Owning and operating a business can be exciting, challenging, and rewarding. If your business is in Hacienda, you're already a part of a thriving business community, but East Bay and Tri-Valley businesses can also reap the benefits provided by a number of local organizations that can further help them to achieve their business goals. The Pleasanton Chamber of Commerce, Tri-Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau, Tri-Valley Business Council, and Economic Development Alliance for Business (EDAB) can not only increase your ability to work better as a business but increase your business opportunities as well.
The Pleasanton Chamber of Commerce is an independent, non-profit non-governmental corporation. With offices located at 777 Peters Avenue in Pleasanton, the Chamber currently boasts 1,000 member businesses and organizations and has been in existence for over 50 years. The organization provides networking and promotional opportunities for members and also helps shape the future of Pleasanton by providing input on public policy and economic development issues. "We're advocates for the business point of view in terms of positive economic vitality issues with the city and at the state level," says Dave Bouchard, CEO of the Pleasanton Chamber of Commerce. "We feel we have a pretty good track record of voicing the business point of view to the City Council on issues that impact the business community. We don't support or endorse candidates for office. However, we do take positions on initiatives, issues, and ballot measures."
Current issues that the Chamber has taken positions on include local transportation and housing. In the area of transportation, the chamber is advocating the completion of key components of local and regional planned infrastructure. "Our position comes from a desire to make sure that traffic circulation and the general plan itself are workable," Bouchard says. The Chamber is also a proponent of affordable and workforce housing and is currently proposing that the city avoid restricting future decisions on whether or not housing will be placed on the acreage it controls.
Among the benefits of being a member of the Chamber of Commerce are the products and services it offers its members in terms of networking and advertising opportunities. The Chamber puts on a monthly mixer, where you can meet other local business owners on the second Wednesday of every month from 5 to 7 p.m. It also presents monthly luncheons that include either a single speaker or a panel of speakers on a current subject or topic that's of key interest to members. The Pleasanton Chamber of Commerce puts on three to four trade shows each year, where members can set up displays and market their products and services to other members. On Tuesday, October 29, 2002 from 4:00 to 8:00 pm, the Chamber-along with the City of Pleasanton-will present its new Pleasanton Business Expo Event (see the story on page 6) which will feature business relationships within the community.
The Chamber's Leadership Pleasanton program meets monthly for comprehensive seminars on government, schools, media, and business, all presented by experts. A monthly Chamber of Commerce newsletter is also available to keep you informed about what member companies are doing, as well as promoting upcoming events and opportunities. The chamber distributes a full-color member directory which is published online at www.pleasanton.org . "Our web site gets nearly 15,000 visitors a month and those numbers are growing," Bouchard says. "The most popular section of our website is our member directory."
To become a member of the Pleasanton Chamber of Commerce or obtain more information, visit the organization's website at www.pleasanton.org or contact David Bouchard at (925)846-5858 or David@Pleasanton.Org .
The goal of the Tri-Valley Convention & Visitors Bureau is to provide information to visitors to the region while promoting the services of its member businesses in Pleasanton, Livermore, Dublin, and San Ramon. The CVB generates and tracks leads in several markets to bring large visitor groups from all over the world into the Tri-Valley area. The CVB provides visitors with information about accommodations, restaurants, shopping, services, transportation, attractions, and events.
The Tri-Valley Convention & Visitors Bureau develops and maintains communication with council members in the four cities to keep them informed and enthusiastic about the economic contribution of the visitor industry. Members are invited to attend CVB hospitality events, the annual membership luncheon, mixers, and special events. Another benefit is a free listing on the organization's website. The CVB also produces the Tri-Valley Visitors Guide. The 2002-2003 Tri-Valley Visitors Guide promotes the valley as a premier destination and invites visitors by evoking images of the valley as both quaint with its wineries, shops and historical sites as well as sophisticated with its lodgings, amenities and close proximity to the Bay Area. This is the fourth year for "The Guide" in this format. "The Guide" offers visitors recommendations for accommodations, sight-seeing, restaurants, hotels, catering, golf, galleries, and has a monthly calendar of events for Pleasanton, Livermore, Dublin, and San Ramon. The Tri-Valley CVB currently has 295 members, all of whom are listed on the Bureau's website at www.trivalleycvb.com.
Tri-Valley Convention & Visitors Bureau also includes a film commission and a sports commission. The film commission works to bring major motion pictures and commercials to the area for filming. Movies and commercials typically bring camera crews and other staff into the Tri-Valley for several days at a time or even weeks while they film. "When they film they need somewhere to stay and somewhere to eat," says Jennifer Kontaxis, director of sales and marketing for the Tri-Valley Convention & Visitors Bureau. "That's another source of revenue that we're trying to bring in and, so far, we've had a lot of pretty good luck bringing commercials to the area."
