Kenai Peninsula residents once again have the opportunity not only to learn more about where they live and do business, but also to shape the peninsula's future during this year's economic outlook forum.
The event, scheduled for today and Saturday at Kenai Peninsula College, is offering a wealth of information, including:
Community perspectives from Rep. Ken Lancaster, Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Dale Bagley and the mayors of the incorporated cities of the borough;
Updates on Native corporations' economic plans;
Sessions on all the peninsula's big industries -- tourism, oil and gas, commercial fishing and forest products;
Sessions on such economic factors as work force development, the economic impact of education on society, and technology, particularly as it relates to trends in business and education;
Helpful hints on Web site development for small businesses and manufacturing, distribution and marketing on the peninsula.
The two-day forum is a mini-course on business -- and doing business better -- on the peninsula. And it's being offered free of charge, thanks to the generosity of peninsula businesses, which are helping to sponsor the forum.
The event, the second of its kind, is being co-hosted by the Kenai Peninsula Economic Development District and Sen. John Torgerson of Kasilof. Organizers say it will be even better than last year's event, which was widely praised.
In addition to an impressive group of experts in each of the subject areas, U.S. Sen. Frank Murkowski, who recently announced his bid for governor, is slated to give the keynote address Saturday morning.
The forum is a chance for the peninsula to get a good view of where it's headed -- and see if adjustments are needed. It's a chance to brainstorm ideas with business and community leaders. It's a chance to inspire and be inspired about what can and should be done to make the peninsula the best possible place to live and do business.
Ideas from the forum will be incorporated into a strategic development plan, a requirement of many foundations and agencies that help fund local development.
The bottom line: The forum offers a great opportunity, no matter what one's line of work is.
Hats off to all those who are helping to make it possible.
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