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  • 05/19/2022 4:41 PM | Anonymous


    Cross-Industry Energy Forum

    EconAlliance will host a cross-industry forum, Energy: Transition to Net Zero, on Wednesday, June 15th at the Santa Ynez Valley Marriott, from 8:30 AM to 12:00 noon.

    Keynote: Pathways to Carbon Neutrality in California

    Kicking off the program will be a keynote address “Pathways to Carbon Neutrality in California,” presented by Sarah D. Saltzer, PhD (right), Managing Director, Stanford Center for Carbon Storage & Managing Director, Stanford Carbon Removal Institute. Click here to register: REGISTER

    The discussions of carbon footprints have become very familiar but to what extent have the policies, practices, technologies and resources had an impact in Northern Santa Barbara County? The cross-industry Energy Forum hosted by EconAlliance will explore these issues making special reference to practical results and current challenges.

    With California’s drive to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to 40% below 1990 levels by 2030, and with the federal government proposing regulations requiring SEC registrants GHG reporting, the EconAlliance Energy Transition to Net Zero event is timely,” says Vicki Conner, Initiatives Director for EconAlliance.

    It is likely that all suppliers anywhere in the value chain for SEC registrants will have reporting requirements. A broad cross-industry slate of panelists and speakers will share insights at the forum. A stakeholder roundtable on Industry Sector Perspectives will be moderated by William Macfadyen, Founder/Publisher, Noozhawk. Presenters to include Kevin Kester, Past National Cattlemen’s Beef Association President; Western States Petroleum Association; Agriculture Sector, Manufacturing and others.

    A paneled discussion, “Energy Supply: Benefits, Challenges, Economics of Transitioning” will follow the roundtable. Panelists include moderator Jorge Mercado, Tech, Energy & Utilities, Pacific Coast Business Times; Meredith Morford, Manager, Project Delivery, Clean Energy Transportation, PG&E; Sara Guiltinan, Renewable Energy Specialist, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management; and Colby Wells, Southern California Gas Regional Public Affairs Manager. Other panelists will represent Solar, Community Choice Aggregation and more.

    The California Energy Commission reminds us that the goals for California state we are to have 60 percent renewable generation by 2030, 100 percent of new vehicles should be emissions-free by 2035, and 100 percent carbon-free grid by 2045. This provides both opportunities and challenges for local industries as they transition to Net Zero.

    Program Info & Registration

    ABOUT

    The Economic Alliance Foundation (EconAlliance) is a 501c3 nonprofit organization. EconAlliance drives positive impact through strategic initiatives, unique partnerships and creative programs. The organization champions Northern Santa Barbara County communities and the key industry sectors that fuel these communities and inspire regional economic vitality.

    Mission Statement: EconAlliance builds awareness, advocacy, support and appreciation for Northern Santa Barbara County industries and communities.

    MEDIA CONTACTS
    Victoria Conner
    805-345-0688 | initiatives@EconAlliance.org

    Teresa Young
    teresay@briget.org

  • 03/27/2022 6:57 PM | Anonymous


    Strategic Plan: Broadband for All

    Santa Barbara County is asking residents to complete an online survey and speed test to help identify areas of the county with poor internet connectivity. Phase one of a project to improve internet access in Santa Barbara County started Tuesday, March 22nd. 

    How You Can Help

    Please take a minute to complete a Santa Barbara County broadband internet needs assessment survey and speed test on a personal computer or laptop at home, work, or wherever you connect. Click here to start: www.sbcag.org/broadband
    Please complete before May 31st.  You can also simply scan the QR code to the right to get started.

    Information collected helps to improve affordable access to high-speed internet countywide. Individuals can also identify areas with low or no service, or where access to the internet is unaffordable within this test. Privacy controls protect responses and anonymous participation is an option. If you do not have internet, please call Santa Barbara County Association of Governments (SBCAG) at 1-805-961-8902 to report why you don’t.

    The Broadband survey and speed test is available in English and Spanish.

    The COVID-19 pandemic brought to light what many residents were already unnecessarily enduring, the lack of reliable and affordable access to internet,” said SBCAG Board of Directors Vice-Chair Jenelle Osborne, mayor of the City of Lompoc. “The broadband survey and speed test is vital to our efforts to advocate for fast, flexible, affordable, and reliable internet service for all residents and businesses in our county.

