Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Search Profile - Solano EDC President & CEO

 Search Profile - Solano EDC President & CEO
About Solano County

Solano County is the perfect location for companies seeking space to expand and scale their operations while staying close-in to the Bay Area and Sacramento markets and minutes from Napa.

Solano County is located on I-80, the major transportation corridor.  Solano County is known for its manufacturing strength, one of the largest in the north state in advanced manufacturing, food and beverage and bio-tech companies.

With seven incorporated cities, four with waterfront cities, Solano County offers exceptional value to these scaling businesses:

1.     21 business and industrial parks with over 6,700 acres, overs 1,000 Tier 1 shovel ready sites;
2.     2.0 million sq. ft. of available industrial, flex and warehouse space;
3.     One of the strongest manufacturing bases of advanced materials, biotech and food& amp; beverage, $4 billion industry;
4.     1.3 million workers within a 40-mile labor shed;
5.     107,000 out-commuting per day with high occupational quotation in manufacturing and administration;
6.     Employees earn high rating of productivity from manufacturing firms – 4 out of scale of 1-5 with 5 being the highest;
7.     15-20% less operating cost than San Jose or San Francisco- with industrial space up to 40% less operating cost;
8.     Sacramento and Bay Area markets and resources within a 50 mile radius – 1-80 plus 5 other corridors;
9.     Affordable diverse lifestyles – housing cost average 50% less than Bay Area;
10.  A team of professionals to assist a business with a speedy location and access to key resources for a smooth transition.

About Solano Economic Development Corporation

The Solano Economic Development Corporation (EDC) is a public-private, nonprofit, dedicated to the economic growth of Solano County – scaling local traded sector industries, attracting new jobs and investment and maintaining competitive advantages for both existing and new businesses.
Working alongside private and public sector partners, the EDC provides confidential location assistance to new businesses seeking to locate in Solano County. Pulling from the large and diverse portfolio of buildings and sites throughout the county, the EDC will prepare a comprehensive package of space opportunities, workforce and other resources that will assist the business in their decision process. The EDC will connect businesses with key contacts at cities to facilitate location and permitting, workforce development and education, financing, as well as local, state and federal incentive programs, such as energy savings.
The Solano EDC with leading businesses, County of Solano, Cities of Benicia, Dixon, Fairfield, Rio Vista, Suisun City, Vacaville, Vallejo, Travis Air Force Base, education, community organizations and foundations, all are working together to foster, support and drive positive change and economic growth. 
During 2016, the Solano EDC guided the development of a countywide economic development planning effort, Moving Solano Forward II, That body of work has resulted in the development of many tools and a roadmap for implementation of four interlinking initiatives, which are described more fully below:
Marketing and Business Attraction;
Business Retention;
Maintaining Competitiveness; and
Creating a Resource Hub. 
Moving Solano Forward II and those involved, have set a clear path to transform the EDC, grow key sectors that drive the $19.65 billion local economy and address industry challenges, such as workforce.  There are well-defined outcomes for short-and long-term impact and metrics that can measure and demonstrate real-time progress.

Strategic Areas of Focus

Marketing and Business Attraction:  Increase lead generation by creating and launching a unified business attraction campaign focused on key industry targets. 

Business Retention:  Coordinate Business Retention efforts through the Economic Development Task Force, host program software and marketing Solano Business First! as a key message and program in Solano County, and support key Solano industry groups.  

Competitiveness:  Work on products, assets, policies and tools that will ensure Solano County maintains its’ Competitive Advantage.

Resource Hub:  Maintain a resource hub that includes a virtual one-stop clearinghouse where businesses can access data, research, industry reports, economic indicators and link to local resources and assistance (website).

 The Position

This is a highly visible position which calls for a strong and dynamic spokesperson with a high level of confidence, who can address various constituencies at all levels in a thoughtful and genuine manner.  He/she will be a motivator, team leader and builder, who can provide a forum where the public and private sector can complement each other and create synergistic opportunities.  The successful candidate will embrace a collaborative approach with the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors, the Board of Directors and staff to foster open and honest communication.
This is an extremely hands-on role, requiring an experienced executive who enjoys working alongside staff and leading from the front, building relationships with businesses and municipalities, and building a high-performance organization that is collaborative and partners with complementary organizations. 

