By Chamber Chair Celina Zacarias
Every 10 years we have the opportunity to participate in the U.S. Census and stand up to be counted. This year marks the next census. Beginning on Census day, April 1, 2020, and running through the end of July 2020, we have the opportunity to impact the future of our community for the next 10 years.
Census data is used to evaluate each state, county, and community in a variety of ways. From an impact on infrastructure to an impact on local businesses, it is important that we all participate in the upcoming census. Ventura County has been identified as the 59th hardest-to-count county. Meaning that we are likely to be under-counted and therefore underrepresented and underfunded in the years to come.
For every person that goes uncounted, it equates to approximately $2,000 per year in social safety-net benefits that go to fund things such as emergency services, infrastructure, improving schools, healthcare access for infants and children and many other essential social services our community relies on.
The census does not only impact us personally but can have a significant impact on the business community. It is important know that an accurate count is vital to funding for rural business and industry development, job training programs, and other employment programs that impact the economic growth in our county. Census data is regularly used by businesses, developers, and economists to evaluate expansion, and new business ventures within our region. So we want to be sure that our community’s count represents the growing, thriving people we call family, friends, and neighbors.
Additionally, the decennial census data will be utilized to determine the number of votes California has in the electoral college, the number of representatives in the House of Representatives and to potentially redraw State Assembly and Senate district lines. As we all know, having elected officials who believe in our community and support local businesses is important to our continued and future success.
As members of the business community, here are a few practical ways you can help our community be counted:
As the Census approaches, let’s work together to make sure our community is counted and well represented in the decade ahead. If you have any questions about how you can get more involved with the Census effort, you can start by visiting https://venturacountycounts.org.
The Oxnard Chamber is delighted to welcome Celina Zacarias as our Chair of the Board for 2020. She has been on the Oxnard Chamber Board of Directors since 2015 and is Senior Director of Community and Government Relations at California State University Channel Islands (CSUCI). Here are five things to know about Celina.
1. She is a home-grown leader.
Celina grew up in Oxnard’s La Colonia neighborhood and went to Channel Islands High School where she was on the dance drill team. She is the daughter of migrant farmworkers who worked in our local fields. Celina was born in Michoacán, Mexico and came to the United States at age 3. Both her father and grandfather were a part of the Bracero Program from 1942-1964, which brought millions of Mexican guest workers to the United States
2. She’s an advocate for higher education.
Celina was the first in her family to go to college, graduating from UCSB with Bachelor of Arts degrees in Spanish literature and Hispanic civilization. She studied abroad in Cuba, China, the Czech Republic, Hong Kong and England.
3. She didn’t always work in education.
For 25 years, Celina enjoyed a career in mortgage banking at GMAC Mortgage, Wells Fargo and Cabrillo Economic Development Corporation. She joined CSUCI in September 2007 as Senior Director of Community and Government Relations and is responsible for advancing the University’s positive presence and goodwill locally, nationally and internationally.
4. She’s an award-winning community leader.
Celina’s contributions to the community have resulted in numerous accolades, including the Pacific Coast Business Times’ 2018 Latino Leadership Award, 2012 Top Latina in Higher Education Award and 2006 Top Woman in Business; the Oxnard Chamber's 2016 Distinguished Citizen, 2011 Chairman's Award of Excellence and 2007 Woman of the Year; and the American Red Cross’ 2007 Diversity Ambassador.
5. She is active throughout the community.
Celina is Chair-elect of the Camarillo Chamber of Commerce, is on the Moorpark Chamber of Commerce’s Board, and was Chair of the Board of the Simi Valley Chamber of Commerce. She also is Chair of the Women’s Economic Roundtable, and on the Ventura County Civic Alliance Executive Committee, Workforce Development Board, Leadership California Executive Advisory Council and RDP-21 Board of Directors.
Connect with Celina on LinkedIn
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By Chamber Chair Stacy Miller
It has been my honor to serve as your Chair of the Board for 2019. In addition to working with an excellent board of directors, Chamber CEO and staff, I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know and work with the myriad of business and government leaders in Oxnard. These dedicated professionals regularly seek out ways to improve the business climate in our community, generously giving of their time and talent to improve Oxnard for the benefit of everyone.
While Oxnard is known as Ventura County’s most populated community, it is also home to many amazing businesses that employ thousands of people. Over the last year, I have had the privilege of touring some of these businesses, including Haas Automation, Mission Produce and CURE Pharmaceutical to name a few. At all of these (and other) Oxnard-based businesses, I have been very impressed by their world-class technology and expertise in their fields; all right here in Oxnard!
At the local government level, the Chamber works together with local leaders on issues ranging from land use and business regulations, to homelessness and housing. While we are not always in agreement on every issue, I have consistently experienced a great willingness on the part of our leaders to listen and consider varying ideas and opinions for the good of our community.
