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Charles Wood, CEcD
Chattanooga Area Chambe

Charles Wood currently serves as the Vice President of Economic Development for the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce. He has more than 15 years of economic development experience spanning a range of economic development efforts including business recruitment, retention and expansion, entrepreneurship and real estate development. Prior to joining the Chattanooga Area Chamber, Charles served as the Senior Vice President of Economic Development for the Pensacola Bay Area Chamber of Commerce for five years after working in economic development in College Station, Texas for seven years. Charles has also held economic development positions with the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce in Alabama and with a regional economic development organization in Southern Mississippi. During his career Charles led economic development efforts that resulted in multiple manufacturing, technology, financial services and mixed-use projects. He has led recruitment and expansion efforts resulting in thousands of jobs created by companies including Hewlett Packard, Mellon Financial, Navy Federal Credit Union, Toshiba and Volkswagen.   Additionally, Charles served as the thought leader and project manager for two technology commerce parks, a high tech business incubator and a multi-state regional marketing and entrepreneurship initiative. He holds a Masters Degree in Economic Development from the University of Southern Mississippi, completed Economic Development Institute at the University of Oklahoma and holds the designation of Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) from the International Economic Development Council.

Sam Powers, CEcD
City of Asheville

Sam Powers is Director of Community and Economic Development for the City of Asheville, North Carolina.  Asheville regularly receives accolades as one of the nation’s top cities in the arts and culture, manufacturing, business climate, sustainability, retirement, outdoor recreation opportunities, public education, and quality of life.  Asheville’s vibr
ant economy with a mix of eclectic locally-owned shops, restaurants, craft beverage makers and exciting live entertainment scene, has elevated Asheville to become a national destination.
The Community and Economic Development Department’s divisions include the city’s real estate management, economic/product development planning, minority business program, outdoor special event planning/permitting, as well as the U.S. Cellular Center and historic Thomas Wolfe Auditorium.  The CED supports the City’s Downtown Master Plan implementation, the Civic Center Commission, the Asheville Riverfront Redevelopment Commission, the Public Art and Cultural Commission, and the City Council’s Planning and Economic Development Committee. 

Mr. Powers is a 1978 graduate of Appalachian State University with a BS degree in City/County Management, and he has studied on the graduate level at Appalachian and Virginia Tech.  He is a Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) , and is a graduate of the Economic Development Institute at the University of Oklahoma.  He was named North Carolina Economic Developer of the Year in 2012 for his work in the profession.   He has served on the Board of Directors for the Southern Economic Development Council (SEDC), the South’s oldest and largest economic development professional association, and is beginning a term as Secretary/Treasurer.  He is active in numerous professional, civic, and community organizations in Asheville and western North Carolina.   He was recognized as Volunteer of the Year for the Asheville Downtown YMCA.  He is a Past President of the Appalachian State University Alumni Association, serving on the University Board of Trustees, Board of Visitors, and the University Foundation during his tenure as Alumni Association President.

Drew Scheberle
Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce

Drew ensures that the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce helps employers remove barriers to hiring in Central Texas through federal, state and education policy.

Drew provides staff leadership for the Chamber’s:

§  Federal advocacy with the White House & Administration, 7 Central Texas Congressional and 2 U.S. Senate offices on innovation, transportation and education;

§  State engagement with agencies, commissions and the Central Texas delegation;

§ to recruit 5,000 experienced, out of market tech talent to relocate to Austin;

§  Partnership with Austin Community College to create short-term tech training;

§  Initiative to increase Metro Austin direct-to-college enrollment, college application, federal financial aid submission and college/career readiness rates to 70% by the Class of 2015; 

Drew has been with the Austin Chamber since 2005.  Previously, Drew worked at the national, state and local levels on efforts to improve student outcomes through education policy and programmatic improvement.  He earned his master's at the University of Texas and his undergraduate at Trinity University.  He is married and has a nine year old son in Austin ISD.