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'Working on Tomorrow's Solutions' -- Nordstrom to speak at local Economic Development Summit

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A new year: new goals.

For many that mantra is intended for the professional as well as the personal side of the New Year's Resolution equation.

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To better provide an all-encompassing local economic picture, the Detroit Lakes Regional Chamber of Commerce's new Economic Development Committee will be holding its first ever Economic Development Summit on March 7 in the Detroit Lakes Minnesota State Community and Technical College, located on Highway 34.

Bruce Langness, Ulteig Engineers and chairman of the Chamber's Development Committee said the summit is designed to provide a snapshot of the lakes area economic picture with regards to business, technology and growth.

"We came up with the idea during one of our (chamber's) strategic planning meetings as we were looking at what we could do to benefit our membership," said Langness.

Incorporating speakers, business displays and various development recaps, the summit brings together a variety of economic players, "to see what is going on as a whole," he said.

"The summit creates a networking opportunity to see what was going on in the area," Langness added, noting that Larry Remmen, Detroit Lakes community development director, and Guy Fisher, Becker County EDA director, would be on hand to provide a review of 2006-07 economic development activities. Also, Frank Foltz, Foltz Trucking, Cris Valdez, MSCTC and Laurie Lewandowski, SJE-Rhombus Controls, will share their business success stories.

Detroit Lakes Regional Chamber of Commerce President Dave Hochhalter said the business gathering will also have displays from various area business -- including Ulteig Engineers, SJE-Rhombus, Wells Fargo Bank, Midwest Minnesota Community Development Corp., Paul Davis Restoration & Remodeling, Lakes Processing and MSCTC.

The summit is open to the public as well," noted Langness.

"The cost for Chamber members and employees is $20, non-members $35," added Hochhalter.

Rolf Nordstrom, who sits on the steering committee for Minnesota's Renewable Hydrogen Initiative, is the summit's featured speaker. Nordstrom is also the executive director of the Great Plains Institute in Minneapolis.

"I met (Nordstrom) when he spoke at our annual civil and city engineer conference. He spoke on a variety of topics including workforce, technology and energy issues and I thought he'd be a good speaker for our first summit," Langness said.

A graduate of Carleton College, Nordstrom also has a master's degree in international environmental policy from Tufts University. His Summit speech is entitled: "The Potential and Challenge of Hydrogen-Electric Economy" and will discuss hydrogen and fuel cell technologies as they pertain to the upper Midwest.

The program schedule is slated to take place from 8:30 a.m. through lunch. For more information or to register, contact the Detroit Lakes Regional Chamber of Commerce at 847-9202 or www.visitdetroitlakes.com.

"We are also going to (keep the momentum going) throughout the year by holding a variety of smaller summits," added Langness.

The mini summits, as they are called for now, will help the summit process move forward, said Langness, and maintain momentum.

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