It is my pleasure to share with you a few of the many accomplishments made by the Oxnard Chamber of Commerce in 2019, in partnership with the business and government communities:
I want to thank each and every one of you for your support and participation with the Oxnard Chamber of Commerce. Together we can continue to be the catalyst for business growth, the convener for leaders and influencers, and the champion for a stronger community.
By Chamber Chair Stacy Miller
Now more than ever, our communities need good, hard-working and dedicated leaders. We need people who are willing to sacrifice their time and treasure for the good of others. We need these people to step up and serve but, first, we need them to be educated.
That is where the Oxnard Chamber of Commerce's Oxnard Leadership Program comes in. This dynamic, 10-session course provides participants with relevant and accurate information about key local and regional issues, one-on-one time with proven leaders, and a network of contacts to take those next steps.
Leadership is lifting a person's vision to high sights, the raising of a person's performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations.
The program is open to anyone however applicants need to have a desire and dedication to enhance their leadership potential; increase their knowledge of the community; and be willing to commit their individual talents in future years toward the betterment of Oxnard. The gains are tremendous and include:
“Whether you are new to the area or have lived here for years, this important program can open new doors of opportunity,” commented Shelly Merrell, President & CEO for Integrated Fire Safety.
Shelly and I have each agreed to sponsor one participant as part of our commitment to future community leaders, I hope other leaders will join us in supporting this great program.
If you or someone you know would benefit from this program, I encourage to complete the online application available from the Chamber’s website: www.oxnardchamber.org/oxnard-leadership.html.
Let’s all help tomorrow’s leaders start learning today!
The 10-session program focuses on one topic per all-day session:
Session 1: Government
Learn about the governmental structure of our region and meet with city and county-level elected officials as they share their experience and vision for our community.
Session 2 - Public Safety
Spend the day alongside Oxnard Police Department, SWAT, and take a behind-the-scenes tour of Ventura County Jail.
Session 3 - Education
Visit our local high schools and universities to see how they’re serving our young people and preparing the next generation of leaders.
Session 4 - History, Parks & Museums
Discover how our community was founded and experience our regions rich culture and history.
Session 5 - International Trade & Defense
Guided tours of The Port of Hueneme and Naval Base Ventura County will display the impact these institutions have on a local, regional and international level.
Session 6 - Public Services
Go behind-the-scenes to see how our city services operate on a daily basis. Past visits include the Advanced Water Purification Facility, Del Norte Regional Recycling, and the Wastewater Treatment Plant.
Session 7 - Health & Human Services
Visits to St. John’s Regional Medical Center and FOOD Share highlight the ways our community is serving the needs of a growing population.
Session 8 - Commerce
Discover your leadership style, learn about workforce development & business ethics, and visit some of our local businesses. Past visits have included Haas Automation and a boat tour of Channel Islands Harbor.
Session 9 - Agriculture/Natural Resources
Meet with the Ventura County Agricultural Commissioner, tour a local farm, and experience an incredible agricultural testing facility located right here in our own backyard.
Session 10 - Energy
Learn about oil and gas production in Ventura County and its impact here and abroad, discover alternative energy sources, and hear from experts in the field.
By Chamber Chair Stacy Miller
Drinking establishments are not what they used to be.
In 2019, many of them, like craft breweries, seek to be family-friendly places of business. They not only serve craft beer, but also cater to families by providing a family-friendly atmosphere and activities for kids, like food trucks and board games.
This is the case with two local establishments that reached out to the City of Oxnard and the Oxnard Chamber of Commerce, requesting assistance with lifting a regulation that prohibited anyone under 21 from entering. (This applied to craft breweries without a kitchen.)
The craft brewery business-model focuses on providing a family-friendly environment where mom and dad can enjoy a cold one at the end of the day, while their children play safely nearby. Unfortunately, in Oxnard, unlike other neighboring cities, there was a regulation that prohibited people under 21 to accompany an adult to a craft brewery.
When brought to the attention of Jeff Lambert, Oxnard’s Community Development Director, he did his research and realized that the City didn’t have the authority to put such a condition on the businesses and set in motion to make a change. And it worked; the restriction was lifted.
"It’s important that we continue to look for ways to make doing business in the city of Oxnard easier,” says Lambert. “We look forward to more opportunities to streamline and reduce red tape."
How’s that for government working with local business?
This is absolutely a case of win-win-win. The City wins because it will see more revenue from the businesses; the businesses win because they are seeing more sales, and patrons win because they are no longer restricted from bringing their children with them to their favorite craft beer hangout.
The Oxnard Chamber extends its warmest thanks to the City of Oxnard for its forward-thinking approach to working with local businesses. Let’s keep this trend going!