Bay Area Council Blog: Science and Innovation Archive



With 112 campuses, 2.1 million students, and a budget of $7.3 billion, the California Community College System is the largest provider of workforce training in the state and nation. Chancellor Brice Harris and Vice Chancellor Van Ton-Quinlivan were among the community college sector leaders Bay Area Council members engaged at a Strong Workforce Town Hall event held at the Council on Thursday (Aug. 27). The conversation was centered around 25 recommendations contained in a just-released report produced by the California Community Colleges Task Force on Workforce, Job Creation and a Strong Economy that is focused on closing the “skills gap” that is plaguing the California economy and is expected to only get worse.

According to the report, “By 2025, 30 percent of all job openings in California—or a total of 1.9 million jobs—will require some form of postsecondary education short of a four-year degree.” Laura Butler, Vice President, Talent Management and Chief Diversity Officer for Bay Area Council member Pacific Gas and Electric Company, gave remarks on “The Value of a Strong Workforce” as part of the event, which was the final in a series of related town halls held throughout the state and sponsored by Bay Area Council member JP Morgan Chase & Co. View recommendations from the California Community Colleges’ Task Force on Workforce, Job Creation and a Strong Economy>>

Led by Co-Chairs Teresa Briggs of Deloitte and Glenn Shannon of Shorenstein Properties, the Council’s Workforce Development Committee has served as a key partner to the Task Force since its early planning stages and has been a participant in previous town hall events that educated the recommendations and report. To engage in the Council’s Workforce Development policy work, please contact Vice President of Policy Linda Galliher.



The Bay Area Council Executive Committee and Board of Directors on Thursday (July 17) applauded Virgin America CEO David Cush for his two years of strong leadership as Chair of the regional business and economic policy group and welcomed Michael Covarrubias, Chairman and CEO of development firm TMG Partners, as his successor. Covarrubias’ selection to the two-year leadership position came during a meeting generously hosted by member company Google at their Mountain View campus.

Cush’s two-year tenure as Chair marked a period of significant growth and accomplishment for the Council. Covarrubias, the 37th Chair in the organization’s 70-year history, has been a stalwart supporter of the Bay Area Council and is actively engaged in driving the Council’s work to create more housing in the region. Covarrubias chairs the Council’s Housing and Sustainable Development Committee, and serves on several of the Council’s key governance groups. His TMG Partners is one of the region’s leading real estate development companies whose landmark projects include some of San Francisco’s most prominent buildings. Covarrubias is highly regarded within the real estate community and in 2008 was named Dealmaker of the Year by the San Francisco Business Times.

The Council was warmly received by Google executive Mark Golan. Golan spoke about Google’s strong alignment with the Council’s continuing work to address the region’s serious housing shortage and crisis-level traffic. At the Executive Committee meeting, the Council’s top leadership discussed pending legislation to expand California’s battle against greenhouse gas emissions and climate change, reviewed a bold strategy for addressing the state’s historic drought and water infrastructure needs, and discussed options currently being considered during a special session of the Legislature for how to fund the state’s massive transportation infrastructure needs. The Council will announce more details about its positions on these various issues in coming weeks.

In a series of lively reports, the Board of Directors heard from policy committee chairs on the great progress the Council is making on its priority issues. Rosemary Turner, Northern California President for United Parcel Service, reported on transportation; Michael Covarrubias on housing; Suffolk Construction West Region President Andy Ball and Montezuma Wetlands Jim Levine on water; AT&T California President Ken McNeely on 21st Century Infrastructure and Signature Development Group CEO Michael Ghielmetti on the Council’s China activities. During the water report, Levine and Ball unveiled a fun, new drought awareness public service announcement featuring San Francisco Giants ace Sergio Romo that will begin airing statewide compliments of Bay Area Council member Comcast, whose Hank Fore was in attendance Thursday.

The Board of Directors was also treated to an update from Executive Committee member and San Francisco 49ers CEO Jed York and Super Bowl 50 Host Committee CEO Keith Bruce on the plans for the Super Bowl next year. Bruce shared images of the exciting Super Bowl City that will erected at the base of Market Street in San Francisco, described the unprecedented charitable component of the event and talked about the many activities that will surround the eight-day extravaganza. Thanks again to Google for hosting us.



The Bay Area Council this week (June 23) released results of our region-wide 2015 Bay Area Council Poll, the only survey of its kind that provides a comprehensive and incisive look at the attitudes of Bay Area residents on the most topical and critical issues affecting the region. The poll examined attitudes on the economy, top issues, drought, housing and transportation.

