Paine College seminar, international conference bring world to Augusta

By: Chris Thomas Email
By: Chris Thomas Email

Paine College is introducing students to international opportunities even as businesspeople from around the world meet at the ESI Conference at the Marriott. (March 31, 2011 / WRDW-TV)

News 12 at 6 o'clock / Thursday, March 31, 2011

AUGUSTA, Ga.---Paine College teamed up with the U.S. Department of Commerce to host the first ever international opportunities seminar. There was also another big international draw right down the street.

The rain did not stop students and adults from attending the International Opportunities Seminar at Paine College.

"It's remarkable," said Elizabeth Simpson who was visiting from Charlotte, North Carolina. "I have lived many many places around the world, but to come back and see this in my hometown is unbelievable."

"It's a big deal for me and I think for most of the people who are in attendance," said Simpson. "Especially those who are interested in really navigating the global marketplace."

"In there it is like trying to drink from a fire hose," said Paul Butler, Chief Financial Officer at ESI Acquisition. "There is an awful lot of information, and it is not easy."

Butler was a panelist at the seminar.

"You can start small," said Butler. "Then you can listen to pointers from people like us who can give you an idea of what not to do."

You may have also noticed the purple fountains around town. More than 400 government and corporate emergency managers assembled for the WebEOC User & Training Conference at the Marriott Hotel in downtown Augusta. WebEOC is said to be the world's leading crisis information management system.

"They treat us quite well," said a visitor from Taiwan who represented one of at least 17 different countries in attendance. "Very friendly."

"Augusta is a wonderful place to visit," said Eric Epley, executive director of the Southwest Texas Regional Advisory Council. "The improvements you guys have made are fantastic. The community is really creating a sense of ease of use for international and national visitors."

That might explain the first-of-its-kind International Opportunities Seminar.

"I think it is an excellent time," said Simpson. "Not just for people of color but for all people to be here to really learn from the experts."

The ESI Conference comes to an end this Friday. The Paine College seminar was an all-day event.

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