The sports commission is a fairly new addition to the Tri-Valley CVB but also seeks to bring visitors and revenue to the region. "Our playing fields, and our safe, clean neighborhood parks make the Tri-Valley area attractive, and our location makes it accessible for lots of different sports teams-especially softball and soccer," Kontaxis says. "So we developed a sports commission to try to bring in bigger, national sports teams and tournaments because when these groups come in, they often stay for a week at a time and can bring in thousands of people."
The Tri-Valley Convention & Visitors Bureau is located at 260 Main Street in Pleasanton. For more information call executive director Amy Blaschka at (925) 846-8910 or visit the Bureau's web site at www.trivalleycvb.org .
The Tri-Valley Business Council is an organization involved in the regional issues that impact the quality of life and economic vitality of the Tri-Valley region. The council focuses on the cities of Livermore, Pleasanton, Dublin, San Ramon, and the town of Danville, as well as Alameda county and Contra Costa county as they relate to the region. Founded in 1994, the Tri-Valley Business Council has 95 members. Its board of directors consists of local corporate executives from institutions familiar to the community including Pacific Gas & Electric, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and the ValleyCare Health System.
"What we offer to our members is the opportunity to be aware of what's being done to protect the region's future," Says Tom O'Malley, president of the The Tri-Valley Business Council. "Most of our members have an investment in the community at least in terms of their work force-if not the facilities that they own. I think they have a deep interest in how their goods and services are going to move throughout the area, how their employees get to and from work, making sure the children of employees are being properly educated, and that lifelong learning is available for their workers." The Tri-Valley Business Council's policy committees do research, track public policy, participate in public hearings, and act as facilitators with governmental and community representatives to resolve issues.
In October 1999, the Business Council released its Vision 2010 guidelines, which represents an ongoing effort to define a positive and achievable future based on the shared values of Tri-Valley residents looking forward more than a decade. The Vision 2010 guidelines address issues that include land use, development, education, transportation, and agriculture. Other recent accomplishments include the formation of the Council's Housing Action Coalition. The Coalition is focused on ensuring that the Tri-Valley has a complete range of housing choices, with emphasis on affordable housing and compact, mixed-use development. The Council advocates or opposes development projects based on whether they conform to the Vision 2010 guidelines. "We now have around 200 people who are working on activities related to the way the community is going to grow over the next 10 years," O'Malley says.
Similar efforts are currently targeted at transportation issues. The Business Council is focused on the completion of the 580/680 interchange, bringing BART out to Livermore, the widening of Route 84, and the construction of high occupancy vehicle lanes to accommodate buses on both 580 and 680 in the Tri-Valley.
Other recent efforts by the Business Council are targeted at agriculture and technology transfer. "We're actually trying to bring agriculture back into the Tri-Valley and are engaged in a great big project to see what we can do about bringing recycled water in for agricultural use," O'Malley says. The Tri-Valley Business Council is also responsible for the Tri-Valley Technology Enterprise Center (TTEC), a hub for technology startup incubation whose goal is to create a strong bridge between Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories. and the Tri-Valley region through its activities (see story on page 6).
In September 1990, Alameda County established the Countywide Economic Development Alliance for Business (EDAB) to enhance the competitive economic position of the County and tts 14-member municipalities. The program is a public-private partnership funded by the county, cities, special districts, labor, and the private sector. The program's principal focus is on business investment and retention, regulatory coordination, networking, science, and technology. In 1996, EDAB's service area was expanded to some of the cities in Contra Costa at their request. EDAB's mission is to improve the East Bay business climate by developing and maintaining resources, businesses, good jobs, and a high quality of life. The organization currently has nearly 600 members.
In the area of business development and promotion, EDAB works to streamline the regulatory process by working with local and regional agencies, as well as working toward international trade agreements. "We have 26 countries to help the East Bay products or entering into joint powers or joint authorities," says Bruce Kern, executive director of EDAB. "There's an array of things that work to attract and retain investment and jobs in this community."
EDAB is also involved in work force development by sponsoring a number of studies with industry that are intended to improve the responsiveness and agility of government and training to meet the workforce and business needs of the region. "We just finished a biotech study for the East Bay," Kern says. "Before that we looked at telecommunications. We sponsor a number of studies and efforts that focus on workforce and competitive issues."
A third area in which EDAB is active is as a vehicle or forum for addressing regional issues, the most recent of which are jobs/housing balance and an alternative analysis looking at goods movement within the region. "It's been speculated that 40% of the traffic going across the Altamont is generated by trucks," Kern says. "Everyone is focusing on the commuter, so we really feel this is a critical sector. We were also very active in bringing together a business voice on transportation improvement that translated into the approval of Measure B in this community."
For more information about EDAB, call the organization's information line at (510) 272-3874, visit the EDAB web site at www.edab.org , or call Bruce Kern directly at (510) 272-3874.
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