Bay Area Council Blog


California’s Housing Horrors

California is producing just seven units of housing for every 10 new households, according to a report by Up for Growth that was the focus of a discussion the Bay Area Council convened on Halloween with top state and regional leaders. State Board of Equalization Chair Fiona Ma, Assemblymember David Chiu, TMG Partners executive and former Council Housing Committee co-Chair Denise Pinkston and UC Berkeley Terner Center leader Carol Galante headlined the event hosted by Council member Reed Smith. The report found that high rents are a top driver of homelessness statewide and that the housing crisis is gives California the highest level of out-migration among all western states. The panelists, in a discussion moderated by Council CEO Jim Wunderman, outlined a number of solutions to spurring new production, including regionalizing housing responsibilities, reducing construction cost using innovative building practices, and using tax policies to help make building middle income housing feasible. Read the full report here>>


Member Spotlight: Claremont Club & Spa

The historic Claremont Club & Spa perched in the verdant Berkeley hills was the setting for a recent offsite retreat by the Bay Area Council’s Executive Committee as they discussed the organization’s strategic direction and policy agenda. Claremont General Manager Charles Head, who recently joined the Council’s Board of Directors, welcomed committee members and described the incredible $80 million renovation of the hotel, including updating all the guest rooms, lobby and dining spaces. The service, food and other amenities were incredible and the expansive views of the bay jaw-dropping.

Behind the scenes, the Claremont recently launched a comprehensive food waste prevention program in partnership with Alameda County’s StopWaste agency and technology provider LeanPath. Claremont Club & Spa has been a staple within the Bay Area community for over 100 years and prides itself on continuing to be a forward-thinking resort. LeanPath food waste technology will be installed in the main kitchen to track and analyze the progress over time.

By participating in this initiative, Claremont will be able to understand what food is being wasted, why and how to prevent it. The insights shared provide foodservice staff and other team members with very important information, enabling them to make changes that prevent and reduce waste by a goal of 30 percent throughout the year. Claremont will continue to work with Alameda County and the StopWaste agency on this initiative and is proud to do their part in preventing food from being wasted.

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Bay Area – Germany Dialogue on Smart Manufacturing / Industry 4.0

From November 7 – 9, the Bay Area hosts a German delegation of Smart Manufacturing / Industry 4.0 leaders, including the recipient of the Frost & Sullivan Manufacturing Leader of the Year 2017 Award. The program is organized by EIT Digital and the German American Business Association in California as part of the “Year of German-American Friendship” and includes events on November 7 and 8 that are open for BAC members as well as visits to Bay Area manufacturing sites.  Learn more and register here>>

November 8 at 4 pm, Industrie 4.0 Conference at SAP Palo Alto: REGISTER

Bay Bridge Traffic

Highways to Hell

On the remote chance Bay Area commuters weren’t aware how awful their commutes are, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission this week released some data to drive home the point. MTC’s annual list of Top 10 worst commute corridors ranked the Bay Bridge as the worst, followed by the I-80 stretch north to Hercules from the Bay Bridge and the segment of Highway 101 through Silicon Valley. The ranking highlights the importance of defeating Prop. 6 on the November ballot and preserving $52 billion in planned investments statewide to improve bridges, roads and highways and help ease traffic. A story in the East Bay Times and Mercury News on the ranking also cited data from the Bay Area Council that shows how the region’s housing shortage is contributing to the gridlock by forcing workers on longer and longer commutes as they search for affordable housing far from job centers. See the Council’s full list of ballot measure endorsements for the November election.


Strengthening Career Pathways for Community College Students

Construction in the Bay Area is booming, which is presenting serious challenges for many companies that badly need workers for a variety of important and good-paying jobs that don’t necessarily involve swinging a hammer. The Bay Area Council through its Workforce of the Future program is focused on building stronger career pathways to fill these jobs by working to strengthen connections among community colleges and local employers from around the region. The Council recently partnered with member company Rosendin Electric on visits to Laney College in Oakland (Oct. 18) and San Jose City College (Oct. 24) to meet with students in the classroom and talk with them about opportunities in project management. The visit was one of an ongoing series of classroom visits the Council is organizing to highlight and promote careers in a variety of industries.

Rosendin Vice President of Operations Angela Hart and Director of Preconstruction Mike Holmes talked with the students about project management careers and the skills and training that are required, including keeping projects on track and on budget and supporting client relationships. While many of the students are pursuing electrical apprenticeships, the visit exposed them to another viable option for a career utilizing the learned skills provided by the classes. Hart also emphasized to students the importance of a strong work ethic in advancing their careers, and cited her own experience starting as a receptionist at Rosendin and working her way up to a position in which she now manages $450 million in revenue annually for the company. Students were impressed. San Jose City College student Adrienne Williams said it was “great to hear from a company that values growing and promoting their employees from within,” while student Jungwoon Park said the visit “gave me motivation moving forward.”

To engage in the Council’s Workforce of the Future initiative, please contact Senior Vice President Linda Bidrossian.


So Much for the Demise of Silicon Valley

While some outsiders see a decline of Silicon Valley, a major announcement by JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon suggests the news of its death may be greatly exaggerated. Bay Area Council member JP Morgan Chase is planning to open a new “fintech campus” in Palo Alto in 2020 that will house more than 1,000 employees, including staff from payments start-up WePay, which the bank acquired last year. The announcement comes in the wake of a recent article (forgive us for not linking to it) in The Economist that argued Silicon Valley has peaked. Dimon doesn’t share that view and has talked about the critical role of Silicon Valley in helping advance JP Morgan’s push into technology as it works to make banking more convenient for business and new consumers and address issues related to online fraud and cybersecurity.

