Donna Retegan and Renee Bartlett-Webber of Verde Valley Leadership, Class VII, hosted the Jan. 25 Issue Day, "Business and Economic Development," at the Sedona Rouge Hotel & Spa.
Many economic development representatives including Tom Pitts, Grady Gammage, Jr., Buddy Rocha Jr., Steve Ayers, Jodi Filardo, Jennifer Wesselhoff and Mary Chicoine, came together to discuss Arizona and the business and economic developments of past, present and future for the Verde Valley.
Tom Pitts of the Verde Valley Wine Consortium and Verde Valley Regional Economic Organization addressed the economy of the Verde Valley as a whole. He indicated that the future of the Verde Valley's economic strengths lies in the expansion of professionals in the ever-growing wine industry and the embracing of its unique history and prehistory.
"Real life happens while you make plans for the rest of your life," said Pitts, emphasizing the value of an exact strategy to pursue and achieve all goals.
The next speaker was Grady Gammage Jr. of the Morrison institute in Phoenix. He gave the group an outside perspective looking into the challenges and advantages facing the economy of the Verde Valley.
Gammage Jr. indicated that the collaborative and unique nature of all the communities in the Verde Valley provides an advanced structure for its economic stability and growth.
The next discussion included a panel made up of economic developers from individual towns, cities or nations throughout the Verde Valley. Jennifer Wesselhoff (Sedona), Jodi Filardo (Clarkdale), Steve Ayers (Camp Verde), and Buddy Rocha Jr. (Yavapai-Apache Nation) all addressed the individual qualities that make their area unique and then each expressed the need for collaboration for the betterment of the Verde Valley as a whole.
"Economic development is wealth creation and prosperity building," said Filardo in an attempt to break down the significance of economic growth in any community.
The last presentation of the day featured Mary Chicoine, president of the board of VVREO. She explained the value of her organization and how it sets the Verde Valley apart from other places due to its cooperation and motivated individuals.
A day packed full of professional presentations was an eye-opener by many attendees and showed a plethora of opportunity for many to be involved.
For more information about Verde Valley Leadership please visit: www.vvleadership.org.