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Trust Belt Headliners Announced for May 31st Conference in Columbus, Ohio

December 3, 2014 - ATLANTA, GA-Today Conway Data announced the speaker lineup for the inaugural Trust Belt event, taking place from May 31st - June 3rd, 2015 in one of the fastest-growing cities in the entire region, Columbus, Ohio.

The Trust Belt Conference will highlight the multitude of great things happening across this important region of the United States, and will bring together CEOs, key elected officials and academic leaders as well as those in the economic development profession to discuss the challenges and opportunities ahead.†††

"The Columbus Region is extremely proud to be the host of the very first Trust Belt Conference," commented Kenny McDonald, Chief Economic Officer of Columbus 2020. "There is a real renaissance happening in our region of the country and we believe Columbus is a great example of the vibrancy that can be found throughout the Midwest."

The lineup for the conference includes:

  • Meredith Whitney, Wall Street financial analyst and author of Fate of the States.
  • Ali Velshi, former longtime CNN chief business correspondent and anchor of CNNís Your Money and co-host of World Business Today; current host of Real Money with Ali Velshi on Al Jazeera America.
  • Jeff Finkle, President and CEO of the International Economic Development Council.
  • Marisa Di Natale, Senior Director at Moody's Analytics and former economist at the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • Doug Rothwell, President and CEO of Business Leaders for Michigan and Chairman of Michigan Economic Development Corporation.
  • Gerry Anderson, CEO of DTE Energy.
  • John Rakolta, CEO of Walbridge.
  • Sandra Pierce, Vice-Chairman of First Merit Bank.
  • Matthew Elliott, President of Bank of America (Michigan).
  • Columbus Mayor Michael B. Coleman.
  • Columbus 2020 Chief Economic Officer Kenny McDonald.
  • Courtney Dunbar, national site selection consultant and Economic Development Leader for Olsson Associates in Omaha, Neb.
  • Brad Migdal, site selection and government incentives consultant for Transwestern in Chicago.

"The Trust Belt is a platform for the Midwest to communicate its comeback story and to promote the business-friendly policies and leadership that have made this turnaround possible," said Ron Starner, Executive Director of the Trust Belt. "The conference will facilitate the sharing of best practices and problem-solving and provide conference attendees with some food for thought and strategies they can take back to their own communities.

"The Trust Belt is a mega-region and one of the most significant business and manufacturing engines in the U.S. economy," added Starner. "The conference is a platform from which this region can continue its economic transformation and ensure that it trickles down to even the smallest communities."

About the Trust Belt

The Trust Belt Conference is a new platform developed to further the economic objectives of the Trust Belt region, which stretches from Western New York to Pennsylvania and west to the Dakotas, Kansas, and Nebraska. The Trust Belt is anchored by a monthly newsletter and website, as well as a conference component which fosters networking and learning. The focus of the organization is to tell the story of the economic renaissance of the Greater Midwest Region and its transformation from the Rust Belt to a 21st century global manufacturing and business mega-region. In the past 5 years corporations have invested in 4,319 new and expanded facilities worth over $115 billion, adding over 325,300 jobs to the Trust Belt economy.

The Trust Belt region includes the following states: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.

The Trust Belt is owned and operated by Conway Data, Inc.For more information, please visit

About the Trust Belt Conference in Columbus, Ohio

The Trust Belt Conference taking place on May 31 - June 3, 2015 will be held in Columbus, Ohio, and is the first "live" networking event hosted by the Trust Belt organization. To register click here.