Vacaville: 'Great Hub For Businesses'
By Ines Bebea
Local and regional businessmen and women and political figures listen to a guide speak about various business opportunities during a bus tour of Vacaville Wednesday morning as part of VIP Day. (Photo by Chris Jordan)
VACAVILLE - Business advocates and elected officials laid out the red carpet to prospective businesses and real estate developers Wednesday during the first VIP Day in Vacaville in 10 years.
The tour of current construction projects and available prime real estate was a collaborative effort by the city of Vacaville, Vacaville Chamber of Commerce, and Solano Economic Development Corp. The participants - about 200 - learned of the key elements the city can offer prospective and current businesses: land, ready infrastructure, and highly skilled workers.
"As a business that has been here for a long time, and gotten an opportunity to grow, Vacaville is a great hub for businesses," said Patsy Van Ouwerkerk, president and chief executive officer of Travis Credit Union. "As a board member of the Vacaville Chamber of Commerce, our goal is to create a business friendly environment, and as the city grows, businesses grow."
Vacaville is currently experiencing an economic boom, with expansion projects by top employers such as Genentech and Kaiser Permanente.
"There was a time when we were in the peripheral view of the Bay Area, as people drove by on their way to Sacramento or San Francisco," Vacaville Mayor Len Augustine said. "Our future is brighter now, because we are in the middle of the megalopolis that is San Francisco and Sacramento. Our economic vitality is helping old and new businesses succeed in Vacaville."
Sandy Person, vice president of Solano EDC, attributed the economic power of Vacaville to its location along Interstate 80, and the example that the existing employers set for prospective industries.
"If you take a look at the companies that are already here, you see why Vacaville works," Person said. "Fentons Creamery, Alza, a division of Johnson & Johnson, and the State Compensation Insurance Fund. They are in an environment that is ripe for their futures and their expansion."
Person was unsure if the rest of the six cities in Solano County are working on plans to have their own VIP Day, but said such an event would certainly help them showcase their businesses opportunities.
The VIP Day's theme was to connect businesses and professionals to the area, and for William Brizendine it had the expected effect.
"I know nothing about Vacaville outside of the fact that I drive by it on my way to the city," said Brizendine, director of CB Richard Ellis Melody in San Francisco. "Now, I know of all the opportunities the city has to offer."
As the keynote speaker, Luis Belmonte, a former vice president with AMB, an industrial and commercial developing firm in San Francisco, put into perspective the economic role that Vacaville can play in the global economy.
"A telling sign of any economy is to follow where the money is going," Belmonte said. "If the money is coming in, you are in the right place, and the Bay Area is in the economic forefront of the U.S. with its multitude of venture capitalist companies."
Reach Ines Bebea at 427-6934 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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