Friday, December 14, 2007

Economic Summit Trumpets Success Of Collaboration

Economic Summit Trumpets Success Of Collaboration
By Ines Bebea | Daily Republic | December 13, 2007 16:25

FAIRFIELD - The importance of collaboration as the catalyst to ensure success and growth across the county was the defining theme of the Solano Economic Summit 3.

More than 150 guests, including representatives from county and local government, met Thursday at Hilton Garden Inn to discuss the economic strides and highlights of 2007 and lay the groundwork for future success.

'Today is about the successes that we've had in the past year from collaborating with each other to face issues,' said Mike Reagan, chairman of the Solano County Board of Supervisors. 'The business sector knows that they need to work together on policy needs with the public sector, and that is one of the many relationships that create success.'

The Solano Economic Summit 3 was presented by Solano County, the Solano Economic Development Corp., Solano Transportation Authority, the City and County Coordinating Council, and UC Davis.

Among the highlights of 2007 were addressing the growing number of fatalities and accidents on Highway 12. Community support, combined with the work of the Solano Transportation Authority and legislation sponsored by Assemblywoman Lois Wolk, D-Davis, were key to facing the challenges.

'In the span of 10 years, Highway 12 went from being our little secret to a major road used by commuters and businesses transporting goods,' said Daryl Halls, executive director of the Solano Transportation Authority. 'Because of what those changes brought, it became the board's No. 1 priority, and the public demand for safety was key to what we were able to accomplish.'

The effort resulted in funds used to combat the rise in fatalities and accidents by installing median barriers along the highway. According to Halls, future discussions will tackle widening the highway and increasing assistance from the California Highway Patrol and the California Department of Transportation.

In addition to transportation and the existing infrastructure, the discussion included affordable housing, education, agriculture, workforce development and alternative sources of energy.

'From an educational standpoint, we need to know from the business community what jobs they need now and in the future so that we can prepare our youth to fill those positions,' said Dee Alarcon, superintendent of schools for the Solano County Office of Education. 'As part of economic growth, there needs to be workforce development, and that continues to be one of our goals.'

Part of the workforce development strategy will be a youth summit tentatively scheduled for March 15, 2008, Alarcon said. She encouraged business representatives to participate in the discussion that will address the issues facing Solano County students entering a changing labor force.

The summit was also the official debut of the Solano County Business Council. The role of the council is to serve as an organization that will lobby for issues affecting the county's economic growth and quality of life at the state and national level.

'As a county that is situated between two growing cities in Sacramento and San Francisco, we need to make sure that the growth impacts us in a positive way,' said Dan Sharp, president of Sharp Public Affairs and a representative of the council. 'We want to grow as a county and do it together to promote all of our industries.

Reach Ines Bebea at 427-6934 or

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