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Conference Speakers



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Ryan Blair

Vice President, Development & Acquisitions

Heritage Properties

Ryan joined Heritage Properties in 2013 and is responsible for sourcing, underwriting, and closing Acquisitions & Development investments.

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Brent Christensen

President & CEO

Greensboro Chamber of Commerce

Christensen is a 20+ year veteran of the economic development industry.

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Christopher Chung


Economic Development Partnership of NC

In 2015, Christopher Chung joined the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina (EDPNC) as Chief Executive Officer. Chris brings more than 20 years of state-level economic development experience to his role.

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Adrienne Cole

President & CEO

Raleigh Chamber of Commerce

As the first female president of the chamber, Cole brings more than 20 years of business leadership experience to her role. Under Cole’s guidance, Wake County Economic Development and the Greater Raleigh Chamber announced more than 30 corporate relocations and expansions totaling over $250 million in capital investments and creating more than 5,000 new jobs.

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Brad Crone


Campaign Connections

President of Campaign Connections, a Raleigh-based consulting firm specializing in public affairs, public relations and grassroots campaigns for trade associations, advocacy groups and corporations.

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Tom Fritsch

Senior Managing Director

CBRE | Raleigh & CBRE | Triad

Tom Fritsch serves as Senior Managing Director of the CBRE | Raleigh and CBRE | Triad offices. With more than 25 years of commercial real estate experience, Mr. Fritsch’s primary role is leading the brokerage and property management teams to be the top performers in the Triangle and Triad regions by overseeing all operations of CBRE | Raleigh and CBRE | Triad, as well as the offices’ expansive portfolio of services inclusive of brokerage, tenant representation, property management, investment sales and corporate services.

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Eric Henry

President & CEO

TS Designs

Current president of TS Designs, Eric got his start when he launched Creative Screen Designs in 1978 while attending North Carolina State University. Eric devotes much of his time to furthering the sustainable agenda. A strong proponent of collaboration, Eric founded the Burlington Biodiesel Co-op in 2001. He has served on the board of Alamance Chamber of Commerce, NC GreenPower, Green America, Business for Local Living Economies, and Specialty Graphic Imaging Association, where he was the chairman in 2002.

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Janet LaBar

President & CEO
Charlotte Regional Business Alliance

Janet LaBar is leading CLT Alliance in a new direction to ensure the Charlotte region is the most vibrant, innovative and healthy economy in the nation. The CLT Alliance is advancing a region that creates economic opportunities and prosperity for all

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Steve McClure

The Spectrum Companies

Steve leads all aspects of The Spectrum Companies, implementing strategy, guiding team leaders, and overseeing the operations of its four service lines: Asset Management, Capital Management, Development, and Contract Services.

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Garrett Perdue


Root Bioscience

Cannabis hosts more than one hundred cannabinoids and terpenes and each can play an important role in better health. And that is exactly what scientists and medical professionals throughout the world are beginning to discover.

Root Bioscience was built to carry this work forward.


Patrick Sebastian


Majority Strategies

Patrick Sebastian has been an intricate part of political campaigns, legislative advocacy campaigns, and business advertising efforts in the states of North Carolina, South Carolina, and New Jersey. Patrick’s understanding of the role data and media plays in shaping public opinion has been an asset to local, state, and federal candidates as well as entities who seek to influence lawmaking. He was recently named one of the top political consultants in North Carolina

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Arthur Samet

CEO & President

Samet Corproation

Arthur joined Samet Corporation as an estimator, and subsequently progressed through a training program encompassing all 16 divisions of construction and property management. He later diversified into real estate and development, obtaining his MBA while leading Samet's real estate division. Arthur was promoted to President & CEO of Samet Corporation in October 2000. 

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Aquiles F. Suarez

Vice President of Government Affairs

Aquiles oversees the association’s lobbying efforts at the federal, state and local level, and manages NAIOP’s political action committee.  He joined NAIOP in 2007 as head of its government affairs office.