    The Broadband Alliance of Santa Barbara County (Alliance) formed in October 2021 to develop a regional broadband strategic plan through a partnership between the Santa Barbara County Association of Governments, County of Santa Barbara, and the cities of Buellton, Carpinteria, Goleta, Guadalupe, Lompoc, Santa Barbara, Santa Maria, and Solvang, the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians, Broadband Consortium of the Pacific Coast (BCPC), and regional economic development organizations.

    The plan will be completed by the end of 2022 and with that, the Alliance will seek funding opportunities for projects to improve internet access in homes, schools, businesses, healthcare, and facilities to high-speed internet countywide. “Each of us can do one very important thing to improve internet access and affordability. If your internet is too slow or unreliable or expensive, take the one-minute broadband internet survey and speed test before May 31,” said SBCAG Director Joan Hartmann, county supervisor. 

    In December 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom signed historic legislation, Broadband for All, to advance the State’s commitment to bring affordable access to high-speed internet service across California. Many rural areas are hard-pressed to find high-speed internet, leaving the businesses and residents at a disadvantage for education, disaster preparedness and healthy industry competition.

    MORE INFO FAQ PDF

    ABOUT

    A 501c3 nonprofit organization, EconAlliance drives positive impact through strategic initiatives, unique partnerships and creative programs. The organization champions Northern Santa Barbara County communities and the key industry sectors that fuel these communities and inspire regional economic vitality.

    Contact: Victoria Conner
    805-345-0688
    initiatives@EconAlliance.org

  • 03/18/2022 2:42 PM | Anonymous


    Request to Allow Interim Trucking Routes to Transport Oil Denied

    Despite dozens of letters and 1-minute remarks from ~100 individuals and organizations (including EconAlliance) pointing out the millions of dollars in County public service and education tax benefits, tens of millions of dollars in local economic activity, and the positive economic impact of 250 high-paying jobs, Santa Barbara County Supervisors at their March 8th meeting denied ExxonMobil a temporary trucking permit that would have allowed operations at the company’s Santa Ynez Unit to resume.

    Supervisors were split 3-2 on the decision, with Supervisors Lavagnino and Nelson supporting the permit and Supervisors Hart, Hartmann and Williams voting to deny it. Supervisor Lavagnino pointed out that renewables won’t be able to meet demand for many years, so no matter how much we all support that evolution, we must continue to produce fossil fuels as we transition. Others pointed out that, in addition to the loss of jobs and county revenue, denying domestic production increases the volume of U.S. oil purchases purchased from often unfriendly countries with little attention to the concerns of environmental and human rights. Supervisors voting against the permit expressed environmental and road safety concerns.

    ABOUT

    A 501c3 nonprofit organization, EconAlliance drives positive impact through strategic initiatives, unique partnerships and creative programs. The organization champions Northern Santa Barbara County communities and the key industry sectors that fuel these communities and inspire regional economic vitality.

    Contact: Victoria Conner
    805-345-0688
    initiatives@EconAlliance.org

  • 03/11/2022 1:56 PM | Anonymous


    Alejandra Mahoney has Joined EconAlliance as Workforce/ Education Director

    After 15 years with Peoples Self-Help Housing until her early retirement in 2021, as Director of Education, Alejandra Mahoney oversaw development and administration of Peoples' Self-Help Housing's (PSHH) K-8 After-School and College Club programs offered at PSHH’s 11 learning centers, interfacing with numerous local and grant funders on mutual priorities.

    Born in Costa Rica, raised in Northern Santa Barbara County, Alejandra joined PSHH in 2006, bringing extensive experience from her career at Santa Maria Joint Union High School District, Fitzgerald Community School, and Santa Barbara County Office of Education. She has guided education initiatives across the Central Coast, serving as a board member for the FUND, an ambassador for Allan Hancock Community College, and Leadership Santa Maria Valley. Alejandra was also a co-organizer, Charter Board Member and Founding Board President of the Central Coast Future Leaders (CCFL). CCFL is a local nonprofit serving Latino youth and parents and emphasizes youth leadership and empowerment. The organization launched the annual Latino Legacy Awards program in the North County area. Alejandra is proud of having personally assisted dozens of first generation Latino college students in securing university placement in some of the nation’s greatest institutions - Notre Dame, UCLA, USC, and others.

