WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwire - Aug 9, 2011) - The American South, like the rest of the country, continues to struggle with sustainable economic recovery and job creation. On August 19 - 21, Governors from the 16 states and two territories that comprise the American South will convene at the Southern Governors' Association (SGA) 2011 Annual Meeting in Asheville, NC, to discuss strategies for bringing more business to the region and creating more jobs. SGA Chairman, North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue, will host the meeting of state chief executives.

On Friday, August 19, Southern Governors will explore the connections between innovation and job creation, and discuss policy indicators impacting the ability to innovate with private sector leaders. Joining the discussion with Governors will be Steve Case, Chairman, Revolution and the Case Foundation; Jim Goodnight, Chief Executive Officer, SAS; and Mike Petters, President and Chief Executive Officer, Huntington Ingalls Industries.

Sharing their views on medical innovation and its role in the Southern economy, Debra R. Lappin, President, Council for American Medical Innovation; Deirdre Connelly, President, North American Pharmaceuticals, GlaxoSmithKline; Anthony Atala, M.D., W. H. Director of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine; and James G. Carlson, Chairman and CEO, Amerigroup, will discuss with Governors the most effective policy strategies to support U.S. medical innovation, job creation and health security.

On Saturday, August 20, the "economy" conversation turns to energy and technology transfer.

Speakers will discuss how Governors can support innovation in their states and throughout the region by working to implement policies aimed at preserving and improving access to an abundant, low cost and diversified energy supply. Joining the conversation will be The Honorable Gary Doer, Ambassador of Canada to the United States of America; Amy E. Alving, Ph.D., Chief Technology Officer, SAIC; James E. Rogers, Chairman, President and CEO, Duke Energy; Samir Kaul, Founding General Partner, Khosla Ventures; Advisor, Range Fuels; and Richard K. Stoneburner, President & CEO, Petrohawk Energy Corporation.

Later, Governors will hear panelists discuss the importance of developing and commercializing academic research findings to ensure that innovative products and ideas make it out of the lab into the hands of consumers, thus creating jobs. Governors will then discuss considerations to continued efforts to support and accelerate technology transfer with the panelists: J. Bernard Machen, President, University of Florida; C. Michael Cassidy, President and CEO of the Georgia Research Alliance and Jud Bowman, Founder and CEO of Appia.

The business sessions slated for Sunday, August 21 include "Closing the South's Middle-Skill Gap" and "Building a Regional Strategy for Economic Growth in the American South."

Addressing the shortage of qualified middle-skill workers is critical to Governors' efforts to support the region's innovation economy. Governors and experts will explore the data presented in "Driving Innovation From the Middle -- Middle Skill Jobs in the American South's Economy," a report prepared by the National Skills Coalition for SGA, and discuss policy strategies to close the middle-skill gap to help grow innovation industries in the next decade. Speakers include Eric Seleznow, State Policy Director, National Skills Coalition; Fred Dedrick, Executive Director, National Fund for Workforce Solutions; Keith Bird, Senior Policy Fellow for Workforce and Postsecondary Education, Corporation for a Skilled Workforce, and Chancellor-Emeritus, Kentucky Community and Technical College System; and James M. Wiseman, Chief Communications Officer and Group Vice President, Corporate Communications, Toyota Motor North America, Inc.

The closing business session will feature a moderated discussion among Southern Governors aimed at building a regional strategy to transform the Southern region into an "Innovation Destination."

Who: Governors of the American South's 16 states and 2 territories, administration and legislative officials, representatives from foreign countries, business and academic leaders with a vested interest in the American South, members of the media

What: Southern Governors' Association (SGA) 2011 Annual Meeting

When: August 19 - 21, 2011

Where: The Grove Park Inn, 290 Macon Avenue, Asheville, NC 28804

MEDIA REGISTRATION: Media may pre-register at SGA's Annual Meeting Web site

This secure site provides all pertinent meeting information, including an agenda and registration details.

The deadline for advance registration is 12:00 p.m. (EDST), Wednesday, August 17, 2011. Reporters and producers who miss advance registration must register on site, and can expect delays in clearing security and obtaining credentials. All media must pick up their individual credentials in person at The Grove Park Inn. Two forms of ID are required to pick up SGA credentials -- even if media is pre-registered. These must include a government-issued photo identification (such as a driver's license or passport) and a current press credential or business card.

PARKING: Members of the media who wish to park a satellite truck during the annual meeting must contact SGA's Communications Office prior to the meeting to make arrangements.

Founded in 1934, Southern Governors' Association (SGA) is the oldest and historically the largest of the regional governors' associations. Members include the Governors of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, US Virgin Islands, Virginia and West Virginia.

The American South constitutes the world's fourth largest economy behind China, the United States (all states and territories) and Japan.

The American South is comprised of approximately 24% of the continental US land mass.

The American South has approximately 42% of the nation's population.