Guam Industry Forum passes valuable lessons
by Clynt Ridgell, KUAM News
Friday, August 24, 2007
The place to be over the past two days for the island's private, public and federal sectors has been the Guam Industry Forum - a gathering so large, one venue alone couldn't contain it. The focus was on the opportunities that will abound with the migration of thousands of servicemembers and their families.
One of the highlights of today's forum was no doubt the speeches given by Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo and maybe more importantly the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Congressman Ike Skelton. "There is this buildup that's coming for Guam," said Skelton, the Missouri delegate. "It's a strategic decision that has been made at the highest level, it's a strategic decision that the Congress of the United States must cause to happen in what we do in particular the Armed Services Committee."
Congress and particularly the Committee are mandated by the Constitution of the United States of America to raise and maintain the military of the United States. The congressman says its his hope that they will be able to meet the strategic needs of the nation with Guam's military buildup. "This will be the tip of the national security spear for our country," he continued. "It's way out here in the Pacific, it's close to potential problems that we can't even foresee."
The congressman says that Guam's buildup is critical to the overall readiness of the U.S. armed forces to meet current and emerging threats here in the Asia-Pacific region. This buildup, according to Skelton, is something that must be done right the first time around for both the nation as a whole and for the people of Guam. "You can bet your bottom dollar that Madeline Bordallo on the Washington end and those of us on the Armed Services Committee will be doing our best to make it happen correctly, because it has to be done there's no second guessing it has to be done right," Skelton continued.
Congresswoman Bordallo says to get things done right will require the collaboration of all those who hold a stake in Guam's future and especially those businesses who are willing to invest in the island. She noted, "Private industry will be the backbone of the buildup and close cooperation and collaboration now between all parties involved is critical in ensuring the ultimate success of these projects."
And that's the focus of this entire two-day forum: to meet and entice investors and businesses through giving them a better understanding of the type products and services that will be needed for this massive military buildup. Denny Watts, chief executive officer and president of Watts Constructors, a business that already has a stake in Guam with military contracts including $80 million in homes for Big Navy, not to mention the new exchange at Yigo's Andersen Air Force Base.
Watts says the two-day forum was extremely informative. "What it really does though is it starts to move things down from the 100,000-foot level to the 50,000-foot level and to see how the monies going to be spent. Who is going to supply it what funds will come out of the government," he explained.
You can find out more the event about on the World Wide Web at GuamIndustryForum.com.