The first quarter of 2017 was a very active three-month period for the Nevada County Economic Resource Council (ERC) with activities in a wide range of areas within the organization’s priority initiatives. With a very small staff, we greatly appreciate the tremendous amount of expertise and energy we receive from our Board of Directors, members and sponsors, and volunteers who play a critical role in driving these efforts forward. A summary of highlights during the first quarter:
Local Business Assistance Activities:
Helping local businesses who have (or can have) meaningful, positive economic impact throughout Nevada County to start or grow is a key priority of the ERC. Among the business expansion or start-up projects in Grass Valley that the ERC is assisting include Applied Science, Inc., XP Camper, BrewBilt and the new Grass Valley Brewing Co. In Nevada City the ERC has been helping Traitware with its transition from start-up to commercialization and expansion. Of note, the company recently secured a significant infusion of investment capital and was featured in The Union. Each of these entrepreneurial companies has the potential to growing quality jobs and income in our communities, thereby growing Nevada County’s “economic pie”.
Talent Connection Efforts:
The Talent Connection initiative represents a critical component of the ERC’s efforts. The mission of the ERC’s Talent Connection Task Force is recruiting (throughout Northern California focusing on the Greater Sacramento and Bay Area), developing, and retaining private sector technology talent pipelines for key industries in Nevada County such as broadcast/video technology, healthcare, agriculture, technology service providers, and art organizations. Individuals who have participated on the Task Force include Stephanie Ortiz, Jamie Lefebrve, Barbara Bitner, Bob Hudelson, Chris Robert, Dee Rein, Diana Cobbe, Holly Hermansen, Jon Gregory, Jonathan Palmer, Kristine Farrell, Laura Pappani, Lisa Sewell, Louise Bennicoff Johnson, Lynn Strukrud, Manjit Asrani, Mary Owens, Michael Freedman, Michael Hughes, Remington Maxwell, Russ Jones, Sandy Scott, Scott Mikal-Heine, Shavati Karki-Pearl, Steve Monaghan, Tammy Veralrud, Wendy Sweeney, and Yolande Wilburn.
Some of the actions and initiatives the Task Force is exploring include:
- Supporting the Connected Communities Academy (CCA) & the new Nevada County Tech Connection.
- Providing assistance with the March 25 STEAM Expo at the Nevada County Fairgrounds.
- Exploring the possibility of hosting a California Employment Training Panel (ETP) program in Nevada County. ETP provides funding for incumbent worker skills training.
Nevada County Tech Connection:
The new Nevada County Tech Connection is an industry-driven initiative of the ERC led by Shavati Karki-Pearl in conjunction with NoRTEC and Sierra Business Council. The four areas of focus for the Nevada County Tech Connection currently are: (1) Outreach and Advocacy; (2) Talent Development; (3) Education, and (4) Recruitment. Key current action items include creating a web site and online marketing program, and finalizing a business model that allows the effort to be sustainable.
In particular, the ERC would like to acknowledge the efforts of the initiative’s business champions, Jonathan Palmer of Autometrix and Michael Anderson of ClientWorks and Spiral Internet. Focus groups to determine top priorities for the Nevada County Tech Connection were hosted by Grass Valley – A Belden Brand (located in Grass Valley) and Telestream (located in Nevada City).
Ultimately, the goal of the Nevada County Tech Connection is to create what is called a Next Generation Sector Partnership, a term which has garnered increasing attention across the U.S. where economic development and workforce development initiative more directly place businesses/industry at the center, and public and nonprofit partners listen first, and provide support on behalf of the priorities that emerge.
We encourage you to visit the Nevada County Tech Connection web site to learn more about the effort.
Much more to come in Q2 of 2017!
ERC’s 2017 Annual Summit – Sponsor the Event or Get Your Tickets Today!
The ERC’s Special Events Task Force, co-chaired by Danielle Scallin, Sara Christensen, MJ Heltsley and Steve Reynolds — with assistance from Hollie Grimaldi Flores and Janet Augstein — has been hard at working planning the ERC’s Annual Economic Summit. This year the title is “Reaching Common Goals” and occurs on May 18 at the Center for the Arts in Grass Valley.
The Summit is scheduled for 1:30 – 4:30pm at The Center for the Arts. Tickets are $37 Advance Purchase / $47 At the Door. The VIP Dinner is 5:30 – 8:30pm at The Foothills Event Center. Tickets for the VIP Dinner are $100 or a table of 8 for $600.
The Summit will include a keynote “State of the Economy” presentation by Dr. Christopher Thornberg Founding Partner of Beacon Economics, LLC and widely considered to be one of the nation’s leading economists. Dr. Thornberg is also the Director of the Center for Economic Forecasting and Development at the UC Riverside School of Business Administration. The Summit also includes a presentation of “Reaching Common Goals”, which is the ERC’s 2017-19 Strategic Plan. In addition, the Summit will feature a series of 5-minute Business Vignette presentations that highlight innovation and success occurring at local businesses, along with brief overviews of key ERC initiatives like the Nevada County Tech Connection. Businesses already confirmed to make presentations include Traitware, BrewBilt and Autometrix.
During the VIP Dinner, a panel called “A Community Conversation” will be moderated by Amy Westervelt. The panel will focus on the key issues that emerged out of the ERC Strategic Plan. Amy lives in Truckee and is a contributing writer to Wall Street Journal, the Guardian, and Forbes.
The Summit represents Nevada County’s largest networking event – don’t miss it! For sponsorship opportunities or more information, contact Janet.
ERC’s 2017-18 Strategic Plan
As reported above, the ERC will present its 2017-18 Strategic Plan report as part of the Annual Economic Summit on May 18. Much work is being undertaken in advance to establish the top priorities for the ERC’s work plan this year and next. A half-day Strategic Planning session facilitated by Galen Ellis of Ellis Planning Associates is occurring soon and will provide the foundation for the repot that will be presented at the Summit.
Community Collaboration Efforts
A key role of the ERC is to collaborate with, and support where it can, other stakeholder group economic development efforts throughout the County. During the quarter the ERC was very active in this regard providing information or letters of support for multiple state or federal grant proposals, funding streams or designations on behalf of:
- The San Juan Ridge Mine
- Efforts by the NC Arts Council, local chambers and cities of Nevada City and Grass Valley in pursuit of State Designation as a Cultural District
- Sierra Vintners
- On behalf of NoRTEC, support letter for maintaining Title I and Title II of WIOA (Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act)
The ERC also co-hosted an Internet of Things (IoT) workshop in conjunction with the local maker’s space, Curious Forge, and will be contracting for 3 months with the group as a means to strengthen an ongoing, synergistic relationship.
Finally, the ERC is pleased to be an active partner with the Regional Chambers in the development of a Business Resource Guide.
Marketing and VR Center of Excellence Efforts
The ERC was also very active with its marketing efforts, including activities such as:
- Launch of the It’s Who You Know Campaign
- Hosting of a VR Chat with HTC Senior Executive Brian Lowe
- Supporting a local VR Meet Up group spearheaded by Alan Moore from AJA Video
- Hosting a VR Lounge as part of the Wild and Scenic Film Festival
- Attendance at the 2017 CES Conference in Las Vegas