CHARLES TOWN – The mayors of Charles Town and Ranson will spend part of this morning with President Barack Obama in the White House, where they’ll discuss how technology can boost their communities.
“Most small towns never have an opportunity like this,” said Charles Town Mayor Peggy Smith. “I feel we’re representing small towns across the nation. We may be small, but we think big and can achieve our goals.”
Mayor David Hamill of Ranson said the meeting will “spur access to cutting-edge tools for our entrepreneurs of all ages.”
One other West Virginia mayor – Jennifer Selin of Morgantown – will be part of today’s first “Mayors Maker Challenge,” a nationwide effort aimed at getting leaders to try new actions to expand access to high-tech tools and open new doors for businesses, entrepreneurs and students.
Twenty-one mayors from across the nation are set to take part in this morning’s event, which will include discussion with senior Obama administration officials on economic and infrastructure needs and community revitalization.
Matt Ward, a former Charles Town City Council member who works as policy director for the Manufacturing Alliance of Communities in Washington, D.C., approached Smith and Hamill about the opportunity.
Officials in Charles Town and Ranson have pledged to work with Charles Town’s American Public University System and organizations such as West Virginia TechConnect to explore opportunities for growing businesses and promoting tech innovation.
Leaders from the cities and APUS plan to hold a “Maker Roundtable” later this year to gather technology, business, educational and civic leaders to discuss how to grow the tech sector and to support the development of high-tech small businesses, including through APUS’s new business incubator.