Pacific Daily News

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (April 29, 2009) – Yesterday, the Guam Industry Forum kicked off at three different hotels, with an expected 1,350 participants. Speakers included acting Secretary of the Navy B.J. Penn, retired Marine Maj. Gen. David Bice of the Joint Guam Program Office and Guam Delegate Madeleine Bordallo.

The primary goal of the forum -- put together by the Joint Guam Program Office -- is to provide information on the military's plans for the upcoming buildup, including the relocation of 8,000 Marines, plus their families, to Guam. The Joint Guam Program Office was established by the Department of Defense to manage and facilitate the military buildup.

The JGPO's Industry Forum also provides a chance for businesses to learn how they can make the most of the military buildup, which is projected to cost between $15 billion and $20 billion. Much of that money will be in construction projects and will translate into an unprecedented opportunity for Guam and its residents.

This will mean a wealth of opportunities for local companies, from design and construction contracts to logistics projects and more, which will mean new private-sector jobs and higher government revenue. The forum allows for local businesses get more details about the buildup and to network with other companies, from Guam, the United States and other countries.

This is the third industry forum put together by the Joint Guam Program Office. The efforts of the office and its staff are to be commended. Their work on this forum and the previous two translate into real opportunity for local businesses and residents.

Guam definitely has much work ahead in preparation for the military buildup, and to mitigate the expected surge in population throughout the buildup. The continued work of the Joint Guam Program Office allows us to better plan for the buildup, and offers local companies the opportunity to benefit from the growth.

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