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New technologies are expected to dominate future

In the near-distant future, manufacturing in Lincoln County and areas like it will look nothing like it does today.

Nanotech, biotech and molecular technologies will be catch words decades from now in local factories that have become even more cutting edge. Energy will be based on alternative fuels and water will become as valuable as oil is today.

And this is only a slice of the future as Rick Smyre sees it.

The Gastonia-based futurist, president and founder of the Center for Communities of the Future, was the keynote speaker last week at Verdict Ridge Country Club during a luncheon hosted by the Lincoln Economic Development Association.

The third in a series of lectures sponsored by LEDA, the Lincoln Leader Seminars gives local manufacturers and other business leaders access to special speakers, such as president and CEO of the North Carolina Chamber of Commerce and executive of the North Carolina Military Business Center.

Smyre, who has given his lecture on “community transformation,” before several colleges and business groups in the region, said global climate change, a shift to alternative energy, growth and change in international demographics and the rapid improvement of technologies will mean challenges and changes worldwide and right here in Lincoln County.

“I’m optimistic,” Smyre said. “I think we will be dealing with a lot of hardship and pain, but we have the opportunity to live in transformational times.”

The hardships of the future will be met by closer connections among people, Smyre predicted.

And the best way for communities to prepare for what’s coming next is to begin planning today, forming committees to set goals and visions of where a particular area may be headed considering the current and future trends.

“Given the current economic situation and challenges we face today, the topic and speaker were very pertinent and timely,” said County Commissioner George Arena, one of several community leaders who attended.

While dealing in generalities, Barry Matherly, executive director for LEDA, said the lecture offered insight which could translate into new and different initiatives locally.

“Many of these issues and ideas including forming a committee in order to look at the city and counties economic future will be discussed at the next LEDA board meeting,” he said.

Smyre said if Lincoln County follows his advice and begins to look to the trends of the future today, it will have better shot at prospering tomorrow.