IRVINE, CA — Yesterday, Orange County Business Council hosted 120 business and community leaders for the inaugural Orange County Economic Development Forum, presented by Bank of America. The forum featured a panel of experts representing Orange County’s leading industry clusters and audience discussion on the critical regional and state actions that are needed to create jobs, restore competitiveness and secure California as a leader in economic growth.
The forum, comprised of business, government, labor, legal and education leaders, was a key step to recognizing the critical need for regional and state economic development. The action items resulting from the forum and panel discussions include eliminating the skills gap between education and business, addressing the state’s burdensome regulatory environment, fostering public-private partnerships, and creating a more business friendly environment.
“The community’s message rang loud and clear: Local control. Regional collaboration,” said Lucy Dunn, OCBC President and CEO. “California desperately needs greater economic development efforts at all levels of government. Orange County recognizes the importance of business success to our economic recovery. Now it’s the state’s turn to say, ‘We’re open for business!’”
The forum was one of 15 taking place across the state, leading up to the first-ever California Economic Summit on May 11, 2012 in San Jose, where the ideas of each regional forum will be presented for a state-wide economic development plan. As part of this “Economy of Regions” strategy, featured guest speaker Julie Meier-Wright, Strategic Advisor, Collaborative Economic, and California’s first Secretary of Trade and Commerce under Governor Pete Wilson discussed how Orange County’s collaborative effort intersects with regional economic development activities underway across California.
As Orange County is home to many key multinational corporations and a diverse ethnic population, focus on global economic competiveness is also part of the regional agenda for economic growth. Keynote speaker, DeAnne Steele, Managing Director and West Investment Executive at U.S. Trust, Bank of America Private Wealth Management, discussed global rebalancing and its effect on job growth in the U.S. Currently, the developing world, especially China and India, are growing at a faster rate than the developed world, adding more consumers to the global economy. The U.S. is in a good position to increase exports of high-end products that the new consumers in the developing world want to buy.
A panel comprised of representatives from Orange County’s key growth industries identified the specific efforts the county has taken to encourage economic growth, and the actions still needed to allow the region to grow. The panel included Chris Harrington of Toshiba America Information Systems, representing High-Tech industry; Lisa Haines of Disneyland Resort, representing Tourism; Tom Porter of Edwards Lifesciences, representing Manufacturing; Adrian Foley of Brookfield Homes, representing Construction; and Mike Hornak of Rutan & Tucker, representing Business and Professional Services.
The state’s economic prosperity is directly linked to the region, and Orange County’s success is dependent on retaining and growing existing businesses and supporting emerging industry clusters. Partnership between the public and private sectors is critical to complete the missing pieces of the state’s economic strategy, go to http://www.caeconomy.org/ to have a voice in the future of California.
Orange County Business Council is the leading voice of business in Orange County, California. OCBC represents and promotes the business community, working with government and academia, to enhance Orange County’s economic development and prosperity in order to preserve a high quality of life. OCBC serves member and investor businesses with nearly 250,000 employees and 2,000,000 worldwide. In providing a proactive forum for business and supporting organizations, OCBC helps assure the financial growth of America’s sixth largest county. For more information, visit www.ocbc.org.
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