Friday, February 16, 2007

Business, Government Leaders Focus on Working Together

Business, Government Leaders Focus on Working Together
By Ines Bebea

FAIRFIELD - The future and prosperity of Solano County may rest on a single concept: Togetherness.

During an economic summit Thursday hosted by the Solano Economic Development Corporation, business representatives and officials from local and county governments discussed key issues facing the seven cities that make up Solano County as the region attempts to position itself as a self-sufficient economic entity.

While growth, business and job retention, education, transportation and housing were welcome issues for the more than 250 participants at the all-day event at the Hilton Garden Inn, the concept of a united economic front will be challenged by the needs, wants and capabilities of the individual cities.

"The objective today is to channel the wisdom gathered in this room into a collective vision for the geographic county's economic future," said Mike Reagan, chairman of the Board of Supervisors for Solano County. "Working toward a common goal will multiply the effectiveness of our individual efforts."

The biggest challenge in the long-term plan to make the county an economic stronghold will be changing Solano County's image as a bedroom community or a suburb of the Bay Area, participants said.

"The opportunities are here for people to have a good quality of life, work, housing and success," said Harry Price, Fairfield's mayor. "We have to communicate the possibilities and capitalize on the diversity and cultural richness and values of the county."

One idea to strengthen the economic impact in the county was attracting companies to be headquartered in the area in order to take advantage of the diverse and skilled talent pool that commutes out of the county.

"Business, not government, is what builds communities and the economy," Vacaville mayor Len Augustine said. "If we can get the recruiters to be based here, and even the CEO of a company to live here, it will raise our profile and bring more jobs to the area."

Tourism could also focus more attention about the possibilities in the county, he added.

"The tourism industry is something that we haven't attacked as much as we should," he said. "While the role and leadership of government is important, the business community is a factor on growth."

Reach Ines Bebea at 427-6934 or

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