Dimon’s enthusiasm for Silicon Valley is echoed in an opinion article by Bay Area Council Economic Institute Senior Director Sean Randolph that is scheduled to run in the coming days. In it, Randolph writes “that region’s economy is growing at a rate that rivals the fastest growing economies in the world. The region’s universities are among the world’s best, and are continuing to draw top talent. Patent generation, as it has for decades, far exceeds that of peer cities across the country (17.3% of all U.S. patents originate here; the next closest place in New York with 5.5%). Four of the most highly capitalized companies in the world are located here, with lines of unicorns and mega-unicorns waiting to go public. More importantly as a barometer, the region’s share of national venture investment is holding steady at a remarkable 45%, the number of incubators and accelerators is growing, and entrepreneurs are continuing to pour into the region.”

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Don’t miss the business leadership event of the year! Tables are going quickly – and tickets are now on sale - for our 73rd Annual Dinner & Business Hall of Fame Awards presented by Alaska Airlines and Kaiser Permanente. The event will be held on Thursday, November 15 from 5:00-8:30pm at The Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco. See your formal invitation below.

We’re thrilled to honor incredible business and philanthropic leaders with induction into the Bay Area Business Hall of Fame. Golden State Warriors owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber are the driving forces behind this NBA championship juggernaut. Under their leadership, the team is enjoying the most successful run in its history. Peter Magowan served for 16 seasons as the San Francisco Giants’ President and Managing General Partner and was instrumental in keeping the team rooted in the Bay Area and ensuring their continued success through the development of a world-class ballpark. Magowan also served as CEO of Safeway, was an active member of the Council’s Executive Committee and Chaired the Council’s Transportation Committee. The Magnin Family was a pioneer in the women’s retail luxury clothing industry and has left a lasting imprint on San Francisco through their incredible community and philanthropic contributions. We’re thrilled to have Ellen Magnin Newman accept the honor on behalf of her family.

Become a sponsor>>

Purchase individual tickets>>

For additional information regarding sponsorship opportunities, please email Virginia Drake or call (415) 946-8716.


New Data: Bay Area’s Roads Worst in the Country

With absentee ballots arriving in mailboxes and election day just a few weeks off, new data released this week on California’s deteriorating roads should motivate voters to turn out and cast their ballots against Proposition 6. A report by Washington, D.C.-based TRIP found that 71 percent of streets in San Francisco, Oakland and nearby cities are dilapidated and cost motorists an average of $1,049 annually in car repairs. San Jose wasn’t far behind and the Bay Area as a whole ranked as the worst nationally among metropolitan areas. Proposition 6 aims to repeal legislation (SB 1) approved in 2017 to invest $52.4 billion to fix bridges, roads and highways across the state and improve transit. The Council was a leading proponent of SB 1 and strongly opposes Prop. 6.

Also this week, a new USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll found a measure (Proposition 10) to allow the expansion of rent control across the state doesn’t have the votes it needs to pass. The Council strongly opposes Prop 10, which would chill investment in new housing and only worsen the state’s historic housing crisis. While the poll results were encouraging, they still signaled the importance of voters turning out and casting their ballots against it. A report by the Bay Area Council Economic Institute found that expanding rent control in Alameda County alone would reduce housing affordability for more than 10,300 households. To engage in the Council’s government relations work, please contact Senior Vice President Matt Regan.

See the Council’s positions on state and local ballot measures>>

family friendly

Leaders Share Ideas on Family-Friendly Workplaces

How do companies create family-friendly workplace policies to advance gender equity? The Bay Area Council on Wednesday (Oct. 17) hosted the Future of Work Roundtable to answer that very question. Panelists including Carmela Clendening of Salesforce, Chris Ruhl of PwC and Audrey Gallien of Catalyst, a national organization working to advance women in the workplace, discussed the importance of robust paid parental leave programs to attract and retain women, whose careers are often penalized after having a baby.

The group shared best practices around flexible scheduling, on-site childcare, encouraging men to take advantage of parental policies, and being inclusive of adoptive parents. The Council and our partners Panorama Global and the Silicon Valley Community Foundation are thrilled to continue our work to bring companies together around the intersection of gender equity, paid leave, and family friendly workplace policies. As stated at the meeting: advancing gender equity and family-friendly workplace policies is not just the right thing to do, it’s a business necessity. To engage in the Council’s gender equity work, please contact Senior Policy Manager Rachele Trigueros.

Read the Bay Area Council Economic Institute report on creating family-friendly workplaces>>


Employers Weigh In on Creating an Inclusive Workforce

Business giants Airbnb, Genentech, Nibbi Brothers General Contractors, and Salesforce joined the Bay Area Council on Monday (Oct. 15) at Airbnb to discuss their workforce growth and projected needs in 2019. In a panel discussion moderated by Workforce Committee Co-Chair Julius Robinson (Union Bank), participants Beth Axelrod (Airbnb), Bob Nibbi (Nibbi Brothers General Contractors), Ann Weeby (Salesforce Foundation) and Connie White (Genentech) shared details of their challenges and unique actions for creating an inclusive productive workforce.

Panelists underscored the importance of fostering a sense of belonging in the workplace and retaining diverse talent across economic cycles. Building mentoring programs for career-ready interns provided a strong example of how to better retain young talent. These programs build an intimate understanding of company culture while providing pathways to leadership as interns grow into their roles.

The final Workforce of the Future Committee meeting of the year highlighted the committee’s accomplishments in 2018, including impacting over 12,000 students and job seekers in the region, growing stronger bridges between local diverse talent and Bay Area Council employers. As the Workforce of the Future Committee looks forward towards 2019, it will continue to strengthen talent pipelines while building a more inclusive and representative workforce. To engage in the Council’s Workforce of the Future initiative, please contact Senior Vice President Linda Bidrossian.