Published October 24, 2016
Volume 24, Number 10




The businesses in the East Bay provide much more than just world-class products and services. Together, they form a community that can offer a variety of mutually beneficial elements. Making the most of that community is a specialty of a number of local and regional organizations, be it through business development, networking, or advocacy. The Pleasanton Chamber of Commerce, Pleasanton Downtown Association, East Bay Economic Development Alliance, East Bay Leadership Council, Innovation Tri-Valley, Visit Tri-Valley, and the Bay Area Council all work to enhance the business environment to provide greater opportunities for success.
The Pleasanton Chamber of Commerce
The mission of the Pleasanton Chamber of Commerce is to help local businesses both large and small through four concurrent efforts: creating and promoting economic opportunity, providing business services to its more than 800 members, representing businesses to government  and influencing public policy important to the local economy.
The organization’s primary guide to these goals is a comprehensive document entitled, “Pleasanton 2020: A Community Vision.” The document outlines the Chamber’s platform on a host of important local and regional issues, including arts, culture, and recreation; education; health and human services; housing; leadership; the local economy; public safety and infrastructure.
“That’s our platform to make decisions, so almost anything we do in the Chamber we ask ourselves, ‘How does this fit into the 2020 vision?,’” says Dawn Wilson, member relations. “It has been formed with a lot of expert input. For example, when we were making decisions about public safety, we conferred with the chief of police, and with the superintendent of schools when we were discussing education. A committee continues to meet on a monthly basis to review the vision, and we encourage our members to participate in that process.” Judging from the most recent official review of the document, the Chamber’s focus has been rewarded with a long list of achievements contributing to the long-term health and well-being of Pleasanton, not just for the business community but for the city as a whole.
The Chamber also offers numerous ways for its members to save time and money while providing unique promotional opportunities. The Chamber’s bi-monthly newsletter is distributed to both members as well as 15,000 homes and businesses in Pleasanton, as an insert to the Pleasanton Weekly.
The Chamber also stresses the importance of “community involvement through volunteer opportunities,” says Wilson. Chamber Ambassadors attend ribbon cuttings ceremonies for new businesses and staff monthly mixers, giving them plenty of opportunities to make contact with potential clients. Perhaps the best example of business improvement via self-improvement is “Leadership Pleasanton,” a program co-sponsored by the Chamber and the City of Pleasanton to develop community leaders. “It’s a very valuable program. We get testimonials all the time from participants who tell us, ‘This program changed my life.’ It’s an opportunity to get to know the leaders in the town, and it encourages participants to give back to the community by being a volunteer or serve on a board somewhere.”
Learn about the value of membership and the Chamber’s many programs at www.pleasanton.org or by calling (925) 846-5858.
Pleasanton Downtown Association
“The heart of our beautiful town, downtown Pleasanton, is home to over 575 businesses,” says Laura Olson, executive director of the Pleasanton Downtown Association. True to the idea that an important part of Pleasanton’s identity can be found in its historic core, the PDA provides a broad menu of events and other activities to make downtown a key focus for every business in the city — even those without a downtown address.
“While the PDA’s mission is to promote downtown businesses, we do have a wonderful Associate Membership program that allows businesses from outside of downtown to be a part of our special events and network in downtown,” says Olson.
The PDA was created in 1984, when the City Council recognized the need to have an organization help oversee and support this special business area. The PDA operates an assessment district used to fund efforts that help develop and promote a vibrant downtown community. Operating as a non-profit organization, funding is provided by member assessments, matching City funds, sponsorships and revenue producing events. As a certified State and National Main Street Community, the PDA is organized under a four-point strategy that incorporates the elements of organization, economic restructuring, promotion and design or physical appearance. Successful implementation of this strategy involves a mutual effort by the PDA staff, business owners, property owners, Associate members and community volunteers.
The PDA is perhaps best known for the massive slate of events it sponsors, along with its members, every year. In all, the group puts on over 48 events in downtown, including the very popular 1st Wednesday Street Parties, Concerts in the Park, Sizzling Saturdays, Antique Fairs, Brew Crawls and Wine Stroll. Coming up later this month is the 5th Annual Halloween Brew Crawl, an event that brings together downtown businesses, restaurants, and local breweries, which takes place on Saturday, October 29th from 5:00 to 8:00 pm. Tickets are available online — access www.pleasantondowntown.net and click on “Events.”
