Reporting

March 20, 2012 by Susan Lovenburg

Forum Wrap-up: Nothing Rhymes with Orange (County)

When Orange County civic and business leaders come together, they prefer to talk about what’s working rather than what isn’t.

Pursuing a theme of “Nothing Rhymes with Orange,” the Orange Council Business Council (OCBC) celebrates the people and business whose innovation and pioneer spirit have made Orange County a unique place to live, work and play.

"Anaheim is a city that gets it," said Adrian Foley, citing that as a reason his company, Brookfield Homes Southland, Inc., located and stays in Southern California. With efforts like OCBC’s Red Tape to Red Carpet Initiative, cities have learned how to be responsive to the business environment where time is money and decisions are made quickly.

Lisa Haines of Disneyland Resort sees plenty of reason for optimism. The theme park is currently expanding and sees tourism on the upswing in 2012. Expansion requires huge investments in infrastructure and Disney has benefited from public-private partnerships to achieve that. Haines said Enterprise Zones are an opportunity to drive investment and growth.

Dr. Wallace Walrod, chief economic advisor to the OCBC, believes four industry sectors will drive continued growth in the region: international trade, entertainment, manufacturing and construction. To support this growth, the Council has identified five high impact areas of focus: infrastructure, workforce and education, housing, innovations in economic development, and healthcare.

Participants in Tuesday’s forum raised a number of specific issues they would like to see addressed at the California Economic Summit on May 11:

  • How will California create a business-friendly environment while sustaining a quality environment?
  • How will we aggressively recruit companies to stay or return to California?
  • How can public-private sponsorships be fostered?
  • How will we make sure all voices – business, ethnic, labor and environmental – are heard?
  • How will we train a workforce that meets the needs of local industries?

The over-arching theme of the day: local control with regional collaboration. Orange County is ready to engage.

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Here's what people at the forum were talking about on Twitter. To join the conversation use the hashtag #caeconomy or follow us @CAeconomy

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