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The “Outlook” Looks Good: Northern Arizona Economic Outlook Conference

The “Outlook” Looks Good: Northern Arizona Economic Outlook Conference
May 19
14:57 2017

Ruth Ellen Elkinski

The second annual Northern Arizona Economic Outlook Conference has come and gone. The conference, sponsored by the Page/Lake Powell Chamber of Commerce, produced an attentive crowd at the Page Courtyard by Marriott Hotel through the day on Thursday (May 18).

Following introductory comments from District 5 Coconino County Supervisor Lena Fowler and Page Mayor Bill Diak, John Stigmon took over as MC for the event. Stigmon is with the Economic Collaborative of Northern Arizona.

Mayor Diak, with tongue in cheek, congratulated the chamber for the “chamber of commerce” type weather we were experiencing Thursday, after a day of cold and rain. He said the chamber could not be blamed for Wednesday’s weather, as they were busy preparing for the conference.

Ms. Fowler was extremely happy about the conference. She had many words of praise for the chamber and its Executive Director, Judy Franz.

The first speaker of the day, following the introductory comments, was Joe Frazier, the Navajo Generating Station’s plant manager. Frazier went into great detail explaining the reason why, in less than a year since the last conference, NGS is suddenly on the verge of possibly shutting down.

Earlier, Fowler had caught everyone up on the NGS status; that a new lease agreement had been finalized, and it was now being considered by the Navajo Nation and the owners and operators of the plant.

Joe Frazier

Frazier spoke glowingly of an NGS employee who is telling his fellow employees that whether they close in 2017 or in 2019, they must continue to let pride guide their work each day.

“Regardless of what happens to us in the future, we need to make sure we do our job right,” Frazier quoted his employee as saying to his co-workers. “We need to finish strong,” the employee said, according to Frazier.

Another speaker during the morning session was Ruth Ellen Elinski from Northern Arizona Local First, an organization that helps locals start and succeed in their chosen business. Elinski spoke of how the large national chains suck money out of locales, while local businesses do great things for the local economy.

In the afternoon session one of the highlights was the panel discussion of the recently announced Page Higher Education Center, which will be located at the Page CCC campus.

Coconino Community College was represented by its President Dr. Colleen Smith. Also represented was North Arizona University, Dine’ College and Navajo Technical Institute.

The goals of Thursday’s event were to share information, generate ideas and strategies for future economic development for the region; Northern Arizona and Southern Utah.

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