By David M. Greenwald
Sacramento, CA – Barry Broome of the Greater Sacramento Economic Council recently joined Studio Sacramento KVIE host Scott Syphax for a conversation about his ideas on the future of the Capital Region – and of course, the conversation quickly turned Davis and UC Davis.
He spoke of Chancellor Gary May’s work to tap into the university’s potential, with UC Davis being one of ten R1 universities nationwide with $ 1 billion worth of research.
“Putting them shoulder to shoulder, looking into this market has been a critical success,” he said. “Especially at UC Davis, in 2015 I met the mayor of Davis and I met officials from UC Davis and they told me they were more of a Bay Area university than a University of Sacramento. “
He noted that at the time it was Chancellor Katehi, the deans were all from Berkeley or Stanford, had grown up on the peninsula and all had connections to the Bay Area, the technical transfer office was located in San Francisco and all contracts were the Bay Area automatically.
Additionally, faculty and guidance counselors “all encouraged students to migrate to the Bay Area and Silicon Valley.”
“Now that has been completely reversed,” he said. “Now UC Davis supports the economy of the Sacramento area as part of its mission with Sac State. “
He called it a complete change from “a very insular UC Davis” where they “would stay on the Davis campus, operate in an ivory tower.” He said: “I think what Gary May has done at UC Davis has probably been as deep as any leader in the history of our community.”
Broome noted that Woodland has established a 235-acre Research Park and that “Davis’s number one mindset as a town is to get Mace Road Research Park started. How is it different from Davis five or six years ago? “
The host, Syphax noted that for years Sacramento was an area “that couldn’t go out of its own way” and at the same time, “it’s a government town” and “we can’t think big enough to do. some of those ‘mega ideas’ like an Aggie Square or a research park in Woodland.
Barry Broome noted that seven years ago there was only SARTA as a regional accelerator.
Now you have the 100,000 square foot Cambridge Innovation Center in Aggie Square, the Carlson Center in Sacramento State, Raley’s Food and Agriculture Accelerator in Woodland, the Growth Factory will be in Roseville and they’ve also worked with many. other communities.
“There is a very different appetite for doing economic development than there was before,” he said. “All of these communities have incentives for economic development.
Broome said overall “we get the people and we start to get the businesses”.
“What we haven’t gotten so far is high level investment (from companies),” he said like Google or Salesforce or whatever. “I think we still have a good chance to do it. A lot of people overlook these compelling companies that fund six figure jobs and do some exciting things. “
Syphax noted the overall problem of losing leading companies in California. Broome responded, “We live in a negative business climate with a high value added business proposition. We are a double-edged sword.
“If you want to create, design and manufacture a product, no one is as good as California,” Broome explained. “Not Austin. Not Seattle. Not even close.
He added, “I think we can look at Seattle and Austin as an emerging early stage tech player, especially in life sciences. “
Housing costs are an issue, but Broome noted it’s “out everywhere.”
“When I look at housing, it’s really not cheap in Phoenix anymore,” he noted. “These cities and these subways where all the opportunities exist only attracts people – and whether you are Salt Lake, Denver, Phoenix, your housing market ends up out of balance.”
He added, “Our community is doing a really good job of building housing right now.”
Broome noted, “From a scientific standpoint, Austin is far from being a science center like our region is – with our expertise in food, agricultural, biomedical and veterinary sciences. Although he acknowledged, “Software, you would probably choose Austin Headquarters because of zero income tax and less liability. “
“So it’s really about understanding our position in the market and how we differentiate it,” he said.
Broome said, “I thought we would see more in food and farming” in the area when he came to Sacramento.
He noted the Food and Ag Center (World Food Center) that Chancellor Katehi was trying to develop.
“The industry went through a big transformation in terms of technology and then kind of stalled,” he said.
On the flip side, “when Aggie Square is up and running, I really see this center for life sciences, particularly around cell therapy, explode here and become a big driver of the industry. “