Carbondale business conference to focus on solutions, collaboration between communities |

Carbondale business conference to focus on solutions, collaboration between communities

Pete FowlerGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

CARBONDALE, Colo. Randi Lowenthal hopes this year’s business conference can lead to solutions and get communities realizing they must work together to face challenges.Lowenthal, executive director of the Carbondale Chamber of Commerce, has instructed speakers at Tuesday’s annual business conference and fundraiser to call for action and present solutions rather than lectures.”What we have asked the speakers to do is not stand up and lecture,” she said. “Don’t just tell people we need more affordable housing. Tell them how to solve the problem.”After a business conference a few years ago that included a panel of city managers, she said, people commented that they were surprised most communities in the area face the same issues. Businesses and governments in each community need to partner to make progress on big issues like workforce, transportation and housing.

Those three topics will be explored in panel discussions moderated by Post Independent Publisher Andrea Porter. Lowenthal encourages audience participation as well. Mark Gould, president and CEO of Gould Construction; Nikki Jost, human resources director for the Roaring Fork School District Re-1; and Louis Meyer, president and CEO of Schmueser Gordon Meyer, will discuss workforce issues. Immigration and employee recruiting and retention will likely come up in this panel.A Roaring Fork Transportation Authority representative and Jay Ufer, president and CEO of Colorado Mountain Express, will panel the transportation discussion. Garfield County Commissioner Trési Houpt and John Young of Western Housing Solutions will discuss housing.”They’re going to talk about what’s involved in an affordable housing project and also what it takes to actually get one approved and built,” Lowenthal said.Next a panel of mayors from Aspen to New Castle will explore the issues and tie them together, perhaps bringing up the concept of collaboration between communities.Aron Diaz, of the Associated Governments of Northwestern Colorado, will deliver the ending keynote speech including information about the oil and gas industry and its impacts, after Art Freedman of Ace Hardware kicks off the day in a keynote speech before the panel discussions. Lowenthal expects around 100 people to attend.Contact Pete Fowler: 945-8515, ext. 16611pfowler@postindependent.comPost Independent, Glenwood Springs Colorado CO

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