‘What’s Up Down South’ economic summit rolls in with new year

At the 2016 What's Up Down South Economic Summit, St. George, Utah, Jan. 14, 2016 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – The “What’s Up Down South” economic summit kicks off next Thursday at the Dixie Center St. George. Various matters touching upon the regional economy will be highlighted from real estate to tech innovation and transportation needs to how the 2016 election could affect trends over the coming year.

Drawing an estimated 1,000 participants annually, the yearly summit provides an economic outlook and upcoming trends for Washington County and the surrounding region. Multiple breakout sessions and networking opportunities are also offered.

John Richards | Photo courtesy of “What’s Up Down South,” St. George News
John Richards | Photo courtesy of “What’s Up Down South,” St. George News

Featured keynote speakers at this year’s summit include entrepreneur John E. Richards and Mary Walshok, of the University of California San Diego.

Richards is an active entrepreneur, angel investor, mentor and educator in the venture ecosystem, according to the summit’s website. He founded Startup Ignition, an entrepreneurial boot camp, and was head of operations for Google Fiber in Provo.

“(Richards) will share his thoughts on the role of entrepreneurship in economic development and how community stakeholders should reduce the dependency on the arm’s race of tax incentives and other outdated methods and instead create the solution organically,” the website states.

He is the breakfast session keynote speaker and will speak at 8 a.m.

Walshok is an Associate Vice Chancellor for Public Programs and Dean of Extension at the University of California San Diego and has authored more than 100 articles and reports on the innovation economy and aligning workforce development with regional economic growth. Her particular focus is how globalization and rapid changes in technology are affecting the social dynamics and economic challenges of regions across America.

Dr. Mary Walshok | Photo courtesy of “What’s Up Down South,” St. George News
Dr. Mary Walshok | Photo courtesy of “What’s Up Down South,” St. George News

“Research on successful innovative regions suggests core capabilities and key forms of collaboration that enable innovation and entrepreneurship,” the summit website states. “Dr. Walshok’s talk will share the principles emerging from research as well as share interesting case studies from San Diego, which over the last 40 years, has built multiple innovation clusters, creating new companies, new jobs and new wealth for the region.”

She will be the keynote speaker for the lunch session at 12:30 p.m.

The “What’s Up Down South” session of the summit, featuring Lecia Langston, regional economist for the Department of Workforce Services, returns to provide attendees with an economic and demographic snapshot of the previous year while providing projections for the coming year.

The session also includes a quick lineup of individuals representing Intermountain Healthcare, the City of St. George, Vista Rock University and Dixie State University.

Breakout sessions will include business development and marketing, technology, healthcare, water resources and other topics.

Among the breakout sessions to be featured are:

  • Residential Real Estate 2017 Preview.
  • The End of Entrepreneurship.
  • Your Company’s Overlooked Gold Mine.
  • Trump and the Global Economy: How will it Impact Utah?
  • Connecting Communities from Now to 2040: Transportation Planning in Washington County.
  • The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Utah’s Talent Pipeline.
  • Commercial Real Estate.
  • Collaborating to Grow the Maker Movement and Foster Innovation.
  • Washington County Economy Overview.

Details on the breakout session and presenters can be found on the summit’s website.

Event recap

  • When: Starts at 7 a.m., Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017.
  • Where: The Dixie Center St. George, 1835 S. Convention Center Drive, St George.
  • Admission: Tickets can be acquired online through Eventbrite.com or at the door if not sold out.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.


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