A regional group — Sustainable Ozarks Partnership — will hold an 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 1 conference to highlight Fort Leonard Wood’s future.

 The event will bring together state and regional leaders, experts and citizens to pursue initiatives to improve the quality of life, job opportunities and business climate in the four-county region surrounding Fort Leonard Wood and to help ensure its sustainability and growth.  Given the likelihood of continuing Army budget reductions, Sustainable Ozarks Partnership’s work is more important than ever, organizers said. The region needs to continue its focus on how to affect Army decisions by working together to improve the region.

The conference is in the Waynesville High School Auditorium.  There is no charge.  A light breakfast, a lunch and refreshments will be provided compliments of the Leonard Wood Institute.

Invited are all who are interested in preserving and growing missions and jobs at Fort Leonard Wood and improving quality of life, business climate and job opportunities in the region.  Members are encouraged to bring their community and business associates with them.  The voices and opinions of those who work at FLW are needed, too.

 “I am looking forward to this conference.  It is very timely with the Army recent downsizing decisions, looming budget cuts and the need to prepare for an eventual base realignment and closure or BRAC.  This is a great opportunity for regional citizens to work together and take charge of our future,” Luge Hardman, mayor of Waynesville, said.

Several guest speakers will share their insights, answer questions and consider opinions.  They include:

·Maj. Gen. Leslie Smith, the new Fort Leonard Wood commanding general, on Leonard Wood’s sustainability journey—where we are and where we are going. 

·Sergeant Major of the Army (Retired) Kenneth Preston on the challenge military communities face today.

·Greg Kuhr, director of facilities and logistics, Army Installation Management Command, will talk about the Army’s needs and new authorities for installations to partner with surrounding communities.

·Dr. Rebecca Johnson, deputy to the commanding general, Army Maneuver Support Center of Excellence, will discuss the next steps in the region’s sustainability journey.  

·Mike Dubois, director for defense and international, Kit Bond Strategies, on “The Environment We Live in — Continuing Resolutions, Sequestration, Reductions, Veteran Affairs, BRAC, JLUS and Tech-44”

·Kevin Palmer, CEO, Center for Sustainable Strategies, on “Notable Sustainability Initiatives in other DOD communities”

Those interested in attending are encouraged to call 573-329-8500 toregister now (but no later than July 24).  More information is available at the SOP website: www.SustainableOzarks.org  

Sustainable Ozarks Partnership is a non-profit organization that focuses on the four counties neighboring Fort Leonard Wood, including Texas.  It identifies and helps implement major programs and projects that sustain and improve the quality of life and business climate in the four counties and enable continued growth of Fort Leonard Wood. 

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