Diverse lineup of speakers highlights 28th annual Economic Summit

Covering a wide variety of topics, including a presentation focusing on an employee-retention study, this year’s 28th annual Economic Summit is slated to begin at 8 a.m. Friday, May 20, 2022, at Colorado Mountain College in Steamboat Springs.
John F. Russell/Steamboat Pilot & Today

Agriculture, employee retention and diversity will share the spotlight at the 28th annual Economic Summit on Friday, May 20.

“It’s an awesome schedule because we’ve got entrepreneur spirit, we’ve got agriculture and we’ve also got a focus on DEI, diversity, equity and inclusion,” said John Bristol, economic development director at the Steamboat Springs Chamber. “We’re hitting a lot of areas that are hot topics right now for our community, our regional community and the whole valley.”

The Steamboat Springs Chamber, Economic Development Council and Colorado Mountain College are presenting this year’s Economic Summit. The day will start at 8 a.m. and runs until 2 p.m. inside the auditorium on Colorado Mountain College’s Steamboat Springs campus.

Bristol is excited about this year’s lineup, which will include a Routt County economic update by Nathan Perry of Colorado Mesa University and a Colorado legislative update from Michael Santo of Bechtel & Santo Employment Law.

The Summit will then shift to Charles Barr, who will speak about Spring Born, a 2.5-acre greenhouse 20 miles west of Glenwood Springs in Silt.

The indoor facility is bringing new technology to Colorado’s agriculture industry and is capable of growing 10,000 packs of arugula and green and red leaf lettuce per day using less water and on less land than the larger producers.

Then Jessie Ollier, founder and CEO of Welluations, will address an issue many Steamboat Springs businesses are facing in the post-pandemic world, as she presents a case study in employee retention.

This year’s Economic Summit will also include an agriculture panel discussion as leaders in Routt County’s agricultural sector will discus current successes, opportunities, challenges and lessons learned during the pandemic.

This year’s lineup of speakers will explore how entrepreneurship and the retention and expansion of small businesses advances long-term economic sustainability. The summit will also address growing and retaining a talented workforce to boost all sectors of the economy.

The hope is to help local businesses and business leaders gain insights into the local economy, explore unique challenges and discover opportunities to enhance the economy, community and culture.

“The 28th annual Economic Summit is more valuable than ever. I invite the community and leaders from across Northwest Colorado to join us for this practical, thought-provoking, and timely event,” said Bristol. “We must work together as a region to keep and add quality job opportunities and support all industry sectors from agriculture to technology, and everything in between.”

The summit’s keynote speaker, Joelle Martinez of the Latino Leadership Institute, will discuss Neurological Leadership, DEI and the Path to Inclusive Communities. Martinez is a subject matter expert in Neuroleadership, Latino identity, civic engagement, workplace diversity and inclusion, and demographic shifts.

In 2017, Martinez was named one of the most powerful women by the Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce. In 2019, she was honored by the NFL Hispanic Heritage Foundation and Nationwide.

Registration is open and tickets are available for $65 for Chamber members and $85 for non-members.

“We’ve worked hard to put together a good schedule with some pretty cool speakers on these areas,” Bristol said. “It’s important for community leaders, business leaders, civic leaders, elected officials, and those that are just generally interested in the trajectory of our community. We’re going to engage in forums like this to understand and quickly learn about what’s happening in the local economy.”

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