View all the results>>

Residents Say Soaring Economy May Be Reaching a Plateau

Bay Area residents think the region’s super-heated economy may be reaching a plateau according to the results, although they are generally bullish about the overall direction the region is heading. 46 percent of residents said the Bay Area is doing at least somewhat better than six months ago while 40 percent say things are about the same and 11 percent think things are worse. But looking ahead, confidence is somewhat weaker than the outlook only a year ago. Today, 39 percent think the Bay Area economy will be performing somewhat better in six months, a 12-point drop from 2014 when it was more than a majority.

Drought Tops Concerns; Residents Say They Are Already Conserving What They Can

California’s historic drought easily topped residents’ list of concerns, followed closely by housing costs and overall cost of living. Only in San Francisco did the drought take second to housing costs as the leading problem. The poll found 48 percent of residents rank the drought among the Bay Area’s most dominant issues, with 89 percent saying that preparing for drought is an important priority for the region.

But, Bay Area residents appear to be tapped out when it comes to restricting their water use, and heavily favor expanding the use of recycled water, turning seawater into drinking water and building new dams and reservoirs. While 38 percent say they could do a bit more to conserve, another 38 percent say they’re already doing everything they can to reduce water usage. Another 15 percent said they don’t make a special effort to conserve and 3 percent pay little attention to their water use.

In the drought’s fourth year, residents are heavily in favor expanding the use of recycled water, turning seawater into drinking water and building new dams and reservoirs. Even the notion of adding recycled water to drinking water supplies got more support than raising rates, with 58 percent of residents in support.

Housing Crisis Worsens and Attitudes Soften on Density, Regulations and Fees

Second to the drought only in San Francisco, as the Bay Area’s housing crisis worsens, poll results find that a growing number of residents support reducing fees and regulations on new development, streamlining environmental reviews and allowing higher population densities in their cities. Almost 67 percent said that trying to find a place to live in the Bay Area has gotten harder over the past year.

Residents also are not interested in building just any housing, the poll finds. A significant 76 percent say the focus should be on building workforce housing for low- and middle-income residents. When asked to show on a map where they think housing is needed most urgently, the overwhelming majority of residents from around the region point to a city where home prices and rents are soaring to stratospheric heights: San Francisco.

Residents say getting around the Bay Area is harder than a year ago, Strongly Support Investing in BART, Second Transbay Tube and Driverless Cars

Driverless cars have yet to hit the road beyond early experimental and testing projects, but that doesn’t mean Bay Area motorists aren’t eager to try them. That is among the findings in the poll, which gauged attitudes on a wide range of transportation-related issues including traffic congestion, support for a BART bond, a second transbay tube and vehicle miles traveled (VMT) fees to improve roads.


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Today (May 8), at the Council’s Sacramento office, researchers from the Bay Area Council Economic Institute briefed Bay Area Caucus legislative staff on the findings and recommendations from our recent report 21st Century Infrastructure: Keeping California Connected, Powered and Competitive. The report examines the importance of modern energy and communications networks in driving California’s economic growth and lays out a vision for promoting increased investment. The report finds that many of the rules and regulations California has in place today to manage our communications and energy networks were developed decades ago before the mind-boggling proliferation of digital and mobile technologies and before we moved aggressively to find cleaner ways to power our state. A separate briefing was scheduled for later in the day for California Energy Commission staff, energy and communication lobbyists, and industry experts. To engage in our 21st Century Infrastructure work, contact Senior Vice President Michael Cunningham.

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Bay Area Council Statement on Gov. Brown’s New Greenhouse Gas Reduction Targets

The Bay Area Council today (April 29) issued the following statement in response to Gov. Jerry Brown’s announcement of an Executive Order setting new greenhouse gas reduction goals for the state of 40 percent below 1990 by 2030:

“Gov. Brown has put forward very aggressive greenhouse gas reduction goals, but the goals will be meaningless without similarly aggressive action on key policies needed to achieve them,” said Jim Wunderman, President and CEO of the Bay Area Council. “California’s ability to achieve these goals and continue to grow our economy will depend on new energy and communications technologies, new investment and new regulatory approaches. We need more emphasis on fast-tracking infill and transit-oriented development that can reduce our dependence on automobiles. We also need to reform the California Environmental Quality Act to end rampant and unwarranted abuses of the law that delay or block everything from bicycle lanes to solar farms. The Bay Area Council Economic Institute’s recent report – 21st Century Infrastructure: Keeping California Connected, Powered and Competitive – lays out a strong vision for moving California forward consistent with Gov. Brown’s objectives for increased renewable energy and efficiency. It also raises important questions that we’ll need to answer about our readiness to turn this vision into reality.”



