Advisory Committees & Boards
Aging Advisory Committee
The Aging Advisory Committee acts in an advisory capacity on all matters relating to the development of plans, programs, and services for persons 60 years of age and older in Alexander, Burke, Caldwell and Catawba Counties. The committee assures regional compliance with the Older Americans Act of 1965, as amended.
Committee meetings are held quarterly on the second Monday of the designated month from 11 am until 1 pm at the offices of the WPCOG.
Tina Miller, WPCOG Area Agency on Aging Director, staffs the Aging Advisory Committee.
Future Forward Economic Alliance
Future Forward is a regional economic development initiative which began in 2002 to create a Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) for 12 counties located in the 10th and 11th Congressional Districts in the Western Piedmont and Mountains of North Carolina.
The plan initially received funding support from the US Economic Development Administration and the NC Department of Commerce. Former Congressman T. Cass Ballenger appointed a 21-member leadership group to oversee the Future Forward strategic development process, and the WPCOG managed state and federal grant funds for the project. Funding has continued with annual financial support from participating counties, cities and, in one instance, a private foundation.
Future Forward's goal is to renew the region's economy and make the region more competitive in a global marketplace by 1) improving the education and skills of the workforce, 2) encouraging a renewed sense of entrepreneurship and innovation, 3) promoting a more diverse economy, 4) developing and protecting urban and outdoor amenities, and 5) encouraging teamwork among local governments.
Future Forward's signature project was the acquisition and renovation of a former Corning Cable Systems research facility to house the NC Center for Engineering Technolgoies. A fund-raising campaign generated more than $1.7 million and Future Forward received additional grants and support from local governments and the business community. Future Forward transferred ownership of the center to Appalachian State University in December 2007.
Future Forward has identified green energy and federal procurement as its next priority projects.
Greater Hickory Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO)
The Greater Hickory MPO serves the transportation needs for the municipalities of Brookford, Cajah's Mountain, Catawba, Cedar Rock, Claremont, Conover, Connelly Springs, Drexel, Gamewell, Glen Alpine, Granite Falls, Hickory, Hildebran, Hudson, Lenoir, Long View, Maiden, Morganton, Newton, Rhodhiss, Rutherford College, Sawmills, Valdese and the urbanized areas of Alexander, Burke, Caldwell and Catawba Counties.
The Unifour RPO includes the Town of Taylorsville and the non-urbanized areas of Alexander, Burke, Caldwell and Catawba Counties.
Working with the NC and US Departments of Transportation, the 28 local governments participate in a continuing planning process for the MPO and RPO. They insure that planning requirements established by federal authorizing legislation for transportation funding are met. The MPO and RPO develop the planning work programs (PWP), transportation plans, and transportation improvement programs (TIP) for all 28 local governments.
Decisions are made by a Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC) with recommendations from a Technical Coordinating Committee (TCC). The TAC is a policy-making body made up of elected officials from each of the member governments, and the Board of Transportation. The TCC is a staff level committee that provides recommendations to the TAC regarding transportation decisions. A TAC and TCC participate in transportation planning for both the RPO and MPO, and joint meetings are held regularly with representatives of both groups.
Staff assistance is provided by John Marshall.
Open Space and Recreation Task Force
This committee was formed at the direction of the WPCOG Policy Board to implement the Greater Hickory Recreation/Tourism Plan completed in 2006. Subcommittees were created to develop a marketing plan, a regional map/trails inventory, and a detailed inventory of ball fields in the region that could be used to attract large tournaments.
In November 2010, the Policy Board endorsed a Regional Trails Inventory which identifies significant state trails, regionally significant trails and local trails. The inventory will help governmental agencies and non-profit organizations establish and set regional and local trail priorities and promote joint applications for federal, state, and non-profit funding and grants.
Meetings of the Open Space and Recreation Task Force are held quarterly with staff assistance provided by Sam Erwin.
Region E Development Corporation
Region E Development Corporation (REDC) provides growing businesses with long-term, fixed-rate financing for major fixed assets, such as land, buildings, and major equipment purchases. Designated by the United States Small Business Administration as a Certified Development Company (CDC), the REDC is a nonprofit corporation set up to contribute to the economic development of the North Carolina counties known as Planning Region E. This area includes Alexander, Burke, Caldwell and Catawba Counties.
Anthony Starr, WPCOG Executive Director, staffs the REDC.
Unifour Air Quality Committee (UAQC)
The Unifour Air Quality Committee was formed to study and make recommendations concerning air quality issues that impact Alexander, Burke, Caldwell and Catawba Counties. Recommendations on air quality policies are made to the Unifour Air Quality Oversight Committee (UAQOC), a committee of elected officials which makes final decisions.
Western Piedmont Sister Cities Association
The Western Piedmont Sister Cities Association was organized in 1992 and incorporated in 1993 as a regional non-profit organization. Local governments in the region are invited to be members of the association, whose purpose is to exchange ideas and develop friendships with other cultures. An effort is made to involve the communities in a variety of educational, institutional, municipal, professional, technical and government projects.
Current local government members include Alexander County, Morganton, Valdese, Catawba County, Hickory, Conover and Claremont. Each entity is represented by two members on the WPSCA board.
The Western Piedmont Sister Cities Association has had a formal partnership with Altenburg in the former East Germany for several years. Altenburg was chosen because of the strong German and Lutheran heritage in this region. There have been many exchanges between the two areas, mostly related to art, sports, medicine, business and government. The WPSCA continues to pursue additional partnerships and promote the sister cities program in the region.
The WPSCA is a member of Sister Cities International.
Meetings are held monthly on the second Tuesday at 4 pm at various locations throughout the region. Joe Koerner, a German teacher at Freedom High School in Morganton, is WPSCA Chair.
Western Piedmont Water Resources Committee
The Water Resources Committee (formerly referred to as the Catawba River Study Committee) was established in 1986 and serves in an advisory role for local governments on water resources and watershed issues including water quality, water supply, water safety and recreation, and land use within the region's river basins.
Meetings are typically held at the WPCOG offices on the second Wednesday of each odd numbered month beginning at 11:30 am.
Johnny Wear, Natural Resources Programs Administrator, staffs the Western Piedmont Water Resources Committee.
Workforce Development Board (WDB)
The purpose of the Workforce Development Board (WDB) is to direct the use of Workforce Innovations and Opportunities Act (WIOA) funds allocated to Alexander, Burke, Caldwell and Catawba Counties. The 27-member Board is legislated by the Workforce Investment Act and members must be primarily from the private sector and represent certain categories.
Meetings are held bimonthly on the fourth Thursday at 8:30 am at the WPCOG offices.
Wendy Johnson, Workforce Development Board Director, staffs the Workforce Development Board.