Economic Summit offers forum for business, community leaders | SummitDaily.com

Economic Summit offers forum for business, community leaders

JENNIFER HARPERsummit daily news

KEYSTONE – The Summit County Chamber of Commerce will present its second annual Economic Summit from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Friday hosted by Vail Resorts and Keystone at the Keystone Lodge.The economic outlook forum brings business and community leaders together to address economic opportunities and challenges facing the mountain communities.Constance Jones, executive director of the Summit County Chamber, said the event is a chamber program, but anyone is welcome to attend. Last year’s forum brought out 150 people from the private, public and nonprofit sectors, and Jones is expecting a similar turnout this year.According to Summit Chamber board president Loren Stone, the purpose of the annual forum is to foster relationships through the development of strategic partnerships, which will create a sustainable future for Summit County.Jones said it came about as a result of conversations with businesses large and small expressing a need to have a forum to talk about issues that affect all local businesses.”Each community is sort of at a different stage (with economic related issues), but what one community does impacts the others. It’s about seeing the big picture,” Jones said. “We think this will be a nice snapshot of what’s happening in Summit County.”Ralf Garrison, president of the Advisory Group of Denver, will once again facilitate the forum. With more than 25 years of experience in destination resort strategic marketing and related tourism infrastructure, Garrison will provide an update on the destination mountain resort industry and its tourism dependent business and shift the focus to diversification of the mountain economy.Garrison will lead the open forum format, which will address the “State of the Summit” and showcase the economic activities of local communities and the county and address regional topics such as transportation, taxes, housing and real estate, health care, workforce development, cultural diversity and business development.Event participants will have an opportunity to interact with local leaders throughout the session in a format that will allow for questions and comments.State Rep. Gary Lindstrom, D-Breckenridge, will address regional issues impacting Summit County, and U.S. Rep. Mark Udall, D-Colorado, has been invited to participate – but is not confirmed to attend – and provide an update on the mountain pine beetle legislation and other issues.The event is free, but an RSVP is required as seating is limited. Doors open at 8 a.m. for buffet breakfast, and the program begins at 8:20 a.m.For more information or to register, call the Summit Chamber office at (970) 668-2051. Visit http://www.summitchamber.org for a program agenda.Jennifer Harper can be contacted at (970) 668-3998, ext. 13620, or at jharper@summitdaily.com.