    Alejandra is a former Board member and supporter of and volunteer with EconAlliance and was instrumental in developing the organization’s North County Industry video and STEM Industry Days. She helped initiate and implement in partnership with EconAlliance and United Way, the past multi-year “Working Neighborhoods” grant involving a dozen economic development and education stakeholders.

    Before transitioning to a career in education, Alejandra had entered the family business – agriculture. As co—owner of TKP Farms, one of the first certified organic farms in the area, she became engaged not only in organic farming, but in organic farming development and public education. As a Board Member and then President of the California Certified Organic Farmers’ San Luis Obispo Chapter, she worked on organic system plans, policy, certifications, and outreach to farmers, communities, and policymakers.

    ABOUT

    A 501c3 nonprofit organization, EconAlliance drives positive impact through strategic initiatives, unique partnerships and creative programs. The organization champions Northern Santa Barbara County communities and the key industry sectors that fuel these communities and inspire regional economic vitality.

    Contact: Victoria Conner
    805-345-0688
    initiatives@EconAlliance.org

  • 03/07/2022 8:57 PM | Anonymous


    Local Impact of Global Events

    The Russian invasion of Ukraine has added a layer of uncertainty about the extent, outcome, and consequences of the military conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Irrespective of the duration of military hostilities, sanctions and related political activities are likely to continue for some time. The potential effects upon Northern Santa Barbara County can include dislocated commodities markets (notably for oil and gas), supply chain disruptions, inflationary pressures, weaker growth, and capital market volatility.

    Even before this overseas crisis, the global economy was experiencing effects of the pandemic, including inflation and tangled supply chains. We are keenly aware of the effects of the military conflict, especially upon oil, natural gas and metals, and higher prices for those commodities. In addition, escalating gas prices have a ripple effect among industrial enterprises, like fertilizer makers who use a great deal of gas and have now slashed production. Farmers are paying more to run machinery and buy fertilizer.

    We want you to know that we at EconAlliance will continue to prioritize the needs of our local industries, and keep our region front and center in our decision-making process. In particular the EconAlliance Global Trade Initiative, our Agricultural Initiative, and our Energy Initiative are focused on those sectors most impacted by the military events overseas. We will monitor market conditions while we hope that peace, human rights, and the international rule of law will prevail.

    ABOUT

    A 501c3 nonprofit organization, EconAlliance drives positive impact through strategic initiatives, unique partnerships and creative programs. The organization champions Northern Santa Barbara County communities and the key industry sectors that fuel these communities and inspire regional economic vitality.

    Contact: Victoria Conner
    805-345-0688
    initiatives@EconAlliance.org

  • 03/01/2022 3:56 PM | Anonymous


    SpaceX Falcon 9 Launch Successful

    At 9:12 AM on February 25, SpaceX launched a Falcon 9 rocket for the Starlink Group 4-11 mission from Vandenberg Space Force Base in Lompoc, CA.

    Falcon 9 took a total of 50 Starlink satellites to orbit during the mission. Starlink is SpaceX’s satellite constellation designed to bring internet access to underserved areas of the world. SpaceX has close to 2,000 Starlink satellites orbiting Earth at an altitude of 340 miles. A little less than nine minutes later, the Falcon 9's first stage came back down to Earth for a vertical touchdown on Of Course I Still Love You, a SpaceX droneship that was stationed several hundred miles off the California coast. It was the fourth successful launch and landing of the reusable booster.

    Around one hour two minutes after launch, the second stage of the Falcon 9 released the 50 Starlink satellites into their final drop-off orbit. The 50 Starlink internet satellites will join the existing constellation of Starlink satellites positioned at low Earth orbit in an effort to improve SpaceX's network and broadband signal interface for internet users around the world. Update: SpaceX has launched Starlink satellites to help the people of Ukraine.

    ABOUT

    A 501c3 nonprofit organization, EconAlliance drives positive impact through strategic initiatives, unique partnerships and creative programs. The organization champions Northern Santa Barbara County communities and the key industry sectors that fuel these communities and inspire regional economic vitality.

