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Forging a stronger Northern Santa Barbara County

Development, Construction, Real Estate (DCRE)

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Development, Construction, Real Estate (DCRE)

Development, construction, and real estate play key roles in economic vitality, and support for these sectors fosters thriving Northern Santa Barbara County communities and a higher quality of life for North County residents.

Current economic conditions make it timely for EconAlliance to add a new industry initiative to its current industry focus areas: the Development, Construction, Real Estate Initiative.

Housing and new building construction are both essential to retain and attract growing, competitive companies with high-paying jobs. A quality 21st century workforce and community development are dependent upon the collaborative efforts of the DCRE sectors.

EconAlliance has supported the development, construction and real estate sectors since its inception. EconAlliance legacy founder Lawnae Hunter is a developer, property management company CEO and former real estate broker. Conversations with early EconAlliance stakeholders regularly dealt with regulatory issues, permitting, distressed communities, and community development–all issues of importance to DCRE sectors.

EconAlliance has been supporting developers, contractors, and the commercial and residential real estate community in the following areas:

Economic Vitality

EconAlliance manages six industry initiatives (Ag, Wine/Tourism, Energy, High Tech/Manufacturing, Healthcare, and Space Enterprise) in addition to that of DCRE, supporting these industries by promoting their community benefits, highlighting their challenges, and educating policymakers and the public on how to support these industries. A 2024 forum included the USDA Rural Development State Director speaking on funding for on-farm and off-farm housing and community projects.


EconAlliance industry awareness/education forums are attended by policymakers, community leaders, and economic stakeholders including REACH, the Santa Barbara Foundation, and the Builders Association / Santa Maria Chamber. The organization maintains an active, non-partisan, productive relationship with County supervisors and officials, City policymakers, and legislators at State and Federal levels, promoting reasonable regulations, lower costs to businesses, and industry and infrastructure support.

Infrastructure Development/Broadband

EconAlliance Infrastructure forums build awareness of developer and government projects. An EconAlliance cross-industry Infrastructure Initiative includes infrastructure surveys of key industry and economic stakeholders. The organization’s broadband efforts inspired and supported development of a countywide broadband strategy and the North County fiber ring concept.

Workforce Development and Education

EconAlliance works with industry partners to identify jobs and careers, skill and education needs, producing workforce reports such as the 2023 EconAlliance Healthcare Employer Needs Survey Report. EconAlliance also created an internship program to recruit, match and monitor community college and university students and key industry worksites. Past education efforts include leadership in the 2015-2020 Workforce and Literacy Initiative (WALI), and EconAlliance STEM Industry Days.

“As a trusted source for the North County perspective, the organization (EconAlliance) is an invaluable resource for policymakers, decision-makers, and economic stakeholders alike.”

Bob Nelson
Supervisor, 4th District

“As a local decision maker, I have found the EconAlliance forums to be educational and on point! I always leave their events better informed on the issues impacting the community.”

Steve Lavagnino
Supervisor, 5th District

“EconAlliance operates as an incubator, nurturing innovative ideas and propelling them toward success. It’s not just an alliance, it’s a dynamic engine of progress!”

Joan Hartmann
Supervisor, 3rd District



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