Much more than the Great Sonoran Desert, dramatic landscapes and endless tourism opportunities link the cities of Kelowna and Scottsdale as it turns out.
Following a three-day series of intensive meetings, presentations and round table discussions, Kelowna Scottsdale Business Council (KSBC)-sponsored leading-edge education, medical research, entrepreneurship and tourism initiatives are already under way.
The KSBC Scottsdale delegation visited Kelowna last September and toured a variety of Okanagan businesses as well as meeting with many community and business leaders. The visit of the Kelowna delegation to Scottsdale this week is already cementing relationships and driving business connectivity forward.
The Kelowna Scottsdale Business Council’s Mission is to assist and facilitate the commercial and social interaction of individuals, companies, and organizations in pursuing cross-border relationships to increase business, and support trade growth and investment.
“These initiatives are about much more than a conventional ‘sister cities’ approach,” says Kelowna Mayor Walter Gray, who was invited to the Summit.
“We want to realize real-life, collaborative partnerships that benefit both cities - right away.” he added.
Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane emphasized that “This summit is all about business and driving relevant connections to bring the synergy together quickly and practically.”
The intensive schedule included presentations by John Taft of RBC, and Mark Dewane, president of the Scottsdale Business Development Forum, who spoke on the value of cross border alliances between the two regions.
The tour portion included visits to DIRTT Environmental Technology, which maintains offices and factories in both Kelowna and Phoenix. Other visits included the Scottsdale Cure Corridor and the famous Mayo Clinic, as well as Scottsdale Airpark.
One of the most important meetings, however was an early Friday morning video conference between Mayor Gray, Dr. Deborah Buszard, Deputy Vice Chancellor and Principal of UBC Okanagan, and Janice Kleinwort, Jim Cook and Todd Hardy, senior representatives of Arizona State University Skysong.
Common ground was quickly found in Entrepreneurship programs,
The North American Law Degree, and possible participation in the recent ASU and Mayo Clinic's plans for a joint Medical School in Scottsdale. The Entrepreneurship programs in particular were cited as the area of most interest and likelihood of early progress.
Residents of both cities can expect to see consumer-driven benefits as early as this spring. Recognizing opposite tourism seasons,
The M Club golf properties organization is already in discussion with several Okanagan golf clubs, including Predator Ridge, to arrange advantageous reciprocal usage. It is expected that a number of golf clubs and resorts in both Scottsdale and Kelowna will enable this program to expand over time.
Following the conclusion of their business meetings, and repaying the winery tours that the Scottsdale delegation enjoyed so much last summer, Scottsdale Mayor Lane and Craig Jackson, owner of the famous Barrett Jackson automobile auction, treated the attendees to a tour.