It was my honor to join Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter, Lt. Governor Brad Little, and many other statewide and local leaders, like Albertsons CEO Bob Miller, this week at the West Central Mountains Economic Summit.

The Valley County Economic Development Council, in conjunction with area chambers, America’s Best Communities team, and the West Central Mountains Leadership Academy hosted their first annual summit in McCall at Shore Lodge.

The goal of the Summit was to identify specific strategies to prepare for Valley County’s future based on their current resources. It was exciting to see such an excellent turnout and mix of private and public partners interested in generating ideas and pursuing solutions to issues that affect community growth, like jobs, workforce, transportation, infrastructure and education.

It was a pleasure to present to the group on “Creative Commerce” – specifically the different ways Idaho Commerce is influencing businesses, communities, and the statewide economy in new and creative ways. Ways including the state’s Tax Reimbursement Incentive, which has delivered a 4:1 ROI to date since its inception in July 2014; export services for Idaho businesses through the STEP program; and community training and infrastructure grants. Our team is proud of the innovative ways we’re working with businesses and communities across the state to ensure Idaho remains a great place to live and do business.

But my favorite moment of the day was hearing Bob Miller’s inspiring story of Alberton’s resiliency and rejuvenation in Idaho. As a pillar of our economy and one of the state’s greatest entrepreneurial success stories, we are so thrilled Albertson’s calls Idaho home. Bob’s story with the company, first beginning in 1961 as a bottle sorter and now as company CEO, is a reminder to us all how far values like hard work, dedication, and commitment can take you in business and in life. Albertson’s “second act” in Idaho is just beginning and we’re excited to help support their growth here in every way possible.

Moving forward, many of the ideas presented at the summit are attainable for the Valley County community and can lead to an improved economy with the proper partnerships in place. There was strong interest throughout the community for improvement in technology infrastructure and for rethinking current ordinances and zoning codes to better balance needs of business with the needs of community. It’s important to better understand the local perspective on these issues and Idaho Commerce is excited to be a partner that helps bring them to fruition.

It’s my hope the summit continues on an annual basis as a way for all to remain engaged, informed, and accountable on the issues and solutions identified.

Congratulations to the teams in Valley County for an outstanding summit!

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