Jason Brabo and I attended the 2012 Sonoma State University Economic Outlook Conference on February 23, a joint collaboration between SSU and the North Bay Business Journal. This year’s event provided regional economic analysis and forecast information from Dr. Robert Eyler of Sonoma State University, as well as a candid discussion of the State budget by Controller John Chiang. It comes as no surprise, that the underlying message is – slow, steady recovery nationwide, with bigger challenges for California’s economy.

With an impressive panel of speakers, we heard from SSU President Ruben Arminana, who spoke about the economic and cultural impact the Green Music Center will have on our region. As one of the top musical venues in the world, this center will be an international attractor, creating a “buzz” that will enhance the concept of cultural tourism in the north bay. Andy Berliner, CEO of Amy’s Kitchen gave an stirring talk about his company’s mission to provide healthy, convenient organic food to consumers. With roots in Sonoma County, Mr. Berliner spoke about his company’s focus on a quality work environment, employee health and it’s rapid growth into international markets.

Of particular interest, was the panel discussion with Jill Techel, Mayor for City of Napa,  Carolyn Stark, Director of the Sonoma County BEST program, and Remy Gross, Director of Technology for the Buck Institute. These panelists, representing the private and public sector, shared specific strategies for stimulating business and job growth through innovation and forward thinking. TLCD Architecture, a member of the Sonoma County BEST program, is poised to work with Carolyn Stark and other members of the program to stimulate job growth through new business opportunities in Sonoma County.