Bay Area Council Blog: Membership Archive



The Bay Area Council is taking dead aim at solving the region’s crisis-level housing and traffic problems with a 2016 policy agenda adopted this week (Dec. 3) by the Executive Committee that also targets critical water and drought issues and the growing challenge employers are facing in attracting talent across a range of skills. Under the leadership of Council Chair Michael Covarrubias, Chairman and CEO of TMG Partners, the Executive Committee developed the policy agenda over the past two months with input from the Council’s 275 member companies.

“The Council and this region are extremely fortunate to have the dedicated and visionary leadership that our Executive Committee and Board are bringing to bear against these difficult challenges,” said Jim Wunderman, President and CEO of the Bay Area Council. “The priorities they have identified rightly reflect the major issues of our time, and we are confident that with their collective action the Council will start bending the curve to solve them.”

The Council’s 2016 Focus Policy Priorities include:

Workforce Housing. The Bay Area’s historic failure to build housing sufficient to meet employment and population growth is fueling an epic affordability crisis that could have long-term consequences for the region’s economic success. The Housing Committee, Co-Chaired by Lennar Urban President Kofi Bonner and TMG Partners Managing Partner Denise Pinkston, is working to significantly increase the supply of housing units and commercial space throughout the region by mitigating regulatory barriers to development of all kinds. To engage in our Workforce Housing work, contact Senior Vice President Matt Regan.

Commute Improvement. Traffic has reached crisis levels, and our public transportation systems are bursting at the seams. Under the leadership of Heller Manus Architects President Jeffrey Heller and UPS Northern California District President Rosemary Turner, the Transportation Committee is working on a range of innovative solutions that include expanding carpool and toll lanes, leveraging new traffic management technologies, emphasizing overall transportation corridors and developing new financing tools and local revenue sources for investing in maintaining and expanding capacity. To engage in our transportation policy work, contact Senior Vice President Michael Cunningham.

Water Supply and Security. Our economy relies on access to clean, reliable and affordable supplies of water. With historic drought, competing demands and a historic lack of investment in our water system, the Bay Area faces major questions about its water future. The Water Committee, Co-Chaired by Montezuma Wetlands Managing Partner Jim Levine and Suffolk Construction Company West Coast President Andrew Ball, is uniting the region’s diverse water stakeholders around these issues, working to prioritize critical investments and educating policy makers in Sacramento and Washington on the region’s needs. Ball is also leading the Council’s effort to generate support for a regional ballot initiative in 2016 that would raise $500 million from a parcel tax to fortify the region’s defenses against extreme storms and sea-level rise. To engage in our Water Supply and Security work, contact Policy Director Adrian Covert.

Workforce of the Future. The Bay Area’s fast-changing, high-value innovation economy requires highly skilled graduates for today’s in-demand jobs. Under the leadership of Co-Chairs Teresa Briggs of Deloitte and Glenn Shannon of Shorenstein Properties, the Council’s Workforce of the Future Committee is building stronger connections between the region’s employers and the universities and colleges that are educating the region’s future workforce. To engage in our Workforce of the Future work, contact Senior Vice President Linda Bidrossian.



Council Chair Michael Covarrubias called for a moment of silence at yesterday’s (Dec. 3) Board of Directors meeting to honor beloved Bay Area business and philanthropic titan Doug Shorenstein, who passed away Nov. 25 after a long battle with cancer. Shorenstein was Chairman and CEO of Shorenstein Properties, a real estate development company founded by his late father Walter Shorenstein. He previously served on the Council’s Board of Directors and was a 2011 inductee into the Council’s Bay Area Business Hall of Fame – Walter was a member of the 1998 Hall of Fame. After taking over the company in 1995, Shorenstein transformed it from a local developer to one of the largest and most-respected real estate development and management companies in the nation. He will be sorely missed.

Read about Doug Shorenstein’s life in the San Francisco Chronicle>>

Watch the Hall of Fame video of honoring Doug Shorenstein>>



SFO and United Airlines recently unveiled the newly-renovated Terminal 3 East Concourse, featuring a dramatic 53,000 square foot expansion — designed in part by Council member Gensler — that creates additional circulation space, new concessions, and enhanced amenities for airport guests. The $253 million renovation features eight new retail and dining outlets, including small businesses based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Free Wi-Fi, 230 power outlets, and 200 USB outlets will allow guests to stay connected and productive. Four new art installations, provided through the San Francisco Arts Commission, along with lounge-style seating areas, transform the space into a relaxing, inspiring environment. Guest restrooms even feature private changing rooms, an unexpected perk.

