Speakers Set for Economic Development Summit

Three top speakers and two high-profile panel discussions are among the highlights of Nevada County Economic Resource Council’s 2016 Economic Development Summit next month.

The event, “What Makes a Community Great: The T.O.T.A.L. package,” will be 1 to 5:30 p.m. April 7 at the Grass Valley Veterans Memorial Building, 255 S. Auburn St., Grass Valley.

A separate VIP dinner follows from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Gold Miners Inn.

“The Summit’s T.O.T.A.L. acronym is a reference to a continuum of community amenities and attributes we believe are essential for greatness representing Talent, Outdoors, Technology, Art and Lifestyle — which show up regularly in national rankings as common factors associated with the best American cities, and are emblematic of Nevada County’s communities as well,” said ERC Executive Director Jon Gregory.

“Our ERC special events task force for the Summit, co-chaired by Hollie Grimaldi-Flores and Mary Jean “M.J.” Heltsley, has assembled an incredible line-up of local, regional, national and private industry speakers and panelists to address these themes.”

The Union Publisher Jim Hemig will serve as the Summit’s master of ceremonies.

“This is the once-a-year ‘can’t miss’ event for business, civic, technology, education and other community stakeholders in the region that will provide vital information regarding the state of our economy and the future of our community,” Hemig said.

Highlights of the Summit are as follows:

Keynote presentation, “What does it take to make a community great?” by Matt Carmichael, editor of the national website Livability.com, which has nearly 3 million monthly page views.

Livability explores what makes small-to-medium sized cities great places to live. Through proprietary research studies, it leverages its expertise to develop city rankings for a range of topics including small towns, college towns and its annual Top 100 Best Places to Live.

“Job Generation: The Missing Economic Piece” by Mary Owens, an economist and principal of Owens Estate & Wealth Strategies Group.

Owens is co-chair of the ERC’s Digital Media Campus initiative.

Insights on the much-anticipated Sierra Digital Media Campus from Scott Lenet, president of Touchdown Ventures, who serves as a key strategic consultant on the project.

Panel discussion by mayors from three of America’s No. 1 ranked communities in 2015: No. 1 Best City in America — Madison, Wisconsin; #1 Best Small Town in America — Lebanon, New Hampshire; and No. 1 Top Place to Visit — Grand Rapids, Michigan.

In addition, the special post-Summit VIP dinner (separate ticket required) will feature a panel of digital media thought leaders who are part of the Sierra Digital Media Campus Global Advisory Board.

The panel will be moderated by Scott Lenet, president of Touchdown Ventures.

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