Industry Outlook Forum comes to Homer

The Kenai Peninsula Economic Development District’s “Industry Outlook Forum” is coming to town, with a two-day event at Land’s End Resort on Jan. 31-Feb. 1. The forum’s theme is “Cook Inlet — Energy for All Alaska” and it is hosted by the KPEDD and the city of Homer.

Usually held in the central peninsula, this is the first time the annual forum has been scheduled for the southern peninsula.

“The (KPEDD) board felt we should take this on the road to Homer, Seward and the rest of the borough,” John Torgerson, KPEDD’s executive director, said of the decision to have the gathering in Homer. “We’re ‘Kenai Peninsula.’ … We wanted to bring down industry leaders and let them talk about what they have going on, if they’re hiring, whatever. We don’t tell them what to talk about.  … It’s a cross section of the economy.“

Monte Davis, executive director of the Homer Chamber of Commerce, said having the forum in Homer helps broadcast a message that “there is a large contingency of business people in Homer who are open for business and ready for development. Well thought out, cooperative economic development, but development nonetheless.”

The forum serves an educational purpose on many levels.

“It educates people about what kind of industry is going on. Some (presenters) might talk about barriers, some might talk about what they’re doing,” he said. “Homer has a gas line coming and we’re all interested in the future supply of gas.”

The forum includes a variety of topics and speakers that address the peninsula and state of Alaska’s economic outlook. In addition to the presenters, the forum also includes a trade show. It draws a large crowd. As of Tuesday, an estimated 165 people had registered for the free event.

A welcome from KPEDD board secretary Kristine Holdridge, Homer Mayor Beth Wythe and Davis launches the two-day agenda, followed by Alyssa Shanks of the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development with a workforce development and economic overview. The remainder of the morning program includes a community economic outlook provided by Kenai Peninsula Borough Mike Navarre, Wythe, Phil Morris of Kachemak City, Seldovia City Manager Tim Dillon and Ristine Casagrande of the Seward City Council.

Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell is the keynote speaker at the Jan. 31 luncheon. The guest speaker at dinner is John Hendrix of Apache, with recorded messages from Alaska’s congressional delegation, Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Mark Begich and Rep. Don Young. 

Between lunch and dinner, forum participants will be given an update on gas line projects by Dan Fauske of Alaska Stand Alone Pipeline and Mark Morones of the Alaska Gas Pipeline Project Office. Rounding out the afternoon are presentations by Dan Sullivan, commissioner of the Alaska Department of Natural Resources, Larry Hartig, commissioner of the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, and Bruce Tangeman, deputy commissioner of the Department or Revenue.

Updates on peninsula utility projects kick off the Feb. 1 program, with presentations by Brad Janorschke of Homer Electric Association and Jim Sims of Enstar Natural Gas. Providing information on drilling, production and facilities are James Watt of Buccaneer Alaska, David Hall of Cook Inlet Energy and John Barnes if Hilcorp Energy.

Keynote speakers at the Feb. 1 luncheon are Ralph Samuels of Holland America, Ron Peck of Alaska Travel Industry Association and Kathy Dunn of the Alaska Department of Commerce Community and Economic Development.

Mining projects wrap up the forum, with presentations by Ethan Schutt of the CIRI Gasification Project, Mike Heatwole of The Pebble Partnership and Kurt Parkan of Donlin Gold.

Industry Outlook Forums became part of KPEDD’s annual schedule about 12 years ago. The event’s popularity is evident by how quickly people register. Generous donations by sponsors and business leaders mean KPEDD is able to “offer everything at no charge,” said Torgerson, who will speak about the forum at today’s noon meeting of the Homer-Kachemak Bay Rotary.

For more about KPEDD and to register for the forum, visit

McKibben Jackinsky can be reached at

More in News

Clem Tillion of Halibut Cove poses for a photo on Jan. 9, 2020, in Homer, Alaska. The veteran Alaska legislator was passing through Homer while waiting to take the M/V Tustumena ferry to Kodiak. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
Clem Tillion, PFD founder and former legislator, dies at 96

Tillion died Wedneday, Oct. 13, at Halibut Cove home.

Thunder Mountain High School on April 18.  Earlier this fall, vandalism including stolen soap dispensers and toilets clogged with foreign objects such as paper towel rolls were a problem at schools nationwide and in Juneau. But, principals say the local situation is improving. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)
After brief surge, vandalism subsiding at local high schools

Principals say internet trends, stress likely behind incidents.

In this Jan. 8, 2020, photo Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, heads to a briefing on Capitol Hill in Washington. An Alaska man faces federal charges after authorities allege he threatened to hire an assassin to kill Murkowski, according to court documents unsealed Wed., Oct. 6, 2021. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite,File)
Delta Junction man faces charges over threatening Murkowski’s life

Authorities allege he threatened to hire an assassin to kill the senator.

Donna Aderhold recites the Homer City Council oath of office and is sworn in for duty at the city council meeting on Oct. 11. (Photo by Sarah Knapp/Homer News)
New council members sworn into duty Monday

Newly-elected Homer City Council members Shelly Erickson and Jason Davis and re-elected… Continue reading

Runners participate in boys varsity race at the Ted McKenney XC Invitational on Saturday, Aug. 21, 2021, at Tsalteshi Trails just outside of Soldotna, Alaska. The trails recently reported incidents of vandalism and theft. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Vandalism and theft reported at Tsalteshi Trails

One trail user reported stolen skis recently and multiple signs have been defaced.

At left Bonita Banks, RN, Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) nurse at Homer Medical Center, and at right, Annie Garay, RN, Community Health Educator, pose for a photo at South Peninsula Hospital on Sept. 27, 2021, at Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Derotha Ferraro/South Peninsula Hospital)
New hospital community health educator starts

Garay, a Homer raised nurse, came home to ride out COVID-19, wound up doing pandemic nursing.

The logo for the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District is displayed inside the George A. Navarre Borough Admin Building on Thursday, July 22, 2021 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Montessori school goes to universal indoor masking

As of Tuesday, eight KPBSD schools were operating with universal indoor masking for staff and students.

Commercial fishing and other boats are moored in the Homer Harbor in this file photo. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
Seawatch: Crabbers look at cuts to quotas

Tanner, opilio crab quotas cut on top of cancellation of fall king crab fishery.

Gavel (Courtesy photo)
Judge sides with psychiatrists who alleged wrongful firing

Two psychiatrists said they were wrongfully fired when Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy took office.

Most Read