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AERN Holds Annual Partners Meeting

AERN Annual Partners Meeting
AERN members participate in discussion. Photo by Nathan Wu.

AERN held its Annual Partners' Meeting on May 22 on the campus of the University of Alabama. Charter partner Phillis Belcher from Greene County welcomed the audience with stories of how AERN resources had helped the Greene County Industrial Development Board to recruit industry and grow businesses. AERN Outreach Coordinator Mary Patterson gave a PowerPoint presentation of AERN over the years, and she recognized the valuable foresight and contributions that co-founders and co-directors Annette Watters and Paavo Hanninen had made to AERN's success from 2001 to the present.

AERN Annual Partners Meeting
Annette Watters and Paavo Hanninen, co-founders of AERN, were honored for their many contributions to AERN. Photo by Nathan Wu.

Reata Strickland, Creative Director for Special Projects from UA's Office of Academic Affairs, discussed creative ways to develop and manage business websites and how to take a business online. Dr. Mike Hardin, Dean of the Culverhouse College of Commerce and Business Administration, briefed the partners on his support and vision for AERN and announced plans to make a website video to promote AERN services.

AERN Director Annette Watters presented successful ways that AERN businesses had used the research services of AERN's business librarians and challenged the partners to look for entrepreneurial endeavors within the pockets of creative talent that reside in rural Alabama. Max Snyder from the West Alabama Regional Commission informed partners of the necessary steps to take before a disaster occurs so that businesses will be prepared and can continue operation after a disaster such as a tornado, fire, hurricane or flood happens. Ms. Watters confirmed her plans to retire at the end of May and complimented the hard work and dedication of AERN partners that she had worked with over the last eleven years.

AERN Annual Partners Meeting
Attendees at the 2012 AERN Annual Partners Meeting included partners, project staff, and librarians. Photo by Nathan Wu.

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