November 3, 2017


Media Contact:

Courtney Conner


November 3, 2017



Abingdon, VA– The Southwestern Virginia Technology Council and the Small Business Development Centers of Mountain Empire Community College, Southwest Virginia Community College and Virginia Highlands Community College will host POWER UP SWVA; a free summit geared towards helping area small businesses, college students, young professionals and manufacturers leverage the current and future potential of the cybersecurity and manufacturing industries in the region.

The event will take place on Thursday, November 16 at Abingdon’s Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Virginia Secretary of Technology Karen Jackson will headline the event. Other activities include subject-matter experts sharing their thoughts on local economic progress, consulting sessions for small businesses, professional development-based workshops and networking opportunities for manufacturers and suppliers. While many topics will be explored, attendees can arrive and depart at their leisure while only participating in sessions of their choice.

“Cybersecurity is not just a hot topic,” said Esther Bolling, Executive Director and CEO of the council. “It is reality and touches all of us in ways we do not realize. Since our manufacturers and supply chain companies have been impacted by coal industry fluctuations, they need to learn how to contract with each other across multiple sectors in order to diversify and move back toward profitability. This is the first cybersecurity and manufacturing event of this magnitude to take place in our region, and it will feature experts from all over the state congregating to give instruction. Let’s take advantage of it.”

With Virginia’s cybersecurity-related job growth projected to reach 25 percent over the next eight years and its southwestern regional manufacturing workforce experiencing an increase in available jobs after years of decline, POWER UP SWVA will provide insight to attending participants on the roles these industries will play in the region’s future economy. The event’s general format will be a combination of both lectures and smaller “breakout” sessions centered on topics such as small business cybersecurity needs, planning for a cybersecurity-based career while in college and supply chain management. Other organizing partners for the summit include GENEDGE, the Procurement Technical Assistance Center, the Southwest Virginia Advanced Manufacturing Center of Excellence and the University of Virginia’s College at Wise.

While admission is free, attendees are still required to register online at A catered lunch will also be provided. For more information, contact Ms. Bolling at 276-679-7800 or email her at

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