Nominations for the 2019 Community & Business Awards are open. Who will be the Distinguished Citizen? How about the Small Business of the Year? The award categories for 2019 have been updated, so they now include:
The Chamber relies on nominations from the business community and general public. Nominees are not required to be members of the Oxnard Chamber. Also, those submitting nominations do not need to be Chamber members.
Nominations are due by March 25. Following that date, the selection committee will pour over the submittals and choose the awardees. We all know of people, organizations and businesses that make Oxnard such a great place to live and work. Let's thank them with a nomination!
Click here for the Nomination Form
The Community & Business Awards will be presented at a dinner on Thursday, April 25.
A message from the President and CEO
On February 2, 2004 I reported for my first day of work at the Oxnard Chamber of Commerce. I actually reported to the office of the Economic Development Corporation of Oxnard, commonly known as EDCO. The Chamber was being housed in their office after losing their lease in Downtown Oxnard. Without office space, all of the Chamber's belongings had been moved to a self-storage facility. In addition, everyone who worked for the Chamber had quit prior to my arrival. Those days were pretty challenging!
Thanks to Steve Kinney, President of EDCO, and some very dedicated volunteers on the Chamber Board (including the Chair, Tom Waddell), we began to rebuild the organization. About a year and a half after I took the helm as the CEO some office space opened up right down the hall from EDCO. It was a bit more than we currently needed, but growth was in our sights and we made the commitment to lease. It was a happy day when we were able to empty the self-storage unit and begin to furnish our new office. The Chamber is still housed there in the Topa Financial Plaza.
From 2004 through most of 2008 the Chamber was growing rapidly. In fact, the membership nearly doubled – then the Great Recession settled in. 2009 was a very lean year but we figured out how to cut expenses enough to get by. Growth was very slow during the Recession. Businesses were struggling, but we still had to address issues that challenged our members.
During the last 15 years the Oxnard Chamber has built a solid reputation as being a strong advocate for business. We have taken and communicated positions on hundreds of pieces of state legislation, regional issues, and local proposals ranging from air quality to water, labor laws to pension plans, transportation to taxation, land use to energy, and everything in between. Our Board, with help from its working committees, has been unwavering in its dedication to supporting our free enterprise system.
It is certainly a distinct pleasure and honor to serve the Oxnard business community. I know we have made an impact on countless local issues. Defeating the 2008 Oxnard Traffic Initiative was probably our greatest victory. That measure would have stifled economic prosperity in Oxnard for decades. We certainly haven't won all the battles, but have never given up.
Thanks for having me as your President and CEO for the past 15 years. I look forward to what is still ahead for the Oxnard Chamber of Commerce!
A message from the Chair of the Board Stacy Miller
The Oxnard Chamber of Commerce is pleased to welcome Jeff Lambert, the City of Oxnard’s new Director of Development Services. In his new job, Jeff will oversee the City’s planning, building and engineering and code enforcement divisions. He will also be working with the City Manager’s office to participate in the City’s Economic Development priorities to ensure the City has a prosperous future.
“I am personally excited to work with Oxnard’s many and diverse stakeholders to move the City forward. The City has so much to offer and my job will be to help put all the pieces together to realize the community and City Council’s vision for our future,” explains Jeff Lambert.
“I love that I can use the word “our’ for Oxnard after being in Ventura County for nearly 10 years. I am also excited to get to know the community, spend time in the neighborhoods and work with those interested in investing in Oxnard. Our future depends on balancing neighborhood preservation and revitalization while seeking new opportunities to provide needed housing, jobs and amenities for our community,” Lambert continued.
Jeff says he first brings a commitment to community to this job. He promises to be engaged and accessible to the community and its stakeholders. Jeff has a long track record of bringing people together to get things done; this includes supporting and developing a staff team that shares this commitment and is equally excited about doing the community’s business.
“I have had a unique career for a public servant in that I have worked in both the public and private sector; I understand first-hand what it is to be a customer of Development Services. I believe this experience will serve me and the City of Oxnard well.”
