Rural business owners to share maps to national markets at Telepower Conference
08/20/2001

HAYS, KS -- Local companies based in rural communities don't have to settle for only local customers, and, in fact, some rural businesses are claiming regional and national customers through the innovative use of technology.

Doug Brush knows first hand just how important these practices are to the success of a rural business owner. His advertising agency started in 1962 while Brush was still a student at the University of Kansas. From these beginnings, he expanded his agency into a business serving 30 clients throughout the central United States, including Caterpillar and Union Pacific. He understands the difficulties rural businesses face.

Also, he feels strongly about the overwhelming loss of youth from rural Kansas. "The most difficult test rural Kansas faces is the mass exodus of talent. The youth cannot find opportunity in rural Kansas, so they leave," said Brush.

Darin Spence understands how essential outside connections and adequate resources are to a small business trying to expand into the national market. Spence currently serves as the chief technology officer of Eagle Interactive, an Internet application development and design company. Eagle Interactive conducts business on a national level, but it began as a small business aspiring to serve clients outside of the community. Spence cites three factors to his growth. "Talent is No. 1. Resources, as in financial resources, would be No. 2, and contacts, knowing the right people, would be No. 3."

Brush and Spence will be speaking at the 10th annual Telepower Conference on Sept. 27, 2001, at Fort Hays State University in a panel discussion titled "When the Locals Make it Big." Randee Brandy, director of the KU Small Business Development Center, will join Brush and Spence in this panel discussion. Panel members will discuss how they made the transition from small business operations to serving customers on a regional and national level.

Brush believes his business's success can be attributed to the innovative technology he will discuss at this Telepower.

Spence sees every small and rural based business with the potential to succeed on a national level. He wants his audience at Telepower to realize this and learn about the techniques and information that makes such advancements possible.

Telepower is a two-day conference sponsored by Fort Hays State's Docking Institute of Public Affairs and is designed to inform rural leaders how their communities can use information technology to improve the lives of their citizens in the areas of business, education, health care, government, and economic development.

This year's underwriting sponsors include Southwestern Bell and Kansas Technology Enterprise Corporation. Corporate sponsors are Rural Telephone, Information Network of Kansas, Garden City Information Technology Cooperative, Kansas Small Business Development Center, and the Kansas Association of Counties.

The supportive sponsors include Sunflower Electric Power Corporation, Utilicorp United, WestLink Communications, Kansas Department of Commerce and Housing, Avaya Communication, Robert and Sheryl Cox, and Palm.

Other topics to be covered in this year's Telepower Conference include electronic medical records, workforce development in the new economy, the economy's new deal, and IT access success stories.

For more information or to register, contact Cathy Drabkin, (785) 628-5952 or visit our Web site: www.fhsu.edu/docking/telepower/main.html.


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