The Bay Area Council’s focus on building the Workforce of the Future got a strong boost today (April 24) when Executive Committee member and Deloitte West Region Vice Chair Teresa Briggs participated in the White House UpSkill Summit. Briggs co-chairs the Council’s Workforce of the Future Committee with fellow Executive Committee member and Shorenstein Properties President Glenn Shannon. Briggs was joining 150 other top employers, labor leaders, foundations, non-profits, educators and tech innovators from across America who are answering the President’s call to action “to help workers of all ages earn a shot at better, higher-paying jobs, even if they don’t have a higher education.” The Summit showcased best practices and the commitments many employers make by providing programs that upskill their workforce so that more will move up the career path. The Bay Area Council is a member of UpSkill America and applauds our member companies’ upskilling programs.

Read The White House press release>>

To engage in the Council’s Workforce of the Future Committee, contact Vice President Linda Galliher.

Binary Matrix Security


RSA Week draws the world’s top cybersecurity leaders to the Bay Area each year, and this year was no exception. RSA Week took place this week in San Francisco, bringing together industry, government and NGO stakeholders of all kinds. The Bay Area Council Cybersecurity Committee capitalized on the opportunity by convening a Cyber Summit on Tuesday (April 20) at the Council’s Conference Center that featured Dr. Andy Ozment, Assistant Secretary for Cybersecurity and Communications at the Department of Homeland Security, and Michael Daniel, White House Cybersecurity Coordinator, along with officials from the FBI, Secret Service and Department of Justice. The summit came just weeks ahead of the launch of the Bay Area Council’s inaugural Cyber Academy on May 8 and May 15, and just a few days before a visit to the Bay Area by Defense Secretary Ash Carter, who talked about U.S. consideration of forms of cyber warfare.

Among the focal points of the Cyber Summit were updates on the long-term goals of the Obama Administration to improve the overall cybersecurity of the country, improve industry-government collaboration in the post-Snowden era, and develop plans for improved response and recovery from breaches, whether of the public or private sector kind. The Cybersecurity Committee established a plan to work with federal agencies to advance private sector cybersecurity standard operating procedures and response plans.

For more information on the Council’s Cybersecurity Initiative, including the upcoming Cyber Academy and more, please visit



The Bay Area Council today (April 3) announced the launch of its new cyber security continuing education platform, the Bay Area Council Cyber Academy. The Cyber Academy, open to both members and non-members, provides valuable education for executives and managers of companies, organizations and agencies of all sizes, particularly for management, legal, financial, risk and operations professionals. Whether you are a CEO with employees or a line manager, you need to know more about cybersecurity, breaches, and the things you can do to help secure yourself and your company. For more information or to register, please visit the Bay Area Council Cyber Academy.

The first series of Cyber Academy courses to be held at the Bay Area Council in San Francisco will occur in May 2015, featuring three initial offerings:

  • Cyber Basics for the Non-Technical Professional (May 8 from 8:30 a.m. – 12:3 p.m.)
  • Legal Issues in Cybersecurity (May 8 from 1-5 p.m.)
  • Risk Management in Cybersecurity (May 15 from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.)

To deliver the Cyber Academy, the Council has partnered with the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Cybersecurity and Communications. Additional visiting lecturers from leading positions in industry will lead courses as part of the Cyber Academy.

According to the Safenet Breach Level Index Report, 2.2 million records have been stolen each day on average, up 233 percent from a year ago. Costs of data breach are rising dramatically, according to industry observers, as much as 15 percent per year. Additionally, industry losses from theft of intellectual property amount to billions, though difficult to measure due to the unreported nature of some cybercrimes that take the form of industrial espionage. For more information and to register for one or all three courses, please visit the Bay Area Council Cyber Academy.


New Report Examines CA’s Readiness for Tsunami of Energy, Communications Technologies

California’s infrastructure has allowed some of the world’s most innovative technology companies to thrive here. But for that infrastructure to handle the tsunami of advanced communications and energy technologies that consumers and business are demanding and that state climate change goals require, the need for continued investment is pressing, according to a new report the Bay Area Council Economic Institute released today.

