The Kenai Peninsula College Main Entrance on Aug. 18, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

The Kenai Peninsula College Main Entrance on Aug. 18, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Roadshow to offer workshops and info for local businesses

Alaska Manufacturing Extension Partnership aims to advance industry and business as broader concepts within the state

The Alaska Manufacturing Extension Partnership is hosting its first in-person event, the Kenai Peninsula Manufacturing Roadshow, at Kenai Peninsula College on Thursday, starting at 10 a.m.

Free to attend, the roadshow is designed to offer information to local businesses and manufacturers, and to establish the Alaska MEP as a resource, Client Services Manager Samantha Lewis said.

Manufacturing is applied fairly broadly by the MEP, and Lewis mentioned communicating with businesses that sell clothes or beer in the same breath as those that produce concrete. The organization is interested in advancing industry and business as broader concepts within the state.

Speakers and workshops will be offered discussing a range of topics including e-commerce, supply chain management, food safety and industry growth. Lewis said there will also be time for “deep dive discussions” and networking in a “community and industry growth strategy session.” Meals will be provided.

Lewis said the Alaska MEP was started three years ago, part of a network of MEPs in all 50 states — and Puerto Rico.

“Our main mission is to advance the manufacturing sector in the state of Alaska,” she said. “To bring services to help grow the industry in the state.”

The roadshow is being held in partnership with the Kenai Peninsula Economic Development District and the chambers of commerce in Kenai, Soldotna, Homer and Seward.

KPEDD Executive Director Tim Dillon said the event will be “an outstanding opportunity for people to learn and make good connections.”

Lewis said the event is designed both for existing manufacturers and for folks who are looking to start something new.

Dillon said the event would be valuable for business owners “or anybody who’s in operations for business.”

“We really want to also take time to hear from the Kenai communities. Learn a little bit more about what challenges they’re facing in the industry and also in the community,” Lewis said. To find “what kind of role we can play.”

The Alaska MEP is intended to serve as a free resource for local industry. Dillon said they can serve as “another set of eyes looking at things in a different way.”

Dillon said the MEP can help businesses to evaluate their situation, plan for next steps, or recognize their problems.

“They have contacts not just around the state of Alaska, but around the country that they can lean on,” he said. He described them as a sounding board of experts that can be brought to the table.

Lewis said that further roadshows are planned for other parts of the state, and that the MEP would be continuing and strengthening its relationship both with KPEDD and with all of the local chambers of commerce.

The roadshow is free to attend. To register, or to find more information, visit alaska-mep.com or search Facebook for the Kenai Peninsula Manufacturing Roadshow.

Reach reporter Jake Dye at jacob.dye@peninsulaclarion.com.

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