“Terminal 3 East is the latest expression of our vision for the guest experience at SFO,” said Airport Director John L. Martin. “This inviting, relaxing space features a fresh take on what we aim to deliver in all of our facilities – thoughtful passenger amenities, concessions representing the San Francisco Bay Area, inspiring public artwork, and environmentally-sustainable design.”

The Terminal 3 project is just of many that Martin, who this week announced he will be retiring in the summer of 2016, has spearheaded during his tenure to transform SFO into one of the world’s premier international airports. We’ll profile his many accomplishments in a coming Flash.

“The latest updates at San Francisco create a truly premium experience for our customers,” said Sandra Pineau-Boddison, United’s senior vice president of customers. “With the area’s modern design and amenities, San Francisco, the nation’s top trans-Pacific gateway, will continue to offer the traveler-friendly environment our customers expect at one of the country’s most prominent airports.”


Member Spotlight: Cargill

Longtime BAC member Cargill has earned a spot on Fortune’s first ‘Change the World’ list, which recognizes the top 51 companies that have made a sizable impact on major global social or environmental problems as part of their competitive strategy. Four criteria were taken into consideration: business innovation, measurable impact at scale on an important social challenge, the contribution of shared value activities to the company’s profitability and competitive advantage and the significance of the shared value effort to the overall business.

Cargill, headquartered near Minneapolis, was nominated for its pioneering efforts to curb malnutrition in India by fortifying its edible oils with vitamins A and D. India is home to 194 million malnourished people of which 40 percent are children. Cargill’s decision to fortify its edible oils in 2008 is largely seen by the industry as the catalyst for the oil fortification trend in India. Siraj Chaudhry, CEO of Cargill Foods India said: “We are constantly looking at innovating our products, solutions and services to better meet the needs of our customers. Back in 2008, we saw the potential of fortifying our edible oils to bring a better product to the market and help nourish the millions of people suffering from malnutrition with the vitamins they desperately needed. Cargill, which celebrated its 150th anniversary this year, has 153,000 employees in 67 countries. In the Bay Area, Cargill produces sea salt for food, agriculture, and industry markets in the Western states. Learn more about Cargill>>


Irish President Higgins Joins Council in Celebrating Benioff, Feeney

Salesforce Chairman and CEO Marc Benioff and Duty Free Shoppers Group Founder Chuck Feeney were the guests of honor at the Bay Area Council’s 70th Anniversary Annual Dinner and 2015 Bay Area Business Hall of Fame gathering on Wednesday (Oct. 28) at The Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco. President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins attended and delivered stirring remarks celebrating both Benioff and Feeney for their heroic philanthropic work and immense business accomplishments. Feeney is venerated in Ireland for his significant role in the peace process and his vast contributions to building the country’s higher education system.

President Higgins congratulated the Council on its 70th anniversary, praised the Council for its “generous spirit of community,” and remarked on the unique mission of the Council in convening business and civic leaders to improve the region’s quality of life. The President and Benioff both spoke passionately about the importance of the business community working to solve our social problems. To hear their full remarks, visit the links below.

Watch Salesforce Chairman and CEO Marc Benioff Hall of Fame induction>>

Watch DFS Founder Chuck Feeney Hall of Fame induction>>

Watch President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins Annual Dinner remarks>>

Transcript of President Higgins’ remarks>>

Annual Dinner and Business Hall of Fame photos>>

The 800 CEOs and other top business and civic leaders in attendance, including state Controller Betty Yee and University of California President Janet Napolitano, were greeted with a warm welcome from former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown and a video message from U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein. Later, Virgin America CEO David Cush ended his two-year term as Council Chair by handing the gavel to TMG Partners Chairman and CEO Michael Covarrubias. Council President and CEO Jim Wunderman praised Cush for his leadership, and Covarrubias in taking the reins set a strong tone of action in dealing with the Bay Area’s growing crisis in housing and transportation, among other issues.

Hall of Fame Chair Gary Rogers presided over an inspiring and moving ceremony to induct Benioff and Feeney into the 2015 Hall of Fame class. UCSF Chancellor Sam Hawgood introduced Benioff while QB3 Director and 2011 Hall of Fame inductee Regis Kelly introduced Feeney. Our thanks to all our event sponsors, including Premier Sponsors Kaiser Permanente and Salesforce; Diamond Sponsors AT&T, Bank of America, PG&E, TMG Partners, Union Bank and Virgin America; and Platinum Sponsors Dignity Health, Genentech, General Atlantic, Hanson Bridgett, Lennar Urban, Sutter Health, UCSF, UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals, UPS and Wells Fargo.

It’s not too early to start thinking about the 2016 Annual Dinner and Bay Area Business Hall of Fame. To become Presenting Sponsor, contact Vice President Rufus Jeffris.