Jeff believes that cities, including Oxnard, cannot stay the same; they must look to a prosperous future and to do that it is important to support existing businesses with a strategy of business retention, expansion and attraction.
“I know what it takes to revitalize our downtown and will do my part to ensure this long-held dream is a reality,” Lambert said.
Jeff earned a Bachelor’s degree from Clark University in Massachusetts in political science and psychology, and a Master’s degree in planning from USC. Jeff Lambert can be reached via email at: email@example.com.
The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) recently released updated human trafficking notices for employers.
California law requires some businesses to post a human trafficking notice near the public entrance or another conspicuous location where the public and employees may view the notice.
The notice provides hotline and text numbers for the public and victims of human trafficking to seek help or report unlawful activity.
The notice must be at least 8.5 x 11 inches in size, written in a 16-point font and must be in English, Spanish and one other language that is the most widely spoken language in the county where the business is located and for which translation is mandated by the federal Voting Rights Act. The OAG has developed notices in 22 other languages, which are available on their website. For more information on human trafficking, visit OAG Human Trafficking.
CalChamber members and nonmembers can access the Human Trafficking Model Notice and Human Trafficking Model Notice – English and Spanish.
By Loren Kaye
January 18, 2019
“The number one driver of cost of living is housing—housing is the issue. Unless we get serious about it, the state will continue to lose its middle class and the dream will be limited to fewer and fewer people.”
—Governor Gavin Newsom
During his campaign, candidate Newsom laid out ambitious goals for housing production—3.5 million new housing units by 2025, implying a production rate nearly four times faster than in recent years.
In his just-released budget, Governor Newsom made his first official housing policy statement and related substantive proposals. The goals are still ambitious, although the results will not be apparent for many years.
The Governor recognized that most new housing must be produced by the private marketplace, and that one of the key stumbling blocks is local government approval.
His budget reminds us that “Local governments have a key role in ensuring the building of adequate numbers of housing units to meet local needs. They have primary control over land use and housing-related decisions and enact policies that either encourage or discourage housing construction.”
Regional Housing Goals
The centerpiece of the Governor’s housing policy is to revamp regional housing needs and to begin to enforce local governments’ obligations to meet those needs.
The administration will no longer simply advise local agencies on how to meet those needs, but now will “oversee and enforce regional housing goals and production.”
The administration will provide incentives to accomplish these goals by allocating $250 million in short-term grants to help local agencies improve their planning and permitting systems. If cities and counties deliver on their commitments, the administration will make another $500 million available for general municipal purposes.
Along with these carrots, the Governor unveiled a stick: linking housing production to certain (not-yet-specified) transportation funds, and possibly other local economic development resources. This is potentially a serious attention getter and has already drawn opposition from local government and some legislators.
In addition to his ambition to directly influence local planning, zoning and permitting of market-rate development, the Governor proposes more tools to encourage subsidized and “affordable” housing:
• $500 million for subsidized loans for mixed-income developments.
• Expanding by five-fold the state low-income housing tax credit, a key lever to motivate investment in subsidized housing.
• Providing access to state-owned property for private affordable housing projects.
• Easing approvals for long-term debt for local financing districts that want to provide infrastructure for housing and other economic development projects.
• Allowing local infrastructure districts to join with federally designated Opportunity Zones by providing similar capital gains tax benefits for investments in these zones in affordable housing and “green technology” projects.
The Oxnard Chamber established a Business Visits program in 2015 when Greg Nyhoff was Oxnard's city manager. The monthly visits were designed for the city manager to connect with the businesses that generate revenue the city operates with. The visits and tours provide an opportunity for government to understand the challenges of private industry.
The business visits program went on hiatus when Nyhoff resigned in the beginning of 2018. When Alex Nguyen took over as the city manager in July of 2018, we gave him a few months to get settled in before we re-launched the program. Late last year we were able to tour the BMW vehicle processing facility in South Oxnard (photo, right). We finished off the year at Haas Automation – a truly amazing facility (photo, left). This week we are visiting KeVita, Inc. - PepsiCo Organization.
