Hollywood. The April 9 event will run from 8 p.m. to midnight at 405 Capitol St., the old Daniel Boone Hotel.

Tickets proceeds go toward a College Summit scholarship. 

The event features appetizers and beer, live music, a DJ and door prizes.

Tickets are $25 in advance and $35 at the door. Click here to register as an individual.

BrickStreet Insurance is the title sponsor of Generation Charleston.

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admin in Events,Generation Charleston on March 29 2011 » 0 comments

Speaker Series to Host Daniel Kurtzer

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admin in Member Posts on March 29 2011 » 0 comments

Only a Few Vendor Slots Remain

Space is running out for the opportunity to showcase your product, service or organization to hundreds of business and community leaders and young professionals during the Charleston Business Showcase.

The Showcase will be held 5 to 8 p.m., Thursday, March 31 at the Charleston Marriott Town Center.  

Held in conjunction with our popular Business After Hours, the Business Showcase provides an upbeat setting for making personal connections with customers and clients and interacting with other businesses representing a broad spectrum of our community. Space is very limited and is available on a first-come basis.

Fees are $250 Alliance members/$325 future members.

For more information, email Ric Cavender or call him at (304) 340-4253.

To register for the Small Business Summit workshops that precede the Business Showcase, click here.

To register as an individual for Business After Hours, click here.

The Alliance cannot invoice for groups of fewer than 10 and is unable to issue refunds for cancellations received less than 48 prior to an event.

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admin in Economic Development,Events on March 28 2011 » 0 comments

Learn How to Get on the Big Screen

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admin in Member Posts on March 28 2011 » 0 comments

Local Startup More Than Just a Wing and a Prayer

The story below appeared in yesterday’s Charleston Daily Mail. Air Robotics is a tenant in the Charleston’s Area Alliance’s Small Business Incubator.

By Catherine Caudill
For the Daily Mail

It started as a hobby — a love for building model airplanes.

Nearly a decade later Jeff Imel had created one of the most sophisticated drones on the market, which is uniquely multifunctional and virtually indestructible.

No really, he has shot bullets through it.

With no vertical surfaces and its jet-black paint job, Imel’s unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) looks somewhat like a miniature stealth bomber.

It has a 6-foot wingspan and weighs only 2.5 pounds. A payload pod sits below the wings, which can store different types of equipment weighing up to 15 pounds. This swap-out feature is unique.

“We’re the only UAV on the marketplace that is not mono-mission,” Imel said. “Every UAV in the marketplace today take payload and design the aircraft around it.”

Instead, Imel’s drone can carry many different kinds of cameras and sensors. Whether he’s constructing a three-dimensional map of the terrain below or searching for chemicals on the ground, Imel’s UAV can supply the data he needs.

The aircraft also has unique endurance. Imel recognized this when his drone was still a model airplane.

“It flew so well, we discovered it could carry three times more payload than a normal UAV and fly four times longer,” he said.

So Imel went into business. He spent the next several years perfecting his model and experimenting with different payloads to broaden the capabilities of his UAV.

Originally he planned to

market it to the military as a carrier of nuclear, biological and chemical sensors. Imel was familiar with this market, having worked for defense contractors on cruise missile guidance for a couple of years.

But during his experiments he stumbled upon some useful data that has unique significance in West Virginia.

Selenium is a chemical that occurs naturally in the earth but can be toxic in high concentrations.

When the earth is disturbed by heavy industry, selenium is released and bleeds into the water supply. This is a particularly contentious issue between the coal industry and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

“This is a game-changer for the coal industry,” Imel said. “Before they really did not know where the selenium was coming from. You look at the ground from the air, and you can’t see the pollution. Up until now they had to do spot testing.”

Imel said curtailing the selenium “may be as simple as planting some vegetation or contouring the earth.”

But to do so, the industry must know precisely where the selenium leak is.

“With our camera you can see exactly where it’s coming from,” he said. “Our technology allows companies to keep their existing permits and allows them to get more permits by verifying they’re protecting the streams.”

One of the UAV’s most fascinating features is its durability.

“I determined along the way it needed to be built out of material that was indestructible,” said Imel. “Most customers will be flying in areas where there are no runways. They live a really rough life. They have to be able to survive.”

Imel selected special foam to serve this purpose. He also invented a lacquer that maintains the foam’s shape.

“We came up with a process to increase the strength of the weight, but still maintain its crushability,” he said. “We’re the only UAV you could run over with a truck and still not break it.”

The truck-test is just one among many trials of abuse his UAVs endured. One prototype fell 600 feet from the sky and it “just needed a little dusting.”

