The Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) will convene its annual conference at the Northwest Georgia Trade & Convention Center on Friday, Oct. 24. The conference will begin at 11 a.m. following a meeting of the CRI board of directors and will feature U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) as the luncheon speaker at noon.

This year's conference will also be highlighted by a trio of knowledgeable speakers who will provide insight into three of the industry's compelling current issues: international trade, health and sustainability.

Michael Colopy, a foreign policy specialist and expert on trade in China, will open the afternoon discussion in a 1 p.m. talk centering on International Issues. Mr. Colopy is the President and co-founder of International Commerce Consultants Incorporated (ICCI).

Dr. Holly Atkinson will be next up with a session titled "Changing the paradigm on carpet and health'' set to begin at 2 p.m. Dr. Atkinson has over 20 years experience in medical information and education, including both continuing medical education and consumer education.

Carol Browner, former Environmental Protection Agency administrator during the Clinton Administration, will be the featured speaker during the afternoon session. Browner will focus on how sustainability is good for the bottom line during her 3 p.m. talk.

A reception to meet the speakers will follow at 4 p.m.

The conference is free and open to the public; however, registration is required. Those interested in attending can get information by visiting the CRI website at or by contacting Sally Fortenberry at CRI at (706) 428-2108 or (800) 882-8846 ext. 2108.