CNCounty News

NACo Annual Conference to drop anchor in Florida

The Hillsborough County, Fla. skyline

The 2024 NACo Annual Conference will draw more than 3,000 county officials July 12-15 to Hillsborough County, Fla. where they will swap solutions and address the challenges facing local governments. 

With four mobile workshops and three programming summits, attendees will have the opportunity for in-depth discussions about how best to effectively serve their counties in challenging times. 

Three or four spots on NACo’s executive committee are at stake, with the second vice presidency up for a vote July 15 during the Annual Business Meeting. 

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Cascade County, Mont. Commissioner Joe Briggs, Mecklenburg County, N.C. Commissioner George Dunlap and Charlotte County, Fla. Commissioner Bill Truex are facing off, and you can read their candidate platforms beginning on Page 6. Regional caucuses will choose their representatives in the Northeast and Central regions, with the potential for an election in the West region, to boot.

Attendees will hear from magnetic speakers during General Sessions, including Tareq Azim on Saturday, July 13. A personal development expert,  he created the Afghan Women’s Boxing Federation after returning to his homeland more than 25 years after his family fled. 

Also at Saturday’s General Session look for a report from the NACo Commission on Mental Health and Wellbeing.

On Sunday, July 14, three-time Olympic gymnast Dominique Dawes will address attendees.

On July 12, members of 10 policy steering committees will determine the direction that NACo will take its advocacy in the coming year. They will hear from high-level speakers who represent leading schools of thought in their issue areas, giving county leaders the most informed perspectives to drive their work in the field.

July 13 will see NACo’s Large Urban County Caucus, Rural Action Caucus and Western Interstate Region gather to compare notes on emerging trends. NACo’s Artificial Intelligence Exploratory Committee will release its county toolkit, following more than a year examining the rapidly spreading technology’s potential, and threat, to county management.

Three educational summits and four mobile workshop tours will headline July 14.

Charting the Path Ahead: A Blueprint for Economic Prosperity: This summit will examine growth and decline factors and how county leaders can capitalize on those trends to build more resilient and innovative local economies. Experts and county leaders will discuss how to bolster their workforces, strengthen local industries and develop effective planning mechanisms for sustainable business growth. 

Investing in the Future of Our Youth: This summit will offer practical approaches for supporting youth of all ages and increasing the likelihood that they become lifelong advocates in shaping the future of their communities, with an emphasis on prenatal to age 3. Counties can close the gaps in assistance to young people and families, and these speakers can help county leaders position their resources to do so effectively.

Navigating Current Global Trends Across Western Democracies: Democratic systems around the world face new and pernicious challenges and local governments are not immune — including misinformation and disinformation, erosion of public trust and misaligned incentives for political polarization. Participants will explore strategies to boost effective public engagement, align community values, improve civic education and build trust in the public sector — a must-have for county governments. Mobile workshop tours will include:

Apollo Beach Nature Preserve: Over the last 28 years, the county and its partnering agencies have restored native habitats, including estuarine marsh, tidal creeks, beach dunes and upland islands and added amenities, including nature trails, picnic pavilions, beach access and an ADA-accessible observation tower.

Hillsborough County Resource Recovery Facility: A waste-to-energy facility incinerates garbage — up to 1,800 tons a day — to produce renewable energy to power adjacent Hillsborough County infrastructure, with the excess power sold back to the grid.

Hillsborough County Veterans Memorial Park and Museum: The park’s Veterans Resource Center is a one-stop shop showcasing the teamwork of local, state and federal partners dedicated to serving those who served.

University of South Florida’s Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation: One of the world’s largest, free-standing simulation facilities exclusively dedicated to training healthcare professionals is also a key player in the development of the region’s economy.

Attendees will also network with county professional staff who compose NACo’s affiliate groups and find fellowship in affinity groups who will meet and discuss their organization’s plans for the coming year.

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2024 NACo Annual Conference Coverage

Follow along with County News during NACo’s Annual Conference: policy steering committees, General Session speakers, educational workshops, issue summits and more.