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For Immediate Release

Timlynn Babitsky and Jim Salmons to join NARFI staff...23 October 2002, Havre, MT and Raleigh, NC – Timlynn Babitsky, co-founder of a successful consulting and applied research lab in North Carolina, has been named director of the North American Rural Futures Institute (NARFI) at Montana State University-Northern. Jim Salmons, Ms. Babitsky's partner in the lab, has accepted an appointment as Entrepreneur and Futurist In Residence with NARFI.

"Babitsky's appointment is a significant step for NARFI and its role as a leader in the future of rural America." Alex Capdeville, chancellor at Montana State University-Northern, said in announcing the appointments. "Ms. Babitsky and Mr. Salmons have a national reputation among people and organizations who focus on rural futures. They are especially recognized for innovations in small business development," Capdeville said, "and their concern for rural America is especially significant."

Most recently, Babitsky and Salmons have grown their non-profit research and development laboratory, known as Sohodojo, to support solo and family-based entrepreneurs in rural and distressed urban communities. Based on their lab's work, Babitsky and Salmons were invited to share their rural revitalization agenda as keynote presenters at last year's Techspo conference which was held at MSU-Northern in mid-March. That visit and a continuing dialogue with NARFI's early supporters prompted Babitsky and Salmons to pursue a formal relationship with the Institute.

Babitsky and Salmons will work with an MSU-N university-wide network of faculty and with Havre community leaders to develop and implement educational and outreach programs funded under a Federal appropriation secured by Montana's U.S. Senators Baucus and Burns. That appropriation supports the work of NARFI. Babitsky and Salmons maintain their founding roles with Sohodojo, thereby strengthening the collaboration between the institute and the non-profit research lab.

Additional quotes below

The North American Rural Futures Institute (NARFI, http://narfi.org) is an applied futures institute with a strong education and community outreach program designed to connect rural Montanans with other citizens, community leaders, researchers and futurists around the world working on innovative strategies to enhance the sustainability of rural life everywhere.

Sohodojo (http://sohodojo.com) is a non-profit applied R&D lab developing innovative business models and associated Open Source software technologies to support solo and family-based entrepreneurs in rural and distressed urban communities.

Additional Quotes

"Havre, home to both Montana State University Northern and the North American Rural Futures Institute, can turn its geographic isolation into its strongest asset as rural communities around the world strive to define their roles in the global network economy." explained Timlynn Babitsky, "My role as Director of NARFI will be to help Havre and north central Montana become applied learning laboratories testing new approaches to rural futures education that stimulate innovations in local economic development. NARFI will become a strong collaborative partner to the university, community organizations, government agencies and the citizens of north central Montana."

"It will be my role, as NARFI's Entrepreneur and Futurist In Residence, to be a living laboratory of what is called Portfolio Life, the 21st Century version of wearing many hats to achieve a sustainable life rather than filling a single, career-oriented full-time job," explained Jim Salmons, "As Timlynn and I take up our exciting new roles at the North American Rural Futures Institute, we'll bring Sohodojo's network of researchers and social activists from around the world to do applied field research and business development in rural Montana."

According to Michael Moshell, Director of the University of Central Florida's CREAT Digital Media Program and Chief Scientist of UCF's Institute for Simulation and Training, "The North American Rural Futures Institute represents a promising vision of how communities can be transformed and reborn. Babitsky and Salmons bring a strong blend of business and media-technology savvy to the partnership." Moshell, who is also a member of the Sohodojo Advisory Board, further explained, "Here at UCF in Orlando, we are excited about the prospect of working with Jim and Timlynn to apply the Internet and other new media to NARFI's projects."

"For the North American Rural Futures Institute to develop world-class capacity, it needs to set down roots in a rurally located university town and attract expert minds from a variety of fields." said Jonathon Richter, Assistant Professor in The College of Education and Graduate Programs at Montana State University-Northern and a leader in the envisioning and funding of NARFI, "Babitsky and Salmons not only bring that kind of expertise to the institute, but also the connections and credentials for attracting leading thinkers from around the world to look at what Havre is doing. The interest in NARFI projects shown by researchers at the University of Central Florida is just one example of the collaborative opportunities they will bring to our community. It is very promising that people of this magnitude have recognized the value in what we're trying to do and taken the considerable risk of joining us here in rural Montana. Timlynn and Jim are going to do great things here for the community and the university."



Timlynn Babitsky
Sohodojo and NARFI
Raleigh, NC USA
http://sohodojo.com and http://narfi.org

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