HomeFrom the MayorAppalachian Regional Commission – May 10, 2018

Appalachian Regional Commission – May 10, 2018

In the Region: A weekly snapshot of news, announcements, and other tidbits from the Appalachian Regional Commission
ARC NEWS ROUNDUP  |  May 10, 2018  |  VOLUME 3, ISSUE 19


Conor Ferguson, standing left, along with Joseph Cuty and Logan Smith, seated from left, talk with MSU Center for Entrepreneurship and Outreach Director Eric Hill. Along with a team of entrepreneurship advisory board members and other mentors from MSU, Hill has helped the WISPr Systems business team successfully navigate the startup process. (Photo by Megan Bean; Courtesy of Mississippi State University)

Entrepreneurship Grows in Mississippi

A team of Mississippi State engineering alumni and current students launched a new business, called WISPr Systems, which will improve the feasibility and affordability for delivering internet access in rural areas using uniquely engineered drones, equipped with proprietary software. These drones allow technicians to automatically scan a property to find the best antenna placement for internet access. Throughout the business startup process, the co-founders of WISPr Systems received critically important mentoring, access to resources, and seed funding from MSU’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Outreach (CEO) in the College of Business based in Starkville, Mississippi. CEO’s goal is to provide world-class strategic guidance and mentorship, build financial and other tangible resources to support business startups, forge new partnerships with industry thought leaders, enhance interdisciplinary relationships, and actively promote outreach to new students. So far in fiscal year 2018, through MSU’s CEO, 110 new entrepreneurial teams have been formed, with more than $1 million in new startup investments.

ARC recently invested in CEO’s efforts to connect and grow entrepreneurs by extending entrepreneurial resources beyond the main campus of Mississippi State University. Through this project, the MSU CEO launched a branch office at the Greater Starkville Development Partnership in downtown Starkville and is building out components of its outreach and mentorship network to provide resources beyond the main MSU campus to support entrepreneurs and grow more businesses, like WISPr Systems, in Mississippi.


Garrett Regional Medical Center is purchasing and installing a new video conferencing and telephone system through an investment from ARC. Photo Source: GRMC Facebook page

Using Technology to Expand Health Care in North Central Appalachia

Garrett Regional Medical Center (GRMC), an award-winning acute care facility in Oakland, Maryland, serves a population of 46,000 within Garrett County and surrounding communities in Appalachian Maryland, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. It is also one of the largest employers in the county with over 450 people on staff. With a recent investment from ARC, GRMC is purchasing and installing a new video conferencing and telephone system that will help to improve patient health outcomes by enabling medical practitioners to provide real-time healthcare consultations from a distance to patients throughout GRMC’s rural service area.

The new communications system will give medical professionals and hospital administrators greater access to impactful distance learning opportunities, which will improve their professional competencies and enable them to keep up with professional certification and licensing requirements.  Additionally, the upgraded technology will play a crucial role in enhancing and growing GRMC’s collaboration with West Virginia University School of Medicine and the ability of the GRMC medical staff to engage remotely in learning opportunities and medical consultations with the WVU teaching hospital.


Sprouting Farms grows more than just foodCharleston Gazette-Mail, Charleston, West Virginia

SHS student, teacher to attend Oak Ridge summer campStarkville Daily News, Starkville, Mississippi

Entrepreneurship and making in a changing economyThe Athens Messenger, Athens, Ohio

Co-starters – two new shops opening in ErwinJohnson City Press, Johnson City, Tennessee

Ohio University Innovation Center Enchances 3D Printing LabBusiness Journal Daily, Athens, Ohio


2018 Rural College Access and Success Summit
Lexington, Kentucky
May 13-15

Rural RISE Summit
Davis, West Virginia
May 15-16

2018 SWVA Economic Forum
Wise, Virginia
May 17

Network Appalachia Spring 2018 Meeting
Washington, D.C.
June 5

Community Colleges of Appalachia 2018 Annual Conference
Asheville, North Carolina
June 10-12

Appalachian Higher Education Network 2018 Annual Conference
Asheville, North Carolina
June 19-21


ARC is now accepting applications for 2018 POWER Initiative funding submitted in response to the POWER request for proposals issued on February 1. ARC will review applications on a competitive basis. Cycle 1 of the application process is now closed. The Cycle 2 application deadline has been extended to August 29, 2018 11:59 pm ET.


ARC is currently recruiting candidates for two positions: a financial manager who will oversee the development, maintenance, and integrity of the agency’s accounting systems, and an intermodal transportation program analyst who will manage projects and initiatives that complement the success of the Appalachian Development Highway System and local access road program.

Complete position and application information is available on the ARC Job Opportunities page.

Map of the Appalachian Region
The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) is an economic development agency of the federal government and 13 state governments focusing on 420 counties across the Appalachian Region. ARC’s mission is to innovate, partner, and invest to build community capacity and strengthen economic growth in Appalachia to help the Region achieve socioeconomic parity with the nation.