The CEO will be responsible for communicating to a wide range of constituents including the Board of Directors, public, business leaders and employees.  The CEO must be a proficient writer and a capable speaker. He/she must be at ease presenting information to all levels and must be able to communicate ideas, principles, and strategies in a clear and concise manner.
The requisite characteristics of an effective leader at the Solano EDC include the following:
§  Ability to develop long and short-range strategic plans to promote the vision and mission.
§  Demonstrated experience in designing and implementing local, regional, and national marketing campaigns.
§  Understanding of the defined industry sectors including trends, risks and opportunities. 
§  Capability to excite and unite the diverse membership and to promote Solano County and its industries.  The CEO must be a listener and a thoughtful participant in discussions that concern the members and the County as a whole.
§  Passion to lead discussion about important local and regional issues.
§  Initiative to drive strong operating results and determination to manage the EDC to achieve a positive bottom line.
Primary Duties:

§  Implement and manage the economic development program and initiatives as outlined in the Moving Solano Forward II Roadmap.  Strategic Areas of Focus listed above.
§  Ensure there is a continual focus on maintaining the presence of the County’s single largest industry-Travis Air Force Base.
§  Responsible for the overall management of the EDC, including regulatory and legal compliance as well as financial and operational success of the organization. 
§  Responsible for planning, managing, directing, overseeing, and coordinating the activities of the organization and its programs.
§  Responsible for managing and reporting on all contracts and/or memorandum of understandings with public and private organizations.
§  Manage, with the Board of Directors, an investor funding strategy.
§  Implement business attraction initiatives that will result in leads and locations, jobs and investments, particularly in the trade sectors of Food/Beverage, Advanced Materials and BioTech/BioMedical.
§  Manage the Solano County Economic Development brand.
§  Perform a variety of complex professional functions related to the coordination, implementation, and monitoring of Business Development and EDC programs and special projects.
§  Manage communications, including Website and social media.
§  Perform and/or direct economic and other studies, needs assessments, research, financial analysis, as well as negotiation and preparation of contracts.
§  Present and translate technical economic reports and analyses.
§  Develop and manage organizational budget.
§  Work effectively with various groups, including high-level individuals.
§  Coordinate constituent relations and community outreach functions.
Behavioral Competencies
Drive for Results
§  Accountability to do what is appropriate for the long-term best interests of all stakeholders.
§  Determination to set and pursue aggressive goals.
§  Focus to apply energy on achieving short and long-term results.
§  Desire to inspire stakeholders at all levels to achieve outstanding collaboration that produces measurable positive outcomes through others.
§  Social and communication skills to build consensus internally, relate constructively with public and private partners and other industry leaders. Ability to act decisively and unilaterally.  (Needs to possess the judgment to know when to employ which method.)
Championing Change
§  Initiative to identify new opportunities and champion new initiatives.
§  Ability to be innovative, adaptable and solutions-oriented.
§  Capacity to manage change. (Adapts personal strategies and methods to achieve change.)
§  Ability to motivate, inspire and unite diverse groups at all levels.

Personal Characteristics
He/she will demonstrate diplomacy and excellent judgment, with the ability to operate effectively across the organization.  Additionally, the desirable candidate should possess the following personal characteristics:
§  Passionate about doing the right and ethical things in the right and ethical ways
§  Balanced ego
§  Respectful and fair
§  Polished and comfortable in all environments
§  Strong interpersonal skills; can easily connect with a variety of audiences
§  Smart, articulate and comfortable responding on his/her feet
§  Listens well, synthesizes information and effectively engages in dialogues
§  Flexible in a changing environment
§  Membership-focused
§  Pragmatic approach to conducting business
§  Comfortable traveling extensively
§  Ability to empower employees by delegating authority and accountability
§  Effectively manage multiple projects
Knowledge of:

§  Ability to use computerized databases for project management; proficiency with Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and LinkedIn 
§  Skilled in marketing, site selection analysis, incentives and deal structuring
§  Understanding of California and local incentive programs
§  Knowledge, skills and experience in supervising and managing personnel
§  Thorough understanding of economic principles

§  The ideal candidate will possess at minimum, five years of increasingly responsible economic development related experience and a Bachelor’s degree in a relevant discipline.  Advanced degree is desirable. International/Foreign Direct Investment experience is valuable. Proven track record of successful recruitment, and conversion of project locations, and expansion of existing firms.
For more information about this exciting opportunity and Solano Economic Development Corporation, qualified candidates should send a cover letter and resume to Louise Walker, Chair of Solano EDC,

Supplemental Questionnaire
for Solano EDC President and CEO position

Thank you for expressing an interest in the position of Solano EDC President and CEO. As outlined in the Search Profile, there are four Strategic Areas of Focus that require a specific set of skills and prior work experience. Please complete the questionnaire and submit along with your resume. You may also provide examples related to your work experience.

Describe your experience in the following areas:

1. Marketing and Business Attraction

a. Attracting business from industry target groups like Biotech/Biomedical/, Food/Beverage and Advanced Materials including how you stay abreast of their needs.

b. Designing and implementing local, regional and national marketing and branding campaigns including use of website and social media.

c. Working with public and/or private employers.

d. Implementing a formal marketing and business attraction program requires a commitment of funding, please provide examples of your prior fundraising activities.

2. Business Retention and Expansion (BRE)

How will your experience will help collaborate, prioritize, focus and support business retention efforts in the County and specifically those surrounding Travis Air Force Base, the largest employer in the County?

3. Competitiveness

Describe how your prior experience would help you tackle potential challenges such as transportation or workforce and provide an example from your prior experience where you championed a strategic project that improved the welfare of others.

