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Vail Valley Business Forum will focus on the here and now

Michael KurzVail, CO, Colorado

From November of last year through this morning (Tuesday of this week), I’ve been invited – as I’m sure many of you have – to attend nearly a host of conferences about what businesses need to do to cope with the new (lack of) economy. I’ve been to a handful of them, and believe me, one was enough. It sure seems that we suddenly have a plethora of folks available to talk and pontificate about where this mess is headed. Let me save you the trouble and the saddle sores. Generally, as it affects you and me, it isn’t getting any better and, until you get your own U. S. Government-signed bailout check, the foreseeable future looks about the same or worse, depending on which side of the aisle you pitch your tent on.So, now that people (and a lot of “smart” people) are admitting that they don’t know where it’s going, what are you going to do? Wait? That’s dumb. Guess? Even dumber. Pretend you know? Please. I have a suggestion. At least in the near term, why don’t you operate your business using conditions you see today? A radical idea? I don’t think so. I’m guessing that despite the turmoil, you’ve got customers, employees, vendors, payables, receivables and all that. I’m also guessing that you also still need food, clothing, shelter, gasoline, ski passes, etc. So do you spin, sit and contemplate, panic, run or what? I think your best option is to make the changes you need to keep it going and batten down the hatches until you see the storm ebb. That’s essentially the theme of the Vail Valley Business Forum July 30. On that Thursday, from 8 to 11:30 a.m., a panel of our brightest and boldest business minds will gather at the Westin Riverfront Resort and Spa to help us all understand what we can do today to make tomorrow possible. Here’s the lineup:The keynote speaker is Rob Katz, Chairman and CEO of Vail Resorts. The panel is: Don Elliman from the State of Colorado, Jerry Grilly of the Denver Newspaper Agency, John Ikard of FirstBank Holding Company and Jim Kaufmann, executive vice president, western region, Marriott Lodging.The topic is “Enough Guesswork. Here’s the plan.”Each speaker will lead off a summary of how the economic change has affected their business and what they’ve done to cope, or even improve business in the new reality. Then, with questions from the audience, we’ll explore these issues as they affect local and regional businesses every day. Those who attended any of the previous forums know this is likely to be a lively morning, with a format that means you’ll walk away with original outlooks, fresh thinking and unique, memorable points of view. It’s your best, and probably only chance this year to hear from experts in the finance, hospitality, resort/development, mass media and economic development sectors all in one place in an open panel discussion. Attendees will be offered a business expo and continental breakfast beforehand and a chance to mingle and network afterward. Space is limited, so I encourage you to reserve your seats now. Tickets are $40 for Vail Valley Partnership ,embers, $50 for members of other regional chambers and $80 for non-members and tickets purchased at the door. To purchase tickets, contact Ruth Carlson, partnership events coordinator, 970-477-4001 or rcarlson@visitvailvalleycom .A special thanks to Forum ’09 title sponsors, Alter Construction, 1st Bank and Pinnacol Assurance. Michael Kurz is president and CEO of the Vail Valley Partnership.


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