Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Data and local life will intersect in Economic Summit

Daylong confab will focus on ‘Quality of Place’

Express Staff Writer

Harry Griffith

Numbers inform people’s lives, but sometimes they’re hard to find, hard to visualize and hard to interpret.
    Sustain Blaine, a local economic development group, and the Idaho Mountain Express cooperatively produced this first-of-its-kind Economic Almanac to try to change that and to give businesses, workers, investors and others easy access to information that shows what’s going on in Blaine County.
    Until now, it’s been next to impossible to find all of the local numbers in one place.
    Beyond that, it’s easy to see that 200,000 miles on a car means it may be time to look for a new one. However, it’s often harder to see how numbers such as total taxable sales, property values, average wage trends and capital expenditures by cities and the county affect people’s lives.
    Even people who revel in numbers sometimes find it difficult to figure out what to do with them. That’s why Sustain Blaine will hold its second annual Economic Summit on Tuesday, Oct. 8, at Sun Valley Resort in Sun Valley from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
    The summit is open to all. Early Bird registration costs $35 and includes lunch. Later registration will cost $45. Participants can register online at
    Sustain Blaine Executive Director Harry Griffith assembled the data in this almanac. A numbers-cruncher by trade, he says numbers alone won’t get people what they want in their lives.
    The Economic Summit will give participants a chance to weigh in on what to do with the numbers.
    It won’t be a “come in and sit on your butt and get preached to” kind of conference, Griffith said. Frequent electronic polling will collect feedback on questions raised after participants hear from speakers such as keynoter Michael Shuman, an expert in local investment, and panelists of many stripes.
Griffith said participants will be asked to list priorities for public and nonprofit capital projects such as roads, recreation facilities and buildings that may compete for the public pocketbook.
    “The concept is that we as a community should invest appropriately to improve our quality of place and the economy,” he said. “We want to assess the economic, environmental and social assets that underpin our own quality of place and to develop a way to measure our progress in protecting and enhancing those assets.”
    The summit conference is part of Sustain Blaine’s mission to educate the local community on economic issues and to provide “neutral advocacy” that takes the heat out of debates on local issues by providing facts, not just opinions.


When: Tuesday, Oct. 8, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Where: Limelight Room, Sun Valley Resort, Sun Valley.
Time: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Theme: “Beyond GDP: Investing for Quality of Place.”
Cost: $35 to $45, includes lunch.
To register: Go to

8:00 a.m. Registration Opens.
9:00-9:15 a.m. Welcome/Introduction.
9:15-9:45 a.m. Speaker: Economic Development & Quality of Place.
9:45-10:00 a.m. Polling: Audience’s view on state of the economy & quality of place.
10:00-11:00 a.m. Panel: Recreation & Environment.
11:00-11:15 a.m. Break.
11:15 a.m.-Noon Panel: Transportation & Mobility.
Noon-12:30 p.m. Seating for lunch.
12:30-1:30 p.m. Keynote Presentation: “Think Local, Invest Local” Michael H. Shuman.
1:30-1:45 p.m. Break.
1:45-2:45 p.m. Panel: Social & Cultural.
2:45-3:00 p.m. Break.
3:00-4:00 p.m. Panel: Infrastructure & Economy
4:00-4:30 p.m. Wrap-up: Where do we want to go as a community?
4:30-5:00 p.m. Closing remarks.
5:00-7:00 p.m. Cocktail reception (no-host bar): Lobby Lounge, Sun Valley Inn.

Interested sponsors may contact Joy Kasputys at 208-721-2323

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