2016 Economic Development Summit: 'Choosing Oakland'
Building on the success of last year’s exploration of what attracts new businesses to Oakland, the Chamber’s 2016 Economic Summit will take a closer look at Oakland’s rapidly changing and expanding marketplace. Demand to live and work in Oakland is at an unprecedented high, and with that brings new development and great opportunity for new and existing businesses alike.
Held in the morning of Friday, March 18, the annual Economic Summit will feature a comprehensive conversation about “Choosing Oakland.” The event will explore the reasons why businesses and investors are coming here, and why the longtime stewards of our economy are doubling down on Oakland.
The summit will begin with a presentation from Robert Sammons of Cushman & Wakefield, who will give an update on Oakland’s rapidly changing real estate market. Christopher Thornberg of Beacon Economics will present the much-anticipated annual update to the Oakland Chamber Economic Indicators Report, an annual in-depth analysis of Oakland’s economy.
The event will also feature a panel discussion of representatives from various industries who will share what brought them here, what they hope to accomplish, and what makes Oakland special. The panel will include Denis Ring of Ocho Candy, Peter Weingarten of Gensler, Eric Tao of AGI Avant, and Denise Pinkston of TMG Partners.
The summit will be held at the Kaiser Center on March 18, with registration beginning at 7:30 a.m. The event will begin promptly at 8 a.m. and continue until 10:15 a.m. Breakfast will be provided. Registration is available here.
Sponsorship opportunities are available. Click here to download the sponsorship packet.
2015 Economic Development Summit: The Oakland Advantage
By Alex Boyd, Economic Development Director
On March 20, 2015, the Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce held its annual Economic Development Summit at the Oakland Convention Center in downtown Oakland. Attended by over 300 Chamber members and guests, the summit focused on themes critical to the city’s economic vitality.
This year’s event brought together a broad cross-section of business, government and civil society leadership to explore “The Oakland Advantage” as a place to start and grow businesses in Oakland’s New Economy including: representatives of a number of Oakland’s large, medium-sized and small businesses; elected and appointed government officials; developers, nonprofit leaders, representatives of education and workforce development institutions; and representatives of ethnic chambers and press and media (among others).
Oakland City Council President Lynette Gibson McElhaney kicked off the event with an energetic address.
Garrick H. Brown, vice president of research for the Western United States at DTZ, then delivered a lively commercial market overview presentation focused on important market, economic, industry and demographic trends and their implications on Oakland’s and the East Bay’s real estate markets.
Next, a thought-provoking panel discussion ensued focused on ongoing and upcoming infrastructure developments and investments that create the environment to support existing and emerging New Economy businesses in Oakland. Moderated by noted Oakland-based businessman Phil Tagami, chief executive officer of California Commercial and Investment Group, the panel included Andrew Friedman, managing director of Shorenstein Properties LLC’s Capital Transactions Group; David Karol, principal at Ridge Capital Investors, LLC; Peter Weingarten, principal and co-director of Gensler Oakland; and Richard Weinstein, principal at Citrine Advisors.
Members of the panel discussed a variety of important and timely topics including their perspectives on the key elements that constitute “The Oakland Advantage” and what factored into their decisions to invest in Oakland. They also discussed whether or not the appropriate infrastructure is being built to support Oakland’s “new economy” businesses so that Oakland continues to expand from its traditional roots as being a back-office market and a low cost provider to San Francisco and become a market that people want to be in even when they could find comparable space in San Francisco.
Following the first panel discussion, Floyd Kephart, managing principal of New City Development LLC and Chairman of the Board of The Renaissance Companies, delivered a presentation on his view of the “The Oakland Advantage” and the intersection of real estate and technology.
The second panel that focused on Oakland’s increasingly diverse array of businesses was moderated by Sarah Filley, co-founder and chief executive officer of Popuphood LLC and advisor to OppSites Inc. The panel included Dorian Ferlauto, founder and chief executive officer of BriteHub; Ruben Hernandez, co-founder and chief executive officer of Devlabs; Naveen Jain, chief marketing officer and co-founder of the Immunity Project; and George Zimmer, founder and former CEO/chairman of The Men’s Wearhouse.
With four small Oakland-based technology-related businesses represented, the panel truly reflected the new generation of businesses, business types and business leaders emerging in our city. The panelists offered extremely insightful perspectives on a variety of topics including the primary factors driving Oakland’s economic growth, the business and economic rationale for locating their businesses in Oakland, and also highlighted some issues that continue to limit Oakland from realizing its full economic potential.
There was also significant consensus around the need to allow Oakland’s economy to continue to grow in the quintessentially Oakland way, and Zimmer seemed to capture the spirit of Oakland’s ongoing economic renaissance best when he commented, “Oakland, I like the way you look.”
Following the second panel, the Summit closed with an informative presentation by Christopher Thornberg, founding partner of Beacon Economics, LLC, who focused on the preliminary findings from the Oakland Chamber District Indicators Project which was commissioned by the Chamber.
Thornberg presented an overview of key economic indicators at the national, state and regional levels and then presented a compelling exploration of key economic trends and indicators at the Oakland city and city district levels, offering a very granular glimpse into Oakland’s positive economic performance on a district by district basis. The report aimed at uncovering city-wide and district level information as well as economic trends driving Oakland’s expansion.
Going forward, the data and analysis from the Oakland Chamber District Indicators Project will enable businesses and policy-makers alike to better understand the factors driving Oakland’s economic expansion and support policies that further grow Oakland’s new economy, while continuing to contribute to the larger economic region.
All in all the Summit was a thought-provoking and rewarding experience for all involved, and the Chamber would like to extend its thanks once again to our sponsors, our exceptional line-up of presenters and panelists, and to all who attended.
in the April 2015 Oakland Business Review
Past Economic Development Summits
- Public Policy
- Economic Development
- Events & Programs