Aerospace speakers headline outlook conference

A few tickets still remain for the 27th Annual IWV Economic Outlook Conference and Business Expo, set for Thursday, Feb. 27 at the Kerr McGee Center, hosted by the Ridgecrest Chamber of Commerce. With a theme of “Innovation” and a dynamic panel of speakers, this year’s conference is sure to be a beneficial and informative morning.

“Our committee has been working for months to provide an exciting conference, and we think we’ve got it,” said Chamber President/CEO Nathan Ahle. “With the innovative, high-tech things going on in the area it’s a great opportunity to showcase the Valley’s economic future.”

A special addition to this year’s program is Linden Blue, founder and Vice-Chairman of General Atomics. Mr. Blue is an Air & Space Hall of Fame member whose company is a leading manufacturer of unmanned systems.

“Adding Linden Blue to our program is a major coup,” Ahle said. “His reputation in his industry is second to none, and we’re pleased to have him speak to the exciting advances in the unmanned systems arena.”

Record-setting aviator and entrepreneur Chip Yates will provide this year’s keynote address, entitled “Go-Karts, spaghetti sauce, and other economic indicators.” Yates is an electric vehicle pioneer and 18-time world record holder.

Yates is the first human in history to break the 200 MPH barrier in an electric airplane — and he did so at Inyokern Airport. He is currently designing an all-electric airplane that he plans to fly 3,600 miles on Charles Lindbergh’s historic transatlantic route.

“We’re thrilled to have Chip headlining the conference,” Ahle said. “He’s a dynamic speaker who has done some incredible things – his talk at the TED Conference in Bermuda last year really got us inspired to get him here and have him speak to the community.”

The conference will also feature presentations from the China Lake leaders Rear Adm. Mike Moran and Executive Director Scott O’Neil. Incoming NAWS Commanding Officer Capt. Rich Wiley will also be introduced. The program also features Dr. Mark Evans, chair of the Economics department at Cal State Bakersfield with demographic trends, and Eileen Shibley of the Cal UAS project.

The program will also include messages from federal, state, and local elected officials.

The conference begins 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 around 1:00 p.m.

Tickets for the conference are $50 each, and can be purchased at the chamber office, 128 E. California Ave., Suite B, or by calling (760) 375-8331. Tickets will be sold at the door if available, but space is limited, so purchasing tickets in advance to avoid disappointment is recommended.

Story First Published: 2014-02-26