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Upcoming Meetings & Agendas

January 8, 2013 - Innovation Action Council Taskforce Recommendations presented to Sonoma County Board of Supervisors

On January 8, 2013, the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors was presented with the recommendations from the Innovation Action Council taskforce on Permit Process Improvement, Branding and Identity Strategy, and Workforce Strategy. The recommendations were accepted as presented, and a progress report on actions will be given at the June Economic Forecast with Steve Cochrane.

Report from the Innovation Action Council (PDF: 2.02 MB)

October 19, 2012 Chris Thornberg Economic Forecast

On October 19, 2012 at the Chris Thornberg Economic Forecast, the Innovation Action Council presented draft recommendations from three taskforces charges (PDF: 80kB) with addressing the following issues, identified last year by participants in business cluster focus groups:

  1. Developing an employer-driven workforce development strategy
  2. Developing a Sonoma County Identity that will help drive demand for Sonoma County goods and services
  3. Improving the multi-agency permit process in Sonoma County

The links below include an executive summary and recommendations for the three groups, and the presentation shown at the Economic Forecast. Additionally, the Innovation Action Council would appreciate your feedback, through the survey link given. Your feedback and comments will be very valuable as the final report is prepared.

Draft Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) (PDF: 3.30 MB)for submission to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration. (The report is currently a draft and will be reviewed by the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors on January 10, 2012.  The report will then be submitted to the Department of Commerce once approval of the report by the Board of Supervisors is received)

The CEDS is designed to bring together the public and private sectors in the creation of an economic road map to diversify and strengthen regional economies.  This CEDS represents the combined efforts of volunteers and staff to record and discuss economic development activities within the region.  Staff collected input from businesses and community stakeholders through outreach events, such as the Economic Summit held in June 2011 which drew 400 attendees, and meetings with representatives from five business clusters, involving more than 100 individuals.  The development of the CEDS was conducted under the oversight of the Innovation Action Council with served as the strategy committee

Who is the Sonoma County Innovation Action Council

The Sonoma County Innovation Action Council (IAC) is a group of business and community leaders appointed to design programs to help strengthen the Sonoma County economy. The IAC was formed from the Innovation Council which began its work in late 2007 and completed its initial findings in January 2009. The Innovation Council identified several areas where improvement would have a positive impact on our county's future business climate. Recently, the Morgan Family Foundation awarded another grant for a one-year period to develop an economic cluster analysis and job generation plan for Sonoma County. For the sake of continuity and timeliness, the core group from the previous phase of the Innovation Action Council will be largely maintained, with several proposed additions to reflect emerging trends and to provide additional balance.

As part of this effort, the Innovation Action Council will take direct aim at the issue of job creation in 2010-11. During the first phase of the project the group will determine needs of local businesses via several "focus group" sessions with key economic clusters. These sessions will be conducted by a consultant group, and then findings will be brought back to the Innovation Action Council for review and eventual consolidation into an overall plan. The goal is to determine what job-generating clusters in Sonoma County need to have to be successful and to continue generating jobs locally.

More details on the Innovation Council

If you are interested in the work of the Innovation Council and related projects, click below to read one of the reports:

Clusters of Opportunity: Findings, Goals and Strategies (PDF: 356kB)

Innovation Council Economic Strategic Plan (PDF: 1.17MB)

Final Report Economic Forecast (PDF: 1MB)

2009 State of the County Innovation Council Presentation (PDF: 150kB)

State of the County 2009 Innovation Showcase Exhibitors (PDF: 185kB)

State of the County 2010 Innovation Showcase Exhibitors (PDF: 56kB)

Upcoming Meetings & Agendas


Council Members

Bill Carson, Director of Operations, Windsor Golf Club
Oscar Chavez, Executive Director, Community Action Partnership of Sonoma County

Innovation Council Members:

Bill Silver, Dean, Sonoma State University
Chris Snyder, District Representative, Operating Engineers
Cynthia Murray, President/CEO, North Bay Leadership Council
Gabe Gonzalez, City Manager, City of Rohnert Park
Gus Pina, Administration, Dry Creek Rancheria
Jack Buckhorn, Business Manager, IBEW Local 551
John Sawyer, Council Member, City of Santa Rosa
John Webley, Principle, Innovative Labs
Jonathan Coe, President/CEO, Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce
Laurie Decker, Economic Development Specialist, City of Sonoma and Sonoma Valley Chamber
Libby FitzGerald, Principle, FitzGerald Consultants
Lisa Amador, Strategy & Business Development Executive, Sutter Medical Center of Santa Rosa
Lisa Schaffner, Executive Director, Sonoma County Alliance
Lorraine Wilson, Dean, Santa Rosa Junior College
Mark Inman, West Coast Trader, Volcafe Specialty Coffee, LLC.
Marlene Soiland, Owner/ President, Soiland Management Co., Inc.
Peter O'Brien, Publisher, Streetwise Reports
Randy DeCaminada, North Coast Account Services, PG&E
Scott Kincaid, Senior Vice President, First Community Bank
Scott Kirk, Attorney/ BEA Chair, Spaulding McCullough & Tansil LLP
Steve Herrington, Superintendent, Sonoma County Office of Education
Tanya Narath, Executive Director, Leadership Institute for Ecology and Economics

Expert Support

In order to develop a model of the county's economic future and a recommended plan of action to address the changes ahead, the Innovation Council will utilize the expertise of an economic consultant and a project facilitator, Collaborative Economics, as well as local resources.

An evaluation committee, led by EDB staff, reviewed the proposals that were received for these professional services. On September 18, 2007, the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors approved these recommendations.

Resources - In the News

*Links to articles at may require a one-time free registration or log-in thereafter.

Forward Thinking
Stephanie Derammelaere, ©North Bay Biz

Rooting Out Poverty: A Campaign by America's Community Action Network (PDF: !kB)
Report, ©2008 Community Action Partnership on behalf of itself and National Community Action Foundation (NCAF), National Association for State Community Services Programs (NASCSP), and Community Action Program Legal Services, Inc. (CAPLAW).

New council will address innovation, economic stability
Loralee Stevens, ©North Bay Business Journal

Innovation Council good step toward economic plan
Editorial, ©North Bay Business Journal

Background Information

In many ways, the Council will operate as a successor to the Economic Vitality Project (EVP) of 10 years ago, which resulted in a new engineering sciences program at Sonoma State University, a new county-wide tourism program, new collaborative market efforts among local agriculture groups, and a new local economic research program.

If you are interested in the work of the EVP and related projects, click below to read one of the past reports:

For more information on the local economy, check the EDB Statistics/Reports page.

For more information on efforts to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, read California's AB 32 and Sonoma County's Resolution No. 05-0827. Also, go to the Climate Protection Campaign, a local organization committed to developing practical solutions for significant GHG reductions.

Let Us Hear From You

If you have any questions or comments regarding the Innovation Council, please Contact Us.


The following companies support the Innovation Action Council in its mission and efforts:

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