Date: July 15, 2008
Wes Curtis, Director
Southern Utah University Office of Regional Services
CEDAR CITY — “Energy, Education, and Environment — Forces Shaping Rural Utah’s Economic Future” is the theme for the 21st annual Utah Rural Summit, scheduled for Aug. 7 and 8, 2008, at the R. Haze Hunter Conference Center on the campus of Southern Utah University.
“Energy development and energy policies — addressing such things as global warming, CO2 emissions, and alternative energy sources — will have a profound impact on Utah’s rural economy,” said Wes Curtis, SUU’s Director of Regional Services. “The same is true for policies that affect public lands management, and how we educate our rural work force. We are at a critical juncture in how we address these issues.”
Gov. Jon M. Huntsman’s energy adviser, Utah’s former commissioner of higher education and the chief economist for Wells Fargo Bank will be among the keynote speakers at the event, sponsored by SUU Regional Services.
Dianne R. Nielson, the governor’s energy adviser, will discuss address the conference on such things as the Western Climate Initiative, Utah wind and geothermal projects, and the findings of the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Commission on energy.
Richard E. Kendall, who retired in December as the state’s former higher education commissioner, will address education challenges facing rural Utah during Friday morning’s keynote address.
Kelly Matthews, Wells Fargo’s chief economist, will conclude the summit Friday afternoon with an economic forecast for Utah and the nation.
In addition to Nielson, Kendall and Matthews, other speakers will include Matt Crow, deputy assistant secretary for the U.S. Economic Development Administration, and Jeff Packer, chairman of the Utah Rural Development Council.
Crow’s remarks will focus on rural and regional economic competitiveness, while Packer will report on the activities of the Governor's Rural Partnership Board.
Utah Lt. Gov. Gary Herbert will open the conference with a welcome address on Thursday morning.
Breakout sessions will focus on Utah water issues, agriculture, population demographics and public lands use, leadership training, regional planning and community planning assistance, tourism, conflict management, recreation, and economic development.
Research presentations will include findings from the USU socio-economic study on Utah’s economy, watershed management, livestock grazing, impact of off-highway vehicles, and tourism — the most comprehensive study of this type in the history of the state.
In addition to the SUU, the summit is co-sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development. Corporate sponsors include Cedar City’s Econo Lodge and Quality Inn.
Registration cost is $99. To register, call 435-586-5455 or visit Utah Reach.
Exhibitors may rent space on a first-come, first-served based. Booths cost $100; they are limited to 10 by 8 feet. To rent exhibit space, contact Kathleen McDowell at 435-586-7738.
More information about the Utah Rural Summit is available at Utah Reach.