Kern Economic Development Summit

The Kern County Economic Summit is a partnership between the Kern Economic Development Corporation, Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce and California State University, Bakersfield, that discusses relevant and timely economic themes and their impact on Kern County.

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The Kern County Economic Summit is a clear depiction of what markets our county is capable of tapping into in 2018 and bringing the economic and scholastic movers and shakers of our community to brainstorm what economic trends will shine through this year.

And the 15th annual partnership between KEDC, CSUB and the Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce, taking place March 14 from 7 to 11:30 a.m. at the DoubleTree by Hilton, is no different.

“It’s about recognizing the diversity of our economy,” Richard Chapman said. Chapman is the president and CEO of KEDC.

Chapman said Kern County often gets the reputation for being an oil and agricultural city but the county has the potential to harness aerospace, transportation and health care markets, also.

When you look at places like the Mojave Air and Space Port, China Lake and Sierra Technical Services Inc. in Tehachapi, as a county we’re actually well-positioned for the aerospace industry, Chapman said.

Kern County’s millennial population is also rapidly growing and, according to KEDC, is No. 2 in the nation of fastest-growing millennial populations in the country. On the opposite end of the age spectrum, Kern County is No. 2 in the nation for affordable places to live for retirees.

Diversity in age makes Kern County capable of tapping into different markets, just as much as its environment and its varied industries.

Two economists from CSUB, a panel of U.S. national economists and keynote speaker Victor Davis Hanson will be targeting those subjects in a multitude of panels. The experts will speak on behalf of the county as a whole and the upcoming economic trends nationally as well.

But Chapman said it’s the collaborative efforts of different Kern County agencies that make the Economic Summit so special.

“That cross-pollination of business and government leaders is uber-important,” Chapman said.

And KEDC didn’t skimp out on choosing qualified, well-rounded individuals to present the county’s economic challenges and opportunities.

Keynote speaker Hanson holds a doctorate in classics and has a background rich in classics and military history as well as holding authorship in numerous publications, ranging from the Wall Street Journal to The New York Times, where he’s written about agrarian affairs.

CSUB professors Richard Gearhart and Nyakundi Michieka will also be speaking at the summit. Gearhart will bring his expertise in health care delivery systems and productivity to the discussion and Michieka, his energy and environmental economic prowess.

Chapman said these local experts will provide more depth in analyzing what markets Kern County is well-positioned for in the upcoming year.

Additionally, the SWOT analyses will provide people a better idea where we’re headed in the new year, according to Chapman.

“It’s a four-hour deep dive of the economic opportunities and challenges moving forward in the year,” Chapman said.

Tickets can be purchased at Individual tickets are $100 each and a table for 10 can be purchased for $1,000. For more information, contact Kim Schaefer at 661-203-8500 or email

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