WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Department of the Interior’s 4th Conference on Business Opportunities in the Islands will include a special session for companies interested in business opportunities associated with the planned military buildup on Guam. The U.S. Navy’s Joint Guam Program Office will sponsor the industry session as part of the Oct. 8-9 conference at the Hyatt Regency Guam.
The conference is the latest in a series of events hosted by the Interior Department aimed at stimulating private sector-led economic development in the U.S.-affiliated insular areas. The department has hosted three previous conferences and led three Business Opportunities Missions to five jurisdictions over the last four years.
The missions and the conferences were designed to put business opportunities in the insular areas “on the map” for U.S. mainland business and investment communities, aggressively facilitate the local development of business opportunities, and provide venues where business people from both the mainland United States, six Pacific jurisdictions, and the Pacific Rim can meet, forge partnerships, and do business.
The Joint Guam Program Office and the Naval Facilities Engineering Command are holding a series of industry forums to develop open communication between the federal government and businesses regarding the proposed military buildup and construction program on Guam. The objectives include sharing preliminary information and current actions, receiving and considering industry comments and suggestions, and integrating findings into the buildup strategy for efficient delivery of the required infrastructure. This second forum will discuss progress on discussions and initiatives that will be developed at the first forum, currently scheduled for August 23-24, 2007.
The buildup of U.S. forces on Guam, including the transfer of 9,000 U.S. Marines and 8,000 of their dependents, will create a wide variety of opportunities throughout the region, both from projects directly related to the buildup and from the secondary effects of a large-scale increase in the regional population, and the accompanying demands for products and services. Many of these other opportunities will be explored during the conference, which also covers tourism, specialty products, and a range of other opportunities.
In addition to Major General David Bice, USMC (ret)., who is the executive director of the Joint Guam Program Office, the conference will feature the leaders of six Pacific jurisdictions, as well as industry experts from around the region and the world. Other featured speakers include Tony Neil, executive director of the Pacific Power Association, Scott Simpson, director of the Defense Commissary Agency Western Region, and Mark Erwin, president and CEO of Continental-Micronesia.
The Secretary of the Interior has administrative responsibility for coordinating federal policy in the territories of American Samoa, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. The Secretary also is responsible for administering and overseeing financial and technical assistance provided to the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau. The Office of Insular Affairs executes these responsibilities on behalf of the Secretary.
The transfer of forces to Guam falls under the direction of the Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Installations and Environment); the Joint Guam Program Office executes these responsibilities on behalf of the U.S. Navy. The primary construction agent is the Naval Facilities Engineering Command.
Registration information for the 2007 Conference on Business Opportunities in the Islands is online at www.businessopportunitiesconference.com. Registration is currently open and will remain open until Oct. 3, 2007; space permitting, registrations also will be accepted at the door.