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Kern Economic Summit March 29
  March 2, 2006
Mike Stepanovich, 661/654-2456,,
or Jaclyn Loveless, 661/654-2138,

A report showing Kern County has experienced an economic change of seismic proportions highlights the fifth annual Kern County Economic Summit.

The summit, scheduled Wednesday, March 29, beginning at 7 a.m. in the Doubletree Hotel in Bakersfield, is jointly presented by California State University, Bakersfield, the Kern Economic Development Corp. and the Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce.

Abbas Grammy, an economics professor at CSUB and publisher of the Kern Economic Journal, will tell summit attendees that the nearly two-decade-old effort to diversify the county's economy has borne fruit, and how the diversification has transformed Kern County's economy from a dependency on agriculture and oil to one supported by industry and services. The new economy has helped lower the county's jobless rate to percentages not seen in decades.

Grammy's presentation set's the stage for other summit speakers whose presentations will underscore his remarks. Speakers include:

  • Barry Hibbard, director of real estate/marketing for Tejon Ranch Co., who will discuss Kern County's industrial boom.
  • Jim Renzas, president of the Site Selector Network of the National Association of Manufacturers, who will take attendees on a journey "inside the mind of the decision maker."
  • Capt. Mark Storch of the China Lake Naval Air Weapons Station public affairs office who will report on what's in store at the sprawling eastern Kern County naval base now that the military base closure and consolidation plans have been announced.
  • Matthew J. Rosso, a regional specialist with John Deere Ag Management Solutions, whose topic is "The Ties that Bind: East Kern Aerospace Meets West Kern Ag."

The purpose of the summit is twofold, Kern EDC President Patrick Collins said. "We want to provide a vehicle for better understanding the strengths and weaknesses of our local economy within the context of larger economies, and to discuss the ways we can bring about and sustain economic prosperity to our region, which is experiencing rapid population growth."

Grammy echoed Collins. "The summit will provide an opportunity to learn how key economic sectors help Kern County create jobs and achieve prosperity. Also, the summit presents perspectives on the strategies of economic development that will benefit the community."

The summit begins at 7 a.m. with registration and a full breakfast, followed at 7:30 a.m. by welcoming remarks from Leslie Golich, chairman of the Kern EDC board of directors; Soraya Coley, provost and vice president for academic affairs at CSUB; and Sheryl Barbich, chairwoman of the Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. The summit will conclude by noon.

Anyone interested in Kern County's economic development is invited to attend, both Collins and Grammy said. Registration is $50 in advance, or $75 at the door, and includes breakfast and a midday snack. Mail checks payable to Kern EDC attached to a registration form to Kern EDC, 2700 M St., Suite 200, Bakersfield 93301. Registration forms are also available at the Kern EDC website,

For more information, please call the Kern EDC, (661) 862-5150, or Grammy at (661) 654-2466.