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Economic development is a team effort

Posted: December 15, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: December 15, 2013 2:00 a.m.

In my first 100 days at the Santa Clarita Valley Economic Development Corporation, I’ve learned a lot more about the Santa Clarita Valley and about the unique economic development considerations that I think are our biggest strengths.

The Santa Clarita Valley Economic Development Corporation focuses on attracting businesses to the Santa Clarita Valley and helps keep them once they are here. We also work to market the community – telling companies about the great business climate, quality of life, and unparalleled support they can receive in the Santa Clarita Valley.

With more than a million square feet of new, state-of the art industrial space expected in the next 2 years, I believe the opportunities here in the SCV can’t be matched anywhere else in Southern California.

SCV is home to a wide swath of industry types. We make space wire, bionic eyes and ears, movie special effects, inhalable insulin, and 3D printer products. We’re the home to dozens of aerospace companies, biomedical groups, and so much filming that the industry calls us Hollywood North. Even after calling Santa Clarita home for almost a decade, I am regularly surprised at the number and diversity of companies that call our Valley home.

Commuter traffic impacts everyone’s quality of life here. The number one job of the SCVEDC is to create high-quality, local jobs, reducing the number of people who have to drive out of the Valley to work. Right now, over half of our working residents commute out of the Valley, as is no doubt evident to any of you who do so. Growing the number of jobs right here improves our quality of life and our environment, in addition to growing our local economy…which then allows us to continue investments that improve our quality of life. Economic development in the Santa Clarita Valley is a virtuous cycle indeed.

My newest lesson learned during my first 100 days is that economic development in the Santa Clarita Valley is a well-coordinated team effort. Relocating is a major decision. It’s high risk and disruptive to the company’s operations. It requires a significant investment of time and capital. A business must carefully consider the impact of a move on its existing employees – will they too make the move or will the company suffer substantial turnover? Fortunately, the Santa Clarita Valley excels here too, with a highly educated and skilled workforce ready to fill in any gaps and workforce training offerings to meet nearly any conceivable gap. Many of the companies already have an employee base that lives in the Santa Clarita Valley, making the decision to relocate a win for everyone. (Should yours be the next one?)

It can take years for a company to decide to take the plunge and relocate, which is where the true magic of the Santa Clarita Valley team comes in. I realized how special this was at a recent meeting of economic development professionals, where my peers talked about their challenges: lack of a current strategic plan, changing goals resulting from elections, competition for funds, partner organizations heading in separate directions, infighting distracting from the larger vision. As a public-private partnership, the SCVEDC brings together the economic development efforts of the city, the county, and individual companies in the Santa Clarita Valley. Our board and the leadership in the Santa Clarita Valley understands that plans need to be established, followed, then readjusted to meet the needs of an innovation –led economy. We have the ability to take the long view, build a plan and stick to it, form partnerships that align resources and talents, all with the goal of making the local economy and quality of life better.

All in all, it’s been a good 100 days, with even better ones ahead. I’m looking forward to being part of the next decade of economic growth in the SCV.

Holly Schroeder is President & CEO of the Santa Clarita Valley Economic Development Corporation.




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