The report – 21st Century Infrastructure: Keeping California Connected, Powered and Competitive – finds that California needs new approaches to managing the exploding growth of digital technologies consumers and businesses are demanding and the rapid changes in how the state produces, stores and delivers energy to its 37 million residents.

Download the report at>>

“California is riding into the 21st Century on the back of the Pony Express,” said Dr. Micah Weinberg, President of the Bay Area Council Economic Institute. “Every day we hear or read about exciting new technologies that have the potential to improve our lives and grow our economy. But these technologies are putting an ever-growing strain on the systems and networks we depend on to move and share data, connect with each other and power our homes and businesses.”

Many of the rules and regulations California has in place today to manage our communications and energy networks were developed decades ago before the mind-boggling proliferation of digital and mobile technologies and before we moved aggressively to find cleaner ways to power our state, the report finds

As a result, companies working to update and expand their communications networks and bring new products to market often encounter roadblocks that force them to delay investment or simply bypass California for other states. The obstacles come in the form of rigid and outdated regulations and inconsistent and overlapping permitting processes. For example, state law requires telecommunications companies to maintain old copper networks that divert investment from expanding superior digital services.

Challenges also exist in California’s energy sector for utilities and other companies that are developing clean power sources and adopting new technologies for managing the grid in response to the state’s aggressive climate change goals.

Realizing the full value and potential of these technologies will require state and local government to adopt new ways of managing how advanced communications and energy systems are rolled out and integrated.

The report offers a series of recommendations for enabling California to keep pace with the rapid onslaught of new technologies that will require moving, storing and processing massive amounts of data, connecting people with each other through mobile networks and connecting a new generation of digital products and services that communicate with each other and everything else (the Internet of Things). These technologies touch every aspect of our lives, including public safety, healthcare, education, financial services, entertainment, transportation, and resource management.

Communications recommendations

  • Allow private-sector use of new and existing public conduits to co-locate communications infrastructure.
  • Expedite local review/permitting process by reclassifying communications as public works in municipal codes.
  • Allow “blanket” permitting for multiple projects within a municipality.
  • Provide greater regulatory clarity with new technology-neutral framework.
  • Create a statewide Advanced Networks Task Force to develop new models for enhancing and managing California’s communications.

Energy recommendations

  • Develop new rate structures to account for distributed energy supplies.
  • Embrace new energy storage technologies.
  • Promote more robust integration of electric vehicles into the power grid.
  • Expand the use of data to manage energy networks.
  • Transition to more decentralized model for utility management of energy networks and possibly broader supply of energy services.

The recommendations are informed by the lightning-fast changes taking place in the products, services and methods that consumers and businesses are using to communicate with each other and the world. Consider just a few jaw-dropping statistics included in the report that vividly illustrate the scale and speed at which change in the communications sector is occurring:

  • Monthly Internet traffic has increased by a factor of 450,000 since 1995
  • Global mobile data grew by 81 percent in 2013, following a 70 percent jump in 2012
  • By 2018, there will be 2 billion connected devices, from wearable technologies to industrial sensors
  • Global annual cloud storage is projected to increase 300 percent between 2013-2018
  • California leads nation in smart energy meter deployment, with 12 million in use
  • California electric vehicle sales lead the nation, with 40 percent of total
  • 13 percent of California electricity comes from renewable energy, far exceeding 4 percent nationally

“California must adapt or face the alternative,” said Jim Wunderman, President and CEO of the Bay Area Council. “This report provides a framework for bringing California’s energy and communications networks into the 21st Century and ensuring we remain globally competitive.”

To engage in the Council’s 21st Century Infrastructure policy work, please contact Seni0r Vice President Michael Cunningham.



The Bay Area Council’s Cybersecurity Committee met this week (Feb. 19) in Sacramento to discuss with top state officials the key issues at the center of the national debate over how to strengthen our system against online attacks, data breaches and other digital vulnerabilities. Speakers included Assemblymember Mike Gatto, the newly appointed Chair of the Committee on Privacy and Consumer Protection; Justine Cain, Cybersecurity Task Force Coordinator for the California Office of Emergency Services; Robert Morgester, Senior Assistant Attorney General at the Department of Justice; and Mary DiPietro, Deputy Chief Information Security Officer for the Department of Technology. The group discussed information sharing between government and the private sector; the need for improved laws and regulations; and the need for increased cybersecurity research and education. Assemblymember Gatto encouraged the Council’s Cybersecurity Committee to remain engaged with him on the issue. To get involved in the Council’s cybersecurity work, contact Senior Advisor Matt Gardner.