    Contact: Victoria Conner
    805-345-0688
    initiatives@EconAlliance.org

  • 02/07/2022 4:34 PM | Anonymous


    EconAlliance 5th Ag Forum Yields Valuable Insights

    Over 125 agriculture and economic stakeholders gathered at the Radisson in Santa Maria on Thursday, February 3, for the 5th EconAlliance Ag Forum. Hosted by EconAlliance Ag Initiative Lead George Adam (Innovative Produce) and Board President Sam Cohen (Santa Ynez Chumash), the premier event sponsor was Grower-Shipper Association Santa Barbara & San Luis Obispo Counties, as well as Farm Credit West, Allan Hancock College, Community Bank of Santa Maria and Innovative Produce, as well as several table sponsors. Luncheon keynote was Blong Xiong, State USDA Farm Services Agency Executive Director and featured speaker was Walt Duflock, Vice President Innovation, Western Growers Association. His in-depth presentation (PDF Link Here) was very well received. The event also included County of Santa Barbara Deputy Ag Commissioner Lottie Martin and Innovation and Competitiveness Issues panels.

    Highlights of the event included Blong Xiong’s sharing of new programs and initiatives at the state level targeting rural and ag communities, one of which was drought-related. Story continues below slide show!

    Walt DuflockDuflock (photo right) noted, while sharing that 2021 was a record ($621B) year in venture capital investing, that the challenge for agriculture was to create more “unicorns” (newest, potentially most profitable start-ups). Of the 250 total “unicorns”  funded in 2021, only one was ag-related. Current investment interest seems to be in the “downstream” areas of ag such as instore restaurant, online restaurants and MealKits, eGrocery, etc. although 2021 investment in Ag “upstream” areas still outstripped downstream investments in both largest deal ($1.6B vs $800M in downstream), and in overall investment ($15.8B vs $14.3B downstream). Labor costs and shortages are driving much of the innovation and R&D, with Duflock stating, “AgTech goes where acreage is growing” and labor is needed. The Duflock presentation also noted that the costs of regulatory compliance, in addition to rising labor costs, are creating a burden on the producer. Lettuce grower costs in California, for example, rose 795% between 2006-2017, while production costs increased 25% over the same period. The share of regulatory costs of total production costs increased from 1% to 9% from 2006-2017, according to research done by Cal Poly professor Lynn Hamilton.

    Deputy Ag Commissioner Lottle Martin stated that the top five 2020 crops in Santa Barbara County included strawberries (at number one), cauliflower, broccoli, nursery products and wine grapes, with the top five countries exported to being Canada, Japan, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait. Commercial hemp is a new crop for the County, with commercial hemp producers now able to register with the County (hemp acreage capped at 152 acres). As of February 2, 2022, there were 16 cannabis licenses countywide.

    CONGRATULATIONS

    The Forum recognized several HR and/or Safety Officers nominated by local growers: Veronica Blanco (Innovative Produce), Veronica Dodd (Frest Venture Foods), Haydee Garcia (Main Street Produce) and Carrie Jordan and Maria Guadalupe (Lupita) Calderon of Babe Farms.

    ABOUT

    A 501c3 nonprofit organization, EconAlliance drives positive impact through strategic initiatives, unique partnerships and creative programs. The organization champions Northern Santa Barbara County communities and the key industry sectors that fuel these communities and inspire regional economic vitality.

    Contact: Victoria Conner
    805-345-0688
    initiatives@EconAlliance.org

  • 12/09/2021 5:21 PM | Anonymous

    The past two years have been stressful for all of us, but perhaps no positions in the private sector, other than medical workers and first responders, have been more under pressure than Human Resources and safety personnel. This is especially true in the Ag sector. To acknowledge this, EconAlliance and its Ag Forum partners are making HR and Safety Staff the recognition focus for the 2022 EconAlliance Ag Forum.

    As an agricultural-related company with operations in Northern Santa Barbara County, if your organization would like to have EconAlliance and its Ag Forum partners recognize one HR or Safety staff person (one only per organization), please complete this fillable PDF form about that staff member, and a paper certificate will be prepared for that person. It can be mailed to that person in care of your company or mailed to you for presentation internally.

    If your organization plans to have a table, or a few people attending the February 3rd Ag Forum, and you would like your nominee recognized as part of the group recognition being planned (names/companies read, nominees in attendance standing), please indicate that your nominee and someone from your company will be registering and we will hold the certificate for a group presentation at the event.

