Friday, January 18, 2013

Editorial: Solano EDC brings it all together

Published by The Reporter
Posted: 01/18/2013 01:04:09 AM PST

During its 30-year existence, the Solano Economic Development Corp. has rightfully been credited with guiding major employers and whole new industries to Solano County.
Just as important -- and far less noticed -- is that Solano EDC has become the forum where private industry and government leaders can come together, discuss their challenges and work out common-sense solutions that strengthen the entire county.
That wasn't always the case.
When Solano EDC was born in 1983 (it was known as SED Corp. then), local communities regularly tried to undermine each other in their scramble to bring in jobs, while local businesses often did what they could to keep out competitors.
A peek into The Reporter archives shows that, just prior to Solano EDC's formation, there were two countywide organizations devoted to business development -- one run by government and the other, by private industry -- that worked independently of each other and even publicly bickered from time to time.
Once Solano EDC was formed, its leaders managed to bring those factions together and get everyone to acknowledge that it was more important to bring industry into Solano County -- even potential competitors -- than it was to nitpick about which community that new industry chose to settle in.
Such cooperation has continued through three decades and has led to the rise of Solano County as a center for biotechnology and an expanded food industry built on the region's reputation as an agricultural center.
Solano EDC has been at the helm of improving Solano's workforce by creating ties with the state university system and expanding local college opportunities. It marketed Solano County to the world, and foreign industries responded by bringing their companies here.
Solano EDC has done for Solano County what California has completely failed to do on a statewide level. And now, with the demise of redevelopment agencies, Solano EDC's role in local economic development has become even more vital.
Of course, none of this happened overnight. It took three decades of building personal relationships while reminding the world that Solano County is the "heart" of the Northern California region that stretches from San Francisco to Sacramento -- and the work continues.
How exciting to imagine what the next 30 years could bring.