ECON 919 - Industry Outlook Forum

Jan 3, 2020


The annual industry outlook forum is coming up next week. This year’s forum will take place in Seward. The Kenai Peninsula Economic Development District, along with Chambers of Commerce from Kenai, Soldotna, Homer and Seward all work to organize and support the event.



KPEDD Executive Director Tim Dillon spoke with us about a few of the presentations lined up for the forum:


"This is the fourth year that we’ve moved it to a new community. When I took over four years ago, that was a commitment I made to all the communities, that we would move it around. We’re being hosted by the AVTEC culinary arts building in Seward. 

First of all, we have the head of AVTEC to kind of kick us off.

JAG, which is an industrial and marine services group over in Seward, their executive vice president is going to be making a presentation this year.

The agriculture side this year; Marcus Mueller and the Kenai Peninsula Borough have worked really hard on making lands available for agriculture. They have this new land program they’re unveiling. 

Then an old friend comes back, Alyssa Shanks Rodrigues, in a different role. She’s always been with the (state) folks giving us all the data over the years, but she’s taken a new role as head of the Alaska Manufacturing Extension Partnership. When the folks from Seward were looking at our website, and they were commenting on manufacturing “this has got to be wrong...we dont’ have this kind of manufacturing.” Fortunately or unfortunately, the federal government, when they put codes in and things, fish processing is part of manufacturing, so that’s why those numbers are there.

(Blue Economy) Craig Fleener, executive director of Alaska Ocean Cluster. That’s been going on for the last couple years. He’s got some neat things going. I’ve been to some meetings with him the last six to eight months and I think Craig is somebody who thinks outside of the box and I think if there’s a place this presentation belongs, it’s Seward.

Jillian Simpson is going to be talking, from the Alaska Travel Industry Association. Here at KPEDD, we’ve been working closely not only with them, but also with the state on a couple tourism opportunities, some trail initiatives and things that will be on the other side of Kachemak Bay, Nanwalek, Port Graham, Seldovia area and we also have a project in Seward we’re working on. 

The one I’m the most proud of we were able to pull off and I’m really excited about is we have three young people from Seward High School. They were finalists for Caring for the Kenai last year and they’ve got some really neat things they’re working on. One of them includes designing a drone for all weather and then actually making it with a 3-D printer out of recycled plastic. And they’re also in the process of mapping some of the flood plains over in Seward for the city.

People come and go, they don’t have to be there the entire day but it’s a great day of information. More than anything else, this is something the Kenai Peninsula Borough and the borough mayor have talked to me about being that resource, and I believe that’s what we’re trying to do is fulfill that role and this goes a long way.