Economic Outlook Conference set for Feb. 27 at Kerr McGee Center

Tickets are now on sale for the 27th annual Indian Wells Valley Economic Outlook Conference and Business Expo, set for Feb. 27 at the Kerr McGee Center in Ridgecrest.

Aviator Chip Yates, this year’s keynote speaker, is a world-class aviator and entrepreneur who is pioneering the latest in electric airplane technology.

In 2011, Yates’ Flight of the Century team purchased a Long-EZ aircraft designed by Burt Rutan and converted it to an all-electric flying test bed on which to continue development of his patent-pending infinite range electric flight technology by installing a front-mounted recharging probe and related equipment for midair recharging.

The new Long-ESA aircraft was also equipped to attempt top speed records and highest altitude. In July 2012 Yates piloted the plane to its first official record — 202.6 mph — as the fastest electric airplane in the world. In September 2013 Yates and his plane achieved three more official world records.

He is dedicated to proving the capabilities of electric aviation, and is working on commercializing military and civilian applications of his electric flight technology.

In addition to Yates, the conference will feature updates from Navy leaders, UAV project leaders at Inyokern Airport and an economist from Cal State Bakersfield, as well as messages from local elected leaders. More information on the program will be released as the conference approaches.

The event will start at 7 a.m. with a continental breakfast and Business Expo that highlights many local businesses, their products and services. The program begins at 8 a.m. and will adjourn at around 1 p.m.

The Ridgecrest Chamber of Commerce already has sponsors lined up, including Presenting Sponsor Ridgecrest Regional Hospital; Platinum Sponsors Jacobs Naval Systems Group, Edward Jones Investments – Vincent Avalos and the Swap Sheet.

Silver Sponsors are AltaOne Federal Credit Union, Desert Valleys Federal Credit Union and DCS, while Mission Bank will sponsor the Feb. 26 Speakers’ Reception. Searles Valley Minerals is a Patron Level Sponsor, while Desert Area Resources and Training is sponsoring the morning break.

More sponsorships will be announced in the coming weeks.

Tickets for the conference are on sale now, with individual tickets priced at $45 and reserved tables of eight at $320. Tickets can be purchased at the Ridgecrest Chamber of Commerce, 128 E. California Ave., Suite B, or online at www.ridgecrestchamber.com. Tickets purchased after Feb. 1 will be $50 each.

Spaces at the Business Expo are also available for $100.

Story First Published: 2014-01-29