EconAlliance is a
non-profit cross-industry alliance that fosters awareness, advocacy, support
and appreciation for Northern Santa Barbara County industries and communities.
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EconAlliance is a cross-sector nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization with a mission to build awareness, advocacy, support and appreciation for Northern Santa Barbara County industries and communities. Its 2022 activities included a forum exploring impacts of agricultural technology, a healthcare employer survey, an Energy Forum on carbon storage as an element in the transition to “net zero”, and the Future Forum held in November (see articles above). 2022 also saw EconAlliance and the Chumash garnering a federal grant to articulate, evaluate and cost-out two alternative routes for the Northern Santa Barbara County Broadband Fiber Ring. Finally, a paid intern/industry match program was launched this year in partnership with the Workforce Investment Board Santa Barbara County - two college interns placed with a local agriculture robotics company and a dozen interns and numerous companies on deck for workforce enhancement!
EconAlliance promises even more for Northern Santa Barbara County industries and communities in 2023! What’s in the works? Small farmer-focused Ag Forum/Workshops; partnering on the Western Growers’ AgTech workforce conference with Allan Hancock College, a Northern Santa Barbara County housing roundtable, a forum on Healthcare Employer Workforce needs and “Real Cost” of living in SB County, a North County Fiber Ring-focused Broadband Forum, an “All of the Above” Energy Dialogue, a Cross-Industry Golf Tournament, the EconAlliance every-other-year infrastructure survey, completion of the Federal grant-funded North County Fiber Ring project, a U.S. Manufacturing Day celebration, and the 2023 Future Forum! Support this valuable progress!
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RFP Issued for Broadband/Telecom Consultant
In partnership with Federal Grant co-awardee the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash, EconAlliance has issued a Request for Proposal for a Broadband/Telecom Consultant to develop, evaluate and cost-out two alternative routes for the Northern Santa Barbara County Broadband Fiber Ring, a key element of the ~$500,000 broadband grant awarded the two entities by the U.S. Department of Commerce/Economic Development Administration (EDA).
The Broadband/Telecom Consultant will support EconAlliance Project Technical Lead Cary Gray, as well as EconAlliance and Chumash leadership in development of the products and deliverables of the year-long grant. The Chumash/EconAlliance grant project will be in alignment with both the State’s Broadband for All and Middle Mile Initiatives and also the Santa Barbara County Broadband Strategy (www.sbcag.org/broadband). For an overview of the grant effort, as well as the RFP, click button:
EconAlliance Board President Sam Cohen (Government & Legal Specialist, SY Band of Chumash) welcomed over 100 attendees Thursday night to the organization’s Annual Dinner/Future Forum held at the Santa Ynez Marriott. In addition to celebrating the organization’s year-long accomplishments, the event is held annually to recognize North County innovation and provide a peek into the emerging trends and technologies driving industry and social impacts. Keynote presentation for the 2022 event was given by Ryan Williams, CEO of The Blockchain Academy.
Blockchain “use cases” from various industries were presented – food safety tracing in agriculture, chain of custody support in medical labs and shipping, process tracking in manufacturing and transaction transparency in finance, for example.
This surge of blockchain activity is driving the need for blockchain workforce skills, claims Williams. Williams cited a 2020 LinkedIn employer survey placing blockchain as the #1 in-demand hard skill needed, saying that there are 14 job openings for every currently qualified blockchain engineer. A highlight was the bonus for every attendee of the dinner event: Two free blockchain courses from the Academy! Story continues below slideshow.
Another highlight of the evening was the 2022 EconAlliance Innovation Award, presented this year to SpaceX for its inspiring record of over 50 successful launches to date this year, as well as a legacy of 30 total Falcon 9 launches from Vandenberg since 2013. SpaceX Vandenberg Director Eric Krystkowiak accepted the Innovation Award for SpaceX, saying, “It is an honor to receive this EconAlliance recognition as we partner with the local communities to further grow our team and accelerate our Vandenberg launch cadence into 2023."
Thank you to all of our sponsors and contributors for making this event a success!
