LAKE ELSINORE – Doug McAlister, executive director of the Economic Development Coalition, presented the 2017 State of the Region to a full house April 27 at The Diamond Club at Storm Stadium. His message characterized the region as the “Valley of Innovation” with potential to be “The Future of Southern California.” The audience included elected officials, city and county employees, public policy leaders and industry experts, as well as numerous business and community leaders.
“The clock is ticking,” McAlister said. “And it appears that a window of opportunity is opening. The question is, are we ready for it?”
McAlister said that the inland southwest region has been a very well-kept secret, but its position, people and progress create many positives that bring it to the forefront of places in California to do business.
He stated that California has the world’s sixth-largest economy and is tied with Texas as the top state for manufacturing with over $255 million.
“It is only going to take one region stepping up permanently to put our entire state ahead of every other state in the union … America’s economic future is connected, changeable, and the place to change it most surely, is at the local level,” he said.
Referring to the book, “The Coming Jobs War” by Gallup Corporation CEO Jim Clifton, McAlister said that over the next 30 years the global gross domestic product will grow to an estimated $200 trillion, creating “an additional $140 trillion worth of customers, employees, new businesses and equity.” He postulated that the question is not “if” or “when” but “where,” suggesting that this region could be the next “Economic Empire,” being the ones to fulfill the demand for good jobs.
McAlister quoted Clifton and said “…realize that every decision (we) make should consider the impact, first and foremost, on good jobs… (We) succeed (only) by declaring all-out war” and that “the feat these leaders have to pull off is doubling their entrepreneurial energy by aligning all their local forces.”
He made his case for this region, emphasizing the right location, leadership, stakeholders, employees, safety, education and market.
The region is geographically central to major economic hubs, has invested in infrastructure with access to major airports and transportation systems, is the second largest service sector in the nation and still has the physical room and land for growth.
His presentation on people and leadership included presenting Ovation awards to Truax Development for “Innovation in Preservation,” California State University San Marcos’s Temecula campus for “Innovation in Corporate Collaboration” and CityByApp® Inc. for “Innovation.”
McAlister described an upcoming Economic Development Coalition collaborative innovation, the Virtual Real Estate Portal that will allow investors and developers to view properties in the cities and region as “3D CGI works of art” complete with sample summaries of the costs to develop those properties.
“When they compare costs to do the same thing in other parts of California, they’ll see why they should be focused on our region for their future,” he said. “We’ll also launch a Commuter Job Board. This portal will allow our own residents that currently have to commute hours each day to blind-post their resumes. And we’ll market this to our local employers. We already have a significant pool of highly-skilled, highly-educated and highly-motivated professionals in our region. Job One is Jobs Won!”
McAlister proclaimed that the engine has been fired up “igniting a robust economic development strategy “that has led Wildomar to overcome every obstacle the state has thrown at it that has led Murrieta to become a tech, biotech and medical facility magnet and job-creating machine that has led Menifee to drastically improve their infrastructure and attract retail from around the world that has led Lake Elsinore to become the “Action Sports Capital of the World,” that has led Temecula to almost $1 billion in tourism each year along with becoming a business and retail giant.”
Public safety is a major factor.
“According to the FBI, our region is consistently one of the safest in the nation,” McAlister said. “Folks aren’t afraid to shop, to work, to play.
“Thanks to the leadership of our education sector, our academic scores and opportunities consistently rank our schools in the top 10 percent of the nation. And when it comes to higher education, multiple local and regional options abound.
“And finally, we will continue to succeed because we have the right customers, with direct access to the sixth largest economy in the world and with our region’s demographic that is in the sweet spot of business success.”
McAlister’s message is that economic opportunity is coming that regional initiatives and cooperation coordinated by the Economic Development Coalition will help businesses take advantage of that opportunity, and that the Valley can be the next great business culture of innovation.
“Together, we are California’s future,” McAlister said.
This meeting was intended to “make the case for the right story to be told.” The next event in October will be “outward-facing designed to attract worldwide attention to our region . . . so we can tell the right story.”
The Economic Development Coalition consists of six cities: Temecula, Murrieta, Wildomar, Lake Elsinore, Canyon Lake and Menifee and the county of Riverside. Its mission is “to enhance business retention and development by promoting economic growth and positive business environment that enables the sustained economic growth of the region.”
For more information, go to www.edcswca.com.