“Next month features three special events. On Saturday, November 19, from 5:00–8:00 p.m., the PDA kicks off the holiday season with our Third Annual Holiday Spirit Stroll, where over 20 downtown merchants will be paired with local breweries, wineries, and bars for a festive night sampling beer, wine, and cocktails. Tickets will be available on our web site starting in late October,” Olson says. “Sunday, November 20 is our Magical Holiday Evening from 3:00–6:00 p.m., a special community celebration which features free photos with Santa, live music, and fun for all ages, as well as great shopping and dining. Finally, Saturday, November 26 is Small Business Saturday, the day we celebrate the Shop Small movement to drive shoppers to local merchants in Pleasanton and across the country. More than 30 downtown Pleasanton businesses will be participating in this all-day event and many are offering special discounts on shopping, dining, and services.  Balloons, stickers, shopping bags, pet bandanas, pens, and more will be given to customers throughout the day as a thank you for supporting local businesses.”
Hacienda businesses that want to get in on the fun are eligible for the PDA’s Associate Member program. “By being an Associate Member, businesses have access to unique marketing opportunities such as promotional opportunities at Farmers Market, sponsorship of a Concert in the Park and discount participation rates for 1st Wednesday Street Party,” says Olson. “The PDA also hosts three member-only networking events that are open to our Association Members.” The PDA currently has over 200 Associate Members.
For more information on the Pleasanton Downtown Association, including  membership opportunities, visit pleasantondowntown.net or call (925) 484-2199.
East Bay Economic Development Alliance
The East Bay Economic Development Alliance (East Bay EDA) is a cross-sector membership organization serving Alameda and Contra Costa Counties, with over 26 years of leadership and collaborative history.  The group’s service area of 1,540 square miles covers approximately 22 percent of the Bay Area.  The East Bay’s population of over 2.7 million residents — over a third of the Bay Area’s total — and almost 146,000 East Bay businesses that provide 1,173,800 jobs are located in the middle of one of the world’s most dynamic economies.  It is no coincidence that the East Bay is one of the nation’s fastest growing regions.
As a regional economic development organization, East Bay EDA represents a broad network of local business, government and community leaders that connect local community entities and businesses to regional, state and national resources.  East Bay EDA creates accurate, original information about the region through commissioned studies and economic reports, and promotes economic development efforts at the sub-region and city levels through regular peer engagement, assistance with data acquisition and analysis, professional development, and other support services for local government.  Companies in specific industry sectors and at various stages of development also benefit directly from business briefings and seminars the group conducts, and the regional resources they help to sustain, promote and bring into the region.
East Bay EDA seeks out diverse members who recognize the extraordinary value of the region’s assets and who can help the East Bay unlock its full potential as a global leader and an unrivaled place to live and work.  East Bay EDA membership includes key corporate and private sector CEOs and executive management, including representation from Fortune 500 companies; elected leadership and key management of Alameda and Contra Costa counties and cities; the Port of Oakland; the University of California, Berkeley; all three national research laboratories (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories); California State University, East Bay; the region’s community colleges; labor organizations; environmental stewards; regional nonprofit organizations; and philanthropic entities.  In all, over 800 individuals and 117 organizations make up East Bay EDA’s membership and contribute to its effectiveness. 
The organization’s governing arm, the Executive Committee, includes representation from all sectors in both Alameda and Contra Costa Counties, and its staff partners closely with the entire membership to address the region’s major issues, to identify and capitalize on opportunities.  Members may work together on individual projects in focused regional collaborations, while long-term, complex issues and policies are addressed through East Bay EDA’s committees: 
• Business Development & Resources for Small Business Support                          
• Land Use & Infrastructure
• Economic Development Directors’ Council                                                       
• Legislation & Advocacy
• Employer Advisory for Education and Workforce Development
• Marketing & Communications
• International Trade & Investment
• Membership Engagement
To find out more about East Bay EDA, contact executive director Darien Louie at darien@EastBayEDA.org or at (510) 272-3874. The group’s web site is available at www.EastBayEDA.org.
East Bay Leadership Council
The mission of the East Bay Leadership Council (EBLC) is to advocate on public policy issues affecting economic vitality and quality of life in the East Bay. The organization is employer-led and represents leaders in business, industry, education, government, and the nonprofit community.
“Advocating for strong economy and a high quality of life requires us to be well-informed on the issues that impact East Bay employers. EBLC’s priorities include finding ways to better invest in regional infrastructure, improve the workforce development system, and make housing more affordable,” says president and CEO, Kristin Connelly.
The EBLC’s bold policy platform is driven by its task forces, which meet monthly and are led by top professionals in their field focused on everything from state legislation, innovative water technology and policy, local ballot measures, consequential land use decisions, environmental regulations, and apprenticeship programs. Participation on the task forces is open to all members.
“Being involved in the EBLC’s advocacy work means flexing our collective muscle to make the East Bay a better place to live and work, says owner of Tunbridge Associates and 2016-17 EBLC Board Chair, Steve Van Wart. “It means staying informed on the issues, creating a space for thoughtful dialogue, and taking decisive action.”
