At the Chamber’s 117th Inaugural Celebration, the Chamber looked back on the past year of significant progress and growth in our local economy. This progress would not have been possible without the leadership of our outgoing Chairman, Howard Saner. Howard has done a phenomenal job of leading the Chamber through 2016 and I look forward to his continued advocacy.
The Chamber has done amazing work this past 12 months. A notable example of these efforts is the Chamber’s work to bring the California Air Resources Board (CARB) facility to the City of Riverside. This state-of-the-art facility will propel Riverside forward as a leader in research and cutting-edge technology. We must capitalize on the CARB facility and its workforce as a driving factor in attracting new industries to Riverside.
At January’s Annual Board Conference, our business and community members came together to prioritize the issues impacting our region. One significant area of focus is to ensure that March Air Reserve Base (MARB) and the Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) continue to serve as integral parts of our economy. Together, they represent almost $1 billion dollars in jobs, services, and equipment to our region. We must continue to support the men, women, and units stationed there and find new opportunities to protect MARB and NSWC today, tomorrow, and for the next 100 years.
The implementation of Streamline Riverside sets us apart as a model for business growth. With Streamline Riverside Phase Two taking place this year, we must continue to find ways to make the development process more efficient and create additional opportunities in Riverside.
It is widely known that our region is well-positioned for future growth in healthcare, education, infrastructure, judgeships, and other areas. One of our goals this year is to engage our leaders in Sacramento and D.C. to share the message that Riverside’s growth and potential deserve their attention.
During the Annual Board Conference, the important question emerged, “How can we better prepare local students for the workforce?” Innovative leaders took action and created the Riverside Intern Connection. This online tool will play an important role to retain college students after graduation and encourage them to live and work in Riverside. The team behind this project identified and met a significant need for both our graduates and employers. This example is a best practice and one that needs to be duplicated to solve other local challenges.
Behind all these successes resonates a common theme, growth. This means growing Riverside as a leader in business, education, technology, and the arts; growing the local economy through job creation and entrepreneurship; growing our presence in City Hall, County Chambers, Sacramento, and Washington, D.C.; growing opportunities for new and current business owners; and lastly, growing our sense of community, which has made Riverside a City of Choice.
I am deeply honored to serve as Chairman of the Board for this Chamber. I know you will join me as we work together to build a stronger local economy and better quality of life in Riverside. Clearly, there is a lot of work to be done. If we pull our resources together and maintain these connections, then we will certainly accomplish great things for our region.