Charles Town Mayor Peggy Smith and Ranson Mayor David Hamill are two of only 21 mayors across the nation who were invited to join President Barack Obama on June 18, 2014 for the first-ever Maker Faire to be held at the White House.
The mayors’ commitment to growing high-tech innovation in Charles Town and Ranson caught the attention of the Obama Administration, which is trying to promote technology and manufacturing growth and local community revitalization through its policies and resources.
Other mayors, private sector leaders, educational and non-profit officials, and technology entrepreneurs joined a policy discussion at the White House with senior Administration officials including Jeffrey Zients, Director of the National Economic Council and Assistant to the President for Economic Policy; John Holdren, Director of the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy; Jay Williams, Assistant Secretary for Commerce for Economic Development; David Agnew, White House Director of Intergovernmental Relations; and Jason Miller, Senior Advisor to the President on Manufacturing.
One emerging driver of technology innovation is the “Maker Movement,” which is an effort to provide access to high-tech tools and new approaches for businesses, entrepreneurs, and students.
In Charles Town and Ranson, the cities have pledged to work with American Public University System (APUS), one of the largest and most prestigious online universities which has a signification presence in both towns, and other organizations such as West Virginia TechConnect to explore opportunities for building new businesses and promoting high-tech innovation, including through support for the Maker Movement.
The cities and APUS plan to hold a “Maker Roundtable” later in 2014, which will gather together technology, business, educational, and civic leaders to discuss how to grow this sector and support the development of high-tech small businesses, including through a new APUS Business Incubator which is launching this year.
Mayors Smith and Hamill used the event at the White House to help boost high-tech businesses and entrepreneurism in Charles Town and Ranson. The cities have been working together to promote high-tech businesses in the downtowns, and have been pleased to partner with APUS to boost innovation, education, and technology jobs in the community. The two cities would like to attract more high-tech businesses that complement APUS, and to promote entrepreneurs who seek to grow small businesses in their downtowns.
Mayor Smith states that, “Our community is ready to support our entrepreneurs and grow high-tech businesses. We have a great mix of small town charm with access to the Washington D.C. high-tech corridor, and we are an ideal place to invest.”
Mayor Hamill states that, “I was honored to be part of this exciting event with President Obama to spur access to cutting-edge tools for our entrepreneurs of all ages, and I look forward to building on our collaboration with the federal government to create sustainable community revitalization.”
Both Mayors are excited to continue their collaboration with APUS, which is building a high-tech campus at the common border of the two cities.