RISE Summit brings ‘sexy sizzle’ to ‘solid foundation’ in St. George’s business economy – St George News


ST. GEORGE- The St. George Area Chamber of Commerce held its annual business event, the RISE Summit, last Friday to help bring a “sexy sizzle” to a “solid foundation” for its local businesses, as Kevin put it. Lewis during an economic panel on tourism during the event.

Panelist Kevin Lewis uses “Dirty Dancing” as a comparison on the subject of tourism and business during the RISE Summit at the Dixie Convention Center in St. George, Utah on September 16, 2022 | Photo by Nick Yamashita, St. George News

The panel answered questions about business success in tourism, the history of business in the region, what to expect, and culture trends that are driving tourism and business.

The panel consisted of Lewis, who is the Director of Tourism for the Greater Zion Convention and Tourism Office; Kress Staheli, Mayor of Washington City; Shirlayne Quayle, ddirector of economic vitality and housing for the city of Saint-Georges; AJ Templeton, professor of hospitality management at Southern Utah University; and Patrick Manning with Reef Private Equity and Black Desert Resort. The panel was moderated by Ashley Dove, Director of Sales and Marketing at The Advenire.

Lewis pointed out how tourism acts as a business stimulus and brings money into all aspects of the community.

“It’s a complex dance…for me,” Lewis said. “I compare it to if you have Patrick Swayze, you have a solid base, don’t you? And then you have Jennifer Gray bringing that real sexy sizzle, and all of a sudden you have a dirty dance.

Dove, as moderator, intervened with “Dirty dancing on career night” on the comparison of tourism and financing of local businesses with the cult film of the 1980s.

Panel discussion included partnering with Southern Utah University and Utah Tech for a hospitality management degree program, upcoming plans with professional extreme sports for the Wheels Park being built in Washington City, and a trail that will run from LaVerkin in Springdale, along with other projects in the plans.

In addition to the panel, the event hosted several speakers and masterclasses where business enthusiasts received advice and learned from successful entrepreneurs.

Featured speaker Greg Gray spoke about the importance of customer service during the RISE Summit at the Dixie Convention Center in St. George, Utah on September 16, 2022 | Photo by Nick Yamashita, St. George News

One of the first featured speakers was author, speaker, and trainer Greg Gray. Gray provided motivational guidance by showcasing business tactics through scientific means in his presentation, “Momentum Is Not Enough: Sustained Operational Excellence and the Physics of Movement.”

A customer service guru, Gray is the founder and president of Renaissance Unlimited Inc., a financial advisory firm established in 1996. He also co-authored a customer service training course used by many corporations and businesses around the world. .

Talking about setting things in motion with customer service, he explained how important customer service is but beware of the business side rather than consuming your life.

“As a business owner, we have to be careful that we don’t treat our customers better than our families,” Gray said.

Other guest speakers included property developer and coach Brad Harker, restaurant entrepreneur Chris Connors, inclusion specialists Nikki Walker and Joelle Kanshepolsky, Macrae Helper of Eagle Gate Title, and Colby Jenkins, team-building expert and U.S. Army Special Forces veteran, for the morning session.

During the afternoon session, the several hundred business owners and enthusiasts in attendance heard from St. George Mayor Michele Randall, Washington County Commissioner Adam Snow, CEO of Broker Holdings, Neil Walter, and Utah Grizzlies vice president of hockey, Jared Youngman.

Business enthusiasts enjoy an Italian lunch during the RISE Summit at the Dixie Convention Center in St. George, Utah on September 16, 2022 | Photo by Nick Yamashita, St. George News

Another panel was held in relation to the technology pipeline. The moderator was Zonos Chief of Staff Joshua Aikens, along with panelists Gregg Robison of RAM Aviation, Eric Pederson, Utah Tech Dean of the College of Science, Engineering and Technology Eric Pedersen, and Vasion CEO Ryan Wedig.

In addition to speakers and panels, the Dixie Convention Center had vendors and booths with products and services ranging from olive oil to churros, banks to title insurance companies, and community social services to sports.

Among the vendors and booths were Red Rock Broadcasting, Canyon Media, State Bank of Southern Utah, BigShots Golf, O’so Good Olive Oil and Balsamics.

Lindsay Abbott of the Washington County Children’s Justice Center explained why having a booth at events like the RISE Summit is so important to their purpose.

“It’s so important that everyone in the community knows who we are,” she said. “We are here to support and help child victims of abuse. We want people to know what we do and how we can help.

Sellers had the opportunity to relive and renew business relationships. Vendors and attendees also got to kick golf balls, hit a golden soccer ball, taste delicious sweets and relive childhood memories of their college days.

TDS representatives Craig Jacobsen and Cindy Powell enjoy a photo booth during the RISE Summit at the Dixie Convention Center in St. George, Utah on September 16, 2022 | Photo by Nick Yamashita, St. George News

Education came into play at the end of the day as masterclasses were held with lessons on different aspects of business covering a wide range of topics including branding, customer service, social media and advertising.

The training professionals included Gray, Zonzo human resources manager Hannah Huegel, World Trade Center Utah technical development manager Jim Porter, real estate agent Nicole Briggs and Canyon Media Group general manager Ben Lindquist.

Washington City Councilman Kurt Ivie said the importance of the St. George Area Chamber of Commerce’s RISE Summit is to provide a space for people to come together and learn from each other.

“The big driving force behind RISE is bringing people together, sharing ideas, getting questions answered, knowing what’s going on in the county,” he said. “There are a lot of buildings and constructions, a lot of new ideas that people can learn from.”

For more information on the St. George Area Chamber of Commerce, Click here.

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