The purpose of the program is for local government to connect with the business community. The city manager's office is always open to feedback on how interaction with the city is and what they can do to help businesses.
Some of the places we visited in years past were Diversified Minerals, Scosche Industries, Agromin, Gills Onions, Boskovich Farms, Pinnpack Packaging, Zev Technologies, Wiggins Lift, Aspen Helicopters (which included an aerial tour!), Spatz Laboratories (ColourPop), Gibbs Truck, and SunOpta. The list certainly shows the diversity of industries we have in Oxnard!
By Terry MacRae
Vacations to California’s natural wonders, cultural riches and exciting city attractions fuel stable employment and the world’s fifth largest economy.
Regardless of where travelers go and what they do in California, vacations are more than memories—they also spur one of California’s strongest economic pillars. In fact, tourism drove $132 billion in travel-related spending in 2017, generating $11 billion in state and local tax revenues.
Running a cruises and events company wasn’t exactly the course I expected to take when I studied mechanical engineering at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. After graduating and starting my career as an environmental engineer, I quickly rose through the ranks of Industrial Clean Air and later became vice president of sales for Ecolaire Systems Inc. I found myself regularly scouting venues for client and employee events, which is how I discovered and later purchased a small yacht charter company based in Berkeley, California.
Over the last four decades, Hornblower expanded to a 100-vessel, half-billion-dollar company, spanning over 30 ports from coast-to-coast. Today, Hornblower companies employ more than 2,500 people and we take great pride in knowing our business supports so many families.
Pillars of Economy
As you enjoy your next vacation, know you too are fueling many pillars of the state’s economy, which in turn supports jobs for 1.1 million California workers.
California’s tourism industry brings vibrancy to our economic health, vibrancy we see in the faces of the people who make this happy industry hum. It is these employees who help create amazing experiences and maintain California as a desirable travel destination. It is their energy and enthusiasm that melds with the natural beauty of California to create the vibrant experiences California is known to offer.
Whether it’s new Californians looking for employment, retirees seeking seasonal work, summer jobs for students or a second job that bolsters a family’s income, tourism jobs remain stable even in the midst of economic downturns. The service-oriented industry relies on employees—yes, real people—who have a stake in customer satisfaction, and their work cannot be shipped abroad or cut back by automation.
In the midst of the Great Recession, tourism’s employment held strong against other sectors, dipping just 5.6% compared to an overall employment loss of 8.6%. Coming out of the recession, tourism created more new jobs than any other industry—a trend that has reliably continued, with 30,000 new jobs created last year, a faster growth rate than state government, trade or manufacturing. (Source: California Employment Development Department)
Now, with the lowest unemployment rates since 1976 and a growing economy, California is seeing jobs growth slow, due in part to a shortage of workers. The California Foundation for Commerce & Education is projecting a shortfall over the next generation of more than a million graduates of four-year colleges and hundreds of thousands of those with two-year degrees.
Graduates who enter the workforce need qualities that employers urgently seek: Solid communications skills, personal responsibility, and a strong work ethic. Tourism jobs help prepare California’s workforce with exactly these important skills.
Travel and tourism is California’s largest export. International visitors spend more than $25 billion in California a year. That is more than the value of California’s agriculture exports.
To help keep California a desirable location, we must work to provide clean and safe cites and infrastructure necessary for visitors. Not only is it necessary to provide education and training, but we must all commit to provide affordable housing and transportation alternatives for the amazing folks who work in this industry. We must take immediate action and create permanent solutions.
The world has many beautiful places, so we must ensure we are working to maintain the competitiveness of this important pillar of California’s economy.
Secret to Success
On your next vacation, share how much we all appreciate the dedicated employees who help create those fond vacation memories. Take a moment to share your gratitude. These welcoming, hard-working folks may well be the secret to your best vacation ever and the secret to the success of California’s largest export industry: tourism and the jobs we all need.
Terry MacRae, 2018 chair of the California Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, serves as commissioner on the Visit California Board of Directors and is chief executive officer, president and founder of Hornblower Cruises & Events.