EconAlliance is a cross-sector nonprofit organization with a mission to build awareness, advocacy, support and appreciation for Northern Santa Barbara County industries and communities. Our 2022 accomplishments are presented in our Annual Review (PDF Link).
Manufacturing Day 2022 launches a month full of manufacturing events, for more connection and participation across the industry and country. EconAlliance recognized the day by organizing a small group tour of Safran Cabin led by Engineering Manager John Fuhriman and Engineer Jennifer Montejano, and with a video interview of Jay Hardy, founder of Hardy Diagnostics (see EconAlliance.org/videos). Conversations have started with some industry stakeholders about expanding on this small start for recognition of Manufacturing Day next year.
Held annually on the first Friday in October since it’s launch in 2012, it reveals to students, parents, and the public what modern manufacturing is all about. The fourth industrial revolution is rapidly changing our world. New advanced manufacturing technologies bring about whole new careers, requiring a skilled workforce interested in pursuing them. From bioengineers to data analysts to robotics technicians, and all of the operations in between, there is a place for everyone in manufacturing!
Manufacturers produce items we use every day – cell phones, laptops, coffee makers – as well as products that keep the economy moving, and moving ahead - cars, planes, engines, and turbines, spacecraft and robots. In fact, Safran Cabin, Inc., the world's second largest aircraft equipment manufacturer, supplies air-framers with key systems including landing gear, wheels and brakes, wiring and much more. Here in Santa Maria, this Safran facility designs and builds the “floor to floor” plane/jet cabin interiors.
Thank you to Safran for this opportunity to see what modern manufacturing holds for a prosperous future.
At EconAlliance, we aim to provide insight into manufacturing (among other industries) within our region. Our goal is to facilitate a local commitment to support local manufacturers by building awareness, streamlining any challenging local regulations, and sharing information about manufacturing’s many exciting career opportunities.
Today is Manufacturing Day 2022—the year's largest day of action for modern manufacturing. But it doesn't stop there: MFG Day launches a month full of manufacturing events, for more connection and participation across the industry and country.
Held annually on the first Friday in October since it’s launch in 2012, it reveals to students, parents, and the public what modern manufacturing is all about. The fourth industrial revolution is rapidly changing our world. New advanced manufacturing technologies bring about whole new careers, requiring a skilled workforce interested in pursuing them. From bioengineers to data analysts to robotics technicians, and all of the operations in between, there is a place for everyone in manufacturing! We are therefore delighted to feature a high-tech manufacturer in the first of our Industry Spotlight videos. Our Spotlight on Manufacturing interview is with Jay Hardy, President, Hardy Diagnostics, based in Santa Maria, CA.
Did you know that there were 834,000 manufacturing job openings in July 2022, including some in our local Santa Maria-Santa Barbara Metropolitan Statistical Area or MSA, which employed over 12,000 people in 2021?
Some say long-held negative misperceptions about manufacturing, as well as lack of awareness of manufacturing’s high-tech transformation and career opportunities, account for challenges in attracting workers.
As anyone who has visited a manufacturing plant in the past 20 years, including those facilities in our area, could attest, today’s manufacturing plants are clean, bright, high-tech and buzzing with activity at every level of the skills continuum. Those who enjoy working with their hands can find great jobs and careers in manufacturing, but so also can designers, engineers, information technology workers, and marketing, HR and management professionals.
To understand how a manufacturing enterprise is uniquely positioned to bring outside revenues into its region (as opposed to circulating disposable income from within a region), see inside perspectives shared by Hardy in his interview.
On August 15, 2022, EconAlliance held its second annual Cross-Industry Golf Tournament at the Santa Maria Country Club. A beautiful day of golf with breakfast burritos to start and a box lunch on the course was capped off with delicious appetizers at an award reception in the clubhouse.
Board volunteers checked in the teams- from left: Patrice Mosby and Suzanne Singh. Big winners of the day were the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians (Low Gross) and the Pacific Premier Bank team (Low Net)! Once again our top awardees were from the industries of Wine/Tourism and Finance, and Pacific Premier Bank was a second time overall winner (although last year the bank team won Low Gross rather than Low Net).
