LAST NIGHT AT SOU - "HOW DO WE GET MORE BUSINESS HERE?"
Enjoyed the SOREDI Sustainable Valley Technology Group "Sustainable Acceleration: To Infinity and Beyond" dinner and conference last night. A number of business luminaries and venture capitalists talked of what the Rogue Valley needs to do in order to attract more investment and startup companies.
My general takeaways are that the valley has much to offer - Pleasant climate (better than Portland), a well-educated potential workforce, and business friendly government. I know, don't laugh, but take this in context of how incredibly difficult it has become to surmount regulatory and permitting difficulties in the state of California. By comparison, Oregon's regulatory climate makes us look like Hong Kong.
Example: Maurice Gunderson, Managing Director of Eart Energy Ventures (high-tech battery manufacture based in Azusa, CA) recounted how he wanted to expand their Azusa factory, and that it would take 4 YEARS just to figure out how to proceed with the California business and permitting regulations. That's 4 years just to figure out HOW to do it, not actually DOING it. In 2010 he explored expanding production to the Rogue Valley, and says Jackson County government was very helpful. Due to other business conditions he wasn't able to commit to moving here at this time, but we're at the top of his list.
So what does the valley need to work on?
1) Do everything possible to attract engineers to the valley. Many services and skill sets can be obtained easily, but engineering know-how is key to tech business friendliness. Not sure how SOU figures in this need, but OIT certainly has a role to play.
2) We have a nice airport, but lousy air service. Gunderson noted that a last minute flight from the bay area to Medford was more than $1900, while a flight to L.A. (about the same distance) was $68. Firms will not want to locate key people here with such a lack of flight options.
3) Promote, Promote, Promote - Gunderson said that when forming his company, that setting up shop in the Rogue Valley didn't cross his mind, even though he's from southern Oregon. (K. Falls) In retrospect he believes setting up his company in Azusa was a serious mistake, and that he'd be even more competitive had he started here.
GUEST INFORMATION 11-15-2012
6:20 (From Portland, OR) Peter Ames Carlin, author of BRUCE, first in-depth biography of rocker Bruce Springsteen in close to 25 years!
7:35 Ed Klein talks about why Barack Obama is STILL an amateur, even in a second term.
8:45 Bryce Thornton, SupportingFreedom.org, and he's putting together "Stockings for Soldiers" which they're shipping to the troops on December 8th.
WE HAVE A LOT OF "FREEDOM WORK" TO DO IN THIS COUNTRY.
The reason I say that is because to mention "FEMA Camps" in passing is to mark you as a nut job, or Alex Jones devotee. Hurricane Sandy brings out the first of the FEMA camps filmed "officially".
What gives me pause is how the camps are fenced in. Why would you need to fence in a storm victim's camp? Just sayin'....
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