The Western Piedmont Sister Cities Association (WPSCA) recently hosted a virtual meeting with their sister region Altenburger Land, Germany. Their in-person visit was previously scheduled to coincide with Hickory’s Oktoberfest celebrations this year but had to be postponed due to COVID-19. Alexander County is one of four counties included in the WPSCA.
“We were really looking forward to hosting our friends and colleagues from Germany and showing them everything our region has to offer,” said Tracey Trimble, Executive Vice President & General Manager at Hickory Furniture Mart and WPSCA volunteer. “Unfortunately, our plans had to change this year like so many other things and we wanted to meet virtually on the same day they were scheduled to arrive to continue planning their October 2021 visit together.”
Ron Elmore with the NC Small Business & Technology Development Center based in Hickory also joined the group remotely to discuss a variety of topics of interest to the group, including counseling for startup businesses and entrepreneurs, business assistance through COVID, and the Small Business Disaster Assistance funding for area businesses. The two groups are discussing a future economic development business exchange between the two regions in addition to future cultural, administrative, sport, educational, and student exchanges.
WPSCA is also working on a new website (www.westernpiedmontsistercities.org – under construction now) and a new logo to represent the partnership and to share all upcoming meetings and exchanges with the public. A follow-up virtual meeting is scheduled with Altenburger Land in December to further discuss these future exchanges and partner initiatives. If you would like to participate in this upcoming meeting or any future WPSCA monthly meetings, please contact WPSCA volunteers Lorie Street at firstname.lastname@example.org or Tracey Trimble at email@example.com.
Lorie Street was reappointed to serve as the Alexander County representative for WPSCA at the October meeting of the Alexander County Board of Commissioners.
WPSCA would like to express their thanks to: Altenburger Land which arranged and hosted the virtual meeting for the group via WebEx; Christoph Klingspor (owner of Klingspor Abrasives) for hosting the US meeting at the Klingspor Abrasives Training Center; Rosi Klingspor (long-time WPSCA volunteer) for being the moderator and interpreter for the meeting; and Ron Elmore for sharing his small business knowledge and resources with the group.
Other Western Piedmont meeting participants included Danny Seaver (City of Hickory); Lorie Street (The Hub Coworking Community & Klingspor Abrasives), and Tracey Trimble (Hickory Furniture Mart). Altenburger Land meeting participants included Uwe Melzer (County Commissioner of Altenburger Land), Angela Kiesewetter-Lorenz (Uwe Melzer’s Executive Assistant), Micheal Apel (Director of Economy and Culture), Karsten Siegel (Administration), and Ms. Krischke (Administration).
About the WPSCA
WPSCA stands for Western Piedmont Sister Cities Association. WPSCA was officially organized in 1992 and incorporated as a regional non-profit in 1993. On March 19, 1997 during an official signing ceremony, WPSCA made international history by connecting four counties located within the Western Piedmont region of North Carolina (Alexander, Burke, Caldwell, and Catawba), together with Altenburger Land, a region located in the central part of Germany in the former East German Federal State of Thuringia. WPSCA chose to pursue its first relationship with Germany because of the Western Piedmont’s strong cultural and business ties to Germany, along with its rich Lutheran heritage. This signing created the first region-to-region partnership for Sister Cities International (SCI). Sister Cities programs promote peace and understanding through joint exchanges that focus on arts and culture, youth and education, business and trade, and community development, all of which are essential in creating, growing, and maintaining people-to-people relationships and diplomacy around the world.