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Auvermann invited to White House
4 Auvermann mug

Dawson County soon will send one of its technological proponents to a conference in Washington, D.C.

Charlie Auvermann, executive director of the Development Authority of Dawson County, has been invited to attend the White House Champions of Change.

Auvermann, also an adjunct professor of the University of North Georgia's Mike Cottrell School of Business, said he learned of the invitation July 8.

"We had been alerted to keep a couple of weeks open, so we knew something was up," he said. "When they finally came back with an invitation, I was surprised."

Auvermann, along with Heather Miner and Eric R. Parker, two other members of the Technology Association of Georgia, or TAG, have been invited to participate in the gathering, which will feature groups of people, businesses and organizations who are working to empower and inspire members of their communities.

Auvermann will participate in a round table discussion on engaging residents and communities in open government and civic participation in innovation. The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy will play host to the sessions.

TAG was involved in the National Day of Civic Hacking held in June.

"I wrote an article for [that]," Auvermann said. "The article got picked up by the people in Washington and they sent it out to their partners in this event. It was spread out online from there."

Auvermann said the TAG group has been raising community awareness of maker spaces and 3D printing, as well as supporting technological groups at the high school and working with Lanier Tech.

"All three of the people getting this recognition, we've all been involved in a lot of technology initiatives," he said. "When you look at the other things being done and that we are involved in, it's a lot more than just the National Day of Civic Hacking."

Auvermann said he, Miner and Parker have been working to raise innovation awareness in a rural setting.

"So much focus is on metro Atlanta," he said. "At the same time, there is a huge amount of stuff going on in Dawson County and in other rural places that I think are interesting things for people to know. "Businesses are utilizing a lot of technology that people don't really perceive rural areas as having. We want to push the technology awareness for rural areas. That's the foundation for this."

One issue Auvermann said he wants to address at the conference is S.T.E.M., or science, technology, engineering and math, curriculum.

"I'd like see more funding put towards those types of things in the federal funds applied toward schools and colleges and technical colleges," he said. "The country lags behind in students who are interested in science. There needs to be an effort to improve interest in these areas.

"There also needs to be more effort put into offering a bigger variety of classes so that students are prepared to get into universities that are strong in science, technology, engineering and math. There's going to be a huge gap otherwise."