Roger Niello, president and CEO of the Sacramento Metro Chamber of Commerce, tells members of the Davis Chamber all about the Next Economy Capital Region Prosperity Plan at Tuesday's luncheon. Fred Gladdis/Enterprise photo

City government

Niello shows Davis Chamber the way to the Next Economy

By From page A1 | April 03, 2013

The numbers have been floating out there: 35,000 new jobs and $5.3 billion in economic output, all within the next five years.

These are the figures that the leaders of Next Economy believe they can attain for the greater Sacramento area through the Capital Region Prosperity Plan that they unveiled last month.

Roger Niello, president and CEO of the Sacramento Metro Chamber of Commerce, one of the four founders of Next Economy, spoke to Davis Chamber members Tuesday at their monthly luncheon at the Odd Fellows Hall downtown to explain just how, exactly, he and his colleagues plan to do it.

It starts, Niello explained, by identifying the role of each community within the plan and making sure that all of those different pieces are working together.

“We must act locally, think regionally and compete globally,” Niello said. “This is a regional effort, but with a local focus within each community. We really have to work together, not just as a group of neighboring communities, but as a neighborhood of communities.”

The official Next Economy plan focuses on bolstering the six-county capital region and the specific “clusters” or niches within it that the effort’s leaders have identified as strengths.

The clusters that Next Economy leaders believe the region should showcase include life sciences and health services, agriculture and food production, education and knowledge creation, information and communications technology, clean energy technology and advanced manufacturing.

Niello said Tuesday that the group has sculpted an implementation plan based on those principal areas that in five years will mold the capital region into a “sought-after place for business growth and entrepreneurship,” a “desirable place for young professionals to live, study, work and play” and a “diverse economy known for core business clusters that are driven in large part by export activity.”

“You cannot grow if you don’t export things. That’s making things here and selling them there and the profit that comes back drives job and wealth creation within your economy,” Niello said. “Exports become absolutely key.”

The five overarching goals for Next Economy and the region to strive for as part of the implementation plan are to foster a strong innovation environment, amplify the region’s global market transactions, diversify the economy through growth and support of core business clusters, grow and maintain a world-class talent base and improve the regional business climate for economic growth.

For the past few months, Next Economy leaders have been traveling throughout the region to generate support for the plan from as many stakeholders as possible. The Davis City Council and the Yolo County Board of Supervisors both adopted the executive summary in February.

While city leaders have been ratcheting up their efforts to improve the tech business climate in Davis, especially with the recent hiring of Rob White as the city’s new chief innovation officer, when asked what Davis’ role could be in the plan, Niello spoke about it as an ideal place to live.

“Can you think of another region in California where you can live in a rural environment, an urban environment, a traditional suburban environment, an agricultural environment, a country environment, the mountains, any of those living opportunities and still be within 20 minutes’ drive to work?” Niello said. “Davis is one of the unique communities that provides that choice of quality of life.”

In addition to the Sacto Chamber, Next Economy was created by the Sacramento Area Commerce and Trade Organization, the Sacramento Regional Technology Alliance and Valley Vision.

For more information on Next Economy, visit www.nexteconomycapitalregion.org.

— Reach Tom Sakash at [email protected] or 530-747-8057. Follow him on Twitter at @TomSakash

Tom Sakash

Tom Sakash covers the city beat for The Davis Enterprise. Reach him at [email protected], (530) 747-8057 or @TomSakash.
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