2020 WilmingtonBiz Conference & Expo



Greater Wilmington Business Journal invested in an online platform to connect our business community during this period of limited gatherings.  

The event will span over two days, with morning and afternoon sessions available to attendees.

Using this platform, the 2020 WilmingtonBiz Conference & Expo lets attendees: 

• Host One-on-One Meetings with people who match your interests and offerings  

• Find Vendors who have products and services to help your organization  

• Tune into Keynotes & Conversations with newsmakers in the Wilmington region (click on link on top for details)

• Participate in Seminars & Roundtables about topics relevant your organization (click on link on top for details)

• Do all this without wearing a mask! 

Be a part of it! Click on the "Buy Tickets" link above for an All-Access Pass!
See details on the Keynotes, Conversations, Seminars and Roundtables on the links above.

Sept. 30 & Oct. 1 // Throughout both days // One-On-One Meetings


Sept. 30 & Oct. 1 // Throughout both days // Meet With Exhibitors


Sept. 30 & Oct. 1 // 8:00 - 9:00 a.m. // Keynote Speakers


Sept. 30 & Oct. 1 // 9:30 - 10:30 a.m. // Conversations

Sept. 30 & Oct. 1 // 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. // Seminars


Sept. 30 & Oct. 1 // 12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m. // Roundtable Discussions


The 2020 MADE Award Winners are: 

South Atlantic Services
American Hammer
G-Code Holsters

Cygnus Technologies
Flow Sciences

Guitar Cabinets Direct
Grunt Tough

EBBING Branding + Design
Swahili Coast

Blue Shark Vodka
Lyssa Cakes
Sweets & Spirits Bakery


Produced by the Greater Wilmington Business Journal, MADE is a nomination-based competition seeking to spotlight manufacturers, exporters, makers, artisans, designers and small businesses in New Hanover, Brunswick and Pender counties.

With roots in an economy originally built on tobacco, textiles, and furniture, North Carolina is no stranger to the making of things. While its industries may have broadened over the years, the focus on locally made goods continues to hold strong. MADE was created to spotlight some of the innovations occurring in design and manufacturing originating in the tri-county area. Winners are selected by a judging panel and will be profiled in a special MADE section of the Greater Wilmington Business Journal as well as featured at the annual WilmingtonBiz Expo.

Pierre Naudé, CEO of nCino

September 30 - 8:00 a.m.

CEO Pierre Naudé took the helm of Wilmington-based nCino in 2012, steering the banking software firm’s growth from five employees to more than 900 and from a private firm to its debut on the Nasdaq in July.  

On its first day of trading, nCino’s stock skyrocketed by more than 150%. nCino, a spinoff of Wilmington’s Live Oak Bank that had $138 million in revenue in its most recent fiscal year, is now valued at close to $7 billion.

Born in South Africa, Naudé grew up on a farm before join­ing the military and then going into banking. He decided that he wanted to build his career in the States, but also knew to excel in the U.S. he would need an American college degree. So while holding down a banking job, he put himself through night classes at Upper Iowa University and earned a bachelor’s degree in finance and management.

Naudé met Live Oak founder Chip Mahan at Altanta-based S1 Corp., where Mahan was previ­ously chairman and CEO. Naudé had been in global senior manage­ment at Unisys Corp. before that.

In 2019, Naudé said watching nCino grow into a worldwide leader in cloud banking with of­fices in five countries has been the ultimate highlight of his career.  

In Wilmington, he said nCi­no has found the infrastructure, talent and resources to propel it from a small startup to a powerful industry leader.

U.S. Senate Race: Cal Cunningham & Thom Tillis

October 1 - 8:00 a.m.

U.S. Senator Thom Tillis and challenger Cal Cunningham will speak at the 2020 WilmingtonBiz Conference & Expo.
Each candidate will appear sepa­rately to deliver remarks and answer audience questions. Attendees will be able to submit questions to the candidates online during the event.
North Carolina’s race for the U.S. Senate is one of the most hotly con­tested seats in 2020. The result could determine if Democrats or Republi­cans control the U.S. Senate.

