Power Eastern Oregon Summit: Local Leaders Solving Local Concerns

Power Eastern Oregon Summit: Local Leaders Solving Local Concerns Main Photo

18 Aug 2023


Safety protocols for electrical power usage are equally important regardless of the scenario, from a home rewiring project to major manufacturing operations. The same applies to economic development issues. Workforce shortages, infrastructure status and strategic planning are just as critical to rural communities as metropolitan centers. 

Eastern Oregon leaders deal with these vital topics daily. Procuring guidance is always beneficial, whether its help selling local communities on the need for improved broadband accessibility or fostering collaborative problem-solving approaches between diverse groups.

OTEC is excited to tackle this challenge by hosting the second-annual Power Eastern Oregon business summit on the evening of September 19th in La Grande and the whole day of September 20 at Anthony Lakes Mountain Resort. The event will bring together the economic leaders of Eastern Oregon in a phenomenal learning and networking event geared to developing solutions to local issues. The taste and tour event on Tuesday, September 19th, is co-hosted by La Grande Mainstreet Downtown and the Union County Chamber of Commerce and will explore the concept of placemaking and utilizing existing community assets in a way that attracts people to the region. Wednesday the 20th will include expert speakers and breakout sessions addressing vital concerns like collaborative problem-solving models and strategic planning, along with the state and direction of infrastructure, broadband and more.

power ester oregon event


The event kicks off Tuesday night with a Downtown La Grande Tasting Tour hosted by Union County Chamber and La Grande Mainstreet. The walking tour will host many of La Grande’s favorites like The Landing Hotel and Dining, The Local, the Liberty Theatre and Cafe, Side A Brewery and Brickyard Lanes. 

Potential networking activities include lake tours with the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, virtual reality demonstrations on economic development, bucket truck or electric vehicle rides and 3D-printed housing booths.

See the full agenda here.


The following individuals will lead various breakout sessions or offer keynote speeches. Breakout sessions will focus on collaborative model problem-solving in agriculture and the timber industry, the state of America’s infrastructure, the future of broadband, the role of healthcare in regional economies and the need for strategic planning economic development. Read further information and bios here.

Christopher Lloyd, Senior Vice President with McGuireWoods Consulting LLC, will speak on how rural communities can better prepare their industrial sites to land new industrial employers and developers in the face of increasing global competition.

Sam Kem, an economic research expert with Cooperative Finance Corporation, will discuss current national economic conditions.

Brenda Smith, Executive Director of High Desert Partnership, and Dan Nichols, Rancher and Owner of McCoy Creek Ranch, will be part of the “Collaboration in Agriculture” breakout session.

Nils Christofferson, Executive Director with Wallowa Resources, and Mark Webb, Executive Director with Blue Mountain Forest Partners, will be part of a “Collaboration and the Timber Industry” breakout session.

Jill Rees, Deputy State Director with USDA Rural Development Oregon, and Doug Dalton, President of Baker Technical Institute, will lead a discussion on the state of America's infrastructure.

Dr. Kelly A. Ryan, President of Eastern Oregon University, will lead a discussion titled “The Future of Broadband and Broadband as the Future of Us.” 

Jeremy Davis, President/CEO at Grande Ronde Hospital, will discuss the role health systems play in growing economies. 

Aaron Brossoit, CEO of Golden Shovel Agency, will explain the need for strategic planning in economic development. 


OTEC is grateful for the support of Union County Chamber, La Grande Mainstreet, Cooperative Finance Corporation, Wallowa Whitman National Forest, Anthony Lakes Mountain Resort, Mine City Catering Company and Island City Market’s Urban Vine. Register for the event and book your hotel below!

Register for Power Eastern Oregon Here

Book the Best Western In Baker City Here

Call the Best Western in La Grande Here (ask for room reservations for OTEC travelers)