Steamboat's Economic Summit 2012 aims for new strategic plan

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If you go

What: Economic Summit 2012

When: 9:30 a.m. Sept. 20

Where: The Steamboat Grand

Cost: $65 for Chamber members, $85 for nonmembers includes lunch. Register here or by calling 970-875-7000

See the complete schedulehere.

— If everything goes as planned during this year's Economic Summit on Sept. 20, those in attendance will emerge from the all-day conference having completed the framework of a strategic plan for the future economic success of Steamboat Springs.

“Steamboat Springs needs to have an economic development strategy,” Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association CEO Tom Kern said Friday. “Without it, you’re still going to end up somewhere, but it may not be where you want to be. At the end of the afternoon, we will have a list of things that should be accomplished right away and things that need to be accomplished in the next one to three years.”

The plan will come out of afternoon breakout sessions, where community leaders will break into groups devoted to community needs, such as transportation and telecommunications, and will be asked to do the hard work of identifying specific short- and long-term goals that will be incorporated into a strategic plan and turned over to the Chamber Economic Development Council, Kern said.

The keynote speaker for the summit at The Steamboat Grand is Tricia Huebner, vice president of business development and director of training and education for E-Myth, an organization that grew out of the landmark 1995 book “E-Myth Revisited” by Michael Gerber. It explored the reasons that small businesses fail and the entrepreneurial myth, which holds that most business owners are technicians rather than entrepreneurs.

Randy Rudasics, manager of the Yampa Valley Entrepreneurship Center at Colorado Mountain College, said Huebner could be expected to provide her audience with some practical tools for day-to-day planning.

Following Huebner’s talk at 10:45 a.m., the gathering will break up into as many as four workshops where expert local facilitators will help owners and managers of businesses and organizations of varying sizes develop a future for their businesses.

Mark Andersen, executive director of the Yampa Valley Community Foundation, will work with nonprofits. Business consultant Chad James will work with entrepreneurial and small businesses, and Hewlett Packard alumni Kemp Bohlen and Jack Trautman meet up with people from medium and larger sized companies.

Bohlen said that at Hewlett Packard, he and Trautman worked within a strategic visioning system similar to E-Myth.

“You start with a vision of what you’d like your company or organization to be and then add levels of detail to build strategies, tactical and operational plans” to get there, Bohlen said.

The vision for each company may be expressed in simple value statements that serve as pole stars by which to evaluate day-to-day decisions. Those value statements, the simpler the better, might be: “We will be good corporate citizens. We will treat our people well. And we will evaluate (employees’) performance fairly.”

Building the framework beneath those value statements requires some work, but putting in that work while the economy is slow could help business owners prepare for busier days, Bohlen said.

The luncheon speaker will be Steamboat’s Mark Satkiewicz, president of SmartWool, who will give concrete examples of how a local business with a global outlook has taken steps to create sustainable growth.

Then, at about 1:30 p.m., Steamboat resident Steve Muntean, a partner in the Muntean Leadership Group, whose clients include Verizon, will talk about ways to develop strategic initiatives for economic success.

The strategic planning sessions will follow.

It’s Kern’s hope that by the time everyone leaves the conference at the end of the day, the Economic Development Council will have some clear direction for the 12 months that follow.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205 or email tross@SteamboatToday.com

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