FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  September 24, 2013

Contacts: Shelly Baron, 501-537-0190 or 
Steve Patterson, 501-537-0190 or

Policy Roundtable To Feature Wide-Ranging Discussion on Future of Industry in Arkansas
Participants Will Also Receive Free Social Media Training


Little Rock, AR – More than 150 advanced energy leaders are expected in North Little Rock on October 1 for a one-day conference called “emPOWERing Arkansas” that includes a free-wheeling policy roundtable discussion and a special training on utilizing social media, according to the host organization, Arkansas Advanced Energy Association (AAEA).

Sponsored by Baldor Electric, the 9:30 am policy roundtable entitled The Role of State Policy in Driving the Advanced Energy Industry is the first program of the day at the Riverfront Wyndham Hotel in North Little Rock.  Moderators Tom Plant and Ken Smith will engage participants in a broad range of policy discussions focusing on recent changes to state energy efficiency incentives and financing policies, clean burning fuel incentives, new technologies that have enhanced industrial energy efficiency as well as an evaluation of current policies on renewable energy development and strategies.

Plant is Vice President of State Policy with AAEA’s national partner, the Advanced Energy Economy (AEE).  He served for eight years in the Colorado legislature as a State Representativeand was later appointed to then-Governor Bill Ritter’s Cabinet as Director of the Governor’s Energy Office.  In 2011, Tom joined Governor Ritter at the Center for the New Energy Economy, working with states around the country in evaluation of their energy plans and assisting in the development of new approaches to expand clean energy opportunities..

Smith has served as AAEA’s Policy Director since the organization was launched in 2012.  He established the first Nature Conservancy office in Arkansas in the 1980s and later served as Executive Director of the Ozark Natural Science Center. During the Clinton Administration, Smith served as Deputy Chief of Staff at the U.S. Department and later was elevated to Assistant Secretary for Fish and. After returning to Arkansas, Smith became Vice President and Executive Director of Audubon Arkansas until 2010.     

We are looking forward to the roundtable discussion as a good sounding board for deciding AAEA’s future policy agenda,” said Steve Patterson, AAEA Executive Director.  “Both Tom and Ken have a good grasp of the advanced energy policy landscape and they understand the impact that legislative and regulatory policies can have on emerging technologies like advanced energy.”

The policy roundtable leads into the day’s featured event, a luncheon highlighted by a speech from former Governor of Colorado Bill Ritter.  The afternoon programs will include a panel on access to capital for advanced energy companies; a second panel that will examine the private sector economic impact of the state agencies’ Guaranteed Energy Cost Savings Program, and a research/innovation expo and networking reception. 

One special presentation during the day begins at 3:00pm and offers participants a free, one-hour training on ways to improve their company’s presence on social media. Matt Dromi and Brent Robinson, partners and social media strategists with modthink of Fayetteville, will present Harnessing the Power of Social Media for Advanced Energy Business Growth.  

Most companies know they need to harness the power of social media, but many are struggling with the risks and reward of creating more transparency about their company on the Internet. The workshop includes an introduction to social media concepts, supporting science, and organization principles. The presenters will provide hands-on training for participants to learn how to increase their exposure, strengthen relationships with clients/customers, market with a more authentic voice, and maximize profits – all leading to greater success for their business. Participants will leave the workshop with tips that will lead to immediate impact. This workshop will help participants navigate the changing wave of marketing strategy and the shift of influential power in messaging.

“emPOWERing Arkansas” is presented this year by Viridian USA in partnership with the University of Arkansas College of Engineering. 

AAEA Members and Guests: For event information, registration, and sponsorship opportunities, please visit: 

Members of the media: Please contact Shelly Baron at (501) 537-0190 or for information on media credentials.

Arkansas Advanced Energy Association is a business group dedicated to growing Arkansas’s economy by expanding our energy workforce and manufacturing base through the increased development, manufacture, and utilization of advanced energy technologies. 

The Arkansas Advanced Energy Foundation is the educational affiliate of the AAEA. The Foundation promotes greater public understanding of advanced energy in Arkansas through research, public education programs and economic and workforce development. The Foundation is dedicated to informing the energy policy debate with well-researched, fact-based data on the advanced energy economy in Arkansas and by providing a public forum where state leaders can address Arkansas’s energy challenges for the future.

Report Shows Global Economic Impacts of Advanced Energy
A new report released in January 2013 by Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) shows that advanced energy was a $1.1 trillion global market in 2011, larger than pharmaceutical manufacturing worldwide. The first-ever analysis of the advanced energy sector also shows that the market in the U.S. represents a significant part of the nation’s economy, with $132 billion in revenue in 2011, and a 19 percent growth rate estimated for 2012, with U.S. revenue rising to $157 billion. Read the full report here:

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