Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Solano EDC Launches a New Era of Economic Development

April 19, 2017
CONTACT: Louise Walker (707) 678-7853
or Steve Huddleston (707) 628-3617


FAIRFIELD, CA – After two years of planning and refinement, Solano County’s non-profit economic development alliance this summer will launch Solano Means Business, an aggressive strategy with clear-cut tactics to attract new jobs and companies.

It includes a larger budget for recruitment efforts, a laser-focused marketing campaign to reach key targets and a transition to new leadership within the organization.

Solano EDC Board of Directors in May will be asked to endorse a new half-million-dollar budget to fund enhanced business attraction efforts, including a comprehensive website that gives companies looking to relocate or expand a full description of developable sites available in Solano cities. It features extensive demographics of the county, its capable workforce, the quality of life in our communities and a host of other promotional messages.

At the same time, a career decision by Solano EDC President and CEO Sandy Person will mean a new face will be recruited to take the reins.

“Solano Means Business, is a long-term strategy that will take a year to fully operationalize, and several more years to optimize,” Person explained. “I wholeheartedly support it. It’s best for the community. It’s what Solano EDC should be doing. But it’s a serious change in focus for the CEO and some different skills are essential.”

During difficult economic times, Person said, success came in retaining existing businesses and ensuring the viability of Travis Air Force Base amid periodic threats of federal budget cutting leading to military base closures. “Those,” she said, “became my passion and my strengths.”

Now, Person said, “The organization is embarking on a rigorous new path, in a better economy, with an emphasis on business recruitment, which means the CEO will do a great deal of travel throughout the region and state. While I want to be on a path with challenges and opportunities, I do not feel I can commit to such a long-term obligation.”

The chairwoman of the Board of Directors, Louise Walker, emphasized that Person’s decision was a bit unsettling. “After all,” she said, “Sandy’s been not just the face of Solano EDC, but its backbone and its heart. Still, I respect her for seeing how her transition at this time would be the best timing – for her and us.”

While gaining jobs and new employers are the top priority, immediate past chairman of the board Steve Huddleston explained, “Solano EDC will not ignore business retention, support for Travis Air Force Base and legislative advocacy on behalf of local employers.” And he added, “I hope, we might find there’s a role for Sandy in those efforts in conjunction with us. She is so strong in those areas.”

For now, the Board of Directors will work to recruit a “business recruitment guru,” as well as fashion a sustainable budget and build more support among private-sector members, especially financial support, Huddleston said.

“We have ambitious goals,” he noted. “To achieve them we need new financial support from business members, public sector partners in cities and county government, and anywhere else we can find it.”

Recruitment of a new CEO is under way with a target hiring date of late summer, according to Walker. In the meantime, website development continues as does the creation of marketing materials.