By Taren Powell
Congressman John Curtis kicked off the Rural Business Summit on Friday morning with a warm welcome and thanked the Carbon County Senior Citizen Center for their hospitality during the conference.
The congressman dove right into a discussion about technology and manufacturing. With Clint Betts from Silicon Slopes and Brian Sather from Blacksmith International, they discussed ways to collaborate to help rural Utah create a vision.
Clint Betts went on to discuss the possibility of economic growth in rural Utah and encouraged entrepreneurs to start their businesses where they love and where they are supported: in rural Utah. He talked about the hardships of being an entrepreneur, but stated that having a great support system eases that burden of starting a business.
In unison, they all agreed that rural Utah needs to stop waiting for businesses to move in or relocate to their areas; they need to start their own business. The discussion ended with their excitement to see what the future holds for Carbon, Emery, Grand and San Juan counties.
The breakout session topics included:
- What’s really in that Emery County Lands Bill – Victory or Defeat?
- Planning for Growth – It’s About Infrastructure
- Rural Online Initiative – What’s Next
- Growing Your Chamber – What Can a Chamber of Commerce do for You?
- Utah Tax Reform
- Employee Recruitment/Retention – Untapped Resources
- Marketing Rural Utah – AnArea in Transition
- Resources to Grow your Business/Rural Lending Options
- Veterans – Don’t go in on it alone, we have your “six”!
- Can’t We All Just Get Along – With Federal/State Partnerships
- Grants – How to find, write, and implement them successfully
- Why Manufacturing Matters
The Rural Business Summit also presented a Rural Business of The Year Award. This year, the recipient was John Houston with Intermountain Electronics. Houston was recognized for his efforts in expanding his business in Carbon County. Congressman Curtis said this is why he does what he does, to see amazing businesses like this expanding in their hometown and giving so much back to the community that helped support them.
Houston thanked the government officials who helped with the expansion process as well as those involved on a local level. He also mentioned he hopes with this expansion, it will also help other local businesses grow. He encouraged other local business owners to expand.
After the awards, attention was turned toward Price City Mayor Mike Kourianos and Natalie Gochnour, the Associate Dean for David Eccles School of Business. Kourianos and Gochnour introduced the Coal Strike Team and their efforts in raising income levels in Carbon and Emery counties.