A&M-Commerce Hosts Small Business Entrepreneur Conference

Apr 6, 2012

COMMERCE - Texas A&M University-Commerce will host its first Small Business Entrepreneurship Conference (SBECON 2012) next Tuesday April 10, 2012 from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Sam Rayburn Student Center.

The conference will address economic development and entrepreneurship and the importance of regionalism in economic recovery and progress. Ideas will be shared and attention focused on developing a culture promoting small business, entrepreneurship and economic development for Northeast Texas; a regional event not to miss.

A highlight of the morning’s presentations will be a panel discussion made up of EDC directors in the region along with representatives from other organizations that play a key role in economic development. During lunch, there will be a first person experience in beginning a business in the region provided for attendees.

Outstanding speakers experienced in economic development and entrepreneurship will be the core of the conference.  Ms. Mabrie Jackson, president and chief executive officer of the North Texas Commission, will open the day’s agenda with a presentation on regional issues and the workforce, the relationship of economic development and entrepreneurship, and the university’s role in entrepreneurism.

Guest speakers to discuss key information about entrepreneurship and economic development include:

Greg Clary, Ph.D.—economist for the Texas AgriLife Extension Service and chairman of the Texas Center for Rural Entrepreneurship

Mark S. Long—consultant at Long Performance Advisors who brings more than 30 years of progressive responsibility and diversified experience in the biomedical/biotechnology industry

Doug Ridge—director of the Office of Employer Initiatives for the Texas Workforce Commission and brings more than 25 years of business experience to the position

Tim Wilson—director of the Northeast/Texarkana SBDC at Northeast Texas Community College and has been an entrepreneur since 1988, having started or partnered in five small businesses

Mabrie Jackson—president and CEO of the North Texas Commission and brings a varied background that includes public service through a seat on the Plano City Council, roles with Fortune 500 companies, and most recently, serving as the interim president and CEO of the Plano Chamber of Commerce.

Shannon Arnold Foltz—entrepreneur at Just Pie. As a 20-year construction veteran turned artisan baker she is living her dreams as a successful business owner located in West Tawakoni, Texas.

Greg Sims—president and CEO of Greenville Economic Development who prior to his current job accumulated and managed a $16 million real estate loan and deposit asset portfolio; in addition to facilitated the development of over $1 billion in new tax base growth during his tenure with projects and clients such as AMC Theaters, Bass Pro Shop, Brinker International and many more.

Steve Gilbert— executive director of the Paris, Texas Economic Development Corporation and brings more than 25 years of experience as a civic entrepreneur, more than 15  years in the chamber of commerce, and as the. He provides community leadership and implementation of aggressive industrial recruiting, business retention and expansion initiatives.

The conference is sponsored by the Paris, Greenville, Sulphur Springs and Commerce EDCs in addition to the Red River Regional Business Incubator.

The per-person $25 registration fee includes lunch and admittance to the conference. On-site registration is available at the door for $35.

Online registration is easy, efficient and safe. For more information, visit or email