Friday, January 4, 2008

Discuss ?The Road Less Traveled?

Mayoral candidate, 27, to lecture at meeting of young professionals

Express Staff Writer

Erin Dunn

Twenty-seven-year-old Erin Dunn didn't win the Hailey mayor's office, but that's not keeping him from making public speaking appearances.

Dunn, who ran for Hailey's top office in November, will speak about his experiences testing the valley's political waters at a young professionals' "Most Happy Hour" Tuesday, Jan. 8, at the Roosevelt Tavern.

A sales associate at Edge Wireless, Dunn performed well against his opponent, new Mayor Rick Davis, an established Hailey businessman and City Council member. In putting his political stake in the ground, Dunn represented his age group: young professionals who work hard and wish to build careers and lives in the Wood River Valley.

Dunn's topic is "The Road Less Traveled," reflecting the unusual choice at his age to pursue a government role. The event runs from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., with Dunn speaking and answering questions from 6 to 6:30 p.m., followed by a social hour.

The event will be hosted by Jigsaw, a 501c3 organization recently founded to promote educational and networking opportunities for entrepreneurs and business owners in the Wood River Valley.

Jigsaw's founding director, Jima Rice, stepped down Nov. 30 from a position as managing director of the Wood River Economic Partnership. She said in a Dec. 4 news release that she was asked to resign by the non-profit organization's board of directors due to budget issues resulting from difficulties in recruiting members and the ensuing inability to pay her salary.

Meanwhile, Rice demonstrated determination to further her goal of economic improvement in the valley by creating Jigsaw. By providing networking events, educational seminars and support for business incubation, Rice hopes her newest endeavor will assist in creating an economic environment conducive to the success of small businesses.

"I'm stubborn," Rice said. "We need a broad economic base to survive. We can't be a one-horse town dependent on the Sun Valley Co."

Rather than focusing on an economy driven by tourism, Rice said Jigsaw and her firm, Rice Consulting, will work to make the valley an attractive place for different businesses, whether that be money management, software development or healthcare.

Rice said Jigsaw and the Wood River Economic Partnership have priorities that are compatible rather than competing, and therefore will be able to work in conjunction when appropriate.

"In the end, it's worked out very well," she said.

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