About the Wilson/Barton Think Tank

The Wilson-Barton Think Tank is a partnership between Barton College, the Wilson Economic Development Council and Wilson on the Move. The Think Tank will connect local, regional and national business leaders to provide a variety of perspectives on the U.S., North Carolina, and Wilson County economies with an emphasis on future economic trends. In addition, Barton’s students and faculty will work with community members to expand the available research that is specific to our county. The Think Tank will not replace or compete with existing community organizations. Instead it will provide policy level research and information that any public or private entity can utilize and identify the key questions that impact the region. Activities will include:

  • Convening to develop key research questions and the vetting of these efforts after their completion,
  • Carrying out research that addresses and tests the viability of various economic policies,
  • Sharing the findings with local, regional and national stakeholders as appropriate.

The Think Tank is an asset-based initiative. That is, its key assumption is that Wilson is home to sufficient natural, financial, cultural, intellectual, and human capital that can shape its own future. Further, Wilson has proven its commitment to seeking viable, but difficult courses of action to transform its economy. It rejects the notion that Wilson is defined by its past.

The Advisory Council

The Advisory Council, a board made up of local, regional, and national leaders guides the work of the Think Tank. The Advisory Council convenes twice a year—once to identify the key questions that need to be investigated and once to discuss and assess the findings of these endeavors. In between, members of the Advisory Council members may be asked to collaborate with students, faculty, and the staff of the Think Tank to ensure the advancement of their efforts. Lastly, the Advisory Council will work with the staff of the Think Tank to raise its visibility and disseminate its findings.


Taken together, the work of the Think Tank aims to shape the future of Wilson’s economy and culture. Among the goals of the Think Tank are the following:

  • Consistently produce policy level research that will enhance the Wilson economy,
  • Support the formulation of sound economic development policies,
  • Promote its accomplishments on a local, regional and national level.

These endeavors will address the Wilson Barton Think Tank’s mission by expanding the research base to foster the economic future of Wilson County. By so doing, the Think Tank will assist in strengthening the economic, civic, and cultural resources of the county, improving the prosperity of its residents and creating a vibrant community.