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Wednesday, April 11

Rural Economic Development
1-5 p.m. at the Sheraton

Networking Reception

5 p.m. at the Sheraton

Thursday, April 12


7:30 a.m. - 8:15 a.m.

Welcome and Opening Comments

8:15 a.m. - 8:30 a.m.

8:30 a.m. - 9:45 a.m.
After an IED explosion in Afghanistan left him severely burned on more than 80 percent of his body, Sgt. Israel Del Toro thought big. Despite a grim prognosis and three months in a coma, Del Tor defied the odds, made a miraculous recovery and became the first combat disabled Air Force technician to re-enlist. As part of his rehabilitation, he was introduced to adaptive sports and eventually set world records in shot put, discus, and javelin, and won a gold medal at The 2016 Invictus Games. For his perseverance and commitment to his country, Master Sgt. Israel Del Toro received The Pat Tillman Award for Service, and has proven again and again what one can achieve with steadfast tenacity and determination.

Networking Break

9:45 a.m. - 10:15 a.m.

How the GOED is Thinking Big!
10:15 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
Hear from commissioner Stern and each of the GOED's division directors on how the office is working to overcome challenges of the past and think big on projects of the future.


11:30 a.m. - 12:45 p.m.

Breakout Sessions

12:45 p.m. - 1:15 p.m.

1:25 p.m. - 1:55 p.m.

2:05 p.m. - 2:35 p.m.

Don't Zone Yourself Out

Looking to add a cheese plant, chicken processing facility or wind farm to your community? In order to land the next big project, proper permitting and zoning is a must. When these projects surface on the local level, it is essential for economic developers to garner support from bard members, commissioners, landowners and citizens. In this session, learn what steps you can take as an economic developer to get your community on board!

Competitor or Comrade?

When looking for a new location in a rural area, companies often consider not only what a community has to offer, but what the surrounding region brings to the table. As economic developers, working on a regional level is essential to our own community's growth. But when are these other organizations the competition and when are they our partners? What are the challenges that practitioners face regionally, and how can communities in the same geographic area work together to better to accomplish common goals?

How to Foster Entrepreneurship in Your Community

Entrepreneurs make up an important segment of our economic development efforts. However, their needs can vary from a well-established company. In this session, learn what the unique needs of entrepreneurs are, what resources are available to them, and how we can help them grow in our own communities.

Industrial Park Planning

While industrial parks are a big asset to a community, they aren't always utilized to their full potential.  In this session, learn practical steps to help you make the best use of your space. See how communities have been strategic in their planning development and what steps your community can take to help your industrial park become a bigger draw for new and expanding companies.

Networking Break and Giant Vision Exhibit Viewing

2:40-3:10 p.m.

Interactive Session

3:10 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

The Capacity Readiness Scorecard: Actionable, Practical Tips for Moving Forward
3:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.


5 p.m. - 6 p.m.

Banquet and Awards

6 p.m.