Another was attacked by a hawk while gliding on autopilot. The bird clenched one of the drone’s wings in its talons. The drone’s propeller kicked on when it sensed it was losing altitude and frightened away the bird.

Imel has even shot bullets through the UAV. The foam simply expanded to fill the holes.

The UAV doesn’t need a runway to land. It simply plops down on its belly unharmed. To launch his UAV, Imel needs only a small clearing to jog a bit and throw it forward.

Unlike a typical remote-controlled model airplane, Imel’s UAV flies itself.

“This truly is a flying robot,” he said. “You program it to where you want it to fly, and it flies itself. It has all the avionics you’d find (on an airplane), including a black box. There’s a data link; you know where it is at all times because there is a GPS receiver on it.”

Imel spent six years researching and developing the aircraft, perfecting its structure and the intellectual property.

He moved to Charleston from Indiana about two years ago to plant his business. He had considered several cities in several states to get started, but he found Charleston offered the ideal climate for a start-up business.

Here he found everything he needed to build his models and advance his business: the Charleston Area Alliance, TechConnect WestVirginia, and the Robert C. Byrd Institute for Advanced Flexible Manufacturing among other resources.

“Everything was here,” said Imel. “It felt like critical mass.” (more…)

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Help Us Shape the Future of Slack Plaza

Have you ever looked at Slack Plaza and wondered, “What if?”

What if … Slack Plaza was inviting to bicyclists?

What if … People could view public art from Capitol Street to the Charleston Town Center?

What if … Slack Plaza was greener and hosted live music?

What if … Slack Plaza was a centerpiece for the region?

The Charleston Area Alliance and the City of Charleston invite you to an interactive public meeting at 6 p.m. Monday, March 28 at the Charleston Civic Center, WV Room 105.

Last September, the federal Environmental Protection Agency chose Charleston as one of five cities to be a part of the Greening America’s Capitals Program, which secured federal funding for a professional design of the area.

The project seeks to create a new vision for the plaza that will exemplify the very best practices of sustainability, green building, technology, infrastructure and systems that will catalyze further greening of downtown Charleston.

Help us redesign this key downtown location.

Contact Susie Salisbury for more information.

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Disaster Planning Among Topics at Summit

A natural disaster doesn’t have to be as dramatic as those in Japan to have a devastating impact on your business. Even a small fire, flood or storm can destroy a lifetime of work and data. 

What steps can your company take to avoid the unthinkable? Find out at “Business Continuity and Disaster Preparedness,” one of three workshops to be presented March 31 at the inaugural Small Business Summit & Showcase by the Charleston Area Alliance and Frontier Communications. The workshops will be followed by the annual Business Showcase/Business After Hours.

Twelve of the area’s leading small business experts will share their insights on issues including crisis management, guerilla marketing, access to capital/financial assistance and social media during afternoon workshops designed for small business owners, entrepreneurs and managers who want to take their business to the next level. 

The event features:

  • Afternoon of workshops offering insights and tips to elevate your success
  • Extensive Business Showcase  featuring 40+ premier businesses and service providers
  • Networking with hundreds of area decision-makers and small business owners
  • Festive reception hosted by the Marriott

There are three ways to take advantage of this great opportunity:

Register here!

The Small Business Summit will feature three panel discussions on hot-button issues affecting small businesses.  Each panel will run from 2:00-3:15 p.m. and will be repeated from  3:30-4:45 p.m.

Registrants will be able to attend two of the following three sessions:

Small Business Sources and Solutions
Meet the pros who can connect you with help on financing, planning and other issues

Moderator: Kristina Oliver, State Director, WV Small Business Development Center

Kim Donahue, Small Business Administration

Tara Elder, WV Women’s Business and Training Center

Monica Miller, Main Street West Virginia

Pat Scott

Kanawha institute for Social research and Empowerment (KISRA)

Maximizing Your Marketing Dollar
Learn on how to leverage social media, your website, earned media and other marketing tools to get big results on a small budget

Moderator: Larry Malone, Malone Consulting Services

Laurel Kirksey, YWCA of Charleston

Jim Nestor, Maple Creative

Brent Pauley, Terradon

Mark Wolfe, Mark Wolfe Design

Business Continuity and Disaster Preparedness
When the unthinkable happens, will you be ready?

Bob Roush, Frontier Communications

The Alliance cannot invoice for groups of fewer than 10 and is unable to issue refunds for cancellations received less than 48 prior to an event.

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admin in Economic Development,Events on March 24 2011 » 0 comments

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