Cal Cunningham 

Cal Cunningham
, Democratic challenger to U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) in the November election, grew up in Lexington.
At age 27, he was elected one of the state’s youngest senators, repre­senting Davidson, Rowan and Iredell Counties
After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Cunninghm volunteered to join the U.S. Army Reserve and has since served three active duty tours, includ­ing overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan. He continues to serve in the rank of lieutenant colonel with an Army Reserve unit that trains one weekend a month.
His various community service work includes being named vice chairman of Gov. Roy Cooper’s Crime Commission.
Cunningham and his wife, Eliz­abeth, live in Raleigh with their two teenage kids, Caroline and Will.

Thom Tillis 

U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis
(R-NC) has been representing North Carolina’s 13th Congressional District since 2015.
Born in Huntersville, the Sena­tor was elected in 2006 to the N.C. House of Representatives and select­ed by his peers to serve as Speaker of the House from 2011 to 2014.
During his private-sector career, he was a top-level executive at Pricewa­terhouseCoopers and IBM. He spent 29 years in technology and manage­ment consulting.
Currently, he serves on four com­mittees, according to his bio: The Armed Services Committee Veterans’ Affairs Committee, Banking, Hous­ing, & Urban Affairs Committee and the Committee on the Judiciary

Tillis lives with his wife, Susan, in Huntersville, and they have two children and two grandchildren.

Big Developments

A Conversation with Roger Perry, Chairman of East West Partners

September 30 - 9:30 a.m.

Roger Perry, Founder & President, East West Partners
Chapel Hill-based East West Partners is involved in numerous big projects in our region. These include three developments in downtown Wilmington — the $80 million, 13-story River Place mixed-use project, the renovation of the more than 100-year-old Gaylord Building at 226 N. Front Street as well as a proposed $90 million, mixed use project near PPD. East West is also partnering with Bald Head Island Limited on a $565 million development in Southport called Project Indigo. We will talk with Roger Perry, East West’s chairman, about these projects as well as his firm’s approach to complex developments. 

Brewing Peace

A Conversation with
George Taylor, President & CEO, TRU Colors
Kahlilah "KO" Olokunola, EVP of Human Resources, TRU Colors
Juan "Press" Bethea, Director of Brewing, TRU Colors

September 30 - 9:30 a.m.

TRU Colors is building a 64,000 square foot brewery in Wilmington that can produce 55,000 barrels of beer annually (enough to fill 18 million cans of beer). Even more unique, the brewery will be operated by current gang members. The goal is to build a national brand while providing economic opportunities to gang members and reducing violence. TRU Colors plans start distributing its beer in March 2021 and then start expanding into other markets.

Cape Tech

A Conversation with 
Jennifer Turnage, Founder, xElle Ventures
Trace Smith, CEO, Untappd
Todd John, Founder and CEO, PlayerSpace

October 1 - 9:30 a.m.

The technology scene in the Cape Fear region has seen significant steps forward in recent years with successful exits, nCino’s huge IPO this year and a growing batch of promising upstarts. We talk with several executives in the local technology scene to get an inside view of growing tech firms in our area.

Novant + NHRMC

A Conversation with
John Gizdic, President and CEO, New Hanover Regional Medical Center
Carl Armato, President and CEO, Novant Health

October 1 - 9:30 a.m.

In October, the New Hanover County commissioners and NHRMC trustees are expected to vote on a final agreement to sell the county-owned hospital to Winston-Salem-based Novant Health. The proposed deal includes an estimated $1.9 billion in sale proceeds to the county, $3.1 billion for NHRMC’s routine capital expenses and strategic master plan projects over the next decade, an expansion of UNC Health/UNC School of Medicine’s presence at New Hanover Regional and other commitments on areas ranging from charity care to employees to health equity. Ahead of the vote, we talk with Carl Armato, president and CEO of Novant Health, and John Gi zdic, president and CEO of New Hanover Regional Medical Center

Maximizing Teamwork During Times of Disruption

Presented by Lynn Whitesell, Managing Partner of Harris Whitesell Consulting
September 30 - 11:00 a.m.