4. Resource Hub

What is your experience as a resource in the following areas?

a. Tracking and promoting real estate product opportunities

b. Infrastructure needs

c. Grant and financing resources

d. Assisting cities to access resources

e. Assisting with workforce challenges brings value to cities, county and businesses.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Agritourism topic of Visit Vacaville breakfast

Agritourism topic of Visit Vacaville breakfast

By Jessica Rogness, The Reporter

POSTED: 05/10/17, 6:08 PM PDT | UPDATED: 4 DAYS AGO

Visit Vacaville talked tourism over breakfast Wednesday morning at the Opera House.

The 9th annual event highlighted the positive impacts tourism has on the city’s economy, and the breakfast included some local products.

Vacaville’s Soul Food Farm supplied the eggs and High Voltage Donuts had a hearty display of treats. From Suisun Valley, Erickson Ranch brought homemade jams and King Andrews Vineyards provided Albarino pet-nat for mimosas.

Erickson Ranch, Il Fiorello Olive Oil Company, Girl on the Hill boutique vineyard, Morningsun Herb Farm and Lockewood Acres each set up tables with samples of their products.

Many tourists come to Vacaville for the Premium Outlets, Nut Tree Plaza and hotels with reasonable rates, Mayor Len Augustine said.

“We’re very pleased to see people from the outside coming in,” he said.

Many of those outsiders come from the Bay Area, people who want to get out of the city and spend time outdoors, so they also come to Vacaville for the farms.

“Agribusiness has all of a sudden become a big thing,” Augustine said.

However, Solano has always been a farm county, he pointed out.

Carl Ribaudo, president of Strategic Marketing Group Consulting, said agritourism has become a big part of California tourism, and it started with the wine industry.

Visitors want a tangible experience when they get to their destination.

“Shake a farmer’s hand, pet a goat, buy an apple, whatever it may be,” Ribaudo said.

There are many reasons why agritourism is catching on, according to him.

Farmers are trying to generate additional revenue and diversify their farms, and bringing in tourists gives them another way to distribute their products.

But there are also social trends at work, including the “locavore” moment focused on locally grown products, that provide growing support for farms and agricultural businesses, Ribaudo said.

While Wednesday’s breakfast focused mostly on agritourism, Visit Vacaville CEO Melyssa Laughlin provided updates on tourism in general in the city.

Hotels have bounced back from the recession, Visit Vacaville had its biggest restaurant week yet with 14 restaurants participating in January and they will be having their third Farm to Table dinner in July in downtown Vacaville.

Alison Best, executive vice president of member engagement at Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI), praised Visit Vacaville’s branding of the city as “Small. In a big way.”

“In fact Melyssa has really put Vacaville on the map nationally,” Best said.

For this year’s National Travel and Tourism Week, the U.S. Travel Association put together a “Faces of Travel” video to highlight the people who work in the industry.

Visit Vacaville produced their own version, interviewing local hotel managers, business owners and farmers, including Alexis Koefoed of Soul Food Farm and Ben Lyons of Lockewood Acres.

Tell your story to lure tourists, Vacaville group told

Tell your story to lure tourists, Vacaville group told
By Ryan McCarthy From page A3 | May 11, 2017

VACAVILLE — Stories about a destination attract tourists – and the better you tell your story, the more visitors you’ll have, the president of a South Lake Tahoe-based company said Wednesday.
“People buy into narratives,” Carl Ribaudo said. “The story is real. Advertising is something else.”
Ribaudo, president of SMG Consulting, spoke at the ninth annual Tourism Breakfast held by Visit Vacaville.
People want authentic experiences when traveling, said Ribaudo, whose firm provides marketing research and strategy as well as tourism economic analysis and other services.
“People want to connect,” he added.
“You don’t have to be San Francisco,” Ribaudo said about attracting visitors. “You can be Vacaville.”
The wine industry first created an interest in agriculture tourism, which has thrived partly due to millennials’ interest in food and its sources, he noted. Where does the food come is a new and common question, Ribaudo said.
“People didn’t use to ask that,” he said.
Vacaville is well-positioned for ag tourism, said Ribaudo, who has served as an adjunct faculty member at Sierra Nevada College in Lake Tahoe, teaching courses in marketing and advertising. He also taught a seminar on tourism marketing at the University of Nevada, Reno
Mayor Len Augustine, who welcomed guests to the event held at the Opera House, said Solano has always been a farm county.
Everybody loves the Bay Area, Augustine added, but on weekends residents there leave like a catastrophe occurred.
They want to visit where they can breathe the air, he said.
Visit Vacaville director Melyssa Laughlin spoke about the $663 million tourists spent in Solano County in 2016. A total of 8,170 people work in tourism-related businesses, she said.
Visit Vacaville is a non-profit funded by assessments guests pay when staying at lodging in the city.
Food served at the tourism breakfast was grown locally.
Reach Ryan McCarthy at 427-6935 or