Black Diamond Equipment CEO Emeritus Peter Metcalf will give the keynote address at this year’s Moab Business Summit on Feb. 11. [Photo courtesy of Peter Metcalf]

We live here, we work here. The present and future of local economic development matter to us all, and all are welcome to attend the seventh annual Moab Business Summit on Feb. 11.

The summit is featuring a variety of speakers, including a keynote address by Black Diamond Equipment founder and CEO emeritus Peter Metcalf.

The summit is happening at the SpringHill Suites by Marriott at 1865 N. U.S. Highway 191. Tickets may be purchased at the door for $30, or for $25 with pre-registration.

Grand County Community and Economic Development Department Director Zacharia Levine said the planning team for the event includes his office, the Moab Chamber of Commerce, the Small Business Development Center (SBDC), USU-Moab, and the economic development program Custom Fit.

Around 100 attendees are expected for the event.

Joe Kingsley, the president of the local company Sore No More, said he will be going to the summit again this year and recommends that others attend.

“Every business summit that I have attended has helped my long-term decision making,” he said.

Participants can register and enjoy breakfast starting at 8 a.m. Moab City Mayor Emily Niehaus and Grand County Council member Curtis Wells will kick off the summit at 8:30 a.m. with an official welcoming. This will be followed with a presentation by Levine on the state of the local economy.

“I’m going to cover a variety of trends that are factors in our local economy and are likely to be factors in the next year and probably beyond,” Levine said. “A lot of the data that will help businesses make informed decisions in the coming years.”

He said this will include information on local demographics, employment, wages, housing, industry trends and policies at the state and local level.

Following Levine’s presentation, there will be a 20 minute networking break.

At 9:45 a.m., the keynote speech will be given by Peter Metcalf.

A long time land conservationist amid growing advocacy in the region for Bears Ears National Monument, Metcalf has contributed political donations of more than $4,000 to the Outdoor Industry Association since 2008, according to Federal Election Commission data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics. He publicly called for the association to leave Utah in response to President Donald Trump’s move to reduce the monument’s size.

In an interview with the Moab Sun News, Metcalf said he is looking forward to meeting a diverse base of entrepreneurs and government officials at the summit. He wants to hear about their ideas, ambitions, concerns and challenges and plans to share the lessons he has learned over nearly 30 years of growing a business in Utah “from a startup to a multi-million dollar company.”

“I first came to Moab over 40 years ago to go climbing back in the 1970s,” he said.

That was before the outdoor recreation economy had any footing in the area, though he saw that change during return trips over the years.

In the late 1980s, Metcalf said he was looking to relocate his budding California-based Black Diamond Equipment business, and briefly considered relocating to Moab but the timing wasn’t right.

“Moab was in the midst of a huge transition, and at that point in time didn’t have the infrastructure for Black Diamond,” he said.

Metcalf said he now owns property in Grand County and regularly visits the Moab area. He has become familiar with some of the Moab community’s challenges that other communities have similarly faced as economies shift from ranching and extraction to tourism and recreation.

“It’s important to embrace change,” Metcalf said. “Always see the golden years in the windshield, and not in the rearview mirror.”

Following Metcalf’s keynote, participants will have a choice between attending a “Foundation Center Bootcamp” presentation, or two separate presentations geared toward for-profit enterprises titled “Workforce Development” and “GOED (Governor’s Office of Economic Development) Direct Business Services.”

Eve Tallman is leading the Foundation Center Bootcamp presentation, while the Workforce Development presentation is being delivered by Kelly Thornton and Jerry Pruitt of the Department of Workforce Services (DWS) and Kari McKay of The Synergy Company.

The presenters on GOED’s services will be Nan Anderson of GOED Rural Development and Tom Adams of GOED Outdoor Recreation.

There will be a lunch provided from 11:45 a.m. until 12:45 p.m, when the conference will resume with a talk by Moab City Market store manager and Moab Chamber of Commerce president Brendon Cameron called “Aloha Spirit: Enhancing Customer Service.”

At 12:50 p.m., participants may choose between attending a talk by Gordon Beh of Larson and Company on tax law changes, or “Building a Better Board” presented by Winthrop Jeanfreau, the chairman and CEO of the business consulting and training firm Impact Utah.

At 1:25 p.m., the executive director of the Moab Valley Multicultural Center, Rhiana Medina, is discussing “Culture in the Workplace.” This will be followed at 1:55 p.m. by “Local Economic Development Updates” from Grand County Community and Economic Development Department specialist Kaitlin Myers.

The event concludes at 2:15 p.m. with prizes (including an iPad and a two-night stay at the SpringHill Suites) acknowledgments and final remarks.

Lonnie Campbell is the business banker relationship manager for the Moab branch of Zions Bank. This will be his first year attending the Moab Business Summit, and he said that he expects it to be a good opportunity to talk to others in the Moab business community.

“It’s a learning experience for me,” he said.

Peter Metcalf to keynote Moab Business Summit

“What I’ve learned are some of the timeless lessons of being a business person.”