Oracle CEO Safra Catz this week unveiled the company’s exciting plans to build a first-of-its-kind public high school on its Redwood Shores campus. Slated to be completed in the fall of 2017, Design Tech High School ( is a free, innovative charter school that incorporates technology, design thinking and problem solving skills to help students prepare for successful careers. “ will be the world’s first educational institution located on a high-tech campus which will give students immeasurable opportunities,” said Dr. Ken Montgomery, Design Tech’s executive director and founder.



The Bay Area Council welcomes Linda Bidrossian as Senior Vice President heading up our important Workforce of the Future policy initiative. Under the leadership of Co-Chairs Teresa Briggs of Deloitte and Glenn Shannon of Shorenstein Properties, the Council’s Workforce of the Future Committee is focused on building stronger connections between the region’s employers and the universities and colleges that are educating the region’s future workforce. The Committee is also working to identify new and stable funding for the state’s higher education system.

Linda’s experience positions her perfectly to drive the Council’s work forward. She comes to the Council from the Los Angeles Economic and Workforce Development Department, where she served as senior consultant on technology and innovation initiatives. Prior to that, Linda was executive director of Bixel Exchange, a new technology incubator and innovation center at the L.A. Area Chamber of Commerce. She also was vice president of business development at M Squared Consulting and a senior manager at PricewaterhouseCoopers. She has traveled across the world supporting the U.S. Department of State and the United States Agency for International Development on public private partnerships that have resulted in new jobs and growth in the technology sector. Linda earned her Master’s in Public Administration from the University of Southern California focusing on international policy. She is fluent in three languages. To engage in the Council’s Workforce of the Future Committee, contact Senior Vice President Linda Bidrossian.




As the deadline (Oct. 11) passed for the Governor to sign or veto bills, the Bay Area Council’s advocacy paid off in a big way as the Governor signed numerous bills that address key challenges faced by our region. With the unveiling our the Bay Area Council Economic Institute’s Report on 21st Century Infrastructure earlier this year, the Council has been a leader in advocating for friendlier policies that encourage robust communications and energy networks in California. As a result of this effort, the Governor signed AB 57 to streamline broadband infrastructure development.

In the areas of technology and cybersecurity, the Governor signed SB178, which will update our electronic privacy laws, as well as AB 229 to allow state employees to use sharing economy companies for state travel. Both of these bills were supported by the Council. To expand gender equality in California the Governor signed SB 358 updating the Fair Pay Act. The Council also scored a win in the area of commute improvement as the Governor signed AB 157 into law, which will improve traffic flow by expediting the process to open the third lane on the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge.

To engage in the Council’s government relations work, please contact Policy Manager Cornelious Burke.




Normally you might be on a couch eating queso at your friend’s annual party, but at the end of the 2015 NFL season, Super Bowl 50 is coming to your backyard – Levi’s® Stadium in the San Francisco Bay Area. Super Bowl 50 will be the most celebrated event in NFL history. We haven’t had a Super Bowl in California in over 30 years and this season will mark the golden anniversary of the Big Game in the Golden State. This is a big deal.

Bay Area Council President and CEO Jim Wunderman is honored to serve on the Host Committee Advisory Group among leading innovators in their respective fields, all of whom are united in their love for the Bay Area and the opportunity that comes with hosting a Super Bowl.

So what are you going to do when your clients start asking you for tickets to Super Bowl 50? Tickets to Super Bowl 50 are on sale now and are moving fast, so it’s best to plan ahead. But beware! Ticket brokers (i.e. the secondary market) have been known to sell tickets they don’t own. Buyers are then left without tickets on game day. Don’t let this happen to you.

By purchasing tickets and hospitality packages from the Super Bowl 50 Host Committee, you are not only securing a guaranteed seat at Levi’s® Stadium on game day (as well as exclusive access during Super Bowl Week), but you are buying directly from the source. To secure your place in history today, contact EVP of Marketing, Partnerships & Communications Pat Gallagher or Director of Partnership Sales Gina Beltrama.




Dignity Health, one of the largest health systems in the nation, is underway with a $220 million multi-phase improvement project across its 39-hospital network that recognizes the role that the physical environment has on the ability to improve healing and the overall experience of patients, their families and visitors.

“From the moment patients arrive, to their departure, every aspect of their journey of care with us should be grounded in healing for both them and their families,” said Dignity Health President and CEO Lloyd H. Dean. “Dignity Health is making this investment as part of its commitment to humankindness and to improving the experience of everyone who steps into a Dignity Health facility.

Read more details about Dignity Health’s project>>

The Bay Area Council applauds Dignity Health and Council Executive Committee Member Lloyd Dean on their dedication to health, healing and humankindness as they support the needs of their patients.