Who’s who of Elk Valley business and industry turn out for Economic Initiatives Conference

The conference, held on June 16th, consisted of informative panel discussions throughout the day.

Group of people sitting at tables, watching a presentation on a screen at the front of the room.

Fernie Alpine Resort hosted the first ever Elk Valley Economic Initiatives Conference. — Photos courtesy Kootenay Business

The who's who of Elk Valley business and industry turned out for the first ever economic development and initiatives conference in the Elk Valley last week.

Mayors Mary Giuliano, Cal McDougall, and Dean McKerracher of Fernie, Sparwood and Elkford were present; Patty Vadnais, Norma McDougall and Kaydia Wright, the executive directors of Fernie, Sparwood and Elkford Chamber of Commerce offices were in attendance along with numerous BC government and industry officials.  They all gathered for the first ever Elk Valley Economic Initiative AdVenture Capital Conference on Friday, June 16th, 2016.

Here is an overview of the presentations:

Conference host Sharon Strom of the Elk Valley Economic Initiative and Mayor Mary Giuliano, City of Fernie welcomed over 110 conference attendees to the day-long event held at the Lizard Creek Lodge at the Fernie Alpine Resort.

Business Friendly BC was the theme of the first panel discussion. Panelist included Gerri Brightwell – Government of British Columbia, Tim O’Doherty – Columbia Basin Trust, Sean Campbell – Community Futures East Kootenay, and Jessica Fairhart – Imagine Kootenay. The facilitator was Curtis Helgesen, District of Elkford.

Why Elk Valley and Why Now was the subject of the next panel discussion and presentation which included Colin Joudrie – Teck Resources, Andy Cohen – Fernie Alpine Resort and John Pumphrey – CanAus Coal.  Facilitator for this highly informative panel was Norma McDougall, Sparwood Chamber of Commerce.

John Pumphrey, CanAus Coal, Andy Cohen, Resorts of the Rockies and Colin Joudrie, of Teck Resources, Vancouver were featured panelists

John Pumphrey, CanAus Coal, Andy Cohen, Resorts of the Rockies and Colin Joudrie, of Teck Resources, Vancouver were featured panelists. — Photos courtesy Kootenay Business

Opportunities in The Valley saw community leaders talk about the new services and potential opportunities in their municipalities. It featured city administrators including Carla Fox – City of Fernie, Terry Melcer – District of Sparwood and Curtis Helgesen – District of Elkford.  This panel was facilitated by Patty Vadnais, Fernie Chamber of Commerce.

Partnering with First Nations discussed the ins and outs in forging fruitful partnerships with First Nations. It brought a spirited discussion and the panel featured Rosemary Phillips – Ktunaxa Nation Council, Aaron Higgs – Nupqu Development Corporation and Hugh Moore – Tobacco Plains Indian Band. Presentation and panel facilitator was Carla Fox, City of Fernie.

Running a Global Business from Anywhere was the noontime keynote presentation.  It saw high profile business author/blogger and keynote speaker Chris Brogan, who is a New York Times bestselling author, share his perspective on how to expand your business into new markets you’ve probably not considered, learn what matters most and how to get started developing a tattoo‐level obsession with serving a specific market and the rewards it can bring. Attendee’s received a signed copy of Chris’ newest book, ‘The Freaks Shall Inherit the Earth’. A book signing and networking event followed Chris Brogan's presentation, who hails from New Hampshire.  Kaydia Wright, of the Elkford Chamber of Commerce introduced the keynote presentation.

Susan Strom of the Elk Valley Economic Initiatives Conference with Ian Benson of Bearspaw Contracting (r) and Lance Edwards of Elevation Industries.

Susan Strom of the Elk Valley Economic Initiatives Conference with Ian Benson of Bearspaw Contracting (r) and Lance Edwards of Elevation Industries. — Photos courtesy Kootenay Business

Making it in The Valley panel discussion heard from two local Elk Valley business owners that have made BC’s Elk Valley not only the place where they live, but home to their successful businesses. The audience learned what drives their success and the lessons they’ve learned along the way.  This panel featured entrepreneur Lance Edwards – Elevation Industries and longtime business owner, Ian Benson of Elkford's Bearspaw Contracting Inc.  Jessica Fairhart, of Imagine Kootenay facilitated this session.

The conference offered an ideal venue for discussing current and future economic opportunities and initiatives throughout the Elk Valley.  The Elk Valley Economic Initiative sees this as an important step in enhancing the valley’s current economy and looking to future opportunities as well.

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