Low Net Winner Pacific Premier Bank team (Left to Right) Ben Alaniz, Katie McPike, Erich Kortz, and Bobby Fox.
Low Gross winners with Tourney Co-Chair, Jay Conner (2nd from right): Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians (Left to Right) Chris Jose, Nathan Shaw, Devin Shaw & Reggie Pagaling.
EconAlliance also recognized at the reception the teams winning various industry categories in this cross-industry tournament (story continues below slideshow).
Agriculture – Innovative Produce
Construction/Development – Solomon Hills
Energy - ExxonMobil
Finance – Pacific Western Bank (Team A)
High Tech/Advanced Manufacturing – Hardy Diagnostics
Retail/Wholesale – Duplicated Business Solutions
Space Enterprise – Sub-Par Shooting Stars
Service/Other – Steve Lavagnino Team
Wine/Tourism – Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians
We wish to thank our sponsors for their support:
Shred2You, “Prosperity” Event Sponsor; Solomon Hills, “Success” Lunch Sponsor; and “Vitality” Beverage Sponsors: ExxonMobil, Allan Hancock College, Urban Planning Concepts, Duplicated Business Solutions, Law Office of Philip F. Sinco, Pacific Western Bank and all of our hole sponsors for their support of EconAlliance STEM education and workforce efforts!
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
INTRODUCTION The Economic Alliance Foundation (EconAlliance) invites proposals for an element of work in The Northern Santa Barbara County Broadband Strategy & Business Plan project. The proposal invitation is being requested as one of the EconAlliance grant-funded consultant positions for The Northern Santa Barbara County Broadband Strategy & Business Plan, which is a federally-funded grant project of joint awardees The Economic Alliance Foundation (EconAlliance) and the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians (Chumash). The overall grant project scope specifications is detailed in this attached document (PDF).
Deadline to Submit Proposals: September 12, 2022, 5:00 PM
Proposed Contract Start Date Selected Proposer: September 30, 2022
EconAlliance is a cross-industry alliance that fosters awareness, advocacy, support and appreciation for Northern Santa Barbara County industries and communities. A 501c3 nonprofit organization, it promotes industry understanding, entrepreneurship and innovation, and the development of well-paying jobs, a highly skilled workforce and worker opportunity.
Contact: Victoria Conner
At the July Santa Barbara County Workforce Development Board (WDB) & Partner Retreat, new EconAlliance Workforce/Education Director Alejandra Mahoney was able to meet and network with other workforce professionals and provide input to the County WDB strategic plan. She also shared preliminary info regarding her efforts to create a “Hire Local” college and possibly high school “bridge” program for industry to provide student internships at businesses and organizations in Northern Santa Barbara County. These internships would serve as a means of introducing students to industry careers and give employers a chance to recruit graduates before they take lesser paying jobs or relocate, perceiving more career opportunity in metropolitan areas.
Mahoney piloted the program this summer with two students working in an ag robotics company and is willing to talk to any organization interested in providing internships. Contact her at workforce@EconAlliance.org!
SANTA YNEZ, CA – June 30, 2022 – The Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians and The Economic Alliance Foundation (EconAlliance) have been awarded $444,787 in federal funding for their 2021 joint application to produce a Northern Santa Barbara County Fiber Ring Broadband Strategy and Business Plan. Funds are being awarded by the Economic Development Administration, which is a bureau within the U.S. Department of Commerce.
The bulk of the award will be funding for a telecom consultant to identify and assess two viable routes for a fiber ring addressing the “middle mile” broadband needs of the five cities and several unincorporated communities in Northern Santa Barbara County. Grant assessment work will include a market analysis and business plan analyzing route construction, operations, and governance options to determine recommendations.
The Santa Ynez Chumash and EconAlliance, both partners of the tri-county Broadband Consortium Pacific Coast for several years, have helped launch broadband study and analysis efforts in North County with informational forums, a Chumash broadband strategic plan and finally with development of the North County fiber ring concept.
