Quad Cities Business of the Year Award

During the Quad Cities Chamber Annual Meeting, the 2018 Quad Cities Business of the Year award will be presented. Applications for this award will be accepted through Friday, August 10. Find the details here.

NEW IN 2018!

Business, Innovation & Leadership Sessions
Three hours, two tracks + an after party

The Quad Cities Chamber Business, Innovation & Leadership Sessions brings together great minds in workplace culture, entrepreneurism, community leadership, and disruptive technology, all with the goal to deliver you with takeaways to inspire and grow your business.

Sessions: 1:30 - 4:15 p.m.
Location: Throughout the TaxSlayer Center and MetroLink Centre Station
After-Party: 4:30 - 6:30 p.m. (TaxSlayer Center)
Concert at Bass Street Landing: 7:00 p.m.

Track 1: 1:30 - 2:45 p.m.

+ Fishing for Whales: Site Selectors on How Regions Compete for Investment
Featuring: Minah Hall, Managing Director - True Partners, Carol Henderson, Senior Director - Cushman & Wakefield, John Longshore, Senior Consultant - Global Location Solutions and Chris Schastok, Vice President - CBRE

What makes a region stand out, how is economic development changing, and what can our community do differently to attract new investment to the region? This panel of site selectors (consultants that help companies make relocation and expansion decisions) will discuss community competitiveness, workforce, regionalism, quality of life and more. As community leaders work together toward shared goals of regional prosperity, this panel will provide insight into how the Quad Cities region can continue to compete for jobs and investment.
+ Disruption or Opportunity – The Future of Manufacturing Technology
Heather Ashton Manolian, Manufacturing Research Leader & Center for Industry Insights, Deloitte Services

LLP Industry Internet of Things (IIoT), Industry 4.0, or Smart Connected Manufacturing. It is known by several different names, but in any case it translates to dramatic changes in the manufacturing environment. Learn about the emerging trends impacting how factories are digitizing manufacturing processes, supply chains, and connections to customers. New technologies are changing how products are designed and manufactured at a rapid pace. These technologies are also impacting how manufacturers attract, develop, and retain the talents and skill sets to compete in the digital manufacturing environment. Join Heather Ashton Manolian from Deloitte Consulting and get a cutting edge update on these sweeping industry changes.  
+ Customer Experience Automation: How Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are Disrupting the Customer Journey
Featuring: Jaimy Szymanski, Co-Founder, Kaleido Insights

The rise of automation, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are beginning to disrupt the customer journey in ways that present companies with both new opportunities for engagement and also new challenges to overcome in reaching consumers and prospects. When mobile applications, smart home devices, autonomous vehicles, and other consumer technologies automatically make purchase and usage decisions for their owners, where to exsiting digital marketing, sales, research and customer service strategies fit in? Influencing the real “decision maker” becomes a feat in its own right, requiring brands to adopt a hybrid mix of data science and customer experience (CX) design skill. Explore how change agents and digital transformation leaders in myriad functions and industries are incorporating cognitive technologies into purchase / decision funnel strategies to better meet evolving customer expectations.
Beyond Diversity: The Business Case for Inclusion
Claudia Schabel, President, Schabel Solutions

A study from the American Sociological Review has found that workplace diversity and inclusion is among the most important predictor for an organization’s success. We know that diversity plays a fundamental role in the success of our organizations. However, it’s time for leaders to think beyond “diversity for the sake of diversity,” and make inclusion a part of their organization’s vision as well. An inclusive workplace values every employee, regardless of roles, job titles, and tenure and places emphasis on equality, human rights, and employee welfare. Developing a diverse and inclusive organization requires strategy, clear expectations, and accountability. 

Track 2: 3:00 - 4:15 p.m.

+ Ignite Change through Social Entrepreneurism
Featuring: Kimberly Bryant, Founder, Black Girls Code 

Kimberly Bryant the founder of social movement Black Girls CODE will share her journey as what she calls an “accidental social entrepreneur” and the lessons learned along the way in shaping a new paradigm for women and girls of color in the technology industry. She will explore how recognizing our innate power to become change agents in our own lives and the lives of others by pushing through traditional boundaries and perceived limitations can help us drive change in our world.
Capitalize on Change: Using Disruptive Technologies to Drive Business Growth
Craig Sutton, Manager, Advanced Manufacturing Innovation and Tami Hedgren, Factory Manager – Deere & Company; Lee Spooner – EON Reality; Andy Cook, Founder, Motion Raceworks, Carol Woten – VP, Sales & Marketing – Genesis Systems Group

Join local manufacturing leaders as they explain how they are deploying advanced manufacturing processes and digital strategies.  Technologies to be covered will include additive manufacturing, virtual and augmented reality, smart automation, advanced materials, data analytics, and artificial intelligence. The Quad Cities region is fortunate to have many manufacturers who are embracing these advanced technologies and transforming the manufacturing shop floor. 
Hack Your Culture: Building a High-Performance Workplace
Featuring: Robert Richman, Culture Architect and Customer Experience Expert, Co-Creator of Zappos Insights

Robert Richman, former Culture Strategist for Zappos, has worked with hundreds of companies on their culture. Through his career, he’s identified that the mindsets and principles of computer hacking could also be used to hack corporate culture. He has developed the techniques and pre-tested hacks that can be used immediately. During this session, you’ll gain specific answers to issues including specific leverage points that can be used by anyone to encourage culture change, why many culture-change programs fail, key tools you can use to successfully influence culture as soon as you return to the office, and why storytelling must be an integral part of your culture-change program.
How to Raise Money for Your Startup
Featuring Steve Grubbs, Founder, VictoryVR  

You had an idea, you’ve started your business, but now you need more capital. Steve Grubbs, founder, VictoryVR is a career entrepreneur with businesses including VictoryVR,, Victory Enterprises, and to name a few. Steve will cover topics including understanding the difference between different types of funding and when they’re appropriate, how to structure a donor presentation and how to create projections on sales / revenue and Total Addressable Market (TAM).


The Quad Cities Chamber proudly helps drive Q2030: A Regional Action Plan to increase talent, jobs, and economic opportunity for all.  The Annual Meeting and Business, Innovation, & Leadership Sessions is an element of Alternating Currents, supporting Q2030 by providing a signature event for Quad Citizens to celebrate our innovative and creative culture. To learn more about the festival visit
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