World-Class Speakers and Innovative Business Ideas at “Alleghenies Ahead: Creating an Entrepreneurial Spirit in the Workforce” Conference

 In Bedford County, Blair County, Cambria County, entrepreneur, Huntingdon County, News, Somerset County

[Story originally published in the PA Business Central, June 17, 2019]

Altoona, PA.–  The “Alleghenies Ahead: Creating an Entrepreneurial Spirit in the Workplace” conference was filled with innovation and business-transforming ideas presented by leaders in entrepreneurship, workforce development and job training for the future. The conference, sponsored by Startup Alleghenies and the Southern Alleghenies Workforce Development Board, was held on June 5th at the Blair County Convention Center in Altoona, Pennsylvania.

Conference speakers shared their expertise with nearly 150 business owners and managers of long-established companies, emerging companies who have been in business for less than five years, and entrepreneurs of startup companies and soon-to-be entrepreneurs.

The conference was headlined by two internationally recognized presenters, Jeff Tobe and Bill Strickland. Jeff Tobe, author of Coloring Outside the Lines, is an expert in customer experience and getting the workforce more engaged for success. Bill Strickland, founder and executive chairman of Manchester Bidwell Corporation, is a renowned author, visionary educator and community advocate known for leadership strategies that turn the impossible into the possible. His keynote on the Art of Leadership earned a standing ovation from the audience.

Breakout sessions and a panel discussion included subjects like attracting talent with the right skillset, fostering multi-generational employee relationships, preparing your company and employees for the impact of AI innovation and building a more collaborative and entrepreneurial culture. Many local entrepreneurs were on hand to share their experience and advice.

Startup Alleghenies is on a mission to create the next great startup zone in a six-county area which includes Huntingdon, Fulton, Somerset, Cambria, Bedford and Blair Counties. Right now, nearly 340 entrepreneurs from these counties have registered to receive coaching from Startup Alleghenies Entrepreneur Coaches and the movement’s extensive network of partners.  Entrepreneurs wishing to launch or grow their business can register at

Startup Alleghenies is a free program that connects existing and potential entrepreneurs with experienced coaches to help them navigate a vast network of partners at economic development groups, private organizations, colleges and universities. It was launched with a POWER grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), a federal-state partnership investing in the socioeconomic future of 420 counties in 13 states in the Appalachian region.  The support of the PA Department of Community & Economic Development also was instrumental in establishing SUA.