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October 26, 2023

Policy Summit

Date: October 26, 2023
Time: 8:00 am - 12:00 pm
The Monument
LaCroix Hall
444 N. Mt. Rushmore Road
Rapid City, SD 57701



You're invited to spend the morning with us as we delve into critical issues facing our region. Childcare, regional infrastructure management/planning, and the integration of ports to plains. This event will bring together experts and stakeholders from various sectors to engage in meaningful discussions. 

8:00 am – Doors open/Check-in Begins/Breakfast Buffet Open

8:30 am – Welcome

8:35 am - The Business Case for Childcare presented by Kuna Tavalin, Senior Advisor for the U.S. Chamber Foundation
During this presentation you will learn:
- Overall national data on childcare trends
- How to play a leading role in addressing childcare challenges
- Creative solutions to implement at your business

9:35 am – Panel Discussion on Regional Infrastructure Planning
Those joining the panel:
- Doug Curry, Board President | Western Dakota Regional Water System, Inc.
- Karen Brady, Vice President of Infrastructure | RESPEC
- Jennifer Sietsema, Executive Director | Black Hills Council of Local Governments

10:30 am – Networking Break

11:00 am - Ports-to-Plains presented by Lauren Garduno, President/CEO at Ports-to-Plains Alliance
During this presentation you will learn:
- Understanding the vision and long-term goals of the Ports-to-Plains corridor.
- The benefits of expanding the Highway 85 to the local and regional economy.
- What other partner states are doing to develop the corridor and trade infrastructure.

12:00 pm – Conclude Event

*the schedule is subject to change

About the Speakers:

Kuna Tavalin is a senior advisor to the U.S. Chamber Foundation and partner at Stride Policy Solutions. She has two decades of experience in public affairs, advocacy, and strategic planning in the education and human services arenas. Kuna focuses on federal policy encompassing appropriations, special education, early education and childcare, family engagement, child welfare and juvenile justice. Kuna began her career in the U.S. Senate where she covered a wide range of issues from education and child welfare to housing and transportation. Since that time, she has been working for non-profit organizations committed to helping the children and families furthest from opportunity succeed to their fullest potential.

September 1, 2022, Lauren Garduño joined the Ports to Plains Alliance as their President and Chief Executive Officer.  Lauren retired from the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) in 2018 after serving over 32 years including 15 years as district engineer in West Texas, and the last 5 years in TxDOT administration in Austin.  As the department’s Chief Procurement Officer, Lauren led the restructuring of five TxDOT divisions including Fleet and Professional Engineering Procurement. Lauren’s final assignment as Director of Planning and Project Development included introducing performance-based planning in the development of the department’s 10-year $75 billion Unified Transportation Program which had doubled in size in 2017. After retiring, Lauren served a part-time assignment for TxDOT administration assisting West Texas district leadership with strategic and operational strategies.

Lauren holds a master's degree in management and human relations from Abilene Christian University, a master’s degree in civil engineering from Texas A&M University, and a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Texas Tech University.  In 2001, Lauren was inducted into the Texas Tech Civil Engineering Academy.  Lauren and his wife Ketta also run a small purebred Charolais cattle operation in Happy Valley Texas.