Thursday's Industry Outlook Forum Spotlights Peninsula's Diverse Economy
KPEDD's yearly gathering is available online again this year.
The annual Industry Outlook Forum, put on by the Kenai Peninsula Economic Development District, is coming up on Thursday. While the event will have an in-person audience this year, K-PEDD is making accommodations for Covid-19, and will be broadcasting the all-day series of seminars on YouTube.
The Industry Outlook Forum serves as a snapshot of the economy today and a forecast of what’s to come. According to Tim Dillon, executive director of K-PEDD, the forum has changed substantially over its 15-year history, just like the peninsula’s economy. He spoke with KDLL’s Jenny Neyman.
"The economy of the Kenai Peninsula is very much a microcosm of the economy of the state of Alaska. I mean, there's not not much that goes on that doesn't have a foothold or isn't, you know an area of growth on the Kenai Peninsula. So it's I mean, it's interesting to see like you've got a update on Alaska manufacturing. You've got as you say mariculture, all these kind of emerging sectors elsewhere in the state that the Kenai Peninsula is, would you say ahead of the curve or at least in the middle of the curve as far as emerging and tracking down different different Industries?" Neyman said.
"At least in the middle and that's part of the reason why we do this is to try and help and to grow some of it, you know, some of the things that like mariculture we may be a little bit behind the curve on some of that. You know, the if you look at Ketchikan or some of the other places around the state it's that really have advanced some things and we're still at the cottage industry level with some of it. So it really helps and gives some folks some different ideas and where we're at and where we're going," said Dillon.
"And some of these you could attend and just learn a lot of interesting things and get a great update for where the peninsula's at and where it's going. But even if you're not in any of these particular Industries, there's the transition and secession planning for businesses, which I think would be super helpful for anybody especially coming out of Covid. I'm sure there's a lot of people that are very burned out right about now and wondering how to plan for the future," Neyman said.
"Well not just coming out of Covid, you know, as you look around there's a lot more of us with gray hair these days and you're trying to figure out you know, you've built something over the years and it's okay. My kids do want it. My kids don't want it. You know, what do I what am I gonna do with what what I built so to be able to have somebody like John Bitner come down the executive director for Alaska small business is really important and he's got some great ideas and making sure that people know how to do things in advance," Dillon said.
"What of these sessions are you particularly excited to hear," Neyman said.
"Well, Sarah Leonard and the CEO for Alaska travel industry Association Sarah and I've been working for the last several years to try and figure out what do we do to help the tourism industry kptmc isn't what it used to be. How do we help folks pivot and figure out what to do, you know from a tourism standpoint. The independent traveler is so much so much more important to the Kenai Peninsula now then the organized traveler with you know on the cruise ships and things so to be able to hear what she's got going on. Also I was able to I had met Jared Kosen who is the president and CEO of the Alaska State Hospital and Nursing Home Association. I had met him a couple years ago down in Juneau and for him to be able to come and talk about the medical services impact. On the economy. Just think about what Soldotna and Kenai look like now versus what they looked like 10 years ago. And if you had anything serious on the medical side you were trumping up to Anchorage to get it done. You couldn't get it done down here. And now you look at the campus that exists in Soldotna and all the different kinds of medical support. Well, what does that do to your economy? How does how does that affect that so Jared's going to do a good presentation on that for us anybody that's tried to buy real estate in the last several years has been scratching their head trying to figure out you know, you you put in an offer and 30 other people are doing the same thing and they're bidding more than what is being asked. So we're fortunate Dale Bagley as the president-elect for the Alaska Association of Realtors, and he's going to be able to give us a little bit of an update and here's what's happening. Here's what happened. And here's what we think is going to happen over the next year or two. So so I think you know, we've got a good diverse. Group of speakers. We've got 15 or so speakers. Most of them are like Ted Talks, you know quick hits we've got the Kenai Peninsula Borough Land Management update markets Mueller is gonna help us out with what's going on with that," Dillon said.
"I think that'll be particularly interesting because they're really moving in directions of how to facilitate, you know, local Agriculture and things of that nature so that could be interesting to some some folks who might not see themselves represented in like, you know, the hardcore's are our go-to industries that you think of on the keynote Peninsula. That's that's another sort of growing. I hate to make the pun there, but growth industry on the Peninsula," Neyman said.
"Well, you know, and it's it's difficult at times when you're trying to figure out. okay, what's going to help the most people from an agriculture standpoint, you know, what kind of a speaker and when I was sitting down listening to Marcus talk at something else he was doing it dawned on me that we really needed to bring him back. We're looking forward to that. We also have the state of Alaska is Off their Statewide comprehensive Economic Development strategy, and they're actually going to do it at our meetings Nolan Clouda is actually heading that up for the state. So he's not only going to give a economic update on what's going on on the peninsula and around the state but then talk about the comprehensive Economic Development strategy and how we fit into that and how the state fits into ours,"