Not finance. Not strategy. Not technology. It is teamwork that remains the ultimate competitive advantage, both because it is so powerful and so rare. -Lencioni

To achieve the ultimate competitive advantage of teamwork, you must root out causes of dysfunction on the teams where you work, and then learn the keys to overcoming them.

How is your team currently performing? Where does your team need to focus its energy moving forward?

• Explore the top 5 behaviors of great teams

• Discover a simple yet powerful model for building more productive teams

• Learn how to put the model into practice

Top 7 Ways to Massively Grow Sales, Profits and Cash Flow

Presented by Action Coach
September 30 - 11:00 a.m.

A panel discussion with
Betsy Kahn, Owner of Copycat Print Shop
Bryant Bass, Owner of Bass Built Custom Homes
Darek Huckbody, Owner of Battle House Tactical Laser Tag

Over the last several years three local businesses, Bass Built Custom Homes, Copycat Print Shop, and Battle House Laser Combat have consistently and systematically grown their customer base, sales & profits. In this session, you will learn their top processes, strategies, and tactics that can work for you in your business.

The Economy, The Pandemic & The Elections; What's Next?

Presented by Mike Cunningham, President of Coastal Financial Advisors
September 30 - 11:00 a.m.

There is a great deal of fear and uncertainty with all of these events coming together at once. Learn more about the rapid transformation to a digital economy, the reshaping markets, increasing tax rates and how they affect your personal financial planning and retirement. Mike Cunningham will present vital information you won't want to miss! Join Coastal Financial Advisors to learn more about your options. 

All Attendees will qualify to receive a Complimentary, Personalized Financial Readiness Session and Income Maximization Review! Schedule your visit at the end of the workshop.

Investment advisory services are offered through Foundations Investment Advisors, LLC, an SEC-registered investment advisor.

Data to Information to Insight

Presented by Dr. Stephen Hill, Assistant Professor of Business Analytics with the Cameron School of Business at UNCW
September 30 - 11:00 a.m.

The Mayo Clinic. A cutting-edge high school football coach. Netflix. What do these three, seemingly different entities, share in common? They use analytics to create value. How can you use your data to your advantage? In this session, we will explore current trends in business analytics and discuss three strategies that you can use to transform your data into valuable and actionable insight. We will also describe opportunities at UNCW for analytics training and education.

Lease vs. Own: Commercial Real Estate

Presented by Mark Johnson, EVP/Sales Manager with Coldwell Banker Commercial Sun Coast Partners
October 1 - 11:00 a.m.

Join Coldwell Banker Commercial's Mark Johnson for an in-depth look at when it’s right for a small business to lease and when to consider buying.

Solar For Your Business: How To Profit From Solar Energy

Presented by Rob Parker, Senior Project Manager & Commercial Project Developer with Cape Fear Solar Systems
October 1 - 11:00 a.m.

This seminar is ideal for business owners, CEOs, CFO, Business Advisors, Builders, Commercial Developers and any professional wanting to gain solar industry insights. This session will cover solar financials, tax incentives, marketing advantages, and Q&As. Saving money and reducing operational cost is a top priority for successful businesses. With rising utility costs and decreasing material costs, solar energy is now a popular cost-saving alternative for business owners.

If your business is projected to have tax liability at the end of the year, an investment in solar can be extremely valuable. Money that would otherwise go directly to the IRS can instead be put into an asset that will reduce your operational costs, and increase the value of your building. If you are thoughtful about the material selected for your system, as well as the firm chosen to install it, that asset is expected to perform for 35 - 40 years.

Top 7 Ways to Build Leverage in Your Business Through Teams and Systems

Presented by ActionCoach
October 1 - 11:00 a.m.

