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David Burkus to speak at 2014 Confluence

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Nationally renowned management speaker David Burkus will be the keynote presenter for the 2014 edition of Confluence, the annual technology conference sponsored by the Greater Rome Chamber of Commerce.

The event, set for Feb. 20-21, will be based out of the historic DeSoto Theatre on Broad Street in Rome.

Originally called SpecTech, the 2014 Confluence event will be the ninth in the series, which grew out of the Future Industries Initiative of the Rome-Floyd 20/20 program.

Burkus is the founder and editor of LDRLB — pronounced “leader lab” — an Internet-based program from which he shares data related to leadership, innovation and strategies.

He is an assistant professor at Oral Roberts University and the author of a book entitled “The Myths of Creativity: The Truth About How Innovative Companies and People Generate Ideas.” Burkus is also a frequent contributor to the Harvard Business Review.

“Confluence is all about innovation,” said Tonya Davis, chairman of the organizing committee. “Our desire is to tangibly impact the community.”

The conference seeks to create a culture of innovation and problem-solving in the community. One of the ways the Chamber hopes to do that is by bringing business executives, technologists and entrepreneurs together to share ideas.

Some of the main topics slated for the February event include design-thinking, community innovation, innovation in food and agriculture, creativity in the arts and social entrepreneurship. Breakout sessions will focus on broader themes such as make, teach, heal and launch.

John Grout, dean of the Campbell School of Business at Berry College, said design-thinking is about a process where almost anyone can take advantage of their own unique capabilities.

An example is Ben Masters, a former football player at Coosa High who is paralyzed as the result of a wreck. Masters developed technology to help deal with his problems — through the use of a 3-D printer at Berry — and subsequently agreed to participate in the Confluence conference.

Jim Budd, chairman of the school of industrial design at Georgia Tech, will also be presenting in the area of design-thinking.

Brig. Gen. Stuart Rodeheaver and Georgia Tech Vice President Stephen Fleming also have signed on as speakers at Confluence.

Davis said other speakers and presenters would be noted on the conference website,, as they are confirmed.

Tickets for the event — early bird rates are $30 for students, $95 for Chamber members and $135 for non-members — also are available through the website.