MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

October 29, 2012

NSU to host summit to strengthen communities

By Cathy Spaulding
Phoenix Staff Writer

— Northeast Oklahomans benefit when business, education, government and tribal entities work together, an organizer of a regional summit says.

“We have seen the impact of collaboration in the area increase in magnitude,” said Dr. Ron Cambiano, Northeastern State University assistant professor for Educational Foundations and Leadership.

NSU is site of the fourth annual Regional Summit, a gathering of northeast Oklahoma leaders who seek to work together to strengthen communities. The summit runs today through Wednesday at NSU’s University Center ballroom. People may register at the summit.

The summit will feature keynote speeches, presentations on now to get businesses online, panel discussions on combating teen pregnancy and presentations on how the arts, tourism and infrastructure can help growth in rural communities.

Cambiano said the summit has grown from three to 14 participating counties in the past four years, “So, you can see the impact.”

However, there remains work to be done,  he said.

“This is one of the fastest growing areas in the state,” Cambiano said, adding that 600,000 people live in the region.

“The summit gives us the opportunity to leverage that position,” he said. “It gives a voice to rural areas that may not have a voice.”

The area has not grown as rapidly economically, he said.

“There is the issue of education and building a skilled and ready workforce,” Cambiano said. “We have to have higher paying jobs.”

Another issue the area faces is rural isolation, he said.

As community leaders meet to address serious issues, they also will be treated to entertaining stories of working together. During a luncheon address at 12:15 p.m. today, Jet and Cord McCoy, bull-riding brothers from Tupelo, will talk about their trials on the reality show “The Amazing Race.”

The brothers appeared in two seasons of “The Amazing Race,” in which two-person teams race around the world. During various stops on their race, they must compete in challenges that reflect the cultures they visit.

The McCoy brothers will speak on “The Power of Teamwork.”

Reach Cathy Spaulding at (918) 684-2928 or cspaulding@muskogeephoenix.com.

If you go

WHAT: Northeast Oklahoma Regional Summit.

WHEN: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and 9 a.m. to noon Wednesday.

WHERE: University Center Herb Rozell Ballroom, Northeastern State University, Tahlequah campus.

COST: $50.

REGISTRATION: At the event or online nookregion.org.