    PLEASE NOTE THE FOLLOWING GUIDELINES: 

    1. The nominee must be in charge of or significantly engaged in either HR and/or Safety for your organization for them to receive recognition. This opportunity is being publicized by email (through our newsletter) and also being mailed to those in the agricultural community for whom we have mailing addresses. 
    2. The first five nominees we receive completed nomination forms for will each receive a free ($60) seat at the February 3 event and their company representative will have 3 minutes at the podium, if desired, to share why the person was nominated and the nominee will receive his/her certificate onstage. 
    3. All nominees AFTER the first five received will need to have paid seats or be designated guests at sponsored company tables. They will be recognized as a group, being asked to stand at their seats for audience applause and recognition, and their names with the names of their companies will be listed in the program guide. 

    Download Nomination Form (PDF)

    Questions about the 2022 Ag Forum HR/Safety recognition? Contact: Victoria Conner, Initiatives Director, EconAlliance (805) 254-4479 or Initiatives@econalliance.com

  • 12/04/2021 5:51 PM | Anonymous


    EconAlliance Future Forum Challenged Everyday Assumptions

    The EconAlliance Annual Dinner/Future Forum held Thursday, December 2nd at the Santa Ynez Valley Marriott. See video highlight reel with opening address by Sam Cohen here. The event featured international futurist Matt Griffin, flown in from London through a Chumash sponsorship. Griffin, founder of the 311 Institute and World Futures Forum, is an advisor to various governments and/or government agencies in the U.S., UK, France, Germany, UAE, etc., as well as a strategist and convention speaker for Fortune 500 and global companies such as Samsung, JP Morgan Chase, Deloitte, T-Mobile, Space X, Tesla, Disney, and others. He is regularly featured in media (Forbes, Bloomburg, Associated Press, etc.) An audience of over 100, primarily industry and community leaders and policymakers, were stunned to hear about some of the “exponential” technologies either positioned to or already disrupting various industries and everyday life. Griffin’s presentation focused on the key innovations set to challenge the agriculture, energy, healthcare, transportation and space industries, all relevant to North County. Story Continues Below.

    CONGRATULATIONS

    In addition to the futurist’s presentation, the dinner provided an occasion to introduce the 2020 EconAlliance Innovation awardees (Charles and Jody Williams of Broken Clock Vinegar Works), who were only recognized virtually at last year’s Future Forum. Chris Chirgwin of Lanspeed was celebrated as the 2021 EconAlliance Innovation Awardee, for his development of the concept of a North County fiber ring to support regional broadband enhancement.

    Also recognized was outgoing EconAlliance Board president Joe Halsell, CEO, Halsell Builders, who served EconAlliance as board chief for three years.

    Incoming Board President Sam Cohen, Government & Legal Specialist Santa Ynez Band of Chumash, provided a virtual welcome and overview of 2020 EconAlliance activities. Board Vice President Phil Adam, COO, Innovative Produce, served as emcee for the event.

    ABOUT

    A 501c3 nonprofit organization, EconAlliance drives positive impact through strategic initiatives, unique partnerships and creative programs. The organization champions Northern Santa Barbara County communities and the key industry sectors that fuel these communities and inspire regional economic vitality.

    Contact: Victoria Conner
    805-345-0688
    initiatives@EconAlliance.org

  • 11/29/2021 4:04 PM | Anonymous

    The November Cross-Industry (virtual) Forum was attended by dozens of policymakers and economic and infrastructure stakeholders interested in the results of the EconAlliance Infrastructure Survey. The purpose of the EconAlliance Infrastructure Survey is primarily to give key industries in Santa Barbara County’s North and Mid-County areas a voice about the infrastructure needs and opportunities to keep their industries thriving. Broadly distributed, however, the survey provides the opportunity for all industry and community organizations to participate. See the full presentation with attendee input in video format here.

    Forum welcome was given by incoming EconAlliance board president Sam Cohen, with an overview of the bi-annual Infrastructure Survey provided by survey founder Dan Deveraux of CalPortland. A summary of the Infrastructure Survey input was presented by Victoria Conner, EconAlliance Initiatives Director (Click Presentation PDF).

    All 6 EconAlliance key NSBC industries represented: Ag, Wine/Tourism, Energy, Mfg, Space, and Healthcare. Largest representation was from Leisure/Hospitality, Agriculture-Wine, Manufacturing, Ag – Vegetables/Berries and Retail. In addition, the online event featured five-minute “industry snapshots” sharing information about post-lockdown status, key infrastructure and other industry needs and opportunities. See Program Agenda (PDF)

    Industry presenters included: George Adam, Agriculture; Ben Oakley, Energy; Trevor Orrick, Manufacturing; and Dominick Barry, Quintron.

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