A panel discussion with
Betsy Kahn, Owner of Copycat Print Shop
Bryant Bass, Owner of Bass Built Custom Homes
Darek Huckbody, Owner of Battle House Tactical Laser Tag

Over the last several years three local businesses, Bass Built Custom Homes, Copycat Print Shop, and Battle House Laser Combat have consistently and systematically grown their customer base, sales & profits. In this session, you will learn their top processes, strategies, and tactics.

Moving from Crisis to Opportunity

Presented by Richard Walsh, Director of UNCW's Swain Center
October 1 - 11:00 a.m.

This session will outline how business leaders moved through the pandemic over the past seven month. This has been a challenging time for many. You will learn how leaders responded, in some cases redefined their business and are now positioning for new opportunities in the future.

Pick the Brains of Exceptional Local Business Owners

Presented by Reggie Shropshire, Partner at Action Coach
September 30 - 12:30 p.m.

Here’s your chance to ask anything to successful business owners in the Wilmington area.

Angels + Entrepreneurs

A panel discussion with
Charlie Banks, Managing Director of VentureSouth
Carlos Parajon, Managing Partner of Harbor Island Equity Partners, LLC
Jim Roberts, Founder, Wilmington Angels for Local Entrepreneurs (WALE)

September 30 - 12:30 p.m.

Representatives from several angel investing groups in the Wilmington region will talk about raising funds and investing, offering perspective for both entrepreneurs and investors.

The Superintendents

A panel discussion with
Dr. Charles Foust, Superintendent of New Hanover County Schools
Dr. Steven Hill, Superintendent of Pender County Schools
Jerry Oates, Ed.D, Superintendent of Brunswick County Schools

September 30 - 12:30 p.m.

Area school superintendents discuss education plans during the COVID-19 disruptions and what’s next for students in their districts.

Leading Through Disruption

Presented by
Lori Harris, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Harris Whitesell Consulting
Lynn Whitesell, Managing Partner of Harris Whitesell Consulting

September 30 12:30 p.m.

Covid-19 has presented a host of challenges — and opportunities — for leaders to navigate. We provide a compass.

A Conversation with the District Attorney

Ben David, District Attorney of New Hanover and Pender Counties
October 1 - 12:30 p.m.

Ben David, district attorney for New Hanover and Pender counties, will talk about law enforcement and court system issues amid national and local protests and the push for law enforcement reforms.

The Triple Bottom Line: A Sustainable Business Model For Success

Presented by Rob Parker, Senior Project Manager & Commercial Project Developer with Cape Fear Solar Systems
October 1 - 12:30 p.m. 

The triple bottom line framework is gaining popularity to focus on people, planet and profits -- instead of profits alone.

MADE in the Cape Fear

Presented by Excite Credit Union
October 1 - 12:30 p.m.

Winners of the 2020 MADE Awards will talk about their products and answer questions.

Learn more about tthis year's MADE Award winners by clicking here.

Filming in a Pandemic

A discussion with
Johnny Griffin, Director of the Wilmington Regional Film Commission
Bill Vassar, Executive Vice President of EUE/Screen Gems Studios

October 1 - 12:30 p.m.

Leaders of our local film community give updates and answer questions about the local film industry amid Covid-19.
Tickets Price
One day, All-Access BizExpo Pass
Register to Buy
Exhibitor Options Price
Exhibitor Package
Register as Exhibitor
  • Space in the Exhibitor area to share company information, set one-on-one meetings and chat with attendees 
  • Information on who visited your booth during the event for follow-up messages
  • 10 All-Access Passes to the WilmingtonBiz Confrence & Expo for your team and/or guests ($350 value)
  • Early log-in opportunities to make appointments with attendees and other exhibitors 
  • Ability to offer show specials and promote prizes to attendees 

Event Discussion


Sep 30, 2020 - Oct 1, 2020


Wherever you want!