The EBLC also provides opportunities for their members to connect with the most influential leaders in the region. Their frequent events and luncheons feature elected officials from the local, state and federal level, as well as special industry forums and workshops, an Advocacy Day in Sacramento, the East Bay Philanthropy Awards, and Small Business Awards. The 31st annual East Bay USA dinner featuring an address from a prominent national figure will take place on January 26, 2017 and continue as a series with two programs focused on how higher education and advanced in technologies will shape the workforce of the future later in the year.
“When you attend an EBLC event, you know that you will be in good company. Whether you employ two or twenty thousand -- you and your colleagues will have the opportunity to connect with the right people to help your business succeed,” says Partner at CFOs2Go and EBLC VP of Membership, Jodi Avina.
For more information about the EBLC, visit www.eastbayleadershipcouncil.com and follow them on Twitter @eblconline and Facebook at facebook.com/eastbayleadershipcouncil.
Innovation Tri-Valley
Innovation Tri-Valley Leadership Group is a business-led organization working to improve the business climate and the quality of life in the Tri-Valley.  ITV’s goal is to create an interconnected hub of innovation in the region that spurs job growth and sustains a healthy economy and a vibrant community.
ITV seeks to realize its vision by pursuing programs that cultivate innovation in business, culture, and public-provate programs.
•             Business innovation: attract businesses to the region and work with them to grow and put down roots, generate jobs, and attract talent. 
•             Cultural innovation:  create an innovative regional culture that is globally connected, regionally united, and locally unique; develop and retain top talent from around the world; and enhance the region’s quality of life. 
•             Public-private innovation:  align the interests of ITV’s stakeholders to generate greater funding for economic vitality programs.
ITV’s near-term focus is workforce development and science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education initiatives, as well as branding the Tri-Valley as a great place to do and scale up business.
•             Workforce development: Innovation Tri-Valley’s HIT committee (housing, infrastructure, and transportation) is involved in policy decisions and advocates aggressively for more workforce housing and better transportation infrastructure to assure the quality of life is maintained as well as improved.
•             Enhanced STEM education:  ITV is working with business and education leaders to develop a cohesive STEM program (particularly in the areas of IT and cybersecurity) that will set standards for the Tri-Valley based on student demand and the future needs of growing businesses.
For additional information on Innovation Tri-Valley, access the group’s web site at www.innovationtrivalley.org or e-mail Dale Kaye, ITV CEO, at dkaye@innovationtrivalley.org.
Look for an expanded profile of the organization in the November issue of Hacienda Network.
Visit Tri-Valley
Visit Tri-Valley is the region’s destination marketing organization, responsible for attracting visitors to the area. Formerly known as the Tri-Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau, the group is funded by an assessment paid by overnight hotel guests that is collected by hotels. Visit Tri-Valley repays that investment by marketing the cities of Pleasanton, Livermore, Dublin and Danville to travelers.
With more than 50 percent of its annual budget allotted to marketing, the company has made large strides in reaching its target audience. According to the company’s most recent annual report published in September 2016, the region experienced a 3.4% jump in hotel occupancy over last year. The report also includes other impressive stats including a 71% increase in web sessions and 69% in web users over last year.
“These strong growth numbers are an indication that our efforts are working, and that the Tri-Valley is becoming an attractive alternative to the typical Bay Area experience,” says Emmy Kasten, Visit Tri-Valley’s VP of Marketing. Some current, successful on-going programs to entice travelers to the region include the Tri-Valley Beer Trail and Wine Ships Free. In addition to its innovative marketing campaigns, the company is also focusing its sales efforts on attracting sports tournaments to the area and reaching independent travelers from China.
For more information on Visit Tri-Valley, call (925) 846-8910 or go to www.VisitTriValley.com.
Bay Area Council
The Bay Area Council was founded in 1945 as a way for the regional business community to concentrate and coordinate their efforts as public policy advocates. The group focuses on three interlocking goals: a strong economy, a vital business environment, and a better quality of life for all the area’s residents. Today, over 275 of the largest employers in the Bay Area support the council, with CEOs and other top executives serving as members.
“We are business leaders committed to working with public and civic leaders to make the Bay Area the most innovative, globally competitive, and sustainable region in the world,” reads the group’s mission statement, and they undertake a variety of efforts in pursuit of these goals. Specifically, the council informs and mobilizes business, civic, and political leaders on the most critical issues and opportunities facing the region; develops solutions for an ambitious vision for the region’s future with participation of business, government, labor, science and education; and achieves results through advocacy and committed leadership to realize this vision.
Meeting this commitment requires significant research and communication among the group’s members to identify critical challenges and opportunities confronting the region and study these issues to create a coherent platform of advocacy. Once these positions have been conceived, the council works to promote understanding and collaboration among stakeholders in an ongoing effort to drive implementation of strategic policy solutions through political, business, and civic leadership.
For additional information on the Bay Area Council, call (415) 986-9777 or access bayareacouncil.org.

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