“I think we can all agree that this is an exciting time to live and work in our community.”
Turlock Chamber of Commerce Board President Lazar Piro’s words were met with a round of applause as he opened the Eggs, Issues and Economics breakfast event Wednesday morning. The breakfast, presented by the Turlock Chamber, City of Turlock and Stanislaus Business Alliance, focused on regional and economic trends, and featured updates on the local economy from Turlock Mayor Gary Soiseth, County Supervisor Vito Chiesa and Stanislaus Alliance CEO David White.
“Our goal this morning is to inform and inspire you,” said Turlock Chamber CEO Karin Moss.
Chiesa, who was the first to speak, addressed the audience as they dined on the importance of an educated workforce and infrastructure within the community. Soiseth gave updates on the state of the city, including new faces within the community like City Manager Gary Hampton and Stanislaus State President Ellen Junn, and the City’s current partnership with Turlock Irrigation District to bring an additional nine billion gallons of surface water to the city per year. Soiseth also touched on Turlock’s economy.
“We are financially very sound,” said Soiseth.
Soiseth credited the City’s current economic state to the fact that $5.4 million of debt was taken off the table, taking about $2 million from the City’s reserves and money from the sale of the War Memorial building to pay down the debt.
“That move alone…will save us six million dollars over the course of ten years,” said Soiseth.
White took the podium after Soiseth, and had praise for Turlock’s mayor.
“Turlock truly is a shining star in the Valley,” he said. “I want to applaud you for doing things right. You do economic development right.”
White spoke about Measure L and the need for state and federal transportation dollars to fix the area’s roads, and introduced the event’s featured speakers, Bree Langemo and Joe Raso.
Raso, president of Blane, Canada LTD., informed the audience on how to better their community organization.
“I think we’ve spent way too long talking about our economy in the wrong way,” said Raso.
He informed the crowd that “community is the new currency.” According to Raso, 40 percent of a business’ growth comes from working with local businesses. He had praise for the way that Turlock has been able to grow and revitalize its downtown area – something he specializes in.
“You have to think bigger than Turlock, and I can tell you’re doing that,” said Raso.
While Raso focused on how the community could better itself, Langemo, president of the Entrepreneurial Learning Initiative, spoke on individual entrepreneurship. According to Langemo, companies now hire based on soft skills, such as personality and ability to work with others, rather than the technical skills that are often needed for positions.
Langemo also pointed out important abilities needed to compete in the 21st century workforce, such as literacy, competency and character qualities.
Langemo and Raso left the crowd with one suggestion to better the workforce of tomorrow; Instead of asking children what they want to be when they grow up, ask them what problems they want to solve.