NARA outreach team members Charles Burke, Peter Kolb and Craig Rawlings met with business and policy leaders at the Montana Economic Development Summit in Butte, Montana, September 16-17. It was quite an event.
Imagine a city of less than 30,000 citizens hosting a free event that featured the likes of Meg Whitman, HP; Eric Schmidt, Google, Elon Musk, Tesla Motors; Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook; Jim McNerney, Boeing and other top business leaders plus ambassadors to the US from Canada, China, Japan and Peru. They were invited by Montana’s Senator Max Baucus, Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and they came. Needless to say, the venue at Montana Tech University was pack with visitors throughout the state.
NARA members hosted a vendor booth and participated in panel discussions. A good mix of students, politicians, alternative energy entrepreneurs, landowners and scientists came by the booth to discuss the NARA project and generally expressed positive comments. They were especially interested in the western Montana corridor draft analysis completed through the IDX group. Additional interest came from biofuels startups based in central and eastern Montana like Montana Advanced Biofuels Company who rely on crop residue and oil producing crops for biofuel feedstock. A number of visitors involved with coordinating economic development in Montana and western Washington came by and were familiar with NARA due to previous NARA outreach activities.