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Southern Utah News Front Page: January 18, 2018
Raising Kane - ''Creating Our Future''
Raising Kane 2017 guest speaker John Uibel tells attendees to give their visitors an adventure they will remember. Photo by Matt Brown.
By Dixie Brunner
The 10th annual Raising Kane Business Summit, held on January 12 at Stampin’ Up!, was well-attended. Kane County Economic Development Director Matt Brown and CEBA Director Kelly Stowell welcomed the large crowd and invited them to participate in the 2018 theme of “Creating Our Future.”
A large slate of presenters updated the audience on what’s happening in the city, county and in area businesses. Here are some highlights:
• Kane County Commission Chair Dirk Clayson said next year’s summit would be held at the new Kanab Center, which is currently under construction. He was upbeat about the county’s economy and said success was going to be right in front of us. He encouraged people to celebrate each other’s success.
• Kanab City Mayor Robert Houston, beginning his second term in office, told of the city’s numerous accomplishments. Those included: a new wall at the little league field, finished skate/pumptrack park, basketball courts, partnership with Garkane for solar grids, stage and restroom project, partnership with the Gardner Foundation on some park improvements, and new little league fields at the Ranchos Park.
Houston said on the horizon is a remodel of the Kanab Fire Station, waste water/storm water management, dog park completion in the Ranchos, construction of a Marriott Springhill Inn and a Country Inn Suites on the east side of town.
“I would encourage all of you to become ‘vested’ in our community,” said Houston. “The more you do, the more return you’ll get.”
• Rachel Bremer, from the Utah Office of Tourism, highlighted ‘Rourism,’ or rural tourism. “We want tourism to be a major part of your economy.” She said travel trends were that visitors are most interested in having unique experiences at their destinations. “We have forgotten to tell the story of our community.”
Bremer said the Office of Tourism hopes to champion infrastructural investment, and distribute visitation statewide.
• Concerning infrastructure investment, Stowell spoke of the different entities who helped fund and build the recently completed Sherry Belle Trail around the Jackson Flat Reservoir. He said the very active trails committee had numerous plans for expanding the trail system around Kanab. “Our approach is that the (trails) are for us,” said Stowell adding, “but it’s good for our visitors too!”
• Jake Powell, of the American Conservation Experience (ACE), spoke on building trails to better the community. He said his nonprofit group, modeled after the Civilian Conservation Corps, uses young people to build trails. “It’s hard, physical labor, and we teach them how to do things as a team.”
Near here, the ACE group worked on the Cottonwood Trail and more recently on the Mansard Trail east of town. “You have an amazing backdrop,” Powell said of the Kanab area. “Your landscapes are breathtaking. The cards you have been dealt are amazing. Trails can help more people have an amazing experience here.”
• Eric Pederson, from Dixie State University, spoke about Raising Kane’s technology pool. He said southern Utah’s biggest problem is that local industry lacks the skilled technology talent they need to fill positions, grow and solve problems. He said that high paying tech jobs are out there, but there aren’t enough people (especially women) trained for the jobs. He said earlier and more tech education in our schools is the answer! “With increased technology, you can get people who can work remotely and make the big bucks.”
• Shayne Gallagher, of Wingate Wilderness Therapy, spoke of becoming the one to inspire. He related a personal story of when he had a sense to do something right, but ignored the feeling. He related the different justifications he employed to make his behavior feel right. Gallagher said we should let go of thoughts that make us easily offendable, because it has a negative effect on us. He spoke of southern Utah as being a powerful destination of healing.
• Keynote speaker was John Uibel, Senior Creative Director at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. For the church, he has been involved in the creation of over 100 movies and video projects filmed in locations around the world. He is responsible for directing teams in reaching the world in creative ways using engaging film, video, attractive web immersive exhibit design, entertaining theatrical productions and informative broadcasts.
Uibel questioned the audience what Kane County’s story was. “When people visit, what is their take away from the experience? We all have one. Sometimes we even want to change our story!”
He said to create a guest experience that includes a theme that eliminates distraction, contradiction and confusion. Uibel stressed keeping consistent with the business/destination theme to provide the best guest experience. “Your opinion is irrelevant, it’s what your guests think that matters.”