“Partnering with EconAlliance on this project and receiving this federal grant brings us closer to improving internet access throughout Northern Santa Barbara County," said Kenneth Kahn, Tribal Chairman for the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians. "We look forward to producing a sound plan and working with area cities to make broadband connectivity a reality in our community.”
“EconAlliance identified broadband as a critical economic development need in 2013, and the concept of a North County fiber ring developed by our Infrastructure/Broadband Lead and Broadband Advisory Group chair Chris Chirgwin has helped catalyze our stakeholders around a common priority,” stated Joe Halsell, EconAlliance past president and board member, and early supporter of the organization’s broadband efforts.
Both the Santa Ynez Chumash and EconAlliance also are part of the Santa Barbara County Broadband Strategy Project Team, working closely with the Santa Barbara County Association of Governments (SBCAG), the Broadband Consortium Pacific Coast (BCPC), REACH and others to integrate countywide broadband planning and development efforts.
“This is great news for efforts to increase affordable access to high-performing internet access in areas where it matters the most,” said Marjie Kirn, executive director of SBCAG. “Funding like this strengthens the partnerships we have in place to make our communities better and improve lives. We commend the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians and EconAlliance for looking beyond what’s next for our region. Together, we remain committed to finish the countywide vision for broadband by this fall.”
Bill Simmons, coordinator of the Broadband Task Force, added: “The Chumash have really provided the model for the rest of us to follow. From the development of an initial strategy to the application to the state for a technical assistance grant, followed by this funding request for design and engineering, they’ve been a trailblazer for what is now occurring across the region.”
Grant work on the EDA award will commence later this summer, according to the EDA grant award start-up timeline.
The Santa Ynez Indian Reservation is located in Santa Barbara County and was established and officially recognized by the federal government on December 27, 1901. Today, the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians remains the only federally recognized Chumash tribe in the nation. The tribe is a self-governing sovereign nation and follows the laws set forth in its tribal constitution.
Contact: Mike Traphagen
Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians
On Wednesday, June 15, 2022, four Santa Barbara County mayors, numerous district representatives of elected officials, as well as a wealth of County and city government policymakers and over 100 industry and community leaders gathered to hear a presentation and panel discussions on the opportunities and challenges of the energy transition now in progress. The EconAlliance event – Energy Transition to Net Zero – was held at the Santa Ynez Valley Marriott and featured as keynote Sarah D. Saltzer, PhD, Managing Director of both Stanford University’s Center for Carbon Storage and Carbon Removal Institute.
Dr. Saltzer (pictured) emphasized the importance of the transition – one that will impact rural and metropolitan areas alike, and one that will touch every demographic and economic sector. She also described a three-phase Stanford study in progress that first executed a grounding needs assessment with interviews and workshops, then took “deep dives” into the five largest greenhouse gas-emitting sectors, analyzing for each its sources, emitting fuels, strategies to de-carbonize and costs.
The last phase, now beginning, will summarize and integrate findings and develop and analyze possible transition scenarios. Preliminary findings highlight the importance of grid upgrades and development of carbon sequestration and storage strategies. Her in-depth presentation (PDF Link Here) was very well received.
Dr. Saltzer’s keynote was followed by two panel discussions. Story continues below slide show!
The first paneled discussion, Industry Sector Perspectives, moderated by Noozhawk Founder/Publisher Bill Macfadyen, included industry sector representatives Kevin Kester (cattle ranching), Bob Brown (petroleum), Phil Adam (agriculture) and Tim Walters (commercial and residential design and engineering, housing). Panelists described both the impacts and opportunities of the energy transition specific to their industries.
Energy Supply: Benefits, Challenges and Economics was the title of the second panel, which was moderated by Jorge Mercado, Pacific Business Times reporter on energy, utilities, technology and agriculture. Featuring Meredith Morford, PG&E clean energy transportation manager; Jennifer Miller, responsible for Pacific regional renewable energy projects for the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management; and Nate Taylor, Southern California Gas strategy and analysis manager as panelists. Panelists shared information about renewable efforts and projects in progress, highlighting the costs, challenges and opportunities of these transition-supporting activities.
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