Economic Outlook Conference goes virtual

Economic Outlook Conference goes virtualIn keeping with our “new normal,” the Ridgecrest Chamber of Commerce is moving the Twenty21 Economic Outlook Conference online. The signature event will include updates on economic trends in our state and nation, as well as reports from key community leaders, in a virtual interface.

The conference will be held Thursday, Feb. 25, from 8 a.m. to noon.

“Tickets are going to be complimentary this year as we invest in the future of our community and the EOC,” said Ridgecrest Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Tim Smith.

During the 2020 Economic Outlook Conference, keynote speaker Dr. Mark Schniepp told hundreds of attendees that the burgeoning threat of the novel coronavirus could halt the thriving economy enjoyed across the state and nation.

One year later, we are 11 months into a pandemic lockdown that has taxed healthcare, education, commerce and virtually every aspect of our culture. Students are still learning at home, businesses have been closed to in-person operations, and large conferences like the EOC have been prohibited as public health officials attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Dr. Schniepp will return as this year’s keynote speaker to share insights into the challenges and opportunities of our dramatically different economic landscape.

Other speakers for this year’s conference include Mayor Eric Bruen, three speakers from Ridgecrest Regional Hospital, IWV Economic Development Corporation, top officials from China Lake and a panel of entrepreneurs. Elected officials have also sent messages that will be available through the interface.

This year’s event will include a spin on the Business Expo, which allows participants to interface

with participating businesses in virtual break-out rooms.

Smith said that the conference will not only include updates, but strategies for mitigating the negative impacts many businesses have experienced as a result of pandemic-related shutdowns and mandates.

“I would like to thank our top-tier sponsors, Ridgecrest Regional Hospital, Coso Operating, the IWV Economic Development Corp., and Mission Bank, who have enabled our ability to present this year’s conference for free,” said Smith.

“Hopefully this will allow some new participants from our community to take part in the conference.”

Anyone wishing to participate can register by sending their email address to The chamber will provide instructions and login information in response.

Pictured: Dr. Schniepp to return as Outlook Conference Speaker. — File Photo By Laura Austin

Story First Published: 2021-02-19