• Encounter Wilmington

  • Encounter Wilmington is a program where we invite executives, business owners, and new talented employees who are relocating to Wilmington to join us for a program like nothing else you’ve experienced in our region so far. Participants will gain an intensive and up-close look at the most challenging issues and opportunities facing our area while also networking with peers and fast-tracking their connectivity to our community.

    Encounter Wilmington will deliver information about eight key areas of our community, presented by unique and engaging guest speakers. The high-impact sessions will introduce participants to the Wilmington area, expose them to the Chamber’s key initiatives and feature high-level speakers that are decision-makers in their respective industries. 

  • About the Program

  • Session Topics Session Topics

    • Arts, History, and Culture
    • Environment
    • Criminal Justice
    • Health and Human Services
    • Transportation and Infrastructure
    • Education, Talent and Workforce Development
    • Business Growth and Development
    • Community Engagement
  • Guest Speakers* Guest Speakers*

    Arts, History, and Culture

    Rhonda Bellamy, President & CEO and Founder, The Arts Council of Wilmington/New Hanover County

    Jan Davidson, Cape Fear Museum

    Dan Brawley, Chief Instigating Officer, Cucalorus Film Foundation

    Screening of Wilmington On Fire with Director, Chris Everett


    Kenneth Waldroup, Executive Director, Cape Fear Public Utility Authority

    Layton Bedsole, Shore Protection Coordinator, New Hanover County

    Jennifer Adams, Environmental Leader, Corning Incorporated

    Criminal Justice

    Donny Williams, Chief, Wilmington Police Department

    Health and Human Services

    Ernie Bovio, President, Novant Health New Hanover Regional Medical Center

    Jon Campbell, Public Health Director, Health and Human Services, New Hanover County

    Jeff James, CEO, Wilmington Health

    Meade Van Pelt, Executive Director, The Harrelson Center

    Transportation and Infrastructure

    Abby Lorenzo, Deputy Director, Wilmington Urban Area Metropolitan Planning Organization

    Mark Hairr, Executive Director, Wave Transit

    Brian Clark, Executive Director, NC Ports Authority

    Jeff Bourk, Airport Director, ILM

    Education, Talent, and Workforce Development

    Jane Morrow, Executive Director, Smart Start

    Dr. Charles Foust, Superintendent, New Hanover County Schools

    Brandon Guthrie, VP of Academic Affairs, Cape Fear Community College

    Dr. Jamie Winebrake, Provost, University of North Carolina Wilmington

    Talent and Workforce Development

    Lisa Leath, Chief People Officer, Vantaca

    Ginger Brick, Workforce Development Director, Cape Fear Council of Governments

    Steve Hill, TPM Healthcare, Wilmington Chamber of Commerce

    Business Growth and Development

    Dr. Mouhcine Guettabi, Regional Economist, UNCW's Swain Center

    Cliff Pyron, Director of Business Development, Wilmington Business Development

    Josh Hallingse, Vice President, Small Business Development and Retention, Wilmington Chamber of Commerce

    *some speakers subject to change

  • Session Dates & Times Session Dates & Times

    October 22 & 23, 2024‚Äč


    • October 22: 9:30 am - 5:00 pm

    • October 23: 8:00 am - 6:00 pm

    • Applications are now open and will be accepted until August 31.

    April 29 & 30, 2025

    • April 29: 9:30 am - 5:00 pm

    • April 30: 8:00 am - 6:00 pm

  • Ideal Candidate Ideal Candidate

    • Individuals who are either new to Wilmington or new to a key position with their employer
    • Strong drive to immerse themselves into our community
    • Individuals that feel a strong sense of purpose to not only excel in their careers but make a deeper and more positive impact in our region
  • Cost Cost

    The cost of participation in Encounter Wilmington this fall is $575. This cost covers all program costs including meals, snacks, site visit fees, program materials, facilitator fees, and an opening and closing reception.