Rural Opportunities Conference

ROC logo
April 25-26, 2017
Courtyard by Marriott
Junction City, Kansas


April 25, 2017

8:00 a.m. Exhibitor move-in
10:00 a.m. Registration and Exhibits open 
11:30 a.m.  Luncheon 
11:50 a.m.  Welcome Remarks - Kansas Commerce Secretary Antonio Soave 
12:45 p.m.  Energizing Civic Engagement Through Leadership
Exercising leadership on civic issues 
is difficult. It requires conversations with all voices of the community. Ed O'Malley, Kansas Leadership Center, will discuss issues such as identifying factions, engaging all voice of the community, and moving forward to make progress on difficult issues a community might encounter.
1:45 p.m.  Panel Discussion
Panelists Dave Toland, Thrive Allen County; and Melissa McCoy, City of Dodge City will present on how they have maintained and energized their community leadership.

2:15 p.m.  Table Talk
2:30 p.m.  Break - Exhibits open
2:45 p.m.  Strategic Planning - Not How, Why?
We have all heard how to do strategic planning, what we may not have heard is why. Strategic planning is the one tool that will help any organization to determine their path to success. Not implementing a strategic plan may lead to many years of wondering in the wilderness. Jeff Tucker, K-State's Advanced Manufacturing Institute will give an overview of why strategic planning works and how valuable it is in moving your organization forward. 
3:15 p.m.  Panel Discussion
Panelists Katie Eisenhour, Scott County Development Committee, Inc.; Joanne Knight, Dodge City/Ford County EDC; Tara Vance, Norton Community Foundation; and Stephanie Simmons, Mitchell County Hospital will share their experiences and successes from their organizations' strategic planning processes.
4:00 p.m.  Table Talk
4:45 p.m. - 6:45 p.m. Tradeshow Reception - Exhibits open

April 26, 2017

8:00 a.m.  Continental Breakfast - Exhibits open
8:30 a.m. Agriculture, New Market Opportunities
If we are going to move our agricultural community forward, we must take advantage of new market opportunities. Josh Roe, Kansas Department of Agriculture will give an overview of some of the new opportunities in agriculture markets and what it takes to enter the markets.
9:00 a.m.  Panel Discussion
Panelists Kerry Wefald, Kansas Department of Agriculture; and Angie Bergmeier, will present on some of the new markets available and how to grow that market.
9:45 a.m.  Table Talk
10:15 a.m.  Break - Exhibits open
10:30 a.m. The Next Generation of Rural Kansans: Succession Planning
With aging and diminishing populations in some rural communities, how do we transfer not only material wealth from one generation to the next, but how do we make these transfers in the different segments of our communities? Trudy Rice will give an overview of the process for succession planning and identifying the segments of our communities that are rapidly facing the need for transfer of experience and knowledge.
10:45 a.m. Panel Discussion
Panelists Wally Meyer, KU Redtire; Gregg Hadley, K-State Research & Extension; and Erik Sartorius, League of Kansas Municipalities will offer guidance in success planning for small businesses, agriculture and community leadership respectively.
11:45 a.m.  Table Talk
12:00 p.m.  Luncheon
12:50 p.m.  Addressing Rural Poverty
 Many of our rural communities are faced with not only declining infrastructure, but they are faced with economic poverty of their population base. This ailment impacts the community's ability to address not only their infrastructural needs, but also their quality of life factors. Heather Morgan, Project 17, will give the overview showing the impact of economic poverty upon our communities and share some solutions for addressing this need.
1:20 p.m.  Panel Discussion
Panelists Elaine Johannes, K-State Research & Extension; Jeanette Siemens, Circles Coordinator - Pratt; and Becky Gray, City of Pittsburg will give examples of various programs and processes that they have worked with in helping to address rural poverty.
2:10 p.m.  Table Talk
2:30 p.m. Adjourn
Times and session titles are subject to change. Session descriptions and speaker information will be added to this site in the coming weeks.

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For more information about the Rural Opportunities Conference, contact Susan NeuPoth Cadoret at or (785) 296-7198.